The month of Muharram 2022: The month of Mourning


The beginning of the Islamic calendar is marked by the month of Muharram. The month of Muharram 2022 marks the beginning of 1444AH. This first month is also popularly known as the month of Hijri or the month of Allah. The tenth day of this month is known as the Day of Ashura. This period is for introspection and forgiveness. Muharram is also known to be a sacred month next to Ramadan. During this month of Muharram, fighting is prohibited by Allah. Also, Muslims offer charity to the needy and perform devotional songs called Noha.

On the tenth of Muharram or Day of Ashura Muslims show their gratitude towards Allah and observe fast on this sacred day. They devote this time to praying in the mosque and remembering Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein’s sacrifice for the community. 

Muharram History

Muharram’s history is related to the battle of Karbala. It is a story of Islam’s tragedy and loss, which commemorates the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussein Ibn Ali, who was murdered during the Battle. The battle of Karbala took place on the 10th Day of Ashura in 680 AD. It is when Hussain protested against the Caliph Yazid and led a revolution against him. 

Imam Hussein’s small army consisted of friends and family and children. They were surrounded by a heavily armed enemy army of thousands of Yazid I, the Umayyad caliph. They all, along with Imam Hussein, sacrificed their lives to save the interest of the community.

Muslims remember the day of the sacrifice of the lives of Hussein and his companions by engaging in mourning rituals. While some Muslims perform public rituals that include chest-beating, self-flagellation with chains, and forehead cutting others gather at mosques and cry over Hussein’s death. 

Significance of Month of Muharram 2022

Muharram comes from the Arabic word meaning ‘forbidden’. Followers of Islam respect and refrain from engaging in any joyous event. For them, the mourning period starts from the first day of Muharram and lasts till the tenth. They observe fast and wear black clothes. Many of them mourn in nonviolent ways by chanting ‘Ya- Hussein’. 

There are certain historic and religious events also that highlight the importance of the month. A section of Muslims honors the first 10 days of the month. This period is spent by them in mourning as it’s on the 10th day of the month of Muharram that Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad was martyred in the Battle of Karbala.  Hence on the 10th day or the Day of Ashura. The community people display their tribute towards the sacrifice of the humble army of Hussain which comprised only his friends and family, including women and young children.

For other sections of Muslims, the Day of Ashura is also significant as they believe that on the day, another Prophet of Islam, Moses gained victory over the Egyptian Pharaoh.

It is believed that the movement of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Madinah took place during the month of Muharram, which is known as Hijrah, and so Muharram marks this important event as well.

  1. As per Prophet Muhammad, fasting on the Day of Ashura wipes out the sins of the previous years. Hence, many Muslims fast on the ninth and tenth days of this month. 
  2. There are a number of painful practices in which Muslims indulge in order to express their grief and mourn the death of Hazrat Ali. These practices include cutting themselves with sharp objects, beating themselves with chains, and conducting mournful public procession. Some Muslims on the other hand consider Ashura as a day of respect and hence do not take part in such rituals.
  3. Muslims refrain from taking part and do not participate in any celebrations this month.
  4. It is tradition to read Ziarat Ashura on the Day of Ashura.  This book contains salutations to the martyrs of Karbala.
  5. For many Muslims Islamic New Year is a time for celebration. They celebrate the new year by visiting the mosque and spending time with their family and friends. Some even exchange homemade made sweet rice with near and dear ones.
  6. The Day of Ashura is also called as Youm-e-Ashura.
  7. It is in the month of Muharram that the Islamic scholar Zayn al-Abidin was martyred by Marvanian.
  8. In a revolt led by Mohammed Abdullah al-Qahtani, the Grand Mosque was captured in the month of Muharram.

Muharram is one of the blessed months in the Islamic calendar, marking the beginning of the Hijri year.  The month of Muharram 2022 begins on 31st July 2022. It is emphasized to fast during Muharram as it is said that it is better than any other month after Ramadan. Prophet Muhammad also asked his followers to fast during the 9th and 10th days of the month. Hence, for some Muslims, it is time to celebrate, remember and honor the sacrifice of legends. For others, it’s a period of pain and mourning.

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