7 Facts about Muharram/Ashura: The Beginning of the Islamic New Year

by Srija Mahalanobish August 08, 2022

Muharram 2022: A Day of Mourning and Honouring the Martyrs

When we think of festivals, the general notion is that it is an occasion of joy and merriment. However, in the Muslim community, a day is also dedicated to mourning and paying tribute to the brave. This day is known as Muharram. The month of Muharram is regarded as the first month of the Islamic Calendar. It marks the beginning of a new year for Muslims all over the world. When is Muharram 2022 in India? Why is Muharram celebrated? What is the Muharram history? If these questions make you inquisitive, read ahead and discover seven facts related to Muharram/Ashura.

7 Interesting Facts about Muharram/Ashura
Also Read: International Tiger Day 2022 - 5 Interesting Facts About Tigers!

When is Muharram 2022 in India? 

One of the popular implications of “Muharram” is prohibited, banned, illegal, etc. It is said to have been derived from the word “Haram” meaning sin. Muharram is the second holiest month for Muslims after Ramadan. During this holy month, Muslims abstain from any Haram or sinful acts. Muharram 2022 will be observed on 9 August, Tuesday. Muslims engage in fasting, praying, and self-reflection during the period of Muharram.


The tenth day of the month of Muharram is called Ashura. The day of Ashura in India is expected to commence on the evening of 7 August, Sunday, and conclude on the evening of 8 August 2022. Monday. Shia Muslims, one particular branch of the Muslim community, observe Ashura as the Day of Mourning. They remember Imam Hussain, who was also known as Husayn Ibn Ali, the grandson of the Holy Prophet Mohammed and son of Hazrat Ali along with the brave martyrs of the Battle of Karbala.

Why is Muharram Celebrated? Muharram History and Significance

During the 61st year of the Islamic calendar, on the tenth day of the month of Muharram, i.e., Ashura, the fierce battle of Karbala took place, which resulted in the tragic massacre. The battle was fought between Prophet Muhammed’s grandson, Imam Hussain along with a small group of his relatives and supporters, and Yazid Ibn Mu’awiya Ibn Abi Sufyan, commonly known as Yazid I, the Umayyad caliphate’s second caliph and his military forces.


Hussain and his six years old son were brutally killed in the Battle of Karbala. His army, which consisted of women, children, and relatives, was captured by the heavily-equipped forces of Yazid I. They were deprived of food and water for three straight days. The women of Imam Hussain’s group were also taken in as captives of the warfare. 


To commemorate the sacrifices of the martyrs of Karbala, people of the Muslim community mourn the loss of these innocent lives. Thus, it is strongly considered a Haram to perform or engage in any hateful or sinful act during the period of Muharram. The Islamic community wears black clothes on this day as black colour signifies sorrow and grief.


Read the following 7 interesting facts associated with Muharram/Ashura to know more about the significance of the festival.

7 Muharram/Ashura Facts to Know

  1. During this time, it is also believed that Prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina. This journey is known as Hijrah. Hence, Muharram marks the important event of Hijrah as well.

  2. The day of Ashura is regarded by the Sunni Muslims as the day when the Israelites and Moses were saved by God from the Pharaoh of Egypt and his army by bifurcating the waters of the Red Sea. 

  3. Shia Muslims observe the occasion of Muharram by indulging in practices such as chest-beating, which is referred to as Latyma, self-flagellation, and cutting their foreheads. By doing so, they portray pain and sorrow on the demise of a leader who was held to be Allah’s messenger on earth. Some people also chant hymns and utter slogans like “Ya Hussain”.

  4. According to Prophet Muhhamad, if people fast on the day of Ashura, it will result in the end of all the sins of the previous year. Thus, Muslims observe the 10 days of Muharram in black clothes and fast on the 9th or 10th day, Ashura. Some people prefer to break their fast after noon or Zawal.

  5. During this solemn period of Muharram, Muslim people refrain from taking part in happy ceremonies and events. No weddings or celebrations are held in the family.

  6. It is customary for all Muslims to read the book of Ziarat Ashura on the day of Ashura. It is a book that contains salutations to the martyrs of Karbala.

  7. Other than indulging in prayers, exchanging Muharram wishes, and visiting mosques, Muslim families also cook sweets, and dishes such as sweet rice, and share them with their family and friends to consume while breaking their fast.


Conclusion

We hope we have been able to enlighten you about something new today. It is important to know and share the vast and diverse culture of India. So, let your friends know about the significance and history of Muharram/Ashura and encourage them to read this too.