“Muharram” in English means “Forbidden”and is first of the twelve months of the Islamic lunar calendar. Muharram is also one of the four sanctified months to find its mention in the Holy Quran with other three being Zulqadah, Zulhijjah, and Rajab. Just like every Islamic month, Muharram begins after crescent sighting and this year it will most probably fall on October 26 in Indian subcontinent. As Islamic New Year is about to begin, here is all that you need to about this sacred month.

Significance

Shia community among Muslims bemoan the first ten days of the month to honour the assassination of Hazrat Imam Hussain, his family and supporters, who were killed by the forces of Umayyad ruler Yazeed Ibn Muawiyah for opposing and refusing to recognise Yazeed as Caliph in the Battle of Karbala in 680AD (61 Hijri).

Muslims also fast during this one month, even though it is not mandatory, but many do fast out of their own will and choice. Fasting is considered as virtues of this sacred month and each day has its own rewards.

The day of Ashura

On the whole, the month of Muharram is sacred, but 10th day is most among all its days. Hazrat Imam Hussain was killed on the tenth day of the Battle of Karbala and the day is referred to as Ashura, which means tenth in English.

Stories of Hussain’s martyrdom are recounted on the first day of the Muharram at the holy places before and after the congregational prayers.On the day of Ashura, Muslims of Shia community cry loudly and beat their chests in grief to recall the sufferings of Imam Hussain and his followers. On Ashura, Shias enact the battle scenes of Karbala war and also visit Karbala in Iraq during Muharram.