Muharram is an important festival of Islamic religion which is observed across the globe. It is basically the first month of the Islamic calendar. We will now discuss in details all about the festival and its significance.
Fasting During Muharram
The Muslims fast during the Muharram festival as it is considered to be a very religious act to fast during Muharram. The Muslims have two sects that are Shia and Sunis. The shias fast during the days when the sunlight is around. The Suni Muslims fast only during the first ten days of Muharram.
The Muharram has a deep religious and historic background that makes it a very important part of the Muslim tradition. The Muharram is the month of mourning and is observed as a remembrance of the sacrifices that were made by Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Mohammad The Prophet.
Muharram 2017 Dates
In 2017 this important Islamic festival of Muharram is being celebrated from 21st September October to 19 October 2017.
The official holiday in India is on 1 Oct 17
History and Significance
The family and followers of Hussein ibn Ali were killed by the army of Yazid I in the battle of Karbala. The number of people killed was around seventy.
This included women and children. The surviving members in the family of Hussein ibn Ali were taken captive and marched till Damascus. This is the one of the four sacred months that has been mentioned by the God himself in Quran (the holy book of the Muslims).
After the brutality that was done against Hussein ibn Ali and his followers, sister of Hussein ibn Ali named Zaynab bint Ali decided that she will mourn the treatment that was meted out to her family and create awareness about it among the public. One of those killed was a child who was just six months. She started to make speeches and was successful in spreading the news of what actually happened.
This made the people aware of the cruelties and people across Iraq were becoming more and more agitated. The ruler Zain-ul-Abideen called for Zaynab bint Ali and asked what she wanted in order to stop the protests.
She asked the ruler to provide a place where people could mourn the cruelties and remember the sacrifices made by Hussein ibn Ali and his followers. Since then this practice has continued and it is called the Muharram by the Muslims. The tradition is still on. It is celebrated by Muslims all across the world even today. We hope that we were able to explain the significance of Muharram in this article to the readers.
Muharram Celebrations in India
In India the Muharram processions take place in all the parts of the country where the Muslims have a majority. In Lucknow the Muharram procession is called Azadari. If you want to see the significance and importance of the Muharram you must be in Luknow during the time of the festival.
The Shias and Sunis have different way of celebrating the Muharram but that is mainly a matter of custom, the dedication and faith of their beliefs are the same. The mourners say sad poetries about the death of Hussein ibn Ali and his followers. Both men and women are a part of these mourning.
The drums beat chants of “Ya Husayn”. The mourners also hurt themselves to remember the pain and the agony that Hussein ibn Ali and his followers had to go through in the battle of Karbala. The mourners also offer condolences to Imam-e-Zamana. It is believed that he will come and avenge the death of Hussein ibn Ali.
The Muslims wear black clothes during the Muharram processions as a symbol of mourning. They maintain a strict fast during the days of Muharram. They do not shave during these ten days. They also ensure that they do not get any kind of entertainment during these days and most of the time mourning.
Originally the Muslims were told not to take a bath and change clothes during the Muharram. However, this tradition is not followed much now days. You will see that the Muslims greet each other with “Ya Husayn” during these days. The Muslims ensure that during the Muharram they do not celebrate any events like marriage and other celebrations.
Charity – Nazar
The mosques during the Muharram give free food to the needy and the poor. These meals are called Nazar. The rich Muslims contribute to these meals. The aim of Muharram is to keep the memory of the sacrifices made by Hussein ibn Ali alive.
The attempt is to ensure that people understand that evil must be answerable for its deeds. When you do something wrong that is heinous you must have an explanation. If you do not then you will be held answerable for years.
People still sacrifice to understand why Hussein ibn Ali was and his family dealt with so much cruelty. Unless there is an appropriate answer to these questions the cruelties will go on. You will get to see a lot of people crying and mourning during the Muharram.
They try to do all those acts that were done to Hussein ibn Ali and his family. They do so to remember how Hussein ibn Ali’s family was tortured for no fault of theirs. The pain that they felt is still remembered and mourned.
The Muharram rituals are quite different compared to normal celebrations that we see during festivals. This is exactly why the people of other religious beliefs may not be able to understand the essence of Muharram.
However, we feel that once you read this article you will get some idea of why the Muslims seem to torture themselves during the month of Muharram. There is a very deep significance that is hidden in the essence of Muharram that you must understand and appreciate.