Muharram (Arabic: محرم) It is the first month of the Islamic calendar. Instead of joyous celebration, Muslims mark the beginning of the New Year by taking up the black attire of sorrow and participate in mourning gatherings in which the sacrifices of Husayn and his companions are commemorated.It is one of the four months of the year in which fighting is prohibited. Since the Islamic calendar is lunar, Muharram moves from year to year when compared with the Gregorian calendar.
Muharram is so called because it was unlawful to fight during this month; the word is derived from the word ‘haram’ meaning forbidden. It is held to be the most sacred of all the months, excluding Ramadan.It is the same month when Husayn, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, was brutally massacred in Karbala alongside his family and friends in the year 680 CE/61 AH.
Their martyrdom is a sad day for all Muslims,All Muslims who hold mourning ceremonies to recall the righteous virtues for which the valiant martyrs stood and the grave calamities that they thus had to bear. The commemoration of this brutal massacre (Battle of Karbala) begins on the first day of Muharram and reaches its climax on the 10th ofMuharram, the day of the battle, known as Ashurah and continues for 40 days or 69 days.
What is Ashura ?
Ashura (عاشوراء transliteration: ‘Āshūrā’, Ashura, Ashoura, and other spellings) It is on the 10th day of Muharram in theIslamic calendar and marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram but not the Islamic month. It is also called Yaumu-l ‘Ashurah, or simply Ashura meaning, ‘the tenth day’.
It is well-known because of historical significance and mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala in the year 61 AH (AD 680). It is a day of speeches, public processions, and great grief. Men and women chant and weep, mourning Husayn, his family, and his followers. Speeches emphasize the importance of the values for which Husayn sacrificed himself, his family, and his followers. For centuries Muslim’s pilgrims flocked here during Muharram, a practice which was severely limited under the regime of Saddam Hussein
Karbala stands for courage, self-sacrifice, integrity, honesty, vision, and bravery beyond words. It symbolises all that is pure and true. Karbala teaches us that real battles are always fought in the minds and not on ground. Yazid was powerful and yet he lost the battle for truth. “I learned from Hussain how to be wronged and be a winner.” —Mahatma Gandhi