The word 'Muharram' means forbidden or illicit. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Muharram is one of the four sacred months of the year and second holiest month after Ramadan. It is one of the most important rituals of the Muslim community. Although it marks the first Islamic month, the tenth day of Muharram also called as 'The Day Of Ashura', which is known for being a period of mourning where the Shia Muslim community recall the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the son Hazrat Ali and the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.
History Of Muharram
Around 14 centuries ago, on the day of Ashura, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, Imam Hussain, and his little son, were mercilessly killed by Yazid, an oppressive ruler in the Battle Of Karbala.
The fierce Battle Of Karbala took place on the 10th day of Muharram, the day of Ashura. This war was held between Prophet Muhammad's grandson Imam Hussain, and Yazid, the Ummayad caliph. Imam Hussain's army was only a small group of supporters which comprised of only his friends and family including women and young children. Yazid's cruel army attacked Imam Hussain's friends and family (including women, children and elderly people). They were deprived of water and food for three days i.e., from 7th of Muharram to 10th of Muharram. On the 10th day, Hussain and 72 of his followers were killed by the cruel army of Yazid. The surviving members of Hussain's army were marched to Damascus and imprisoned there.
Shia and Sunni Muslims mourn the death of Hussain ibn Ali and his family. They honor the martyrs by prayers and abstinence from joyful events.
The Shia Muslim community mourns Imam Hussain Ali's death on the day of Ashura by flagellating themselves with sharp objects on Muharram. This exemplifies the suffering Imam Hussain Ali experienced on the day of Karbala.
Some Muslims fast during day hours on the ninth and 10th or the 10th and 11th days of the month.
Some Important Dates Of Incidents Occurred During This Month
1st of Muharram - Seizure if the Grand Mosque
2nd of Muharram - Hussain ibn Ali enters Karbala and establishes camp. Yazid's army is also present there.
7th of Muharram - Access to water was banned to Hussain's group of supporters by Yazid's orders
10th of Muharram - Referred to as Day Of Ashura, the day on which Hussain ibn Ali was martyred in the Battle Of Karbala.
25th of Muharram - Fourth Shia Imam, Zayn al-Abidin was martyred.