New Delhi / Muharram 2019: Why Muslims Fast And Mourn On Muharram

NDTV : Sep 10, 2019, 11:14 AM

Muharram, the first month of the year according to the Islamic calendar, is considered as one of the sacred months of the Muslim lunar calendar, only after the holiest month of Ramzan. Muslims all across the world observe the month of Muharram, which started on September 1 this year. 

Traditionally, processions are held for the first 10 days of the month to observe the death of Prophet Muhammad's grandson Imam Hussein. The battle of Karbala, in which Hazrat Imam Hussain had attained martyrdom, is said to have been taken place in the 7th century. Muslims worldwide stage processions and hold rallies during Muharram to mark the anniversary of the death of the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed. 'Ashura' day, which is the emotional peak day of Muharram when Muslims typically intensify their expression of suffering, will be observed on Tuesday. It is also a month of celebration for Muslims as Hazrat Imam Hussain's martyrdom made his followers' beliefs stronger.

The Shia Muslim community mourns Imam Hussain Ali's death on the day of Ashura in the month of Muharram by hitting themselves with sharp objects. This exemplifies the suffering Imam Hussain Ali experienced shortly before his beheading.

Ashura also marks the day Musa (Moses) was saved from the Pharaoh of Egypt by God. The Prophet Muhammad used to fast on Ashura in Mecca, where it became a common tradition for the early Muslims. Sunni Muslims commemorate the day through voluntary fasting. When fasting during the month of Ramzan became obligatory, the fast of Ashura was made non-compulsory. This year, the day of Ashura falls on September 10, Tuesday.

During the month of Muharram, some mosques provide free meals on certain nights of the month to all people. Since Muharram is a period of intense grief and mourning for Shia Muslims, the mourners congregate at a mosque for sorrowful poetic recitations.