Muharram

Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar and also month of remembrance that is often considered synonymous with the event of Ashura. It is one of the four sacred months of the year in which fighting is prohibited.This festival starts at the 1st day of Muharram and lasts for 10 days until 10th of Muharram. Since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, Muharram moves from year to year when compared with the Gregorian calendar.
         It is believed that,Allah is supposed to have created the heavens and the earth on this blessed day. On this day,He give His infinite blessings and bounties to many of His Prophets and delivered them from the clutches of their enemies.


Customs
Shia Muslims : During Muharram,they keep themselves away from music and all joyous events. Shia Muslims stop eating and drinking during sunlight hours and do not eat until late afternoon. They put on black clothes, as black is regarded as a color of mourning. Majalis (assemblies) are held every day during the first nine days where shia orators relate the incident of the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his party in a great detail. On the 10th day of Muharram, large processions are formed and the devoted followers parade the streets holding banners and carrying models of the mausoleum of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his people, who fell at Karbala. They show their grief and sorrow by inflicting wounds on their own bodies with sharp metal tied to chain with which they scourge themselves. This is done in order to depict the sufferings of the martyrs. It is a sad occasion and everyone in the procession chants "Ya Hussain", with loud wails of lamentation. Generally a white horse beautifully decorated for the occasion, is also included in the procession, to mark the empty mount of Hazrat Imam Husain after his martyrdom.
History : Muharram festival commemorates the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).
            During this month, while on a journey, Hazrat Imam Hussain, his family members and a number of his followers were surrounded by the forces of Yazid, the Muslim ruler of the time. During the siege, they were deprived of food and water and many of them were put to death. The incident happened at a place called Karbala in Iraq in 61st year after Hijra. This dispute was result of a disagreement among Muslims on the question of succession after the demise of Hazrat Ali, the fourth caliph.It is for this reason that the death of Imam Husain is mourned annually in the Muslim world.

Sunni Muslims Sunni Muslims observe it as a festival and look at "Ashura" as a happy day though the religious aspect remain intact. Also fast during Muharram for the first ten days of Muharram, just the tenth day or on both the ninth and tenth days. According to the "Hadith", the Prophet saw the Jews fasting on the 10th of Muharram to commemorate their liberation from Egyptian slavery and the extermination of the army of the Pharoah in the waters of the Red Sea. Prophet Mohammed liked the custom for he believed that it was Allah who saved the Israelites from their enemy in Egypt. He started to fast on the same day as the Jews but he planned to fast on the 9th and 10th from the following year. But death came in between him and his pious wish. Usually, Sunni Muslims are recommended to fast either on the 9th and 10th of Muharram or on the 10th and 11th of Muharram