The events that took place on the tenth of Muharram in the year 680 changed forever the character of this month by making it a month of mourning, at least for the Shiʿa. On that date, Hussain ibn Ali (a.s)—the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and the third Imam of Shiʿite Islam—was brutally martyred on the battlefield of Karbala. In this battle Hussain (a.s)’s sons, male relatives, and followers also perished. The women of his encampment were taken as captives to Caliph Yazid in Damascus. This tragic event overshadows any other event in that month. Husaain (a.s)’s ordeal started on the first of Muharram, when he (a.s) and his (a.s) party were intercepted by Yazid’s troops, and continued even after his (a.s) death, with the captivity of the Karbala survivors. Although the tenth of Muharram (known as A’shurah), is the actual date of Hussain (a.s)’s death, the mourning has been extended to cover the whole month.
|Date:||As Per Lunar Calendar|
|Days in a Lunar Month:||Depends on the Lunar Cycle|
|Muharram 1437 A.H:||From 14 October 2015 to 12 November 2015|
|Muharram 1438 A.H:||From 2 October 2016 To 31 October 2016|
|Muharram 1439 A.H:||From 21 September 2017 To 20 October 2017|
|Muharram 1440 A.H:||From 11 September 2018 To 9 October 2018|
|Muharram 1441 A.H:||From 31 August 2019 To 29 September 2019|
|Muharram 1442 A.H:||From 20 August 2020 To 17 September 2020|
|Important Dates:||01, 02, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10,1 2, 15, 25, 27|
|Most Important Date:||10th of Muharram (A’shurah)|
|1st Muharram:||Allah answered the appeal of Prophet Zakariyya (a.s), Shia Muslims begin the Commemoration of Muharram which marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala.|
|2nd Muharram:||Arrival of Imam Hussain(a.s.) and his family and friends in Karbala, Martyrdom of Umar ibn al-Khattab (r.a), the 2nd Caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate|
|3rd Muharram:||Start of the gathering of the army of Yazid, Prophet Yusuf (a.s) was rescued from the well in which his brothers dropped him|
|5th Muharram:||Prophet Musa (a.s) crossed the sea that split into two, Arrival of Habib ibn e Mazaher (r.a) to Karbala|
|7th Muharram:||Access to water was banned to Husain ibn Ali (a.s) by Yazid’s orders, Allah spoke to Prophet Musa (a.s) on Mount Sinai|
|8th Muharram:||Whatever water they would have stored was finished within a day and by the 8th there was no water left in the camp|
|9th Muharram:||Allah removed Prophet Yunus ( a.s) from the belly of the whale, Ibn Sa‘d advances against Imam al-Hussain (a.s), Struggle for water form Hussain (a.s) in Karbala, The Speech of Imam al-Hussain (a.s) on the Night of ‘Ashura’h, The Stand of the Hashimites, The Stand of His (a.s) Companions|
|10th Muharram:||Referred to as Ashura, Imam Hussain ibn Ali (a.s), was martyred,|
History of Muharram
- The month of Muharram is of great religious significance to Islamic people the world over. It is held to be the most sacred of all the months, excluding Ramadan. The word “Muharram” is often considered synonymous with “Ashura”, the tenth day of the Muharram month.
- “Ashura” is a highly important day for both sects of Islam – the Shi’as and the Sunnis. The Shia Muslims believe that Hussain ibn Ali (a.s), the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H), became a martyr at the Battle of Karbala on the 10th day of Muharram in 61 AH (680 AD).
- The pre-Islamic period in the Arabian peninsula was the era of warring tribes. In the absence of a strong leadership, there were conflicts and battles on minor issues. But fighting was prohibited in four months of the year. These months, of which Muharram was one, were considered sacred. Muharram is so called because it was unlawful to fight during this month; the word is derived from the word ‘haraam’ meaning forbidden. This period of inactivity was a necessity in heavily decorated replicas of the tomb of the Imam (a.s) and his (a.s) family are made for Muharram the era of warring tribes. The tradition was maintained even after the advent of Islam, though provisions to accommodate and accept war in special situations, like a threat to the sovereignty of an empire, were introduced.
- The gory battle of Karbala was fought against this law and tradition of Islam. The inhabitants on the banks of rivers Euphrates and Tigris were traditional rivals. Their animosity was contained to some extent by Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). But when his son-in-law Hazrat Ali (a.s) was the Caliph (Muslim civil and religious leader considered to be Allah’s representative on earth), the old enmity re-surfaced. Hazrat Ali (a.s) had two descendants, Hazrat Imam Hussain (a.s) and Hazrat Imam Hassan (a.s). Hussain (a.s) was the ruler of the part of the empire known today as Iran. The other part in modern Iraq was ruled by the Umayyads.
- Hussain (a.s) was called upon by the people of the Kufa, a small town in the Umayyad kingdom, to accept their allegiance and claim his place as the leader of the Islamic community. This was against the wishes of the ruler of Kufa, Yazid, who instructed his governor, Ibn-e-Ziad to take appropriate action. Meanwhile, in response to the call of the people of the Kufa, Hussain (a.s) accompanied by his family members, headed for Kufa. When they reached Karbala, en route to Kufa, the forces of the Governor surrounded them and their 70 men. Hussain (a.s), his (a.s) family and his (a.s) troops were tortured and martyred, and Hussain (a.s)’s head was severed and presented to the king. They received no help from the people of the Kufa.
What is Muharram
- Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar, when Muslims commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad and spiritual leader of the Shi’a people. 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 Hussain (a.s) and his (a.s) companions are commemorated. It is one of the four months of the year in which fighting is prohibited. The Islamic calendar is a astrophysical datebook, and is 10 to 11 days shorter than the solar year. Hence it is a little different from the Gregorian calendar that is used in the western nations. In Comparison with the Gregorian calendar, the lunar month of Muharram shifts from year to year.
- Muharram is so called because it was unlawful to fight during this month; the word is derived from the word ‘Haraam’ meaning forbidden. It is held to be the most sacred of all the months, excluding Ramadan. It is the same month when Hussain (a.s), the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H), was brutally massacred in Karbala alongside his (a.s) family and friends in the year 680 CE/61 AH.
- Imam Hussain (a.s) held the title of Imam, meaning spiritual leader of Islam; and he (a.s) refused to swear allegiance to Yazid, the second Umayyad Caliph. He (a.s) tried to travel from Medina to Kufa but was surrounded by forces loyal to Yazid in the desert at a place now known as Karbala.
- Imam Hussain (a.s)’s followers were greatly outnumbered and dying of thirst, indeed his (a.s) brother ‘Abbas (a.s) was killed trying to bring water back to the camp. On the 10th day of Muharram, Imam Hussain (a.s)’s followers were massacred and their leader (a.s) beheaded after declaring, “Death with dignity is better than life with humiliation“.
- Their martyrdom is a sad day for all Muslims, especially the Shi’a, 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 of Muharram, the day of the battle, known as Ashurah and continues for 40 days or 69 days.
- Imam Hussain (a.s)’s martyrdom is a sad day for all Muslims especially the Shi’a, who mourn the massacre of their “Prince of Martyrs” and his (a.s) family in Karbala in 61AH/680CE.
- During the first 10 days of Muharram millions of Shi’a (and Sunni) Muslims remember the massacre at Karbala and strive to feel some of Hussain (a.s)’s
- The 10th day of Muharram is known as ‘Ahsura’ which recalls the day of the massacre in Karbala, a town in modern day Iraq which is second only to Mecca and Najaf as a spiritual beacon to the Shi’a.
What is Ashura
- Ashura (عاشوراء transliteration: ‘Āshūrā’, Ashura, Ashoura, and other spellings) It is on the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic 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 Hussain ibn Ali (a.s), the grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) 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 Hussain (a.s), his (a.s) family, and his followers. Speeches emphasize the importance of the values for which Hussain (a.s) sacrificed himself, his (a.s) family, and his (a.s) followers. For centuries Shi’a pilgrims flocked here during Muharram, a practice which was severely limited under the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Important Dates of Muharram
- 1st Muharram
- Muharram, the Islamic New Year is observed by Muslims.
- Allah answered the appeal of Prophet Zakariyya (a.s).
- Shia Muslims begin the Commemoration of Muharram which marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala.
- 2nd Muharram
- The 2nd of Muharram Arrival of Imam Hussain(a.s.) and his family and friends in Karbala.
- Martyrdom of Umar ibn al-Khattab (r.a), the 2nd Caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate.
- 3rd Muharram
- Start of the gathering of the army of Yazid.
- Prophet Yusuf (a.s) was rescued from the well in which his brothers dropped him.
- 5th Muharram
- Prophet Musa (a.s) crossed the sea that split into two.
- Arrival of Habib ibn e Mazaher (r.a) to Karbala.
- 7th Muharram
- Access to water was banned to Husain ibn Ali (a.s) by Yazid’s orders.
- Allah spoke to Prophet Musa (a.s) on Mount Sinai.
- 8th of Muharram
- Whatever water they would have stored was finished within a day and by the 8th there was no water left in the camp.
- 9th of Muharram
- Allah removed Prophet Yunus ( a.s) from the belly of the whale.
- Ibn Sa‘d advances against Imam al-Hussain (a.s).
- Struggle for water form Hussain (a.s) in Karbala
- The Speech of Imam al-Hussain (a.s) on the Night of ‘Ashura’h
- The Stand of the Hashimites
- The Stand of His (a.s) Companions
- 10th of Muharram
- Also referred to as Ashura. This is the day when Imam Hussain ibn Ali (a.s), was martyred.
- The Day Of ‘Ashura’h
- The First Speech of the Imam (a.s)
- The Speech of Zuhair bin al-Qain (r.a)
- The Return of Hurr al-Riyahi (r.a)
- The Speech of Hurr al-Riyahi (r.a)
- The Beginning Of The Battle
- The First Attack
- The Malediction of Burair and His Martyrdom
- The Second Attack
- The Martyrdom of Muslim bin ‘Awsajah (r.a)
- The Third Attack
- The Attacks of the Companions of Imam al-Hussain (a.s)
- The Fourth Attack
- Preparation for the Noon (Zuhr) Prayers
- The Martyrdom of the Companions Of Imam al-Hussain (a.s)
- The Martyrdom of Habib bin Muzahir (r.a)
- The Martyrdom of Hurr bin Yazid al-Riyahi (r.a)
- The Martyrdom of Zuhair bin al-Qain (r.a)
- The Martyrdom of Nafi’ bin Hilal al-Jamali (r.a)
- The Martyrdom of the Two Brothers from Ghifar (r.a)
- The Martyrdom of the Two Young Men from Jabir (r.a)
- The Martyrdom of HanZalah bin As`ad al-Shabami (r.a)
- The Martyrdom of ‘Abis bin Abi Shabib (r.a) and His Retainer
- The Martyrdom of Yazid ibn Ziyad, Abu Sha’tha’ al- Kindi (r.a)
- The Martyrdom of Jabir bin Harith al- Salmani (r.a), Mujammi’ bin ‘Abdillah al-‘A’idhi (r.a), ‘Umar bin Khalid al-Saidawi (r.a) and Sa‘d (r.a), the retainer of ‘Umar bin Khalid (r.a)
- The Martyrdom of Suwaid al-Khath’ami (r.a) and Bashir al-Hadhrami (r.a)
- The Martyrdom Of The Family Members Of Imam al-Hussain (a.s)
- The Martyrdom of ‘Ali bin al-Hussain al-Akbar (a.s)
- The Martyrdom of Qasim bin al-Hasan (a.s)
- The Martyrdom of ‘Abbas bin ‘Ali (a.s) and His Brothers
- The Martyrdom of the Infant of al-Hussain (a.s)
- The Martyrdom of the Two Sons of ‘Abdullah bin Ja’far (r.a)
- The Martyrdom of the Members from the Household of ‘Aqil (r.a)
- The Martyrdom of other Two Sons of Imam al-Hasan bin ‘Ali (a.s)
- The Martyrdom Of Imam al-Hussain (a.s)
- Imam al-Hussain (a.s) Advances Towards the Battlefield
- The Martyrdom of Imam al-Hussain (a.s)
- After The Martyrdom Of Al-Hussain (a.s)
- The Looting of the Tents
- The Trampling on Imam al-Hussain (a.s)’s Body
- 15th of Muharram
- Demise of Muhammad Sirajuddin Naqshbandi
- 17th of Muharram
- The companions of the elephant were turned away from Makkah and the punishment was sent down upon them
- 25th of Muharram
- The 4th Shia Imam, Ali Zain al-Abideen (a.s) was martyred
- 27th of Muharram
- Maytham ibn Yahyā (r.a) who was loyal companion of Hazrat Imam (a.s) was martyred