Islamic calendar begins – Muharram, the 1st month
Just like Ramadan, you’ve heard of Muharram, right?
So what is Muharram?
Muharram is the first month of Islamic calendar; twelve months of which four are the sacred and most prominent and Muharram is one of them.
What is the significance of Muharram?
It is a very significant month of the Islamic calendar as there are so many incidents that took place.
Some of them are as follows:
It is the month that prophet ordered to fast on the 9th and 10th or 10th and 11th respectively. The reason behind this is that Allah (Sbt) granted freedom to the people of Israel from the slavery of fira’on. Prophet Moses led the people across the Nile river. Even Jews observe fast on this occassion.
What is Hadith?
These are the commandments from the prophet to the people who guided them on the right path. There are many books of hadith, two of them being most authentic: Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The best fast after Ramadan is in the month of Allah Muharram.”
—- Sahih Muslim (1982)
In the month of Muharram people perform all the good deeds, they visit dargah of ajmer sharif because Dargah Khwaja Moin ud Din Chishty (R.A) heartily host Muharram and they perform Chadarposhi.
The four caliphs of Islam
Islamic history had four major khalifas and these were closely related to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), There were four caliphs of Islam and were called as Khulfa-e-rashideen.
Hazart Umar Farooq (R.A) was one of the khulfa-e-Rashedeen and he was martyred on 2nd of the month of Muharram.
Lets take a look on khulfa-e-rashedeen and their relation with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Hazrat Abu Baqr Siddique (R.A)
He was the first caliph of Islam and the father of Hazrat Ayesha (R.A) Hazrat Ayesha (R.A) was the wife of Prophet Muahammad (PBUH).
Hazrat Umar Farooq (R.A)
He was the closest friend of Prophet (PBUH) and the second caliph of Islam.
Hazrat Usman Ghani (R.A)
He was the Son in Law of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), husband of Umme Kulthum and third caliph of Islam.
Hazrat Ali (R.A)
He was the fourth caliph of Islam, the cousin of Prophet Muahmmad and the son-in-law of Prophet Muahmmad (PBUH), Hazrat Ali (R.A) was is known as Maula Ali or Sher-e-Khuda.
Who is Imam Hussain?
Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain were the grandsons of Porphet Muhammad Imam Hasan and the children of Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Fathima (R.A). Hazrat Fathima (R.A) was the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
After knowing Imam Hussain lets look at the martyrdom of this iconic personality.
Hazrat Muawiya (R.A) was the fifth caliph of Islam and during his ruling period Hazrat Muaviya (R.A) had selected Yazid as his Successor. Yazid was the son of Hazrat Muaviya (R.A), but he was engaged in all kind of corrupt activities. On the other hand Imam Hussain was a known grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and an exemplary muslim, so he decided not to pledge Yazid due to his corrupt and shameless character. This would be seen as legitimizing Yazid’s behavior in Islam, due to this reason he refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid, even though it meant sacrificing his life. After his denial, Yazid conspired against Hazrat Imaam Hussain and killed him with his many reliable soldiers and family members in Karbala thereby making Hussain a martyr.
Day of Ashura
The 10th day of Muharram is called as Ashura and was the day when Hazrat Hussain was martyred along with his many soldiers and family members. At the time of death, Hazrat Hussain (R.A), the grandson of Prophet (PBUH) was thirsty since three days as Yazeed had captured the river and stopped its flow towards Hazrat Hussain’s army.
On the day or night of ashura people visit to the dargahs and Imambargahs to light the lamp in the remembrance of Imaam Hussain.
Mourning & Fasting on the day of Ashura
Large number of Muslims specially Shia Muslims mark the 10th of Moharram month as the remembrance day for Imaam Hussain.
Sunni Muslims fast on the day of ashura since this is the sunnah of the Prophet (Pbuh),
When the Prophet came to Medina, he found (the Jews) fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’ (i.e. 10th of Muharram). They used to say: “This is a great day on which Allah saved Moses and drowned the folk of Pharaoh. Moses observed the fast on this day, as a sign of gratitude to Allah.” The Prophet said, “I am closer to Moses than they.” So, he observed the fast (on that day) and ordered the Muslims to fast on it. ” – Narrated by Ibn Abbas (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith – 4.609)
Shia muslims suffer from cutting their bodies with knives or chains. This is called matam but is banned by Shi’a Marja’ Ali Khamenei, who was the Supreme Leader of Iran. In Lebanon, Hezbollah had abstained from doing these kind of acts but it is still practiced in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.
Shia muslims come up with a procession of flags with the name of Imam Hussain imprinted on them.
Some Shi’a believe that taking part in Ashura washes away their sins. A popular Shi’a saying has it that “a single tear shed for Husayn washes away a hundred sins.
Hosay – the Coolie Carnival
Derived from Hussien, Hosay is a lesser known celebration in the Shiite Muslim community observed originally for the martyrdom of Hazrat Hussain mainly in the islands of Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and South American countries of Guyana and Suriname.
Like Ramadan, Muslims would also follow the rules of fasting and abstaining from sex during Hosay for three consecutive nights namely Flag Night (10th night of Muharram), Small Hosay and Big Hosay.
The annual event is marked with big celebrations that includes beating of drums and a parade in the district of St.James and Cedros in Port of Spain (Trinidad). This occasion draws thousands of people and devotees from across the country.
Alamposhi – The Flag Raising
All these beliefs are important to the Shias’. They may differ from Sunni muslims but this incident took place to save the prestige of Islam, so every muslim should respect and make dua as much as one can for the martyrs of Karbala.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used say “Hazrat Hasan & Hazrat Hussain are like the flowers for me I smell their fragrance as people smell the fragrances of flowers”.
Muharram is a beginning, a month of mourning, an act of commemoration; an important event in history and a battle between right and wrong.