Muharram is one of the most sacred months for Muslims, and it is also the month of mourning. One phrase always echoes in my mind " Islam Zinda hota hai her karbala ke baad". Islam revives after every tragedy like Karbala. The Shia Muslims have many activities lined up to commemorate the Shahadat of Imam Hussain and let's join them in the commemoration.
I pray that with the commemoration of Ashura
- May Allah guide us to seek a new beginning for Muslims in Iraq and elsewhere.
- May this Ashura make us the torch bearers, the cause and reason for peace and justice.
- May this Ashura become the cause for all Muslims to come together
- May Allah help us bring peace to the mankind.
- May Allah make the Shahadat of Imam Hussain become the reason for us to remove our differences and come together for peace, security and prosperity of Muslims and every human being.
A HOMAGE TO HAZRAT IMAM HUSAIN
Dr. Mustafa Kamal Sherwani
Oh ! the son of Prophet, the saviour of men,
The sultry noon of the horrid summer,
When long back this day, your pious blood,
Fell to the soil in a ruthless way,
Haunts me like a frightening dream.
The arrow, so cruel that pierced the throat,
Of a thirsty babe who could not shriek,
The devilish hands that severed the head,
From your body, the holiest then,
Make me tearful night and day.
One could foresee through your pains,
We would learn a moral so high,
In chain would spring the countless heads,
To follow your spirit in the righteous cause,
Alas! Craven we are, could not do.
We lament your sorrow and cry so hoarse,
You might think, a creed has come,
To hold your banner in the benighted world,
To trim the evils as you did,
Alas! We are a smirch on your name.
Our talks are bold, our hearts are weak,
Our tongues are sharp, our minds are meek,
Our hands and legs are shivery all,
Make us man and give us a call,
Our hopes are shimmering in your grave.
Pangs of conscience ask me oft,
Why the flame of virtue is soft?
Why the sun of evil has its reign,?
Why our blood is cold when vice is hot,?
Are we on the brink of death,?
Summon the courage ,you all the men !
Tread on the path of martyrs, the great,
Else, the Last Day will see your awful fate,
Your abode will be the dreaded Hell
Muharram (Arabic: محرم ) is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sanctified months of the year. Fighting in this month is looked down upon and is often put to the side in respect for Islam. Since the Islamic calendar is lunar, Muharram moves from year to year when compared with the Gregorian calendar.
The first day of Muharram is the start of the Islamic New Year. The Festival of Muharram takes place during this month. The shia Muslim celebrate it in a different way in which they commemorate the Battle of Karbala and consider this a month of sadness and mourning. The commemoration reaches its climax on the tenth day of Muharram, known as Ashurah.
This is the day Husayn ibn Ali, the grand son of the prophet Muhammad was killed alongwith his family members and friends in the Battle of Karbala. This day is important in relegions other than Islam also. It is, for example, related by the jews to the time of Moses when he crossed the Red Sea escaping from the Pharaoh. Sunni Muslims often fast on this sacred day. However, some Sunni Muslims do not even recognize this day at all.
This month of Muharram also has traditions which have no support from Islamic teachings. For example, the celebration of the Muslim new year, and the partying and card giving, etc, associated with it is considered to be a bidah and even haraam to all Shia muslims because they feel it is a time to mourn and it is haraam to express any happiness.
Muharram is so called because it was unlawful to fight during this month; the word is derived from the word ‘haram’ meaning forbidden. It is held to be the most sacred of all the months. This month is most sacred to the Shi’a Muslim community and heavy mourning activities on the first ten days of the month are observed by Shi'a Muslims to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the beloved grandson of Prophet Muhammad. Some Muslims fast during these days but the shia muslims do not fast as they consider fasting a sign of happiness. The tenth day is called Ashurah, meaning, ‘the tenth’, and it is a day of voluntary fasting. The shia just stop eating and drinking but do not fast till the evening. The Sunni Muslims also fast during Muharram and on the tenth day as recommended by the Prophet Muhammad during his lifetime.
The Prophet Muhammad was asked: "Which prayer is the best after the obligatory (five daily) prayers?"
He said: "Prayer during the middle of the night."
The Prophet was then asked: "Which fast is the best after the fast of Ramadan?"
He replied: "The (voluntary fasts during the) month of God that you call Muharram."
On 1 Muharram, the Islamic New Year is observed by some Muslims.
On 1 Muharram, Shi'ite Muslims begin the observance of the Commemoration of Muharram which marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala. Imam Husayn entered Karbala.
On 7 Muharram, access to water was banned on Husayn by Yazid's order.
On 10 Muharram, the Day of Ashurah is commemorated by Muslims as the anniversary of the martrydom of Husayn bin Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. But the Shi'ite Muslims attach much greater importance to this day.
On 25 Muharram, Fourth Imam Ali ibn Husayn was martyred.
On 27 Muharram, Mesum was martyred.
The Remembrance of Muharram
(Arabic: احتفال محرم or مناسبة محرم) is an important period of mourning in the Shi'ite branch of Islam.
Shi'ite Muslims in Bahrain strike their chests during the Remembrance of Muharram.
The remembrance marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala when Husayn bin Ali, a grandson of Muhammad, was martyred. Muharram is the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The Shi'ite sect is the main sect that commemorates the death of Husayn ibn Ali by arranging 'majalis' (gatherings) to review Islamic teachings and to commemorate Husayn's sacrifice. The mourning reaches its climax on the tenth day, known as Ashura.
This event is observed in the first month of the Hijra year, Muharram. Mourners, both male and female, congregate together (in separate sections) for sorrowful, poetic recitations performed in memory of the martyrdom of Husayn, lamenting and grieving to the tune of beating drums and chants of "Ya Husayn." Passion plays are also performed, reenacting the Battle of Karbala and the suffering and death of Husayn at the hands of Yazid. It is not a festival -- the event is the saddest event for Shi'a Muslims and it is a period of intense grief and mourning.
Many of the male participants congregate together in public for ceremonial chest beating (matham) as a display of their devotion to Husayn and in remembrance of his suffering. In some Shi'a societies, such as those in Bahrain, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Iraq, some male participants inflict actual wounds upon themselves, using knives or razors swung upon chains . This practice is rare and viewed as being extreme and is discouraged and banned in some countries with significant Shi'a populations, such as Iran.
For the duration of the remembrance, it is customary for mosques to provide free meals (nazar) on certain nights of the month to all people. These meals are viewed as being special and holy, as they have been consecrated in the name of Husayn, and thus partaking of them is considered an act of communion with God, Husayn, and humanity.
In South Asia, a number of literary and musical genres, produced by both Shias and Sunnis, that have been inspired by the Battle of Karbala are performed during the month, such as marsiya, noha and soaz. This is meant to increase the peoples understanding of how cowardly the enemies fought The Battle of Karbala against Husayn and his followers.
In Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica all ethnic and religious communities participate in the event, locally known as "Hosay" or "Hussay". In Indonesia, the event is known as Tabuik (Minangkabau language) or Tabut (Indonesian).
Many of the events associated with the remembrance take place in congregation halls known as "Hussainia".