Ashura commemorating martyrdom of Prophet's grandson, Tehran, 2016
Native nameٱلْمُحَرَّم  (Arabic)
CalendarIslamic calendar
Month number1
Number of days29-30 (depends on actual observation of the moon's crescent)
Significant daysAshura

Muḥarram (Arabic: ٱلْمُحَرَّم) is the first month of the Islamic calendar.[1] It is one of the four sacred months of the year when warfare is forbidden. It is held to be the second holiest month after Ramadan.

The tenth day of Muharram is known as Ashura. Better known as part of the Mourning of Muharram, Shi'i Muslims mourn the tragedy of Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī's family, and Sunni Muslims practice fasting on Ashura.

Muslims mourn the martyrdom of Ḥusayn and his family, honoring the martyrs by prayer and abstinence from joyous events. Shiʿi Muslims eat as little as possible on the Ashura; however, this is not seen as fasting. Alevis fast twelve days, each day for one of the Twelve Imams of Shiʿa Islam, to commemorate and mourn the Imams, as if a very close relative has died. Some (excluding children, elderly or sick) don't eat or drink until zawal (afternoon) as a part of their mourning for Husayn.[2] In addition there is an important ziyarat book, the Ziyarat Ashura about Ḥusayn. In Shiʿism, it is popular to read this ziyarat on this date.[3]

Muharram and Ashura

The sighting of the new moon ushers in the Islamic New Year. The first month, Muharram, is one of the four sacred months mentioned in the Quran, along with the seventh month of Rajab, and the eleventh and twelfth months of Dhu al-Qi'dah and Dhu al-Hijjah, respectively, immediately preceding Muharram. During these sacred months, warfare is forbidden. Before the advent of Islam, the Quraish and Arabs also forbade warfare during those months.[4] Muslims believe that in this month of Muharram, one should worship Allah a lot. For information, worship of Allah should be done at all times and while sleeping or awake. There is no particular month or day for the worship of Allah. The worship of Allah can be done by the method of spiritual practice prescribed by the true spiritual saint, who is said to be Bakhbar in Surat Al-Furqan 25:59 of the Quran. Prophet Muhammad never said that one should shed blood for Allah or hurt oneself. Nor is there any evidence of this in the holy scriptures of Muslim scriptures (Qur'an, Injil, Jabur etc.).[5]

Muharram and Ashura to the Muslims

Main article: Mourning of Muharram

Shia Muslims in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in a Hussainiya as part of the commemoration of Muharram
Shia Muslims in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in a Hussainiya as part of the commemoration of Muharram
Shia Muslim children in Amroha, India on camels in front of the Azakhana as part of the procession commemorating events on and after Day of Ashura
Shia Muslim children in Amroha, India on camels in front of the Azakhana as part of the procession commemorating events on and after Day of Ashura

Muharram is a month of remembrance. Ashura, which literally means the "Tenth" in Arabic, refers to the tenth day of Muharram.[6] It is well known because of historical significance and mourning for the Shahadat (martyrdom) of Ḥusayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad.[7] Muslims begin mourning from the first night of Muharram and continue for ten nights, climaxing on the 10th of Muharram, known as the Day of Ashura. The last few days up until and including the Day of Ashura are the most important because these were the days in which Hussain and his family and followers (including women, children and elderly people) were deprived of water from the 7th onward and on the 10th, Husayn and 72 of his followers were killed by the army of Yazid I at the Battle of Karbala on Yazid's orders. The surviving members of Husayn's family and those of his followers were taken captive, marched to Damascus, and imprisoned there.

Timing for Muharram

Conversion of Hijri years 1343 to 1500 to the Gregorian calendar, with first days of al-Muharram (brown), Ramadan (grey) and Shawwal (black) bolded, and Eid al-Adha dotted – in the SVG file, hover over a spot to show its dates and a line to show the month

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Muharram migrates throughout the solar years. The estimated start and end dates for Muharram are as follows (based on the Umm al-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia):[8]

Muharram dates between 2020 and 2024
AH First day (CE/AD) Last day (CE/AD)
1442 20 August 2020 17 September 2020
1443 09 August 2021 07 September 2021
1444 30 July 2022 27 August 2022
1445 19 July 2023 16 August 2023
1446 07 July 2024 04 August 2024

Incidents that occurred during this month

Scenes in the Tajiya procession at the Muharram festival
Scenes in the Tajiya procession at the Muharram festival

See also


  1. ^ Huda (25 June 2019). "Overview of the Islamic Calendar". Learn Religions. Dotdash. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  2. ^ "Ashura of Muharram – A Shia and Sunni Muslim Observance". Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Ziyarat Ashoora – Importance, Rewards and Effects". p. 24. Retrieved 7 November 2019 – via
  4. ^ "Muharram 2020: History, Significance And Know All About The Day Of Ashura". Retrieved 2021-08-04.
  5. ^ "Muharram: Date, Story, Facts, Significance, Allah Kabir". S A NEWS. 2020-08-29. Retrieved 2021-08-04.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "How Muharram is being observed in India and around the world". The Indian Express. 2016-10-12. Retrieved 2021-08-04.
  7. ^ "Muharram". 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  8. ^ Gent, R.H. van. "The Umm al-Qura Calendar of Saudi Arabia".
  9. ^ Sahih Bukhari 003.031.222-225 Archived November 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Allama Majlisi. Bihar al-Anwar. Vol. 46. pp. 152–54.

Further reading