Muharram-Ul-Haram, or Muharram, is the second holiest month after Ramzan for the entire Muslim community around the globe. In the year 2021, the month of Muharram fell in August, with the 10th day of the Gregorian calendar month marking the first day of the Islamic holy month. Muharram is also the first month of the Lunar-centric Islamic calendar.
The Islamic calendar, also known as the Hijri calendar, is followed by the Muslim community vehemently when it comes to marking their festivals. As mentioned above, the Hijri calendar works according to the phases of the moon. As a result, unlike the solar calendar, the Hijri calendar falls short of 11 days.
The Hijri system incorporates 12 months with 29-30 days in every month. The day breaks into a new one if the crescent moon is visible shortly after the sunset on the evening of day 29. In case of no sighting, another day is added, making the month 30-day long. Muharram is considered the first month, followed by Safar, Rabi-al-awwal, Rabi-ath-thani, Jumada-al-ula, Jumada-al-akhirah, Rajab, Shaban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Dhu-al-Qa’dah, Dhu-al-Hijjah.
Out of the 12 months, four are considered holy and sacred and are celebrated by the Muslim community around the world. These are Muharram, Rajab, Dhu-al-Qa’dah, and Dhu-al-Hijjah. According to folklore, the Hijri calendar started when Prophet Muhammad was forcefully made to migrate from Mecca to Medina, circa 622 AD, i.e., almost 1443 years ago.
Muharram, which began on August 10, contains another notable day, i.e., the 10th day of the month. On this day, Imam Hussain, son of Hazrat Ali and the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, died in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD. The day is called ‘Ashura’ and is spent praying and making offerings. This year, ‘Ashura’ will be celebrated on August 19.