Muharram Festival

Muharram becomes the first month of the Islamic Calendar and considered as the sacred month pf the year according to the Muslims. The tenth day of the Muharram is the day of most significance which is celebrated with huge enthusiasm by the people of different factions of Muslim community for various reasons. The tenth day of the Muharram is of great importance, celebrated by the Shia Muslims in order to mourn the death of Hussain Ibn Ali whereas by the Sunni Muslims in order observe the victory of Moses over Egyptian Pharaoh.


According to the Shia Muslim, Hussain Ibn Ali was the famous figure in the Muslim religion and considered as the member of the Muhammad’s household. According to the history, once, he refused to accept the Islamic rules by the Yazid. And he started revolting against him which gave rise to the Karbalan (a battle) during which he was beheaded whereas his family members were imprisoned in the Damascus.

Whereas, according to the Sunni Muslims, it is the day when Moses got victory over Egyptian Pharaohs. According to the history, it is considered as the Moses was a religious Islam leader, who was propagating the religious teachings among people all around the world. And he got victory on the tenth day of the Muharram over the Pharaohs of Egypt.

Both factions of the Muslim community celebrate this day with almost identical traditions. The difference is only that, Shia Muslim observe this day with fast on this day whereas Sunni Muslims observe this day with fast for an extra day (before or after this day) according to the teachings of the Muhammad Prophet. Sometimes, Shia Muslims keep fast for the whole month as well as celebrate the day by flagellating themselves with sticks and rods in order to commemorate all the sufferings of the Hussain Ibn Ali (while fighting to Yazid).

Muharram Festival 2017

Muharram festival 2017 would be celebrated by the people of Islam religion all over the world in the month of September and October. It would start in the evening of Wednesday (20th of September) and end in the evening of Friday (20th of October). Dates of the celebration may vary according to the place.

When Muharram Falls

It falls every year as the first month of the Islamic calendar and considered as one of the four sacred months of the year in Islam. It is a gazetted holiday (day off for the workers) all over the India in order to mark the start of Islamic year.

History of Muharram Festival

According to the Holy Quran, Muharram is one of the four sacred months of the year (other three are Zulqadah, Zulhijjah, and Rajab). The English meaning of Muharram is “Forbidden” and it is celebrated as the first month of the twelve months of Islamic lunar calendar. People celebrate this day when they see the crescent moon. It is celebrated by the people of Muslim community to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (including his family members and followers), a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed. He was killed including with his family members and followers in AD 680 during the Battle of Karbala. People also remember Ali (the son-in-law of Prophet) and his elder son Hassan while celebrating the Muharram because they too suffered a lot and died for the rights of whole Muslim community.

This festival symbolizes the beginning of the new Islamic year. Muharram word is derived from the word ‘haram’ which means “forbidden”. The whole month of Muharram is considered as sacred during which fighting is strictly prohibited. First ten days of this festival is called as the period of mourning. According to the history, it is considered that Prophet Mohammed had no successor as he never named anyone. So his followers has been elected as his successor. Hussain, the younger son of Ali, was assassinated on tenth day in month of Muharram that’s why the event is so called Ashura. This led to the division of whole Muslim community into Shias and Sunnis. This day is celebrated by the Shias Muslim by considering rightful successors of the Prophet Mohammed (Ali, Hassan and Hussain). They mourn the death of Prophet’s successors during the Muharram and on the occurrence of crescent moon they recite the plaintive verses on the sweetened cold drink by wearing the black dress in the memory of the Imam Hussain. Whereas, it is celebrated by the Sunnis Muslim as the occasion during which they maintain calm and silence.

Significance and Ritual of Muharram Festival

Muharram festival is the day of great significance and its first 10 days are celebrated by the Muslim people of Shia community by giving honour to the assassination of the Hazrat Imam Hussain and his family members (killed and imprisoned by the forces of Umayyad ruler Yazeed Ibn Muawiyah in the Battle of Karbala in 680AD). People of the Muslim religion keep fast for whole month (not mandatory) believing as the virtues and awards of this sacred month.

Celebration of Muharram Festival

Muharram festival is celebrated all over the world by both Sunni and Shia Muslims for whole month or especially 10th day of Muharram. They celebrate Muharram as a month of mourning to commemorate the event took place at Kerbala with Imman Hussain, his family members and followers. It is celebrated as the gazetted holiday all over the India that’s why banks, government offices, post offices, Islamic stores, businesses, organizations and other offices remain closed for full day or opened for only sometime. This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm with large prayer meetings (in the mosques or private homes), parades and marches which cause local traffic. It is celebrated in the same manner by the Muslim community all over the country. It is also celebrated as the month of mourning in order to commemorate the Battle of Karbala. Muslim people of Shia community, cry very loudly and beat their chest by being sorrow in order to commemorate all the sufferings of the Imam Hussain and his followers.