What is Muharram
Muharram is the first month of Islamic calendar, it marks the beginning of Islamic new year. During this period Shia muslim mourns and honors the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, son of Hazrat Ali and grand son of Prophet Mohammad. While Sunni muslim usually observe fast on the day of Ashura (tenth day of the month) and on the day before Ashura.
Why is Muharram Celebrated
Muharram is celebrated differently by two major sects of Islam, Shia and Sunni. Shia muslim believe that Muharram is not the month of of celebration, they rather mourns the death of Imam Hussain. From the very first day of Muharram Shia Muslim starts mourning and beating and continues till Ashura. They also recite Ziyarat Ashura, a prayer to Hussain Ibn Ali, however they do it throughout the year. Along with this, Shia men, since over 1400 years take part in self flagellating during the month of Muharram. Some people hurt themselves with knives, blade, and even chains with sharp blades while other people light bonfires and cover themselves in mud.
Countries like Iran and Lebanon has banned the use of knife and blades but it is still practiced in many countries. The walking on lit coal and infliction of pain using knives and blade is seen as ceremonial sacrifice and spectacle which shows the feeling of sorrow to onlookers. It is seen as a reminder of the eternal struggle of Imam Hussain against despotism and his desire to safeguard Islam. Shia Muslims believe that there is nothing equal to the tribulations and hardship of Hussain. His body was mutilated and beheaded.
The survivor of the war were severely humiliated and were forced to walk on foot to Damascus where they were imprisoned.Bystanders while witnessing these proceedings realized what has happened and started weeping and beating themselves. It marks the beginning of this self flagellation custom. Around fourteen hundred years ago, on the tenth day of Muhharam, grand son of Prophet Mohammad was brutally killed by the evil ruler of that time. His message lives on even after Hussain’s defeat in the battle of Karbala, hence depicting his victory.
Whereas Sunni Muslim see this as month happily and celebrate it by fasting on the day of Ashura. Usually they fast on the ninth and tenth day of Muharram.
Sunni Muslim believes that Mohammad was last prophet and messenger of Allah whereas Shia Muslims believes that Imam Hussain is the successor of Prophet Mohammad and follows his footsteps. This is the major different between these two communities.
Muharram 2018 India
Muharram month 2018 would be September and Muharram 2018 date (Ashura) will fall on 21 september.