Muharram 2020: Date, time, significance, history of 'Al Hijri' or Islamic New Year

Muharram 2020| Considered to be the first month in the Islamic calendar, Muharram marks the migration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina

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Muharram 2020: Date, time, significance, history of 'Al Hijri' or Islamic New Year

Muharram 2020| Considered to be the first month in the Islamic calendar or the Hijri calendar, Muharram is the second holiest month for Muslims around the world. The day is also known as Al Hijri or the Islamic New Year. The day also marks the migration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina.

The Islamic calendar has 354 days divided into 12 months of which Muharram is the first month. The first month is followed by Safar, Rabi-al-Thani, Jumada al-Awwal, Jumada ath-Thaniyah, Rajab, Shaban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Zu al-Qadah, and Zu al-Hijjah.

Date of Muharram and significance

Depending on the sighting of the moon Al Hijri 1442 has fallen on 21 August in India, marking the first day of Muharram.

The word Muharram means 'not permitted' or 'forbidden'. Muslims around the world are prohibited from participating in activities like warfare and instead spend their time in prayer and reflection.

Muslims around the world observe a fast on this day, which is called 'sunnah' as Prophet Muhammad kept a Roza on this day after Prophet Musa or Moses as per the Sunni tradition.

Shia Muslims refrain from attending and celebrating occasions and observe a fast on the 10th day, commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

History of Muharram

On the 10th day of Muharram, in the 61st year of the Islamic calendar, the Battle of Karbala took place between a small group of supporters and relatives of Hussain, and the army of Yazid I, the Umayyad caliph.

Hussain and his supporters were captures and deprived of water and food for three successive days following which they killed him and his 6-year-old son while taking the women as captives.

What is Ashura

The 10th day of Muharram is marked as Ashura by Muslims around the world. Voluntary fasting is done commemorating the day Noah left the Ark and the day Moses was saved from the Egyptians by God.

For Shia Muslims, Ashura is a day of mourning the martyrdom of Hussain in 680 AD at Kabala in modern-day Iraq.

Muslims mark the day with mourning rituals and plays re-enacting his death, while Shia men and women dressed in black take out processions through the streets slapping their chests and chanting. Some even emulate Hussain's suffering by flagellating themselves.

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