Mourners at Muharram, New Delhi
Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year. Since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, Muharram moves from year to year when compared with the Gregorian calendar.
Muharram is derived from the word haraam, meaning "sinful". It is held to be the most sacred of all the months, excluding Ramadan. Some Muslims fast during these days. The tenth day of Muharram is the Day of Ashura, which to Shia Muslims is part of the Mourning of Muharram.
Azadari procession carried out by Shiite Muslims in Indian city of Hardoi on the Day of Ashura. Some Muslims fast during this day, because it is recorded in the hadith that Musa (Moses) and his people obtained a victory over the Egyptian Pharaoh on the 10th day of Muharram; accordingly Islamic prophet Muhammad asked Muslims to fast on this day that is Ashura and on a day before that is 9th so that they are not similar to Jews (since, according to him, Jews used to fast for one day due to the same reason, and many practices recorded in the hadith are specifically performed to avoid any apparent similarity to those of contemporary neighbouring Jews and Christians).
Muharram is a month of remembrance & Modern Shia Meditation that is often considered synonymous with the event of Ashura. Ashura, which literally means the "Tenth" in Arabic, refers to the tenth day of Muharram. It is well-known because of historical significance and mourning for the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad.
Shias start the mourning from the 1st night of Muharram and continue for two months and eight days. However the last days are the most important since these were the days where Hussein and his family and followers (consisting of 72 people, including women, children and aged people) were killed by army of Yazid I at the Battle of Karbala on his orders. Surviving members of the family of Hussein and that of his followers were taken captive and marched to Damascus and imprisoned there.
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