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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 begin mourning from the first night of Muharram and continue for ten nights, climaxing on the 10th of Muharram, known as the Day of Ashura. The last few days up until and including the Day of Ashura are the most important because these were the days in which Hussein and his family and followers (consisting of 72 people, including women, children and elderly people) were killed by the army of Yazid I at the Battle of Karbala on his orders. Surviving members of Hussein's family and those of his followers were taken captive, marched to Damascus, and imprisoned there.
Muharram is also observed by Dawoodi Bohras in the same way as Shias.They practice prayers on the sayings of the present dawah of Bohras, Mohammed Burhanuddin. On the tenth day of Muharrum, they pray for Hussein till the magrib . When the pray ends, Hussein is considered martyr by Yazid. It is also close to the day of resurrection because it said in a book that this world will one day come to an end on Friday 10th of Muharram.
With the sighting of the new moon the Islamic New Year is ushered in. The first month, Muharram is one of the four sacred months that [Allah] has mentioned in the Quran
As suffering and cutting the body with knives or chains (matam) have been prohibited by Shi'a marjas like Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, some Shi'a observe mourning with blood donation which is called "Qame Zani" and flailing. Yet some Shi'ite men and boys, considered heretics by some Muslim scholars, slash themselves with chains (zanjeer) or swords (talwar) and allow their blood to run freely.
Certain rituals like the traditional flagellation ritual called Talwar zani (talwar ka matam or sometimes tatbir) using a sword or zanjeer zani or zanjeer matam, involving the use of a zanjeer (a chain with blades) are also performed. These are religious customs that show solidarity with Husayn and his family. People mourn the fact that they were not present at the battle to fight and save Husayn and his family. In some western cities, Shi'a communities have organized blood donation drives with organizations like the Red Cross on Ashura as a positive replacement for self-flagellation rituals like "Tatbir" and "Qame Zani".
Shia commonly believe that taking part in Ashura is to be absolved of sin. A popular Shia saying has it that, `a single tear shed for Husayn washes away a hundred sins.`
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