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Muharram: Celebrating the Islamic New Year

India  •  19 Jul, 2023  •  1,903 Views  •  ⭐ 5.0

Written by Shivani Chourasia

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Muharram, a time of reflection and remembrance for Muslims worldwide, holds a significant place in the Islamic calendar. As the first month of the Islamic year, it marks the Islamic New Year. The year 2023 witnesses the advent of Muharram, which this year is estimated to begin on July 19th. The observation of Muharram is a tradition that dates back centuries and is imbued with deep spiritual meaning.


The Significance of Muharram

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Muharram, deriving its name from the word ‘haram’ meaning forbidden, is considered a sacred month. During this time, Muslims are encouraged to refrain from partaking in conflicts or war. This is a month of peace, reflection, and devotion to Allah.

However, Muharram is not only a time for introspection and reverence but is also a period of mourning for Shi'a Muslims. The 10th day of Muharram, known as Ashura, is a day of remembrance for the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD. The tragic event deeply influences Shi'a Muslims, with many participating in solemn processions, reenactments of the battle, and other mourning rituals.



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Muharram in Different Parts of the World

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Although Muharram is observed by Muslims worldwide, the way it is commemorated varies across different cultures and countries. In India, large processions take place, where mourners often participate in self-flagellation, an act of expressing grief over the death of Imam Hussain.

In Saudi Arabia, while the solemn period of Muharram is observed, the public practice of mourning rituals, especially those related to self-flagellation, is generally discouraged. Muslims in Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-majority countries typically observe the day of Ashura as a fast, commemorating the day when Moses and his followers were saved from Pharaoh by God, creating a path in the sea for them.

Muharram 2023

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This year, Muharram is anticipated to begin on July 19th, based on the sighting of the moon. The Islamic calendar is lunar, meaning the start of each month depends on the visibility of the moon. Therefore, the actual date may vary from one country to another.


The day of Ashura, the tenth day of Muharram will likely be observed around July 28th. It is during this time that the most intense mourning rituals occur, especially in regions with a significant Shi'a population. This day is often marked with fasting, prayer, and reflection on the deeper spiritual meanings embedded in the Islamic faith.


Muharram provides an opportunity for Muslims to reflect on their faith, honour the sacrifices of their religious ancestors, and observe their devotion to Allah. Whether it is marked by quiet reflection or more public rituals of mourning, the commemoration of Muharram serves as a testament to the deep spiritual commitment of Muslims around the world. As Muharram 2023 arrives, let it be a time for all of us to respect and understand the rich diversity and profound depth of the Islamic faith.

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