Date, history and significance of Ashura

Islamic calendar’s first month is known as Muharram, and Ashura is the tenth day of Muharram

Muharram 2022: Date, history and significance of Ashura

Representational image. News18

Muharram is the first month of the Hijri or Islamic calendar. Considered to be the second holiest month after Ramadan, and one of the four sacred months of the year when war is forbidden, Muharram is a time for reflection and penance.

Ashura is the tenth day of Muharram. For Sunni Muslims, Ashura is a day for fasting to show gratitude to God for saving Moses and his followers by parting the Red Sea. According to Islam, the Prophet Muhammad called the month of Muharram as the ‘sacred month of Allah’. This year, the month of Muharram began in India on 31 July. Ashura will begin in the evening of 7 August and end in the evening of 8 August this year in India.

Since the Islamic calendar is based on the cycle of the moon, it is 13 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, the date of Ashura varies every year.

History of Ashura:

On the day of Ashura, people from the Muslim community around the globe mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, who was the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, and the son of the fourth Caliph Hazrat Ali. The community participates in mourning marches during this time.

Many of them take part in these processions, and some even try to recreate the pain Imam Hussain must have gone through during the Battle of Karbala.

Significance of Ashura:

Muharram is different from other Islamic festivals as it is the month of mourning and praying, and not celebration. Imam Hussain is believed to have been beheaded in the Battle of Karbala on the day of Ashura in 680 AD.

Shia Muslims mostly wear black on this day, observe a fast, and take part in processions to mark Ashura. People can be heard chanting «Ya Ali» and «Ya Hussain” during the processions. During this time, the community also refrains from celebrating joyous events. Meanwhile, Sunni Muslims usually observe Ashura by fasting and praying to Allah.

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