Islamic Calendar

  1. Muharram
  2. Safar
  3. Rabi' al-awwal
  4. Rabi' al-thani
  5. Jumada al-awwal
  6. Jumada al-thani
  7. Rajab
  8. Sha'aban
  9. Ramadan
  10. Shawwal
  11. Dhu al-Qi'dah
  12. Dhu al-Hijjah

Muharram (Arabic: المحرّم) is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year in which fighting is prohibited. Since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, Muharram moves from year to year when compared with the Gregorian calendar.

Muharram is so called because it is unlawful to fight during this month; the word is derived from the word haram, meaning "forbidden". 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 called Yaumu-l 'Ashurah, which is known by Shia Muslims as 'the day of grief'.

Many Sunni Muslims fast during this day, because Musa (Moses) and his people obtained a victory over the Egyptian Pharaoh on the 10th day of Muharram; according to them Islamic prophet Muhammad asked Muslims to fast on this day, and also a day extra either before or after, so that they are not similar to Jews (since, according to him, Jews used to fast for one day due to the same reason).

Fasting differs among the Muslim groupings; mainstream Shia Muslims stop eating and drinking during sunlight hours and do not eat until late afternoon. Sunni Muslims also fast during Muharram for the first ten days of Muharram, just the tenth day or on both the ninth and tenth days; the exact term depending on the individual. Shia Muslims do so to replicate the sufferings of Husayn ibn Ali on the Day of Ashura. Shia Muslims, go further in their attempts of replication, including self-flagellation (also see Matam).


Muharram and Ashura

Shia Muslims in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in a Hussainia as part of the commemoration of Muharram
Shia Muslim children in Amroha, India on camels in front of Azakhana as part of the procession commemorating events on & after Day of Ashura

Muharram is a month of remembrance 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 Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad.[1]

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 Husayn and his family and followers (consisting of 72 people, including women, children and aged people) were killed by army of Yazid I on his orders, Surviving members of the family of Husayn and that of his followers were taken captive and 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 Husayn till the magrib namaz. When the namaz ends, Husayn is considered shahid 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 Islaamic new year is ushered in. The first month Muharram is one of the four sacred months that Allah has mentioned in the Holy Qur’aan.


The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Muharram migrates throughout the solar years. The estimated start and end dates for Muharram are as follows (based on the Umm al-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia:[2])

AH First day (CE / AD) Last day (CE / AD)
1431 18 December 2009 15 January 2010
1432   7 December 2010   4 January 2011
1433 26 November 2011 25 December 2011
1434 15 November 2012 13 December 2012
1435   4 November 2013   3 December 2013
1436 25 October 2014 22 November 2014
1437 14 October 2015 12 November 2015
Muharram dates between 2010 and 2015

Islamic events taking place during Muharram

  • 01 Muharram, the Islamic New Year is observed by Muslims.
  • 01 Muharram, Shia Muslims begin the Commemoration of Muharram which marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala.
  • 02 Muharram, Martyrdom of Umar ibn al-Khattab, the 2nd Sunni Caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate.
  • 02 Muharram, Husayn ibn Ali enters Karbala and establishes camp. Yazid's forces are present.
  • 07 Muharram, access to water was banned to Husayn ibn Ali by Yazid's orders.
  • 10 Muharram, referred to as the Day of Ashurah was the day on which Husayn ibn Ali was martyred in the Battle of Karbala. Shia Muslims spend the day in mourning, whilst the Sunni Muslims fast on this day commemorating the rescue of the people of Israel by Musa (Moses) from Pharaoh.[3]
  • 12 Muharram 95 AH Ali ibn Husayn, 4th Twelver Imam, day of Shahid and also the 3rd day of Shuhadai kerbala observed.
  • 15 Muharram 1297 AH: Demise of Muhammad Sirajuddin Naqshbandi.
  • 25 Muharram 95 AH Ali ibn Husayn, 4th Shia Imamah, day of Shahid.
  • 27 Muharram, Mesum was killed.

See also


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