First Muharram History & Fasting Date

Festival Of Muharram 2022: History, Dates, And How To Celebrate

Many Muslims in countries such as the United States observe the start of the Islamic New Year on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar.

Even though it falls on Saturday, 30 July 2022, it is a working day. Most businesses follow regular opening hours in the United States.

It is one of the four sanctified months in the Islamic calendar. Some Muslim Americans choose to fast during this month, although fasting is not obligatory. Many Muslims engage in voluntary prayer, including evening prayer, during Muharram.

The Day of Ashura (or Ashurah) is known as the most sacred day in the month of Muharram. It is the 10th day of the festival of Muharram and is a day of fasting for many Sunni Muslims.

Many Shi’a Muslims use the day to commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali in 680 CE. Some Muslims give to charity on this day also.

The first day of the festival of Muharram is an Islamic observance and is not a federal public holiday in the United States.

When Does the Islamic New Year Begin?

Regional customs or moon sightings may cause a variation of the date for Islamic holidays, which begin at sundown the day before the date specified for a holiday.

The Islamic calendar is lunar, and the days start at sunset, so there may be a one-day error depending on when the Crescent Moon is first seen.

Festival Of Muharram Celebration Dates

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2022Sat30 JulMuharramMuslim
2023Wed19 JulMuharramMuslim
2024Mon8 JulMuharramMuslim
2025Fri27 JunMuharramMuslim
2026Wed17 JunMuharramMuslim
2027Sun6 JunMuharramMuslim

Note: Our products are published in the United States and Canada; our reference source for the above dates is the United States Naval Observatory.

Other countries and certain denominations and groups within North America may not use the same method to determine the date of the Islamic New Year.

Muharram Background

Festival Of Muharram

Muharram is the first month in the Islamic year and a time of mourning and peace. It is forbidden for Muslims to fight during this month. Several important events in Islamic history have occurred during this month. These include:

  • The Battle of Karbala (currently in Iraq) in the year 680 CE enabled Husayn ibn Ali, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammed, and his army to enter the city on the first day of the month.
  • The restriction of Husayn ibn Ali’s access to water on the seventh day.
  • The death of Husayn ibn Ali and his clan (Ahl al-Bayt) on the 10th day of the month.

The Shi’a and Sunni denominations of Islam attach different weights to these events and mark them differently.

How Is the Festival Of Muharram Celebrated?

Muslims mourn and practice fasting during the tenth day of the month, which is also known as the Day of Ashura.

The Shia Muslims mourn martyrdom and their family while honoring martyrs by prayer and abstinence from fun.

It is also believed that fasting during this festival atones the sins of the coming year. However, some people would break the fasting after Zawal to pay their respect.

Shia kicks off with the mourning on the first night of the festival of Muharram, and the grief goes on for ten nights. In memory of Hussein and his family, who were deprived of water from the seventh to the tenth day.

It is also in memory of Hussein and his 72 followers who were killed by an army of an unjust terrorist ruler known as Yazid.

To this day, not all Muslim groups observe the same traditions. Some Muslims consider Muharram as the month of mourning or celebrating the battle of Karbala.

Imam Hussain Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was believed to have been killed on this day.

This is one reason why the entire Shia Association whips themselves with sharp objects on their both heads and backs, considering Muharram as a sad occasion.

However, the Sunni community only celebrates the event by fasting, and they don’t take part in the rituals but observe the day by honoring the prophet Moses.

Locally known as Mappilas, these Muslims constitute 25% of Kerala’s population. The Kerala Mappilas reside in Calicut and Malappuram districts, and they mainly celebrate the event in memory of the tragic death of Imam Hussein Ali.

The Muslims in Kerala often beat their chest while crying out Ya Hussein in public. The Muslims engaging in the Tazias wear tiger masks on their bodies to appear like tigers.

Significance Of The Festival Of Muharram

Muharram is of high significance to the Muslim culture, and it serves as a door to new beginnings and new opportunities in the coming year. During this festival, Muslims also pray for forgiveness of sins and, most importantly, commemorate Hussein ibn Ali.

Hussein’s death commemoration promotes social cohesion, Islamic identity, and even tourism. To the Minangkabau people, located in the central regions West of Sumatra, Tabuk is a remembrance of Muharram.

Generally, the Tabuik tradition results from two communities of Padang Pariamans. Luckily, their government also steps in to promote the event’s organization.

The Muharram festival is undoubtedly an exciting event and a chance to explore the journey into an Islamic year and culture with the commemoration of Imman Hussain ibn Ali.

Do You Fast On The 10th Of Muharram?

Unlike Ramadan, fasting on Ashura is not compulsory for any Muslim. “The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: ‘The best of fasting after Ramadan is fasting Allah’s month of Muharram. The Prophets entreat that fasting on the 9th and 10th (or 10th – 11th) days during Maharram is best.

FAQs About The Festival Of Muharram 2022

What should we do on 9th and 10th Muharram?

According to Prophet Muhhamad, fasting on the day of Ashura will kill away all the previous year’s sins. And so, many Muslim followers choose to fast on the 9th and 10th days of this month.

Can we fast only on the 10th of Muharram?

Fasting is not haram on the ninth and tenth days of the festival of Muharram, but it is better, according to Shia jurists, not to fast on the tenth day of this month.

Why is the 10th of Muharram important to Islam?

Although it marks the first Islamic month, the tenth day of the festival of Muharram is also known for being a period of mourning where the Shia Muslim community commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the son of Hazrat Ali and the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

Can we say happy Muharram?

But Muharram translates as “forbidden,” and the period ushers in a time of remembrance and reflection for worshippers. So to some, it could be distasteful to wish a person Happy Muharram as the date is celebrated as a time of mourning.

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