Mumbai, July 04: Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, is set to begin soon. Contrary to the popular belief, Muharram is not a festival. It is the name of an Islamic month, beginning of which marks the start of Islamic New Year. Since Muharram 2024, beginning of which will mark the start of Islamic New Year 1446, is around the corner, here's all you need to know about the month including the start date, history and significance.

It may be recalled that each Islamic month lasts for either 29 or 30 days, depending on the moon sighting. Muslims look for the crescent moon on 29th of each Islamic month. If the moon is sighted, the ongoing month concludes and a new month begins. If the moon remains invisible, a new month starts after the ongoing month completes 30 days. Is Muharram Celebrated as Festival? Why Do Muslims Self-Flagellate on Ashura? When Will Muharram Chand Appear? All FAQs Answered.

Muharram 2024 Date in India, Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia and many other countries in the middle east, Dhul Hijjah, the last month of Islamic calendar, started from June 7. Therefore, 29th of Dhul Hijjah shall fall on July 5. If the moon is sighted on July 5, Muharram 2024 will commence from July 6 in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the middle east. If the moon is not sighted, Dhul Hijjah shall complete 30 days on July 6. In this case, Muharram shall begin from July 7.

However, Dhul Hijjah began from June 8 in India, confirming July 6 as the 29th day of the last Islamic month. If the moon is sighted on July 6, Muharram 2024 in India shall start from July 7. The first day of Muharram shall be July 8 if the moon is not sighted on July 6. Ramadan Explained: Why and How Do Muslims Fast? Are There Exemptions From Fasting? What Are Some Cultural and Social Traditions Associated With Ramadan?

Muharram History and Significance

For Muslims around the world, Muharram assumed extra significance as a couple of historic events took place during this month. The Battle of Karbala, which resulted in the martyrdom of Hussain, the grandson of Islamic Prophet Mohammed (Muhammad), was fought during this month. According to Islamic scriptures, it was during this month that the God split the waters of the Red Sea leaving a dry path in the middle which was used by Prophet Moses and his followers to escape the Pharaoh and his men.

Although Muharram marks the beginning of the Islamic New Year, the occasion is not celebrated in remembrance of painful events that took place during this month in the past. During Muharram, Shia Muslims mourn the martyrdom of Hussain and his family members. The mourning begins on the first day of Muharram and continues for ten nights, climaxing on the 10th of Muharram, known as the Day of Ashura. Shia Muslims indulge in self-flagellation as a mean of mourning and cut themselves with swords, knives and sharp chains to emulate the suffering of Imam Hussain.

Sunni Muslims also remember the sacrifice of Imam Hussain and his family members, but refrain from the practice of self-flagellation. They offer prayers and observe fasts. A section also commemorate the victory God gave to Prophet Musa (Moses) over Pharaoh on the day of Ashura. But no celebratory event is organised. Similarly, exchange of greetings on the beginning of Islamic New Year rarely happens.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 04, 2024 10:10 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website