Hijri New Year 1444, Muharram. The Sacred and the Forbidden.
July 30 marked the beginning of the New Islamic lunar calendar: 1444. Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar known as Hijri Calendar. It is one of the four sacred months in the Islamic calendar when warfare is forbidden. The Arabic word Muharram also means forbidden.
The traditional Arabic greeting and response to wish your Muslim co-worker, friend or neighbor is:
‘Kul Aam Aa Anatom Bekhayr’
I wish you well on this occasion every year.
‘Wa Anta Bekhayr’
And I wish you to be well, as well.
Muharram not only changes the Islamic lunar calendar every year, but also signifies a revolution, a movement and a sacrifice that changed the course of Islamic history. It also marks the anniversary of the battle of Karbala in which our beloved Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) grandson, Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), was martyred.
The battle of Karbala was fought in 61AH – Oct. 10, 680/ 10th of Muḥarram. This day is known as the “Day of Ashura”.
Thus the New Islamic calendar starts with the reminder of Imam Hussain and his family’s sacrifice (may Allah be pleased with them). Through their sacrifice we are also reminded of the significance of having pure intentions and righteous behaviors.
Imam Hussain and his entire family’s sacrifice (may Allah be pleased with them), remains alive for centuries in the Muslim world. Their sacrifice and struggle became a revolution, a movement with religious and moral beliefs. It left the entire Muslim Ummah (nation) with an example to side with the right and to constantly awaken our slumbering conscience to stand against any unjust leadership.
Imam Hussain (may Allah be pleased with him), stood up against the then tyrant Muslim ruler called, Yazid and his disbelief, falsehood and oppression.
In his final speech Imam Hussain (may Allah be pleased with him) said to the Yazidi troops under the command of Hurr:
“o men! Verily the Prophet of Islam said, ‘If someone sees a cruel ruler who…disregards his duty…and acts among the people sinfully and aggressively, and that person does not do anything, in action or speech, to change the situation – then, it would be right for God (on the Day of Judgement) to place such an indifferent person along· side the tyrant ruler.”
To learn more about Muharram, its rituals, the battle of Karbala and its impact on Muslim world, please read my last year article: Islamic New Year: Muharram, a Time of Mourning & A Lesson for Humanity.
Maimoona Harrington was born and raised in Pakistan moved to the United States with her family in 2008. She is married and a mother of two sons. She has a bachelor’s degree in Islamic studies and sociology from Pakistan and a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from United States. Along with her career as an interpreter, translator and monitor she is also an Islamic and Pakistani Culture Adviser.
As a practicing Muslim with the extensive world travel and living in the West, she has devoted herself to spread awareness of Islam as a goodwill gesture. In an effort to do this she started writing from her own personal experiences with religion, beliefs and life in a different culture. She also has special interest in all the religions and how and why they are all important to its followers. Her primary focus is on the co-existence and harmony between all human beings. Her message is to spread peace not division. She strongly believes that if you want to be closer to your creator then love His creation unconditionally and expect nothing in return for He loves us unconditionally and forgives us no matter how sinful we are!