The significance of Muharram Festival
Before moving onto what is Muharram? And how it came to existence? Let us first know what the word ‘Muharram’ stands for.
The word ‘Muharram’ which is one of the holy months in the Islamic world denotes sacrifice. The sacrifice is related to the sacrifice done by one of the sons of Prophet Muhammad.
Hence forth the day is celebrated more like a day to mark the honor of the sacrifice done by the sons of Prophet Muhammad.
It is a day that is considered more as a mourning day where the people of the Islamic religion pray for the sacrifice made by the sons of prophet.
Now let’s dig straight into the major question that is what Muharram is? And how it came to existence? To begin with it is important to know that there are four major holy months in the Islamic calendar and Muharram being one of those holy months.
It is also worthwhile to mention that Muharram is considered as the prominent holy month of the Islam. The story begins with obviously mentioning the two sons of Prophets Daughter. The two great and brave grandsons of Prophet Muhammad, they are Hussain and Hassan.
Prophet Muhammad had a land or so to say property that belonged to him and the two grandsons were supposed to inherit the property being the rightful owner of the land, but as the history has always shown and presented us that there are always conflicts whenever, love, lady or land are in the picture.
And so one more conflict arouse and that was because of the land that was to be inherited by the two grandsons of the Prophet Muhammad.
The king of Damascus which is now the capital of Syria, for better understanding the geographical state of that period; wanted to take over the land and keep it to himself, which was wrong in terms of law.
So in order to capture the land that he had eyes on for a long time he made a strategic that included the killing of one son that would be Hassan and to capture and make the other son, Hussain starve to death.
As the strategic plan that took its form, Hassan was captured and was killed by Yazid-ul-Maviya, an opponent of the front enemy army. He killed Hassan.
Prophet Muhammad’s another grandson, Hussain who was considered to be the bravest man of the time was also killed ruthlessly.
He fought the opponents for a very long time, and he fought bravely with all his might but even after having fought with the enemy he was unfortunately taken down and was captured and brutally killed.
Hussain was able to fight the enemy and the battle lasted for around ten days. However in the end, Hussain has to surrender which made him to take shelter in the desert.
But the enemy showed no mercy on him and made him suffer even more by seizing any food that was near his sight in that non-fateful and barren desert.
He was deprived of food and water by the enemy lines and hence sadly he succumbed to his death. This went on for around ten days.
Hussain was made not to have food or water for nearly ten days and it is said that on the last day that is the tenth day of his continuous battle against the hunger, thirst and as well as the enemy, he was killed by the enemy.
The enemy killed him on the tenth and final day of his life. And so to mark the death and valor fight put up by Hussain against the enemy and his death on the land of Karbala, Muharram is celebrated and the day is observed as a mourning day.
Muharram in the Islamic calendar which is the lunar calendar is the prominent and holy month. There are four holy months in the lunar calendar and Muharram, being the holiest of them all.
It is also worthwhile to mention that the first month of the Islamic calendar is Muharram.
How the day is observed?
Let’s now also take a look as how the holiest month of the Islamic calendar is celebrated. To start the day is not seen as a day of any typical celebration and hence should or must not be treated as a celebration day rather the day is considered to be more of a mourning day.
Muharram is celebrated for a time period of ten days and the last day is considered to be as the final day of mourning.
And so the celebration of Muharram usually consists of prayers and less of merry making. Let us now look as how the day or rather the days of Muharram is celebrated worldwide.
The days of Muharram are celebrated or observed as days of mourning where people offer prayers and remember the sacrifice of the two brave and valor grandsons of the Prophet Muhammed.
People of Islamic religion select a land or a specific place where they gather as a group or a council of people who offer prayer as a whole and mourn all day and remember Hassan and Hussain.
They weep as a whole and as a council together despise the enemies, one of which is Yazid who as previously mentioned killed Hassan ruthlessly.
The days of Muharram are days spent in and with sole purpose of weeping? They even help the downtrodden and the poor by giving them alms.
This is a major ritual of the days of Muharram where the distribution of food to the less privileged is considered as a part of celebration.
And hence people help the under privileged by giving them not only food but also clothes. The prayers last for the entire day and for a length of ten days.
Usually the days are spent with expressing grief and prayers however it is also observed that sometimes the grief and the process of mourning takes a very different route and sometimes result in becoming a wild scene.
It is observed that the days are expressed with women often thumping and beating their chest and calling and chanting the name Hussain and Hassan.
The mourners call the names of those who sacrificed their lives, in this case Hassan and Hussain.
Speaking of the last day of the Muharram the day is seen as continuous calling the above mentioned names and so the mourning period of Muharram comes to its end.