Muharram 2022: Al Hijri date, history, significance, rituals performed by Muslims on Islamic New Year
Muharram 2022: Here's all you need to know about the Al Hijri date, history, significance and rituals performed by Shia and Sunni Muslims at the onset of the Islamic New Year
Muharram is the first month in Islamic lunar calendar, followed by the months of Safar, Rabi-al-Thani, Jumada al-Awwal, Jumada ath-Thaniyah, Rajab, Shaban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Zu al-Qadah and Zu al-Hijjah. After Ramadan or Ramzan, Muharram is considered to be the most sacred month in Islam and it marks the beginning of the lunar calendar which Islam follows.
Unlike the Gregorian calendar that consists of 365 days, Islamic calendar has about 354 days divided into 12 months. The Islamic New Year, also known as Al Hijri or Arabic New Year, is celebrated on the first day of Muharram as it was in this holy month that Prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina but the 10th day of the month, known as Ashura, is mourned by Muslims in the remembrance of the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussain Ibn Ali in Karbala.
As per the sighting of the cresent moon, Friday July 29, 2022 will be the completion of the month of 30th of Dhul-Hijjah 1443 AH and the first day of Muharram 1444 will be on July 30, 2022 (Saturday) in Saudi Arabia, Oman and other Gulf countries or those that follow KSA's moon sighting.
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, United Kingdom (UK), Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Morocco will be gearing up to sight the crescent moon of the Holy Month of Muharram this evening i.e. Friday 29th of Dhul Hijjah 1443 AH, after the maghrib prayers, corresponding to July 30, 2022. If the crescent is sighted, the first day of Muharram will be marked on July 30, 2022 in these countries.
If the moon sighting committees declare that the crescent moon has not been sighted today, July 30 will be counted as the 30th day of Dhul Hijjah 1443 and the month of Muharram or the Islamic New Year 1444 AH will start from Sunday July 31, 2022 in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, United Kingdom (UK), Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Morocco.
History and significance:
The word Muharram means ‘not permitted’ or ‘forbidden’ hence, Muslims are prohibited from taking part in activities like warfare and use it as a period of prayer and reflection. Observing a fast on this day is considered a ‘sunnah’ since Prophet Muhammad to kept a roza on this day after Prophet Musa or Moses as per the Sunni tradition.
On the other hand, Shia Muslims refrain from attending and celebrating all joyous events in this period and observe the fast on the tenth day of Muharram, commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, who was the son of Hazrat Ali and the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, in Karbala.
It was in the month of Muharram that Allah saved the Children of Israel from Pharaoh. As a sign of gratitude to Allah, Prophet Musa fasted on this day that is the 10th of Muharram. In 622 CE, when Prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina in the month of Muharram, he learnt from the Jews that they fasted on this day following the ways of Prophet Musa.
Wanting his followers to show the same gratitude to Allah, Prophet Muhammad decided to observe a two-day fast - one on the day of Ashura and the day prior that is the 9th and 10th day of Muharram. These are the traditional customs of Sunni Muslims.
The 10th day of the month or Ashura is mourned by Muslims in the remembrance of the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussain Ibn Ali, in Karbala. The Shia community remembers the massacre on Ashura when Imam Hussain was said to be beheaded in the battle of Karbala and to mark public mourning and remembering the pain given to their great leader and his family, members of Shia community puts on black clothes, observe abstinence, fast and take out processions on this day.