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Muharram or Islamic New Year
Muharram is the first month of the
Islamic calendar and marks the Islamic New Year. The 10th day of Muharram or
Yaum-Al-Ashura is observed by Shia Muslims as a day of mourning referring
to the Karbala tragedy when Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, was
martyred in the 61st year of the Hijra (A.H.) corresponding to 680 A.D.
During Yaum-Al-Ashura, taziyas (bamboo and paper replicas of the
martyr's tomb) processions as well as green alams
(standards of Hazrat Imam Hussain's army) made of silver, copper and brass, are
carried through city streets, accompanied by young men beating their breasts in
collective sorrow. On the tenth day, known as Yaum-Al-Ashura, the
processions carrying the taziyas and alams terminate in open spaces where
the taziyas are buried. Juice or sherbat is freely distributed
to everyone. People generally wear black clothes on the Yaum-Al-Ashura.
Muharram is observed as mourning largely in the Indian sub-continent, mainly by
members of the Shia community of Muslims. In other parts of the Islamic world,
with the exception of Iran, parts of Iraq and other Shia pockets, observing the
tenth day of Muharram or the Yaum-Al-Ashura as a mourning day is
considered as undesirable because Muharram is considered as one of the four
blessed months chosen by Allah, long before the martyrdom of Imam Hussain.
Major Islamic events have happened on Yaum-Al-Ashura, the tenth day of
Muharram. It is believed that on this day Adam was created and entered the
Paradise, Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) was born, Prophet Isa (Jesus) was raised to
the heavens and the people of Prophet Moosa (Moses) obtained freedom from the
tyranny of Firaun (Pharoah).