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Significance of Muharram

Muharram, a sacred Muslim festival is observed for ten days. Know the rituals and significance of this holy celebration.

Shia Muslims celebrate Muharram, a festival observed in the memory of bravery of Prophet Mohammed's grandson, Imam Hussain, who was killed in the Battle of Karbala in AD 680. Muharram symbolizes the beginning of the Muslim New Year. Muslims mourn on the first ten days of the Muharram. The act of mourning during this period is also known as mass mourning. Unlike any other festival, Muharram is not a joyful festival or a colourful celebration. It is a sacred festival to remember the death of Imam Hussain.

Rituals Muslims observe

Muslims dress in black colour clothes for the occasion of Muharram. They visit mosques and shrines with their relatives and friends and offer their condolences to the martyr Imam Hussain. In year 680 the battle Karbala was responsible for the devastation of Imam Hussain, his family, and his followers. Till the end he suffered for the good cause but finally he had to give up in front of the cruelty.

The great Imam Hussain

The Husain was killed on the tenth day of the battle Karbala. This day is referred to as the day of Ashura. Stories of Hussein's martyrdom are narrated on the first day of the Muharram when Muslims gather together at the holy places. It is believed that when Hussain was wounded and bleeding, with his all strength he reached the riverside to drink water for the last time. There by the riverside his enemy's arrows killed him. People drink cool drinks on Muharram to signify Imam Hussain's thirst for water when he was counting his last breath.

During Muharram people visit Karbala in Iraq in large numbers. They cry loudly, beat their chests, and are in grief during this period. People enact plays and dances to make people recall the sufferings of Imam Hussain and his followers. They enact the battle scenes of Karbala war. Muharram is the sacred celebration. Remembrance of goodness and respect for Imam Hussain is the true meaning of Muharram.

Do you know the story behind Muharram? What rituals do you follow on Muharram? What significance does the festival have in your life? To share your views and experiences, click here.

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