By Sadia Dehlvi
Sep 15, 2018
In Islamic traditions, the 10th of Muharram is said to be amongst the most blessed of days.
The month of Muharram is upon us, the first month in the Islamic calendar. Even before the advent of Islam, Muharram was one of the four sacred months in which war and bloodshed were forbidden.
In Islamic traditions, the 10th of Muharram is said to be amongst the most blessed of days. It is believed that on this day God accepted Adam’s appeal for forgiveness, rescued Prophet Jonah from the fish’s abdomen, restored the health of Job, saved Abraham from the fire of Nimrod, granted Solomon his kingdom, anchored Noah’s ark at Mount Judi after it had been sailing for six months; parted the Red Sea for Moses to save his followers from the tyrannical rule of the Egyptian Pharaohs.
The 10th of Muharram, known as Ashura, also marks the biggest tragedy in Islamic history. Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad was martyred at the battle of Karbala in 680 AD. The tyrannical Yazid had declared himself ruler of the Islamic caliphate and ordered allegiance from Imam Hussain, who rose against those who acted falsely in the name of Islam. He refused to legitimise the unjust rule of a debauch tyrant.
Imam Hussain, along with 72 companions, was slain by of arrows. He continued to fight valiantly till his head was severed from his body while he prostrated in prayer. Imam Hussain’s sacrifice continues to remind us the difference between falsehood and truth, the difference between Islam as taught by Prophet Muhammad and the false version as exploited and propagated for political gains.
Centuries have gone by, but the world still remembers the sacrifice of Imam Hussain. Prophet Muhammad said: “My followers will not unite in supporting corruption.” He had also famously said: “I am from Hussain and Hussain is from me.” Muharram is a month for spiritual renewal, for reflection, prayer and seeking forgiveness from God.
Karbala represents the battle between the forces of truth and falsehood. Through centuries the heart-breaking events of Karbala are remembered every Muharram. Imam Hussain’s values of justice, truth, courage and sincerity to God are commemorated. Throughout Muharram and particularly in the first 10 days, Muslims have religious gatherings at homes and in public spaces to remember the story of Karbala. Elegies are recited where listeners are moved to tears.
Many Muslims observe fasts this month, particularly on the 10th of Muharram, as favoured day of God’s boundless mercy.
Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam.