Regarded as one of ‌the four Islamic sacred months of ⁤the year, ‌Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar, thereby marking the Islamic New Year.⁢ During this‌ month, Muslims are forbidden to fight or‍ engage in any​ form of sin. The most sacred day within this month is the Day of Ashura. It falls‍ on the tenth day of this month, and many people consider it​ synonymous ⁤with the month of ‌Muharram,⁣ especially among Shia Muslims.


Many important events have occurred during ‍this month, but one of⁢ the ​most significant was the Battle of Karbala on the day of Ashura in 61 AH. This battle took place in what ⁢is now modern-day Iraq and featured a conflict between Hussein ibn Ali and the much larger ‍force of​ Yazid I, caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate.

The battle occurred because Hussein ibn Ali refused to pledge an ‌oath of allegiance to Yazid I. As a result, the battle erupted, and Hussein and‌ all his forces‌ were killed, with their women and children taken​ as prisoners. This battle has become the centerpiece of Shia tradition and has been recounted many times in Islamic literature of the Shia.

Customs And Observations

Many⁢ Muslims choose to fast during the⁣ first ten days of this ⁤month. Of ‍course, during this period of fasting,‍ different ⁢Muslim groups fast in various ways. For instance,⁢ Sunni Muslims‌ may choose to fast ⁣during the⁢ entire ten days, only ⁢on the ninth or tenth day, ⁣or only on the ‌tenth day, according to⁣ personal preference.

Some ​Shia Muslims fast by not eating during the day but only ⁢eating in the late afternoon. Often ⁢this is done only on the tenth ‍day to commemorate the death – and subsequent martyrdom ‌- of Hussein ibn Ali on the Day of Ashura. Shia Muslims in parts of Bahrain,⁤ Pakistan, Iraq, ⁤ Afghanistan, and India often participate⁢ in remembrance⁢ parades during this time.

Shia Muslims in Iraq also often make a pilgrimage⁢ to the Imam Husayn‌ Shrine, which is located‌ at the grave of Husayn ibn Ali. ⁤In many parts⁢ of the United Arab Emirates,⁣ India, and ⁣ Jordan, Muharram is a public ​holiday. In the United ​States, United Kingdom, Canada, or Australia, it is not a public holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
Canada (Muslim)United States (Muslim)Argentina (Muslim) Show all
When is it?
This year (2024)
July 8 Monday
Next year (2025)
June 27 Friday
Last year (2023)
July 19 Wednesday