Islamic New Year 2016: What is Muharram and why is it celebrated?


The New Year of the Islamic calendar has started today with the beginning of the holy Muharram month.

Muslims worldwide are marking the first month of the Islamic calendar, but what exactly is the Islamic New Year all about?

Here’s everything you need to know:

What is Muharram?


Muharram is the name given to the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar, known as Hijri.

This new year will be 1438 AH. The Latin term Anno Hegirae, or AH, stands for ‘in the year of the Hijra’.

Why is Muharram celebrated?

The New Year is a time to remember the emigration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, which was known as the Hijra.

Shia Muslims also commemorate the death of Hussain ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, in the historic battle of Karbala. This sect of Muslims mark the battle of Karbala on the 10th day of Muharram, also known as Ashura.

How is Muharram celebrated?

Many Shia Muslims practice chest beating while some of them whip their bodies with chains or cut their foreheads with knives. Shiites hurt and beat themselves in the love of Imam Hussain A.S.

Meanwhile Sunni Muslims treat Ashura as a day of respect and thankfulness for the prophet Moses.

The celebrations for the new year are not as large as the festivities for Eid-all-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.

The literal meaning of Muharram is harram, which means forbidden, and many Muslims chose to fast for part of the month.

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