Essay on “Muharram”
Muharram or the sacred month marks the beginning of the Muslim year. This month is now primarily associated with the period of mourning the Shias observe in commemoration of the martyrdom of Ali’s son and Muhammad’s grandson, Hussain.
On the tenth day of Muharram, Hussain was brutally murdered by the troops of the Ummayyad Caliph Yazid. Hussain fought bravely till he was slain, the last on the battlefield. His violent death awakens to this day the sympathy of the faithful who mourn his martyrdom with sorrow and indignation.
As soon as the new moon appears, people assemble in the imambam. In some places, a pit is dug in which a fire is lighted every evening. People run around it calling out ‘Ya Ali! Shah Hasa! Dulha! Haie Dost! Rahivo! Oh Ali’! Every evening people hold gatherings and remember the events of the life of Hussain. On the twelfth day, people sit up all night reading the Quran. On the thirteenth day, food is cooked and given to the poor.
Muharram is a famous festival of the Muslims. But it has a pensive mood arising from a sad historical event which is remembered with grief and reverence.
Hassan and Hussain were two grandsons of Prophet Hazrat Muhammed. Hassan, the Caliph, was killed by Yezid. Hussain, the brother of Hassan, fled to Mecca. There he was also killed by Yezid’s men in the battlefield of Karbala. The war took place for ten days. So the Muslims take the first ten days of the month of Muharram as a period of mouring.
During Muharram, the Muslims take out processions with Tazias and an unmounted horse representing Hussain’s steed. They keep themselves engaged in a mock fight with swords and lances in memory of the tragic history. Then they lament beating their breasts with the cries of ‘Hassan! Hussain!’.
In the end, they throw the Tazias into the water. On the occasion, they feed the poor and the hungry and offer alms to the poor.