Muharram (Arabic: محرم) It is the first month of the Islamic calendar. Instead of joyous celebration, Muslims mark the beginning of the New Year by taking up the black attire of sorrow and participate in mourning gatherings in which the sacrifices of Husayn and his companions are commemorated.It is one of the four months of the year in which fighting is prohibited. Since the Islamic calendar is lunar, Muharram moves from year to year when compared with the Gregorian calendar.
Muharram is so called because it was unlawful to fight during this month; the word is derived from the word ‘haram’ meaning forbidden. It is held to be the most sacred of all the months, excluding Ramadan.It is the same month when Husayn, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, was brutally massacred in Karbala alongside his family and friends in the year 680 CE/61 AH.
Their martyrdom is a sad day for all Muslims, especially the Shi’a, who hold mourning ceremonies to recall the righteous virtues for which the valiant martyrs stood and the grave calamities that they thus had to bear. The commemoration of this brutal massacre (Battle of Karbala) begins on the first day of Muharram and reaches its climax on the 10th of Muharram, the day of the battle, known as Ashurah and continues for 40 days or 69 days.