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Muharram: History, Significance, Observance and Importance

Published Date: 09-Dec-2022

Muharram is one of the most significant festivals celebrated by the Muslim community in India as it marks the beginning of the Islamic New Year. It is the first month of the Islamic calendar and the second holiest of the four sacred months in a year in Islam, the first being Ramadan. Muharram 2024 celebrations will start after the sighting of the new moon on the Islamic calendar’s last day and will continue for ten days. The 10th day of Muharram called the Day of Ashura, is of most significance for different Muslim factions for various reasons. In 2024, the 10th day of Muharram will fall on the 17th of July (Wednesday).

Muharram 2024 History and Significance

Muharram 2020 | History and Significance

Muharram 2024 | History and Significance

Of all the days, the Day of Ashura i.e. the 10th day of Muharram is considered most important by Shia and Sunni Muslims. Shia Muslims observe it as a day of mourning to commemorate the death of the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, Hussayn Ibn Ali. According to legends, Imam Hussayn once raised objections to the legitimacy of the caliph Yazid and revolted against him. This led to the battle of Karbala, the beheading of the revolutionary leader, and the imprisonment of his family, on the day of Ashura in 680 AD. Sunni Muslims believe that the religious leader Moses led Israel through the Red Sea and got victory over the Egyptian Pharaoh and his army of war chariots on the 10th day of Muharram. There is another belief that Adam and Eve were created by God on the 10th day of this holy month.

Key Dates in Muharram

  • 1st Muharram: 1st Muharram or Mohharam in 2023 will mark the start of the New Islamic Year 1445 Hijri. The expected Gregorian Date of 1st Muharram 2023 is Wednesday, July 19th, or Thursday, July 20th, 2023 depending on the location and sighting of the Moon of Muharram 1445. Muharram is also one of the four sanctified months of the year.
  • 10th Muharram(Ashura): Ashura is the 10th day of Muharram and is the most sacred day of all its days. It is believed that Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) was born on the 10th of Muharram. The Day of Ashura also commemorates when the Prophet Musa (AS) and the Children of Israel were freed by Allah from the Pharaoh and his army. It is also the day on which the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS) in the Battle of Karbala took place.

Muharram Celebrations across India

Muharram 2022 | Celebrations across India

Muharram 2023 | Celebrations across India

Both Shia and Sunni Muslims celebrate Muharram; however, they do not observe the occasion in the same manner. For Shias, it is a day of observance and not joy, and thus, they are in mourning for the 10-day period. They dress in black, attend special prayer meetings at mosques and even refrain from listening to music or attending events like weddings. On the 10th day, street processions take place in which they walk barefoot, chanting and whipping their chests until it draws blood to commemorate the sufferings of Imam Hussayn. Sunnis observe this day with fasting from the first to the 10th or 11th day of the month. This is voluntary, and the ones who fast are believed to be rewarded by Allah.  Muharram 2024 date in India is 17th July.

Fasting during Muharram

When the Prophet (S.A.W.) came to Madinah, he fasted on the day of Ashura and directed the Muslims to keep fast on this day. It is observed that Jews also consider the 10th Muharram as a special day and they keep fast on this day.

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Virtues of Muharram

The sacred months offer us the opportunity to seek the mercy and favour of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala (SWT). There are many virtues of Muharram and simple things we can do to reap the benefits of the sacred month. Here are some recommended actions or Sunnah during Muharram. 

  • Fast: Keep a fast on the 9th and 10th Muharram, or on the 10th and 11th Muharram (if you skip the 9th Muharram).
  • Reciting of the Qur’an: If you are unable to fast, reading the Qur’an or doing Dhikr can help you to feel the blessings of Muharram.
    • Give regular Sadaqah: Muharram marks the beginning of the Islamic New Year, so it’s the perfect time to make resolutions and establish good habits like giving regular charity.

Other Festivals in India with Holiday Type

Festivals in India Day Date Holiday Type
New Year’s Day Mon 01-Jan Restricted Holiday
Lohri Sat 13-Jan Restricted Holiday
Makar Sankranti Sun 14-Jan Restricted Holiday
Pongal Mon 15-Jan Restricted Holiday
Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti Wed 17-Jan Restricted Holiday
Republic Day Fri 26-Jan Gazetted Holiday
Losar Sat 10-Feb Restricted Holiday
Basant Panchmi Wed 14-Feb Restricted Holiday
Guru Ravidas Jayanti Sat 24-Feb Gazetted Holiday
Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti Wed 6-Mar Restricted Holiday
Mahashivratri Fri 8-Mar Gazetted Holiday
Holi Mon 25-March Gazetted Holiday
Good Friday Fri 29-Mar Gazetted Holiday
Easter Day Sun 31-Mar Restricted Holiday
Gudi Padwa Tue 9-Apr Restricted Holiday
Eid-ul-Fitr Wed 10-Apr Gazetted Holiday
Vaisakhi (Vishu) Sat 13-Apr Restricted Holiday
Rama Navami Wed 17-Apr Gazetted Holiday
Mahavir Jayanti Sun 21-Apr Gazetted Holiday
Rabindra Jayanti Wed 8-May Restricted Holiday
Buddha Purnima (Vesak) Thu 23-May Gazetted Holiday
Id-ul-Zuha (Bakrid) Mon 17-Jun Restricted Holiday
Rath Yatra Sun 7-Jul Gazetted Holiday
Muharram (Ashura) Wed 17-Jul Gazetted Holiday
Independence Day Thu 15-Aug Gazetted Holiday
Parsi New Year’s Day (Nauraz) Thu 15-Aug Public Holiday
Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi) Mon 19-Aug Restricted Holiday
Janmashtami Mon 26-Aug Restricted Holiday
Ganesh Chaturthi Sat 7-Sep Restricted Holiday
Onam Sun 15-Sep Restricted Holiday
Milad-un-Nabi or Id-e- Milad Mon 16-Sep Gazetted Holiday
Gandhi Jayanti Wed 02-Oct Gazetted Holiday
Dussehra Sat 12-Oct Gazetted Holiday
Valmiki Jayanti Thu 17-Oct Restricted Holiday
Karva Chauth Sun 20-Oct Gazetted Holiday
Dhanteras Tue 29-Oct Restricted Holiday
Kali Puja Thu 31-Oct Gazetted Holiday
Halloween Day Thu 31-Oct No Holiday
Diwali Fri 1-Nov Gazetted Holiday
Lakshmi Puja Fri 1-Nov Gazetted Holiday
Karnataka Rajyotsava Fri 1-Nov Gazetted Holiday
Kerala Piravi Fri 1-Nov Gazetted Holiday
Govardhan Puja Sat 2-Nov Gazetted Holiday
Bhai Dooj Sun 3-Nov Gazetted Holiday
Chhath Puja Thu 7-Nov Gazetted Holiday
Guru Nanak Jayanti Fri 15-Nov Gazetted Holiday
Christmas Wed 25-Dec Public Holiday


Q. When is 10 Muharram 2024?

A. The Muharram 2024 date is 17th July on Wednesday. It is also known as the Day of Ashura or the 10 Muharram 2024.

Q. What is Muharram?

A. Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar, and thus marks the start of the Islamic New Year. Muharram also holds a greater significance as it is one of the four sacred months in Islam.

Q.  When is Muharram 2024?

A. Muharram festival will be celebrated on 17th of July, 2024 in India. 

Q. Why Muharram is celebrated?

A. Muharram is celebrated as one of the four sacred months as ordained by Allah (SWT). Its title is ‘the month of Allah’ which is why it’s special and one of the most blessed in the Islamic calendar.

Q. How to wish Muharram?

A. People wish and greet each other in many different ways they like, some of the common ways are: May this Islamic year find you in the best of faith and health, and May God allow you to enter this new year in faith and security.

Sargun Preet Kaur
Sargun has an appetite for challenges and creative hurdles that can help her grow as she conquers them one by one. With an innate desire to travel the world, she weaves through life by visiting her dream destinations. When not in her creative zone, Sargun loves to smash in badminton and binge-watch her favourite shows.

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