[ moo-har-uhm ]
/ muˈhær əm /
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the first month of the Muslim calendar.
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Sometimes Moharram.
See also Muslim calendar.

Origin of Muharram

First recorded in 1605–15; from Arabic muḥarram “forbidden,” from ḥarama “to prohibit, deny”; see also harem
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is Muharram?

Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It’s also spelled Moharram.

It is one of the months of the Islamic calendar that Muslims consider sacred.

The first day of Muharram is the first day of the Islamic New Year.

The tenth day of Muharram is Ashura, which is an important day for both Sunni and Shiʿite Muslims.

When is Muharram?

In 2022, Muharram will coincide with the period from July 30 to August 27. In 2023, Muharram will coincide with the period from July 19 to August 16.

Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, the dates during which it is observed vary from year to year.

More information and context on Muharram

The first records of the word Muharram in English come from the early 1600s. It comes from an Arabic word that means “sacred” or “forbidden”—it is considered a sacred month during which some actions are forbidden.

In the Islamic calendar, Muharram begins the year, following the 12th and final month of the calendar, known as Dhu’l-hijjah, which is the month during which the Muslim pilgrimage known as Hajj takes place. The month after Muharram is Safar.

During Muharram, it is said that actions both good and bad carry more weight than they would in other months. Historically, fighting and warfare were forbidden during Muharram, so that pilgrims who were performing Hajj could return safely. It’s considered good to fast as much as possible during Muharram, but fasting throughout the entire month is not required like it is during the month of Ramadan. It’s believed to be especially good to fast on the Day of Ashura, which is observed differently by Sunni and Shiʿite Muslims. They also observe the month in different ways.

For Sunni Muslims, Muharram is seen as a period of peace and reflection. For Shia Muslims, it is a time of solemn reflection and mourning. Shia Muslims observe Ashura as the commemoration of the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussein Ibn Ali, in 680 c.e., during the Battle of Karbala. Many Shia Muslims perform mourning rituals during this time.

During Muharram, it is common for all Muslims to fast at different times of the month and to spend more time at their mosques.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing Muharram?

How is Muharram discussed in real life?

In Islam, Muharram is considered a sacred month during which it’s important to act uprightly.

Try using Muharram!

True or False?

Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, the dates of Muharram change each year.

How to use Muharram in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Muharram



/ (muːˈhærəm) /

the first month of the Islamic year

Word Origin for Muharram

from Arabic: sacred
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012