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Muharram

[ moo-hahr-uhm, moo-har-uhm ]

noun

  1. the first month of the Islamic calendar.


Muharram

/ muːˈhærəm /

noun

  1. the first month of the Islamic year


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Word History and Origins

Origin of Muharram1

First recorded in 1605–15; from Arabic muḥarram “forbidden,” from ḥarama “to prohibit, deny”; harem ( def )

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Word History and Origins

Origin of Muharram1

from Arabic: sacred

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Example Sentences

The Shiite mourning month of Muharram begins on December 18.

The Revolutionary Guard and the basij are determined to make sure that Muharram and Ashura will not provide that opportunity.

He was killed on the tenth of Muharram (Ashura) in the year 680 on the plain of Karbala, in what is now Iraq.

Some very pious Sha'hs celebrate the fortieth day after the first of Muharram.

But with the beginning of Muharram the latent religious excitement of the East broke loose.

They are careful to say their prayers, to observe Muharram as a season of mourning and to go on pilgrimage to Mecca and Kerbala.

They also paint the bodies of the men who pretend to be tigers at the Muharram festival, for which they charge a rupee.

Once a year at the Muharram festival the Dhīmars will eat at the hands of Muhammadans.

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More About Muharram

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 2023, Muharram will coincide with the period from July 19 to August 16.

In 2024, Muharram will coincide with the period from July 7 to August 4.

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.

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Muhammad Riza PahlaviMühlbach