Islamic New Year – A Time of Prayer and Reflection
The Islamic New Year 2013 has started in the evening of Sunday, November 3rd and will end in the evening of Monday, November 4th. This day marks the beginning of a new Islamic calendar year and the first day of Muharram, which is one of the four sacred months of the year.
Usually the Muslims fast during the 10th day of Muharram, but also on the 9th and 11th days. It Is common for the mosques to offer nazar, or free meals and the Mulsim communities in other countries such as Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand or the United States may keep some of the traditions when observing the Commemoration of Muharram.
In Iran, Mulsims perform Condolence Theater, in Iraq, Shi’s Muslims make a pilgrimage to the grave of Husayn ibn Ali at the Imam Husayn Shrine, in south Asia the re-enactments of the battle of Karbala take the name of marsiya, noha and soaz, tabuik or tabut, and in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago they are known as Hosay or Hussay.
In Pakistan, Lebanon,Iraq, Bahrain and Afghanistana, male Shi’a Muslims gather on the streets in large groups and take part in ritual chest beating, while in other areas participants beat themselves with metal chains fixed into handles, known as zanjir. Some civic and Islamic authorities have banned this ritual.
The Islamic New Year is a time of mourning and peace and Muslims are forbidden to fight during Muharram. Some of the most memorable events which happened during this month are: the Battle of Karbala (currently in Iraq) in the year 680 CE, the restriction of Husayn ibn Ali’s access to water on the seventh day and the death of Husayn ibn Ali and his clan on the 10th day of the month.
As opposed to other cultures which have parties and feats during the New Year celebration, the Islamic new year is celebrated quietly, with reading, prayers and reflection upon the hegira, which symbolizes the departure of the prophet Muhammad from Mecca in September 622.
Happy Islamic New Hirji Year to all our Muslim readers today !