Muharram – a thread that runs through entire fabric of existence

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By: Shafiq Ahmad Wani

With the advent of the holy month of Muharram, the journey towards spiritual awakening begins. Muharram has a profound meaning that goes beyond human comprehension, similar to the sacred scent of incense wafting through the passageways of time, just as the Quran and Hadith echo.

Inviting us to delve deeper into its mystic tapestry, the call of Muharram beckons because even the mere mention of its name holds the possibility of a life-changing spiritual awakening.

As soon as we reach Muharram, a holy portal that begins the first chapter of the Islamic calendar, the astral journey begins. Only the most significant month, Ramadan itself, surpasses Muharram’s tremendous importance, which draws us in. We must investigate its ethereal tapestry.

In an effort to reconcile the multiple competing dating systems in use at the time, the second caliph, ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, established the date of the Islamic calendar in 638 CE (16 AH).

Following discussion with his companions, Muhammad decided that the Hijrah—the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) journey from Makkah to Madinah—was the best historical precedent for the start of the new Islamic era.

Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, radiates a sanctity that is indescribably holy. One of the four holy months of Islam, along with Dhul-Qidah, Dhul-Hijjah, and Rajab, is Muharram.

The Prophet Muhammad, in his wisdom, bestowed upon this month a veneration that transcends the great expanse of history by tying together the strands of human experience with the divine teachings that serve as our life’s roadmap.

The moon’s gradual arc brings in the new crescent, elevating Muharram’s importance to cosmic heights. This significance is further enhanced by the celestial pronouncement. Surah Al-Tawbah verse 36 states: “The number of months with Allah is twelve, from the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred.” Muharram rises to its rightful place among the four holy months as a divine proof of its cosmic significance.

The middle of this sacred time is where the Prophet Muhammad gave the recommendation to adopt fasting, a spiritual path that guides the soul towards the Divine.

The heart that is fasting purifies the soul of the sins of the previous year as it beats in unison with the world and adorns the spirit with a cloak of purity fitting for the start.

Surah Al-Qasas (28:4):

“Indeed, Pharaoh exalted himself in the land and made its people into factions, oppressing a sector among them, slaughtering their [newborn] sons and keeping their females alive. Indeed, he was of the corrupters.”

This verse speaks of Pharaoh’s oppression of the Children of Israel and the rescue of Moses from his rule on the Ashura holiday, which is also known as the 10th of Muharram.

Ashura, one of the most gorgeous threads in the tapestry, is eventually unveiled on the tenth day of Muharram. On this holy day, the sea itself split open, releasing Moses and his people from Pharaoh’s oppression.

{And We had inspired to Moses, “Travel by night with My servants and strike for them a dry path through the sea; you will not fear being overtaken [by Pharaoh] nor be afraid [of drowning].} (Quran 20:77)

Ashura fasting is a tradition embedded in Muharram itself that the Prophet Muhammad graciously and modestly accepted. He told his disciples to execute this ceremony on the ninth and tenth, or tenth and eleventh, days of the month to completely feel the heavenly benefits that pour on these respected occasions because the prophet did not want believers to behave like unbelievers even during acts of devotion and to place themselves as differently from the Jews as possible.

Despite the fact that the Muharram mosaic is interrupted by a gloomy tone, the tragedy of Karbala emerges in the middle of the vibrant Muharram mosaic.

This narrative is a testament to the unwavering tenacity of the human spirit and has been characterised by sorrow and sacrifice. It has resounded throughout time, urging us to be unshakable in our commitment to justice, to maintain our ground in the face of adversity, and to use our courage and kindness as armour against the deepest pits of despair.

The terrible tale of Karbala implores us to defy the evil forces of history and whispers a timeless truth: defying injustice is the very core of the human spirit, and triumphing over difficulty is what characterises our common path.

Imam Hussain’s legacy emphasises the ongoing need to uphold justice and the truth, to resist injustice with tenacity, and to weather the storms that threaten to put out the flame of righteousness.

As Muharram draws to a close, let us continue to live in the spirit of this month all year. Let the principles of solidarity, compassion, and justice serve as the compass for our deeds. Let us be inspired by the Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his companions to pursue spiritual development and moral excellence in our own lives.

Muharram is a thread that runs through the entire fabric of existence, not merely a single piece in the mosaic of life. Its lessons, tales, and significance continue to enliven our lives and unite us with the omnipresent divine presence.

As Muharram’s final echoes disappear into the distance, let us keep its spirit alive in our hearts. Let’s not forget that the path to spiritual enlightenment is a lifelong journey that sculpts our souls and elevates our humanity, rather than a month-long experience.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Sana and Dr.Imatiyaz for their invaluable support and assistance during the research and writing of this article. Their assistance in gathering resources, insightful observations, and helpful criticism where crucial in forming the content of this paper.

The author is a student. [email protected]

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