The sacred month of Muharram in Morocco

SHAFAQNA – The festival of Muharram will be celebrated in Morocco on Thursday October the 15th. Muharram is held to be the second holiest month, following Ramadan. Some Muslims fast during these days

Muharram has significant religious importance for Muslims, beginning with the first day of the Islamic New Year. Each year, the holiday falls on a different day because the Islamic calendar is a lunar one and is 11 or 12 days shorter than the solar calendar used in Western countries.

In Morocco the month is called š-šhar dë L-‘âšūr which is derived from the feast on the 10th day of the month. The day of ‘âšūr is considered by many to be more important than the actual New Year as it is a time of blessings and magic. The night before (līlt ‘âš is said to be favoured by witches!

This year in Morocco the new year falls on October the 15th. Muharram is one of the four holy months of Islam and unlawful acts, such as fighting and bloodshed, are forbidden. The term “Muharram” translates as “forbidden.”

The Muslim New Year is really celebrated as a cultural holiday, not a particularly religious one but the holiday has different significance for Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

Muharram is a solemn holiday for Shiite Muslims, who mourn for the first 10 days. During this time, they don black attire and participate in mourning gatherings. They visit mosques and shrines with their relatives to remember the matyr Imam Hussain, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, who was killed in the Battle of Karbala in A.D. 680 on the 10th day. This day is referred to as the day of Ashura.

Al-Ghadir Youth Association in Sydney, Australia preparing for the month of Muharram 1437 AH.

For Sunni Muslims, the 10th day recalls when Moses led the ancient Israelites out of Egypt. The Prophet Muhammad fasted on this day because Moses did to celebrate Allah saving his people. The Islamic new year also  marks the Prophet Mohammed’s journey from Mecca to Medina in what was the Gregorian year 622 AD. The Prophet’s journey is referred to as ‘hijira’.

The upcoming Islamic year will be 1437 AH (after hijra).

Muharram Mubarak!


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