Published On: Fri, Sep 6th, 2019

Muharram 2019: When is Ashura this year – do you have to fast on Ashura? | World | News

Muharram is a month of mourning for Muslims. Muharram falls on different dates each year due to the Islamic lunar calendar, falling about 11 days earlier each year. This year, it runs from September 1 to 28.

When is Asuhra?

Ashura is marked on the tenth day of Muharram – this year, it will begin in the evening of Monday, September 9 and end in the evening of Tuesday, September 10.

Ashura is observed as the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram, an opportunity for Muslims to pay respect and mourn the sacrifices made in the Battle of Karbala.

In particular, the mourning period commemorates the death of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

Ashura culminates in this period of remembrance, with Shia and Sunni Muslims observing the event in different ways.

Do you have to fast?

Fasting is not compulsory during Ashura, but some choose to.

Sunni Muslims regard fasting on Ashura as recommended, but not obligatory.

While fasting during the month of Ramadan (the ninth month in the Islamic calendar) became obligatory, the fast of Ashura was made non-compulsory.

Many do choose to fast and Prophet Muhammad was said to have fasted on the day of Ashura.

If you do choose to fast, it won’t be for two days as Ashura is only a 24-hour period, one day in the Islamic calendar.

How else can you commemorate Ashura?

Sunni and Shia Muslims commemorate this special day in different ways.

There are ceremonies of self-flagellation (beating one’s own chest with whips or branches).

Others will forego this and instead opt to donate blood.

In some areas, such as in the Shia suburb of Beirut, communities organise blood donation drives with organisations like the Red Cross as a replacement for self-flagellation rituals.

Millions of Muslims around the world will go to worship, with some Mosques offering free meals.

In some places, such as Iran and Iraq, passion plays known as Ta’zieh are performed, reenacting the Battle of Karbala.

Some will make a pilgrimage to a shrine in Karbala, where the tomb of Husayn ibn Ali lies.

The traditions are usually solemn, and there it is prohibited to plan any wedding or parties on or near the date of Ashura.

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