May our new Hijri Year be Blessed...
We are entering the hijri year of 1436. We, as the family of Questions on Islam, congratulate our all brothers and sisters on their new hijri year.
Therefore, we would like to answer the questions;
“what is Hijri calendar?”,
“Since when has it been in use?”,
“Is there a prayer exclusive to Muharram, which is the first month of new Hijri year?”,
"How did our Prophet meet the new year?”,
“What is the Day of Ashurah?”, and “Is there a sort of prayer exclusive to the Day of Ashurah?” shortly.
Hijri Calendar starts with the migration of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) from Mecca to Medina. Howerer, this date was accepted as the beginning of the calendar in the era of Khalif Omar. Prior to this, Arabs did not have a certain date system. They used to accept some important historical event (such as Prophet Abraham’s being thrown into fire and Event of Elephant) as the beginning of time.
Sixteen years after the migration (638), The Khalif of the ear Omar ordered for a council to gather and find a solution to the date problem. With the suggestion of Hz.Ali and approval of other council members, the migration of prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was determined to be the beginning Islamic history and Muharram was determined to be the first month of the year. Two points are put forward as the reason to the implementation of this system. Firstly, it was not figured out whether the due date on a debenture sighted in the era of Khalif Omar was Sha’aban of this year or of the last year, or of the next. Secondly, in the same era, in a paper coming from the governer of Basra, Abu Musa al-Esh'arî', a rapid solution was wanted, for it was not decided which of the papers sent from Khalifate to Basra was prior to the other, eventually it was not decided with which one’s orders to rule. For this reason, the migration established the beginning of Islamic history.
Hijri-Lunar year consists of twelve months. Arabs used to call the first month Muharram and months of Rajab, Dhu al-Qi’dah and Dhu al-Hijjah “ashur-i hurum” and they would not battle and would keep away from all kind of violence in those months.
Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) advised his companions to fast in the ninth, tenth and eleventh days of Muharram:
“The best of fast after Ramadan is in the month of Allah (honored with being related to Allah), Muharram.” (Riyadh- us- Saliheen, II, 504). Some other hadiths give the good news of the Day of Ashurah, which corresponds to the tenth of Muharram and on which many importants events occured: “Fasting the day of `Ashura' (is of great merits), I hope that Allah will accept it as an expiation for (the sins committed in) the previous year” (Riyadh- us- Saliheen, II, 509).
This day has been accepted as a mourning day by Shias because of the fact that Hussain was martyred on Friday, the tenth of Muharram in the era of Yazeed, the second ruler of Amawis, and in the Hijri year of 61 and Gregorian year of 680. Later, this mourning day has been widely accepted and gained a formal quality.
It has been narrated that many important events took place in history on the tenth of Muharram which is called the Day of Ashurah. It is possible to name some of these events as it follows:
1. The day that Noah’s ark escaped from the flood and landed on mount Judi corresponds to this day. As already known, this event is the rescue of the ones believing Noah, with an ark and total destruction of unbelievers.
2. Adam’s repentance
3. Rescue of Abraham from the fire
4. Jacob’s reuniting with his son, Joseph.
Moreover, it is also narrated that Jerusalem was determined to be Qiblah on sixteenth of Muharram, and on seventeenth of it arrived the Owners of Elephants.
The month of Muharram was of a special importance in the era of Ottomans. The poems written for the month of Muharram and therefore called “Muharremiye” are excessive in number. Moreover, in this month, at the beginning of every New Year, high officials of the government would come to the presence of the Sultan and congratulate him on New Year, and would accept Sultan’s gifts called “Muharremiye”.
The month of Muharram was named as "Muharram-al Haram" and abbreviated with the letter “Mim” (m) in Otoman archives.
Mefail Hızlı, source: Şamil İslam Encyclopedia.
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