Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar, represents a time for self-reflection and historical awareness for many Muslims; the beginning of which is signalled by the presence of the new moon. Often called the month of remembrance, and meaning ‘forbidden’, Muharram is a period in which any form of fighting or war is banned, and Muslims try to avoid negativity and arguing so that the peaceful nature of this commemoration can be appreciated.
This month commemorates the travelling of Muhammed from Mecca to Medina, also known as the ‘Hijra’. Perceived as the holiest month of the year, many Muslims decide to fast to reflect and show gratitude towards Allah. Additionally, Muslims tend to give more prayers and spend a longer amount of time inside the Mosque. This is known as ‘Ashura’, and is believed to help Muslims understand the Islamic history and traditions.
On the anniversary of the battle of Karbala, Muharram is also the time where many Shia Muslims commemorate the death of Hussein, the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, who was murdered by those who believed him to be a threat to their leadership. Whether Muslims are using this time for mourning the loss of life or celebrating the New Year, it’s still an important time for everybody involved. Encouraging deep reflection and gratitude, Muharram certainly brings Muslims all over the world together.
For thousands of years, many cultures and religions co-existed in India; the festivities of which were enjoyed by the British Raj locals. Anglo-Indian cuisine, as it exists today, is a result of that co-existence, and is a culmination of the sharing and celebrations that took place. Here at East India Cafe, we are hosting a Muharram masterclass during this reminiscent tradition to represent its sanctifying heritage. For more information about booking, please click here.