Rosh Hashanah and the Mourning of Muharram

The Brotherhood of Man
I have written in the past, concerning my understanding of the shared ancestry of Jews, Christians and Muslims (Arab) through Abraham, as described in the Bible. On Monday, I posted about the significance of Rosh Hashanah for Christians. 


This morning, I noticed that one of my calendars showed Rosh Hashanah and a Muslim observance, known as the First of Muharram, both beginning on Oct. 4th. I was curious, and suspecting a correlation, did some cursory research on Wikipedia. Here is what I found. (For those not familiar with Rosh Hashanah,  please make sure to check out a recent Facebook post of mine.) The correlation of the symbolic meanings for both observances is startlingly significant.

The Mourning of Muharram, or Remembrance of Muharram, is a 10-day observance, and set of rituals, associated with both Shia and Sunni, which takes place in Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. Many of the events associated with the ritual take place in congregation halls known as Hussainia.

Safar is the second month in the Islamic calendar.

* Literal meaning: Empty. (Possibly symbolic of post-Rapture?)

During this month the houses used to be empty and deserted because the ban on going to war in the month of Muharram came to an end, and everyone proceeded towards the battlefield.

(Safar also means to be yellow. When the names of the months were being given, it was the season of autumn, and the leaves of the trees were yellow.)

* Some people have superstitious beliefs regarding this month (i.e. that it is a month of misfortune and calamities).

This word means “whistling of the wind”

When this name was assigned to this month, it was probably a windy time of the year. Most of the Islamic months were named according to weather conditions at the time. However, since they are based on the moon, the months shift about 11 days every year. So, the seasons do not necessarily correspond to the name of the month anymore.

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Safar migrates throughout the seasons. 

The event, Muharran, marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala when Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, was killed by the forces of the second Umayyad caliph Yazid I at Karbala. Family members, accompanying Hussein ibn Ali, were killed or subjected to humiliation. The commemoration of the event during yearly mourning season, from first of Muharram to twentieth of Safar with Ashura comprising the focal date, serves to define Shia communal identity. At present, Muharram observances are carried out in countries with a sizable Shia population.

Many Shia go on a pilgrimage to the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala, one of the holiest places for Shias apart from Mecca and Medina. Up to one million pilgrims visit the city annually to observe the anniversary of Imam Husayn ibn Ali’s death.

Millions of Muslims worldwide will soon be marking the holy day of Ashura, the tenth day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar. The Islamic holy day is a voluntary day of fasting that marks the day Noah left the Ark, the time when the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt, and the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

Sunni and Shiite Muslims – the two major branches of Islam – mark the day in separate ways. For Sunnis, Ashura is considered a day of atonement. Some choose to fast for two days, as the Prophet Muhammad did when he observed Jews doing the same for their Day of Atonement. For Shiite Muslims, Ashura also commemorates the martyrdom of Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, in the year 680 at Karbala in modern-day Iraq. 

The holy day has taken on new meaning since the Islamic State group, or ISIS, overran large parts of Syria and Iraq. Members of the Sunni jihadist group consider all Shiites heretics, and engage in a campaign of massacres against them.

Matam

The Arabic term matam refers in general to an act or gesture of mourning; in Shia Islam the term designates acts of lamentation for the martyrs of Karbala. Male and female participants congregate in public for ceremonial chest beating (matam) as a display of their devotion to Imam Husayn and in remembrance of his suffering. In some Shi’a societies, such as those in Bahrain, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Iraq, male participants may incorporate knives or razors swung upon chains into their matam. There are two basic forms of matam:

matam – using one’s hands only (that is, sineh-zani or breast-beating)
matam with implements – like chains, knives, swords and blades (that is, zanjeer-zani, qama-zani, etc.)



WHAT WE CAN DO AS BELIEVERS:

Give first-hand testimony of your own intimate knowledge of God, and of His Plan of Redemption for all of mankind, through the Savior Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ, Yeshua Ha Machiach, by the Holy Spirit of Promise.
“And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 

But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear… .
For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. 

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3:13-15, 17-18‬ ‭KJV‬‬
http://bible.com/1/1pe.3.13-15,17-18.kjv

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