In accordance with the Islamic calendar, Awal Muharram, also known as Maal Hijrah, represents the New Year celebration. This is one of the most important national holidays commemorated in Malaysia (a national holiday is celebrated by the entire country, whereas a public holiday can be commemorated only by several states in the nation). In English, the term “Awal” signifies “beginning”, and “Muharram” is the initial month of the Islamic year, which includes 12 months (354 days).
Awal Muharram also marks the beginning of ten days of commemoration for the Hussein Ibn Ali’s Martyrdom. He was the grandson of Prophet Mohammed and was murdered during the battle of Karbala. There are so many places to visit in Malaysia that it will be impossible for avid travelers to include them all in their travel list. Yet, if you’re trying to find a traditional festival to attend, Awal Muharram is a national celebration commemorated throughout the entire Malaysian territory.
“Muharram” comes from the term “haram” that means “sinful”. This month is seen as the most sacred of all, apart from the month of Ramadan. Over this period, Muslims are not allowed to fight; therefore, it should be about remembrance and peace. What’s more, this month also corresponds with Prophet Mohammed’s migration from Mecca to Medina and is seen as a perfect period for self-evaluation and also as a preparatory point for change. Where to go in Malaysia during the Awal Muharram festivity? You might want to start with the mosques; the variety is endless so you’ll have plenty of choices on your hand.
The Awal Muharram History
As it was already been mentioned, the commemoration of Awal Muharram began with Prophet Muhammad’s journey that took place on the year 622 AD. The other expression used for “Awal Muharram”, Maal Hijrah, signifies “migration”. Prophet Muhammad had to migrate because he found out that someone wanted to kill him. Therefore, Muhammad decided to go to a town referred to as Yathrib, which was situated about 320 km north of Mecca. It is thought that the long journey was finished by Muhammad and those who followed him in a single night. The town where the journey finished, and where the Prophet migrated to, is now known as Medina.
How is Awal Muharram observed in Malaysia?
Muslims begin the celebration of Awal Muharram with the things that happened during the year that just went away, and they make promises to make things better for the next year. It doesn’t involve any particular or impressive celebrations. Of course, this doesn’t apply to the celebrations that take place during the Western New Year and which consist of rich feasts and multicolored fireworks.
Among some of the things to do Malaysia during the Awal Muharram we should mention that Muslims will go to religious gatherings, as well as to an array of related activities. During the religious meetings, participants recite verses from the Quran, sing spiritual songs, and organize special prayers and various sermons both in public halls and in mosques.
Additionally, the Tokoh Maal Hijrah is also offered during the Awal Muharram holiday that is observed in Malaysia. The award is received by admirable, important persons who are selected due to their considerable contributions of the Islamic world.
Muslims commemorate this important national holiday throughout the country. The Shia Muslims spend the whole day grieving- some of them even cane themselves- to honor Hussein Ibn Ali’s Martyrdom. The Sunni Muslims observe the day and fast in accordance with the Sunnah of Mohammed. During the 10th day of the Muharram, most Muslims begin to fast right when the sun comes up and don’t eat until afterwards in the evening. If you’re wondering what to do in Malaysia during the Awal Muharram celebration, things are simple: pray and get in touch with your God.
Among some other things to do during Awal Muharram, you might want to know that the people prepare sweet rice, which is also referred to as Bubur Asyura, and eat it together with their acquaintances and family members during breakfast. Of course, numerous spiritual activities are also performed, including the aforementioned religious singing and recitation of verses from the Quran. Due to the fact that the sermons and the specific prayers are held in public halls, the places around them might be overcrowded.
Traveling to Malaysia during the Awal Muharram celebration demands special attention and consideration. Travelers should be responsible throughout their journey; they must not harm in any way the mosques and other sacred places around Malaysia.