THE MUHARRAM FESTIVAL
THE name Muharram means that which is ' forbidden ' or ' taboo ', and hence ' sacred ', the first month of the Musalmii.n year. 1 According to the Author, the festival in this month, and called by the same name, was in existence in the time of the Prophet, the Chosen-May God bless him !-it having been observed as such by prophets before his time. But-the Prophet, the Messenger of God, ordered that his followers should observe certain additional customs on the 'Ashiirii. or tenth day, bathing, the wearing of apparel finer than ordinary, the applying of antimony (surma) to the eyes, fasting, prayer, cooking of more food. than ordinary, making friends with enemies and establishing friendship among others, associating with pious and learned divines, taking compassion on orphans and giving alms to them, and bestowing alms in charity. The month derives its special importance from the festival in honour of the martyrs.