Urdu: Phrase/greeting to commemorate 3ashuuraa

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by lcfatima, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I heard some odd and awkward 3Ashuurah Mubaaraks this year and was wondering if there is some other traditional or appropriate expression used in greeting or to commemorate the day, in particular for Shi'a.
  2. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    That's very interesting, Fatima. I was under the impression (based on my own research with the Muharram context) that any sort of "mubaarakein" during the month of Muharram would be highly inappropriate.
  3. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    I was under the same impression: any mubaarak for such an occasion seems to me highly insensitive or uninformed.
  4. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Sunnis have a different understanding of the day, but it seems like in S. Asia until very recently, Muharram was a somber and sober time for all, and in many places there was less of a line between Shi'a and Sunni, with Sunnis also viewing Ashuurah in a similar way. (I know my mother in law describes that to be the case in her youth in Lucknow in a Sunni family.) I am not sure what is behind Ashuurah Mubaarak, but I am guessing it is coming in the same basket with Allah Hafiz and pronouncing Ramzaan as Ramadhaan. I did some googling and got some sociolinguistic answers behind Ashoura Mubarak, even from Shi'a sources, but I was wondering if there is an apt way to acknowledge the day with a greeting or expression in Urdu.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  5. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I don't think Sunnis have a "different understanding" as for as the events at Kerbala are concerned and it indeed is a time to commemorate the tragic event to invigorate one's faith and learn lessons from it. Supplementary prayers are offered and people fast on the day of 3aashuurah.

    I don't think you meant to write "aa" in these words and neither do I feel that "3aashuurah Mubaarak" is linked to this kind of thinking.

    Here is a link which lists other events on this date and this is probably why "3aashuurah Mubaarak" term might have come into existence. I have not heard this phrase before and I too feel that despite people's best intentions, it should not be used.

    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  6. aisha93

    aisha93 Senior Member

    According to the Sunni view, it is recommended to fast in this day, to commemorate the day when Moses and his disciples were saved from Pharaoh. (Here)

    Concerning the greetings, I've also noticed that among Turks, here is a picture , Here also
  7. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    QP: If you ask Sunnis who are fasting on the day of Ashura they will not say that it has anything to do with Karbala or Imam Husain. They will say they are fasting for the reason aisha93 mentioned: a different understanding of the significance of the day.

    Yes, I meant ramzaan.
  8. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Fasting is only part of the "understanding" and not the whole "understanding". There is more convergence on the significance of the day for both sects than divergence.
  9. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    I think this is very true historically for subcontinental Muslims. I'm not sure if the statement is ironclad true for Arab (or other non-Indo-Pak) sunnis. Not suggesting they have any anti-Karabala sentiment, but the event just doesn't seem to register as something equally substantial in their consciousness. Not commenting on the right or wrong of it, just sharing my observation.

    Kind of like Shab-baraat, which is a big deal in the subcontinent, but a complete non-event in much of the Arab world.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  10. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I think there was more Indo-Pak Sunni/Shi'a convergence historically as well. I am skeptical that this is the case so broadly today.

    So is there no greeting/expression for the day?
  11. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    ^ No, there is no 'seasonal' greeting as far as I know.
  12. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    BTW, there's a bit of pronunciation difference on 3aashuurah between subcontinent and the Middle East too. I have noticed hearing 3aashuuraa' instead from some Arab speakers. I suspect in Urdu/Arabic script the difference will be عاشورہ vs عاشوراء. Anyone else observe this?
  13. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Could you please clarify this point. I don't quite follow.
  14. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Since none seems to exist, I suppose we could craft one. How about ...

    yaum-i-3ashuur yasiir meaning "Have an easy day of 3ashuurah."

    Inspired by similar greetings on the long Yom Kippur fast

    Side note: 3ashuurah is historically the same as Yom Kippur, commemorating the same event, on the tenth day of the year.
  15. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Such a "heavy duty" word! I don't believe this!:)
  16. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Hahaha! Thanks. Some of your 3ilmiyyat rubbing off on this aHqar, finally :)
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  17. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    I don't think this is the place to clarify my point but I will PM you, QP.
  18. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    To return to the original question. On ʻāshūrāʼ عاشورا the Shīʻa traditionally greet each other with the words yā Ḥusayn يا حسين or some phrase containing these words.

    The Jewish ʻāshūrāʼ is the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) on the 10th of the first Jewish month, Tishri. The Muslim and Jewish calendars are both lunar, but the Jews practice intercalation, while the Muslims do not. This means that the Muslim ʻāshūrāʼ and the Jewish ʻāshūrāʼ/Yom Kippur will fall on the same day only when Muḥarram and Tishri coincide, which is on average once in 12 years.
  19. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I have noticed different spellings in this thread: 3aashuuraa' and 3aashuurah. Which one is correct? Also, it might be a silly question but, UM SaaHib, you have mentioned yaum-e-3aashuur. Why is it not yaum-e-3aashuurah/3aashuuraa'?
  20. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    The word in its entirety is 3aashuuraa2. However, in Urdu, the trend is to drop the final hamzah. So, the correct form is 3aashuuraa and not 3aashuurah.
  21. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Thank you. The OP has posted 3aashuurah which I thought was wrong. The dropping of hte final hamzah in Urdu is a secondary issue, which I'm aware of (too aware I can say) but it is good you have mentioned it in this very thread since it is absolutely on the topic.
  22. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    We never ‘greet’ each other as such on 3aashuuraa’ but I’ve seen some people even in the subcontinent have started doing this (3aashuraa’ mubaarak!!) since they are now following a particular ideology that I shall not name!

    In my experience this seems like a recent phenomena and very strange for us since throughout the subcontinent both Muslims and non-Muslims know what is the significance of this day and, as you say, “in S. Asia until very recently, Muharram was a somber and sober time for all”

    When we were living in Iraq, many Christians and Jews we got to know there also marked the day with dignity, sobriety and sombreness.

    There might be some expressions used in Urdu for 3aashuura’ but are rather rare and perhaps mostly loose translations of the expression below.

    The expression we actually use is a kind of condolence in Arabic! The original is a bit long so it is very often reduced to just this:

    عَظَّمَ اللهُ أُجُوْرَنَا بِمُصَابِنَابِالْحُسَيْنِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ

    3azzama allahu ujuurana be muSaabina bil-Husain 3alaihissalaam

    Idiomatic translation:

    May God magnify our reward for us bearing the calamity of what happened to Imam al-Husain 3alaihissalaam.

    But you also hear a number of variations of the above, such as:

    عظّم الله أجورنا وأجوركم بمصابنا بأبي عبد الله الحسين عليه السلام
    3azzama allahu ujuurana wa ujuurakum be muSaabina be abii 3abdillah* al-Husain 3alaihissalaam

    (*abuu 3abdullah was his kunniyah given my our Prophet)

    Plus a couple of more that are also used commonly. All around the above theme.

    Also, these are used not just by the educated in various regions of the subcontinent but I’ve heard even less well-educated use them. Hardly surprising as they are quite short and easily remembered, esp. the first.

    As I do not wish to go off-topic, I can PM you, if you so wish, more on the discussions I see above (e.g. fasting on this day - in the shi3ii tradition a proper dawn to dusk fast for historical reasons is Haraam! But faaqah from SubH till 3aSr is observed by most). I’ll also be able to inform you about the different faith groups I and other family members (including my elders) have either met or read about over the years. Many have contributed as per their understanding of the event. Of special interest are the Lebanese and Syrian Christian writers like xaliil (Khalil) gibran, bulus (Paulus) salaamah, miixaa’il(Mikhail) nu3aimah, 3abdul maseeH al-antaakii, jorj (George) jurdaaq, Antoine Bara (baaraa). I know Bara uses the above Arabic expressions on 3aashuraa’! Well, he would since he is an Arab - and he observes the event despite being a Christian!

    In India there is a group called Husaini Brahmins (I wouldn’t read too much into the historical claim they make – it is in the end all about belief!) who used to regularly participate in 3aashuuraa’ activities (apparently, the actor Sunil Dutt was one of them) and have now revived the custom after a lapse. Besides this, Gandhi, Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose (Netaji) etc. were all aware and very much conscious of the event, even referring to it in their speeches and writings.

    Some elders have been telling me that as a mark of respect Nehru, otherwise a frequent visitor, made it a point to never visit our family on 3aashuuraa’ itself but if he ever met a family member during the months of muHarram and safar he would say things like:

    xudaa aap sab ko 3aashuure ke Gham kaa nek Silah de

    xudaa aap (sab) ko Gham-e-3ashra-e-muHarram kaa nek Silah de

    aap (sab) ko Gham-e-Husain aur Gham-e-ahl-e-bait manaane kaa nek Silah mile

    xudaa aap sab ko Gham-e-Husain aur Gham-e-ahl-e-bait manaane kaa nek Silah de

    etc., etc.

    Nehru’s Urdu was impeccable!

    BTW, there are many ways to say the above but the ones mentioned here are pretty much usable, esp. the first for the day of 3aashuuraa’ itself.

    It’ll be very interesting to find out what the Husaini Brahmins say on 3aashuuraa’! I guess most speak Hindi-Urdu or other North Indian languages, e.g. Bihari, Bhojpuri, Punjabi, Awadhi, Haryanwi etc. depending on where they are from.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  23. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Thank you for your rich response, Faylasoof.

    I have heard that the Arabs say Ma'jooriin and in return Mathaabiin (Returns/rewards for mourning, and the response, I am not sure of the meaning, something like, recompensed---perhaps you know these phrases and can better explain them, too.)

    I just read about the Mohiyals a few days ago, and that a filmmaker has made a documentary of them recently. A very fascinating phenomenon.

    Please do PM me about the Shi'a traditions on this day, and on your observations of other communities' commemoration of the sorrowful day. I would appreciate it. The lines being drawn by politicized expressions like 3ashuura' mubaarak are very distressing, and I find examples of past syncretism and co-existence to be very inspiring and a good model of how things should be.
  24. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I shall look into this, lcfatima! In Iraq I mostly heard what I mention but we can discuss Ma'jooriin and Mathaabiin perhaps by PM.

    Anyway, an Urdu translation of what we normally say can be:

    عَظَّمَ اللهُ أُجُوْرَنَا بِمُصَابِنَابِالْحُسَيْنِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ

    (3azzama allahu ujuurana bi muSaabina bil-Husain 3alaihissalaam)

    xudaa imam-e-Husain 3alihissalaam kii muSiibat ke saath hamaarii muSiibat ke ajr meN iDhaafah kare

    But I'm not sure if it'll catch on! We of course prefer the Arabic version because it is shorter!!
  25. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    The more common Urdu spelling is 3aashuurah. You may find 3aashuuraa also in Urdu. But in Arabic, it seems the standard is 3aashuuraa', ending with a hamzah.

    In Urdu, yaum-i-3aashuur is a very commonly used name for the same day.
  26. eskandar

    eskandar Moderator

    English (US)
    In Persian it's common enough to say some variation of عاشورا را تسلیت می‌گویم\عرض می‌کنم or simply عاشورا تسلیت باد (or something along the lines of ایام تاسوعا و عاشورا تسلیت باد). I would think عاشورا تسلیت باد would be completely understandable to Urduphones, so I suggest it as a shorter alternative to Faylasoof SaaHib's examples. The short phrase "Muharram condolences" is sometimes used among English-speaking Shi`a.

    It's a pity we can't continue the very interesting discussion about Muharram commemorations and traditions in the subcontinent and elsewhere. (I submit for everyone's attention the ritual of Hosay in the Caribbean, which our esteemed forum members may know about, as another example of the rich non-sectarian tradition of Ashura mourning). Is there another place on the forum we could start a thread to discuss this, or can we create a PM thread with multiple people involved? I would also like to hear Faylasoof SaaHib's (and others') observations on this topic and perhaps share my own.

    Also, I just wanted to point out:
    I would think that it is a big deal at least for Shi`a in the Arab world, though perhaps not so for Sunnis.
  27. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member

    Thank you for this interesting piece of information. I don't really know about the Hebrew calendar, but I thought intercalation meant in that case to insert a few days to make the lunar calendar follow the solar one.

    Did you mean to say that MuHarram and Tishri coincide every 30+ years? Or is there something I don't understand. How can it be after 12 years?
  28. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    No, they insert a whole month every two or three years. This realigns the lunar months with the solar year. "12 years" is a statistical average based on the fact that there is a one in twelve chance that any given Jewish month will coincide with a given Muslim month.
  29. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member

    Thanks for your reply. My thick brain is still however not able to process this information correctly.

    I understood that the objective of intercalation was to make the beginning of the Hebrew calendar coincide with the beginning of the solar one. For that purpose every 2 / 3 years a month (29/30 days) is inserted (right before Tishri, I guess) so that Tishri can always start around the same time of the seasonal year / solar calendar. Is this correct?
  30. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Yes, this is complicated, but what you are saying is broadly correct. My point is that both the Muslim month and the Jewish month begin at (roughly) the time of the new moon. Thus, the 10th day of a Jewish month will generally be around the 10th of some Muslim month (with some slight fluctuation). The Jewish year begins in the autumn, but the 13th month of the intercalated year is inserted not in the autumn, but just before the spring equinox.
  31. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member

    I understand what you mean to say. The Hebrew calendar, remains lunar (every month start with the new moon), however its new year remains more or less around the same period of the year.

    Jewish Calendar
    Year 1 = New Year = X Date
    Year 2 = New Year = X Date - 11 days
    Year 3 = New Year = X Date - 22 days
    Year 4 = New Year = X Date + 7/8 days (Intercalary month added)
    Year 5 = New Year = X Date - 3/4 days
    Year 6 = New Year = X Date - 14/15 days
    Year 7 = New Year = X Date - 25/26 days
    Year 8 = New Year = X Date + 3/4 days (Intercalary month added)

    The New year will not move more than 26 / 27, maybe 30 days earlier / 10/15 days later than the solar year but always remain in the same season / moment of the year.

    On the other hand, the new year of the Hijri calendar starts every (solar) year 11 days earlier.

    Hijri Calendar
    Year 1 = New Year = X Date
    Year 2 = New Year = X Date - 10 / 11 days
    Year 3 = New Year = X Date - 21 /22 days
    Year 4 = New Year = X Date - 32/ 33 days
    Year 5 = New Year = X Date - 43 /44 days
    Year 6 = New Year = X Date - 54/55 days

    Therefore, the 10th of Muharram and the 10th of Tishri will (approximately) coincide for two or three years in a row and then after 33/34 years or so. I don't see any logical solution to this question. Sorry for insisting.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  32. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Cilquiestsuens SaaHib, leaving your astronomical calculations aside, have you come across the greeting in the part of the world where you are?
  33. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    10 Muharram 1405 = 10 Tishri 5745 = 6 Oct 1984
    10 Muharram 1406 = 10 Tishri 5746 L = 25 Sept 1985

    But Annus Mundi 5746 is an intercalated year, so there is slippage of one month:

    10 Safar 1407 = 10 Tishri 5747 = 13 October 1986

    And a growing discrepancy continues until:

    10 Muharram 1438 = 10 Tishri 5777 = 12 Oct 2016
    10 Muharram 1439 = 10 Tishri 5778 = 30 September 2017
    10 Muharram 1440 = 10 Tishri 5779 L = 19 September 2018

    Again an intercalated year.

    So the two Ashuras agree 3 times in 33 years, or an average of about once in 11 years.

    NB: The Muslim calendar depends on the actually sighting of the crescent, so there is a error factor of a day or two in the hijri/Gregorian conversions.
  34. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    I am sorry to have sidetracked the discussion. I did offer a reply to the original question in no. 18.
  35. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member

    To be honest, I haven't much to add to what has been said already. For the vast majority of Pakistani Sunnis {I agree with Aisha in an earlier post when she said that the actual sunnah of 3aashuraa2 is the celebration of the Jewish Exodus of Pharaoh's Egypt, but this is mostly overlooked, except by a minority of ahl-e-hadith or hardcore salafis.} the whole period is almost exclusively devoted to maatam (mourning) and to remembering almost ad nauseam (no offence meant, I just mean to underline some exaggerations in a tradition I myself cherish) the Martyrs of Karbala. Mourning normally means no wishes. The whole country, however is abuzz with نعرے the most common, as mentioned earlier being:

    ! لبّیک یا حُسین، لبّیک

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2012
  36. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member

    Thank you, now, it is crystal clear. As for the digression, I am the one who shall take 'credit' for that!
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  37. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    This is a question about (fairly advanced) Arabic. The 10th of Muḥarram is called both ʻāshūrāʼ عاشوراء (without the article) and al-ʻāshūr العاشور. In the same way, the 9th is called tāsūʻāʼ تاسوعاء and at-tāsūʻ التاسوع.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  38. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    I feel this may not catch on either since تسلیت باد may sound rather unusual to many Urduphones. Short Urdu alternatives might be:

    3aashuure kaa Gham qubuul ho
    azaadaari-e-3aashuuraa qubuul no

    But I agree with you eskandar SaaHib that it is a very big deal in parts of the Arab world, esp. Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon, but also in the Qatif province of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, parts of Syria etc.
    When an estimated 10-14 million or higher turn up ( this year apparently the figure was even higher - 15 million - as compared to last year and a similar or higher number might be on yaum-ul-3arba3iin) then it is a big deal for the Arabs!


    A general point about the spelling. I see that 3aashuurah gets used by many Urduphones but in fact we essentially maintain the Arabic spelling in Urdu (just as we do in our Persian) as 3aashuuraa but without the hamzah as pointed above. Or else we say yaum-e-3aashuur, just like yaum-e-3arba3iin.

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