The Muharrem (Muharram) fast, a significant observance within the Alevi community, is a period of mourning and reflection that spans 12 days, commemorating the Battle of Karbala and the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.
The fast is not merely about abstaining from food and drink; it is a spiritual discipline that requires adherents to uphold the highest ethical standards, including honesty. An act of dishonesty, such as telling a lie, is believed to break the fast, underlining the Alevi belief in the importance of truthfulness and integrity.
The Muharrem fast is also a communal observance. During this period, members of the Alevi community come together to prepare and share meals, reinforcing the sense of unity and solidarity between them.
Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar, a spokesperson for the pro-Kurdish Green Left Party, and Celal Fırat, a Green Left Party MP for Istanbul, along with members of the public, attended a fast-breaking event organised for Muharrem by the Erenler Educational and Cultural Foundation at the Erenler Cemevi (Alevi Meeting House) in the city.
Uçar expressed her wish that the fasts should become generally accepted, and hoped that they would pave the way for an equal and free future for all people and faiths living in Turkey. She criticised the government’s policies of assimilation of Alevis, and urged the state to learn from the Alevi community instead of trying to shape them. Uçar affirmed the Green Left Party’s support for the struggle of the Alevi community.
The event concluded with the recitation of prayers and the breaking of the fast with the distribution of ‘lokma’ (a small piece of bread or food), followed by a discussion.