Month of Muharram
Muharram literally means "Forbidden". It is one of the four sacred months during which waging a war and fighting is not allowed.
Allah says in the Holy Quran:
“Surely the number of months with Allah is twelve months in Allah’s ordinance since the day when He created the heavens and the earth, of these four being sacred; that is the right reckoning; therefore be not unjust to yourselves regarding them.” [Surah 9 :At-Taubah, Verse 36]
Prophet Muhammad (saw) informed us about the four sacred months in the following narration:
“The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred: Three are in succession Dhul-Qa’ da, Dhul-Hijja and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab…” [Bukhari Vol 004, Book 054, Hadith 419.
Junaid Baghdadi has said,
“Assess each moment of life by evaluating how closer you have come to Allah Subhaan’o wa Ta’ala, how far you have distanced yourself from Shaitan, how closer you have come to Jannah and how far you have moved away from Jahannum.”So Begin the New Year with a fresh resolution and a renewed enthusiasm. Gear up for it physically and mentally by making a resolve to:
• Strengthen your relationship with Allah
Subhaan’o wa Ta’ala
• Return to your worships with renewed enthusiasm and diligence
• Improve upon serving your parents well and giving the relatives their rights
• Refocus on the moral/Islamic upbringing of your family and children
• Plan further learning and self-development
• Seek to participate in social work for the betterment of those less fortunate than yourselves in the society
The Significance of Muharram can be best understood by the saying of Prophet Muhammad saw narrated by Abu Huraira (ra)
“The most excellent fast after Ramadan is in Allah’s month; al-Muharram, and the most excellent prayer after what is prescribed is prayer during the night.” [Muslim 6: 2661]
Prophet Muhammad (saw) called Muharram “Allah’s Month” which shows its importance and sanctity and the fasts of the month of Muharram are most reward able ones among the
Nafl (voluntary) fasts.
Fasting on Ashura
The entire month of Muharram is sacred and special and fasting on any day of Muharram has special rewards from Allah, but the 10th of Muharram, called
Ashura holds a more significant position than the rest of the days.
We know from a number of authentic traditions that in the beginning, fasting on the day of
Ashura was obligatory for the Muslims. It was later when the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory that the fast on the day of
Ashurawas made optional.
Narrated by Aisha (ra):
“The people used to fast on ‘Ashura (the tenth day of the month of Muharram) before the fasting of Ramadan was made obligatory. And on that day the Ka’ba used to be covered with a cover. When Allah made the fasting of the month of Ramadan compulsory, Allah’s Apostle said, “Whoever wishes to fast (on the day of ‘Ashura’) may do so; and whoever wishes to leave it can do so.”[Bukhari Vol 02, Book 026, Hadith Number 662]
However, Rasul Allah saw used to fast on the day of Ashura even after fasting in Ramadan was made obligatory.
Atonement of Sins
Fasting on the day of Ashura expiates the sins of the previous year as told by our Prophet Muhammad saw.
“Abu Qatada al-Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) was asked about his fasting… He was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Ashura (10th of Muharram), whereupon be said: It expiates the sins of the preceding year…”[Muslim: Book 06: Hadith 2603]
Historical PerspectiveHazrat Musa (as) and his people the Bani Israel were saved from the Egyptian Pharaoh by the miracle of the parting of the sea on the day of Ashura. It was for this reason that the Jews used to fast on this day. Prophet Muhammad (saw) also then ordered the Muslims to fast on the day of Ashura as well.
Ibn e Abbas ra narrated:
“When the Prophet came to Medina, he found (the Jews) fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’ (i.e. 10th of Muharram). They used to say: “This is a great day on which Allah saved Moses and drowned the folk of Pharaoh. Moses observed the fast on this day, as a sign of gratitude to Allah.” The Prophet said, “I am closer to Moses than they.” So, he observed the fast (on that day) and ordered the Muslims to fast on it. [ Bukhari: Vol 4, Book 055, Hadith Number 609]
Command to distinguish the Muslim fast of Ashura with the fast of the JewsIbn ‘Abbas ra reported:
”When the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) fasted on the day of ‘Ashura and commanded that it should be observed as a fast, they (his Companions) said to him: Messenger of Allah, it is a day which the Jews and Christians hold in high esteem. Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When the next year comes, God willing, we would observe fast on the 9th But the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) died before the advent of the next year.” [ Musim : Book 006, Hadith Number 2528]
Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra) also reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) had said:
“If I live till the next (year), I would definitely observe fast on the 9th.[ Muslim: Book 006, Hadith Number 2529]
Hence, one should combine another day with the fast of Ashura and fast on either the 9th and 10th of Muharram or the 10th and 11th in order to distinguish the Muslim way of fasting from that of the Jews.
Be Mindful Of The Sanctity Of Muharram
Regarding the four sacred months, Allah subhana watala says in the Quran,
“so wrong not yourselves during these months” (At-Tawbah :36)
Thus one should take special care so as not to commit any act which may displease Allah Azzawjal by avoiding all acts of disobedience, sins, innovations and wrong doings.
Muharram is one of the sacred months and should be revered in all its holiness. Everything that is contrary to its sanctity should be avoided to the utmost.
• Avoid all types of quarrels, arguments and disputes.
• Honor the life, wealth and honor of your fellow beings.
Ibn’e Abbas narrates that the Prophet Muhammed SAW spoke the following on the event of the Last Pilgrimage,
‘Your blood, wealth and honor are as sacred upon each other as the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this city of yours.’ [Sahih Bukhari]
Is this message of the Holy Prophet not enough for us?
• Protect yourselves from hurting,offending,insulting or harming others by the tongue or hand.
• Do not disrespect or revile any of the blessed companions of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) regarding whom Allah azzawjal said,
“Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him.”
(At-Tawbah :100)And Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) said,
“None should revile my Companions. for if one amongst you were to spend as much gold as Uhud, it would not amount to as much as one mudd of one of them or half of it” (Sahih Muslim)
• In case of any conflict or discord,let go of all grudges, forgive and forget and spread the message of peace and harmony by your words and deeds.
May Allah guide us all to the straight path. Ameen
2 Sahih At-Tirmithi 3/142.'
The Virtues of Fasting in the Month of Muharram and Its First Ten Days.
Muslim reported from Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said , The best of fasts after the month of Ramadan are in the Month of Allah, which you call Muharram. And the best of prayer after the obligatory prayer is the night prayer. [Muslim, 1163]
Abu Qatadah (R.A) narrated that :the Prophet (S.A.W) said: "Fast the Day of Ashura, for indeed I anticipate that Allah will forgive (the sins of) the year before it." (Sahih).
*Reference* : Jami` at-Tirmidhi 752
In-book reference : Book 4, Hadith 71
The prophet sa was asked about observing fast on the tenth day of muharram,& he replied,"IT IS AN EXPIATION FOR THE SINS OF THE PRECEDING YEAR."(Muslim)
The prophet sa also said,"IF I REMAIN ALIVE TILL THE NEXT YEAR,I SHALL ALSO OBSERVE FAST ON THE NINTH OF MUHARRAM."(Muslim)
"The Messenger of Allah SA said: 'The best of fasting after Ramadhan is fasting of Allah's month Muharram."