The first month of the Islamic year, the Prophet (SAW) referred to this month as ‘the month of Allah, and this is the only month that Allah ascribed to Himself. This statement highlights the immense importance of Muharram in Islam. Allah did not say about Ramadan even, that it was ‘the sacred month of Allah.’
The beginning of the year is with Muharram and if the beginning is started right, then the rest of the year follows likewise. This month is called Muharram because of its sacredness.
Fasting in the month of Muharram
The scholars mention that fasting in the sacred months, generally is mustahab, ie. something very much liked and favoured, but the Prophet (SAW) said about this month: ‘….the best fast after the month of Ramadan is fasting in the month of Allah, Muharram.’
The two months that Rasulullah (SAW) put full effort to fast in were Ramadan and Muharram and in particular the day of Ashura. Why is the first month of the Islamic year a month of fasting? Because if you begin anything with a strong start, the ending will also be strong. If you start the year correctly and make the most of it from the beginning, Allah blesses the rest of the year for him.
Abu Hurairah narrated that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “The most virtuous fasting after the month of Ramadan is that of Allah’s month of Al-Muharram. And the most virtuous Salat after the obligatory is the night prayer.”Tirmidhi
Muharram teaches us that the beginning must be right and to do this you should spend the days fasting as much as you can, and spend the nights in standing for prayer.
Actions to do in Muharram
- Have value and certainty in Allah
- Establish Salaah from the very first days of the year, on time every time. Be steadfast on it no matter what time. This is when victory comes.
- Give charity in this month and on Ashura day especially.
- Fast on the day of Ashura A hadith states “Fasting the day of Arafah I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year before it and the year after it, and fasting the day of Ashura I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year that came before it.” (Sahih Muslim)
- Be positive and have good thoughts of Allah even at the hardest of times
Day of Ashura
This is the holiest day in the month of Muharram and is derived from the word ‘ashara’ which means ten. This day is the tenth day of the month.
It is narrated from Anas (RA) that the following verse was revealed on the 10th of Muharram:
The 10th day of Muharram is the most sacred among all its days. According to Ibn Abbas (RA), when the Prophet migrated to Madinah, he found that the Jews fasted on the 10th day of this month. They said it was on this day that Prophet Musa (AS) and his followers crossed the Red Sea and Pharoah was drowned while chasing them. On hearing this, the Prophet (SAW) said: ‘We are more closely related to Musa than you’ and directed the Muslims to fast on the day of Ashura. According to another hadith, it is more advisable to fast one day before or one day after the 10th as well.
Ashura is one of these great days, and it deserves due respect and honour.
Events in Ashura
- On this day the Ark of Nuh (AS) came to rest on Mount Judiy
- Musa (AS) and his people were saved from the tyranny of Pharoah on this day, so Musa (AS) fasted on this day in gratitude.
- Allah forgave Yunus (AS) people on this day
- Allah accepted the repentance of Adam (AS) on this day
- Allah accepted the taubah of the brothers of Yusuf (AS)
- Isa (Jesus AS) was raised to the heavens on this day
- Husayn (RA) was martyred on this day along with 16 members of his family
Hadith on Muharram and Ashura
Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah (SAW), ordered fasting on the day of Ashura, the tenth of al-Muharram.Tirmidhi
Al-Hakam ibn al-A’raj reported: I went to Ibn Abbas (RA), and I said, “Tell me about fasting the day of Ashura.” Ibn Abbas said, “When you see the crescent of the month of al-Muharram, count the days and wake up to fast on the ninth day.” I said, “Is this how the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, fasted it?” Ibn Abbas said, “Yes.”Muslim
Don’t let the day of Ashura go by without having done any extra acts of worship The first thing to do is fast this day. Also remind yourself of the trials that the Prophets (AS) went through and how they came out with victory, success and help on this day.
Be patient with what you are enduring and ask Allah for forgiveness and help. Have certainty that Allah will give you victory eventually so ask for goodness. Give extra charity to multiply rewards.