EIGHT THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MUHARRAM
1. Muharram is one of four sacred months as Allah says in the Qur’an, “Verily the number of months with Allah are twelve months, so it was ordained by Allah on the day He created the heavens and earth, of them four are sacred,” (Tawbah 09:36) This t was explained by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in a hadith, in which he said, “the year consists of twelve months, of which four are sacred, three consecutive months; Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah, and Muharram, and Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumada and Sha’baan.”(Bukhari and Muslim)
2. It is marked as the first month of the Muslim Calendar, however this does not merit new year celebrations. Muslims should abstain from such celebrations or greetings for they were not prescribed by the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, nor were they done by him. Furthermore to indulge in such practices would be an imitation of the disbelieving nations.
3.. Sinning in the sacred months is worse than sinning in the regular months. On the other hand doing good deeds during these months bring a greater reward.
4. Fasting in this month, is the second best fast: Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “the best of fasting after Ramadaan, is fasting Allah’s month of Muharram.” (Muslim) Fasting is means of attaining taqwa, and what better time to observe it than in a sacred month, where it brings even greater reward?
5. Despite this huge reward, the Prophet is not reported to have fasted any other full month except Ramadaan, hence we can only follow in his footsteps.
6. Muharram is also special because the day of ‘Ashura, occurs in it. ‘Ashura is the day on which Allah saved Musa (May peace be upon him) and Children of Israel from Firawn (as per the various ahadith), therefore Musa would fast on this day as thanksgiving to Allah. About this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to his companions, “you have more right to Musa, so fast on that day.” Thus fasting on the day of ‘Ashura is recommended in the Sunnah. The Prophet was eager to fast on this day, in hope of earning the reward. Ibn Abbas said, “I never saw the Messenger of Allah so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other day, than this day, the day of Ashura…” (Bukhari)
7. Fasting the Day of Ashura brings expiation of year:The Prophet peace be upon him said, “for fasting this day of Ashura, I hope that Allah will accept it as expiation for the year that went before.” (Muslim) Truly Allah’s mercy exceeds His anger, for merely fasting one day, sins of one entire year are washed away. Imam An-Nawawi explained that fasting the day of Ashura expiates all minor sins, meaning all sins, errors and mistakes, except the major sins.
8. Fasting the ninth day (Tasoo’a) of Ashura to differ from the Jews and Christians: Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fasted on the day of ‘Ashura and told the people to fast, they said, “O Messenger of Allah, this is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Next year, if Allah wills, we will fast on the ninth day.” But by the time the following year came, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had passed away. (Muslim)
In conclusion, the virtues of Muharram are many. Anyone who is able to, should strive to earn the extra rewards available in this sacred month. The Prophet prescribed fasting as a means of piling the rewards, so let’s take the opportunity this year to follow his wishes and fast the ninth and tenth of this auspicious month.
Shaykh Abdur Raheem