The sighting of moon of Muharram marks the beginning of new Islamic year. A year, for which everyone makes prayers that; may Allah bless them and their loved ones; and they have a peaceful year and experience prosperity in each of its months.
Every month of Islamic year has its own significance and blessings; every month brings a specific set of blessings with it. Muharram is the first month of Islamic calendar, and contains numerous blessings and instructions both from Allah Almighty and from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The lines below give the importance and significance of Muharram in light of Quran and Ahadith.
Importance From Quran:
A Qualified Quran tutor, who knows and understands Quran will definitely emphasize on the importance of Muharram to his or her students. Almighty Allah says in Quran:
“Four of them (Zil-Qadah, Zil-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab) are sacred.” (At-Tawbah:36)
Virtues Of Muharram From Ahadith:
Every month of Islamic calendar carries certain virtues and has specific sayings of Prophet (PBUH) about it. Among several other virtues of Muharram the one emphasized the most is the virtue of fasting. There are several sayings of Prophet (PBUH) regarding fasting in Muharram; some of them are given below:
“The best of fasts besides the month of Ramadan is the fasting of Allah’s month of Muharram.” (Muslim)
The hadith clearly shows that besides the Holy month of Ramadan in which Muslims fast for the whole month, the other month that is most recommended for fasting is Muharram.
In another hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“The one that keeps a fast in the month of Muharram will receive the reward of thirty fasts for each fast (in this sacred month).” (Tabraani)
The hadith clearly differentiates between the obligatory fasts and Nafl fasts. The obligatory fasts are of the month of Ramadan and have no equal in reward. However, when it comes to Nafl fasts, a person who fasts for one day in Muharram receives the reward for 30 Nafl fasts. Therefore, if you are thinking of fasting out of will, then Muharram is the best month to fast.
Moreover, to receive the reward for 30fasts against one fast, it is not the condition that a person must fast for the whole of Muharram. Rather, fasting any day of it will equal the reward of 30 fasts.
Although the whole month of Muharram is sacred but the day of Aashora, which is the 10th day of Muharram is the most sacred of all. Aashora is among one of the most blessed and prestigious days of Islamic calendar.
History- When Prophet (PBUH) migrated to Madina with His companions, He saw the Jews of Madina who would fast on the 10th day of Muharram. The Jews fasted on this day in rememberance of the freedom which Allah Almighty provided Bani-Israel from Pharoah, when Prophet Musa (AS) crossed the Red Sea miracoulusly with his followers, while Pharoah drowned in it. On seeing their fast, Prophet (PBUH) said:
“We are more closely related to Musa than You.” (Abu Dawood)
Afterwards, Prophet (PBUH) directed the Muslims to fast on the Aashora day.
Furthermore, to distinguish Muslim fasting from Jews, Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Observe the fast of Aashora and oppose the Jews. Fast a day before it or a day after.” (Baihaqi)
Different other Ahadith and scholars say that to compliment this hadith, Muslims must fast either a day before or a day after along the day of aashora.
Recommended Deeds- Although The Quran proves the sanctity of the month of Muharram, but there are certain deeds which are emphasized by Prophet (PBUH) in his different Ahadits for the day of Aashora. Some of the ahadiths pertaining to the deeds of Aashora are given below:
Prophet (PBUH) said pertaining to fasting on the day of Aashora:
“This fast is a compensation for the (minor) sins of the past year.” (Muslim)
Prophet (PBUH) also instructed on being more generous and loving towards the family on aashora days more than normal days. Prophet (PBUH) said:
“One who generously spends on his family on the day of Aashora, Allah will increase (his provision) for the whole year.” (Baihaqi)
Meaning that besides fasting, a Muslim needs to be extra generous towards his family, the fruits of which will then start appearing throughout the year.
In short, Muharram is one of the most sacred months in Islamic calendar in light of both Quran and Ahadith. Among the days of Muharram Aashora is the most sacred one, and Muslims must try to observe fast on Aashora day and perform whatever good deeds possible.
May Allah Almighty bless us in this Holy month of Muharram and We all enjoy a prosperous and peaceful year.