One of the most sacred months of Islamic Calendar is Muharram, which also marks the start of the Islamic Lunar Calendar. There are numerous hadiths and Ayahs of Quran that emphasize on the sanctity and sacredness of this Holy month. Holy Quran mentions it in the following way:
“Lo! the number of the months with Allah is twelve months by Allah’s ordinance in the day that He created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred: that is the right religion. So wrong not yourselves in them. And wage war on all of the idolaters as they are waging war on all of you. And know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).” [Al-Qur'an 9:36]
This ayah states that there are four sacred months in the Islamic calendar, and regarding them Allah (SWT) says“…So wrong not yourselves in them…” which means that a person must avoid bad and evil deeds in this month as much as possible and refrain from the sinful temptations. It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas said that this expression is equally applicable on all the four months, then these four were chosen and made sacred, so that sin in these months is more grave and good deeds gets a greater return. To further, elaborate the importance of four sacred months of Islam there is Hadith in which Holy Prophet (PBUH) named the four Holy months in which Muharram is one of it.
Abu Bakarah (RA) reported that Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: “The year is twelve months of which four are sacred, the three consecutive months of Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab Mudar which comes between Jumadah and Sha’ban.” [Reported by al-Bukhari, 2958]
THE IMPORTANCE OF OBSERVING NAFIL FASTS ESPECIALLY DURING MUHARRAM
Muslims observe fast in the Holy month of Ramadan which are obligatory in any way to every Muslim, apart from Ramadan Muslim also observe Nafil fasting but above all fasting of Muharram has huge importance according to the Hadith mentioned below:
Abu Hurayrah (RA) said: “The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:’The best of fasting after Ramadhan is fasting Allah’s month of Muharram.’ ” [Reported by Muslim, 1982]
The expression “Allah’s month”, indicates the significance of the Holy month. Al-Qari said: “The apparent meaning is all of the month of Muharram.” However, above Hadith also provide sufficient evidence that Holy Prophet (PBUH) never fasted any other entire month apart from Ramadan, so above Hadith is intended to encourage fasting during Muharram, therefore one may observe fasting of Muharram without hesitation in the entire month.
According to the Holy companion, Ibn Abbas (RA), when the Holy Prophet (PBUH) migrated to Madinah, he found that the Jews of Madina used to fast on the tenth of Muharram. Holy Prophet (PBUH) asked the reason for fasting on such day then they replied that it was the day on which the Holy Prophet Musa (AS) and his followers crossed the Red Sea miraculously, and the Pharaoh was drowned in it. By knowing this from the Jews, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “We are more closely related to Musa than you.” So the Prophet (PBUH) directed the Muslims to fast on the day of Ashura. (Abu Dawood)
This hadith justifies that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) fasted on the tenth of Muharram and commended His companions to do so. Hence for a Muslim of present age, who years to be close to Islam and earn the blessings of Allah Almighty, fasting in the month of Muharram is a great way of doing so and earn countless blessings from the Almighty.
May Allah Almighty guide us in observing the Holy Month of Muharram in its true spirit. Ameen!