The Month of Muharram

The Month of Muharram

The month of Muharram is the first month of the Islamic Hijri Calendar.

  • It is amongst the four sacred months mentioned in the Glorious Qur`an [9:36]. The sanctity of these four months (i.e. Muharram, Rajab, Dhu al-Qa`dah and Dhu al-Hijjah) was recognised by the people of Makkah since the era of Prophet Ibrahim and then upheld by the Glorious Qur`an and the Prophet (peace be upon him). [Bukhari]
  • It is known as shahr Allah (the month of Allah). Allah had exclusively changed the month`s name from its previous form to Muharram. This increased it in its sanctity.
  • It is greatly rewarding to fast as many days as possible throughout the whole month of Muharram.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated, “The best of fasts after the month of Ramadhan are the fasts of Muharram, the month of Allah.” [Muslim] Hence, the fasts in the month of Muharram are the most rewarding fasts among the voluntary fasts. Each fast in this month holds its individual merit.

The Tenth of Muharram

The whole month of Muharram is sacred but, in particular, the 10th of Muharram holds special significance and sanctity. This day is also known as `Ashura.


The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) migrated to Madinah and observed the Jewish community fasting on the tenth day of Muharram. He asked them the reason and significance for their fasting. They responded that it was the day when Allah saved Prophet Musa and his people [and thus allowed them to cross the Red Sea miraculously] and drowned Pharaoh and his people. Moses observed a fast out of appreciation and thus they also fasted on this day. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) remarked, “We have more right to and are more close to Moses than you.” Thereafter, the Prophet commanded the Muslims to fast on this day too. [Muslim, Abu Dawud]


  • It is greatly rewarding to fast on `Ashura

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was asked regarding the fast of `Ashura. The Prophet expressed, “I hope from Allah that it is a [cause of] expiation for [the sins committed] the previous year.” [Muslim]Image result for fasting

  • The fast on `Ashura was initially obligatory and thereafter declared voluntary.

When the Prophet (PBUH) migrated to Madinah, he fasted on the tenth of Muharram and commanded the Muslims to fast on this day too. However, when the fasts of the month of Ramadhan were made compulsory, the obligation of fasting was restricted to Ramadhan and fasting on the tenth of Muharram was made optional to whosoever willed to. [Muslim]

However, the Prophet (PBUH) fasted on this day even after the fasts of Ramadhan were made compulsory. The Prophet preferred the fast on the tenth of Muharram to the fast of other days except of Ramadhan. [Bukhari & Muslim]

  • It is advisable to prefix or suffix the fast of `Ashura with another fast.

A person may observe the fasts on 9th, 10th and 11th (i.e. the best option), or the 9th and 10th (the next best option), or the 10th or 11th. If this is not possible, then only on the 10th is also permissible.

The Prophet (PBUH) observed the fast on the tenth only but remarked, “Fast a day before it or a day after it,” and that, “if I remain until the next year comes, I will [also] fast on the ninth [of Muharram].” However, the Prophet passed away before the advent of the next year. [Muslim]


  • It is recommended to be more generous to one`s family on the tenth of Muharram as compared to on other days

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Whoever spends generously on his dependents on the day of `Ashura, Allah will expand [his sustenance] upon him for the whole year.” [Al-Baihaqi, al-Targhib etc.]Image result for being generous

This hadith is reliable. It has been transmitted from several companions (including Jabir and Ibn Umar RA) and several experts of the science of hadith (such as Hafiz Muhammad b. Nasir, Ibn Hibban and al-Bayhaqi) have expounded that although all the chains of this hadith are not strong, the hadith is reliable and credible once all the chains are considered collectively. [Al-maqasid al-Hasanah, Kashf al-Khafa; also see: Al-Yawaqit al-Ghaliyah, 1: 326-334].

Furthermore, several scholar have accepted this hadith and practiced upon it, and have asserted that their experience concurred with the blessings mentioned in the hadith. Sufyan b. `Uyaynah, for example, says, “We have tested this [hadith] for about fifty years, and have found it to be accurate.” [Mirqat]

Similarly, it was the practice of Sh. Zakariyya al-Kahndlawi to distribute food and drink in abundance and provide gifts and money to his children, grandchildren, family members and his students on the day of `Ashura.

Martyrdom of Husain RA

Husayn (RA) was the blessed grandchild of our beloved prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He was loved dearly by our Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet would play with him joyfully and, sometimes, carry him on his shoulders and, at times, sat him in his lap. He was only seven years old at the time of the Prophet`s demise. The prophet had prophesised that he would be martyred in the path of truthfulness. He resembled the Prophet in his appearance.

It was on the tenth of Muharram that Husayn (RA) was martyred. The martyrdom of Husain (RA) is indeed one of the most tragic events of our Islamic history. However, the sanctity of the tenth of Muharram cannot be assigned to his martyrdom since the sanctity of this day was established by the Prophet even before Husain (RA) was born. However, it is a merit of Husain RA that he was martyred on this auspicious day. We should furthermore take this opportunity to extend reward (isal al-thawab) for the martyrs of Karbala and the ahl a-bayt (the family and household of the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him))

Sh. Zakariyya al-Kandhlawi once, on the tenth of Muharram, asked his disciples, “How much reward have you extended (isal al-thawab) for the martyrs of Karbala (Husayn (RA) and the ahl a-bayt)?” Sheikh Zakariyya himself then asserted, “From the time the new moon of Muharram was sighted, until today, I have completed the recitation of one Qur`an daily for the [isal al-thawab of the] martyrs of Karbala. I have been observing this ritual in Muharram every year.”


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Posted in General on 5th Oct 2016 by Our Imam | 4883 Views