While I spoke about fasting in the Ashura few muslims as well as most of my non-muslim friends asked me isn’t Muharram a mourning time for you guys? I was puzzled at first when a fellow muslim thinks this a mourning thing. Later I figured it out that even I was in this stage one day when I was young. So now, I will share with you guys What is Muharram and why do muslims fast during the Ashura days?
The day of Ashura, 10th day of Muharram is when we muslims fast. We muslims try to obey and follow the discipline which almighty has asked us to do. It’s a gratitude of love we have towards our prophet who had showed love towards a man/woman who hasn’t seen them. Isn’t a great feel?
When Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) came to Madinah, he saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura. He said: ‘What is this?’ They said: ‘This is the day when Allah saved Musa from drowning, so we fast on this day.’ Then he said: “We have more right to Musa than you.” So he (PBUH) fasted on this day and advised the Muslims to do the same.
Also, Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated: “When Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) observed the fast of the day of Ashura and ordered (the Sahabah) to fast, they said: “O Messenger of Allah! It is a day revered by Jews and Christians.” Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said: “The coming year, if Allah wills, we will fast on the ninth (also). But the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) died before the advent of the next year.” Saheeh Muslim, vol: 1, p: 359.
Why is Muharram special compared to the other months in Islam?
’Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them…’ (Qur’an, 9:36)
Regarding this verse, Ibn Katheer (rh) explains, ’Allah has chosen elites from His creation: from among the angels He chose Messengers, from among mankind He chose Messengers, from among speech He chose remembrance of Him (dhikr), from among spaces on earth He chose the mosques, from among the months He chose Ramadan and the sacred months…So, venerate that which has been chosen by Allah, for people of understanding and wisdom respect that which has been chosen by Him’. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer)
Therefore, Muharram is something close to our hearts and considered to be a special month simply because Allah has chosen it to be so. He commands us not to ‘wrong ourselves’ during this sacred month, which essentially means to ensure we have pure intentions and righteous behaviour and don’t fall into sin.
There are 4 Sacred months in our islamic calendar.Along with Muharram,Rajab, Dhul-Qa’idah and Dhul-Hijjah are the sacred months.
What are the benefits of Muharram?
Most of us know that Ramadan is important and we often neglect the sacred months. We have a clear guideline of how to be and what to do and what not to do. But still we get tempted by the temporary pleasures and happiness in the world. Almighty has given an opportunity to seek mercy and be close to Allah. Lets get closer and reach the right path which almighty wants us to do.
As mentioned before, our actions carry more weight during Muharram, just like the actions that carry more weight in the Ka’bah and its surroundings. It’s an opportunity to gain more rewards but also a possibility of gaining more sins with our bad actions. So its important to be more vigilant and do what’s right and start living happily here as well create an opportunity to reach Jannah.
I have compiled/put together a quick list of easy ways to take advantage of the benefits of Muharram:
- Say salaam more! By just saying Salam we can reap countless rewards and forgiveness. This is a greatest action which will lead us to Jannah
- Smile at everyone this will lead a fresh start for a day.
- Give regular Sadaqah.
- Improve your health by eating better, exercising more and having a good sleeping routine.
- Seek forgiveness.
- Read more Qur’an. Atleast spending 10-15 minutes a day will help you to get a good connect with our Almighty.
- Hear more Quran.
- Try to read tafseers to get more understanding on the guidelines which our almighty has given.
These actions aren’t specific to Muharram, but they are highly recommended and it makes sense to increase them during this blessed month!
Check out our other article on the benefits of ’Ashura to maximise your reward this Muharram!