The Sacred Month of Muharram

The Sacred Month of Muharram

Muharram is the month with which the Muslims begin their lunar (Hegira) Calendar. It is one of the four sanctified months about which the Holy Quran Says (what means):

quran-9_36-1{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…}[Quran 9: 36]

Muharram is the month with which the Muslims begin their lunar (Hegira) Calendar. It is one of the four sanctified months in Islam

These four months, according to the authentic traditions (Prophetic narrations), are Thul-Qi’dah, Thul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab. All the commentators of the Noble Quran are unanimous on this point, because the Noble Prophet (pbuh) declared in his sermon on the occasion of his last Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah): “One year consists of twelve months, of which four are sanctified months, three of them are in sequence; Thul-Qi’dah, Thul-Hijjah, Muharram, and the fourth is Rajab.”

The specific mention of these four months does not mean that any other month has no sanctity, because the month of Ramadan is admittedly the most sanctified month in the year. But these four months were specifically termed as sanctified months for the simple reason that even the pagans of Makkah accepted their sanctity.

The sanctity of these four months was established right from the day Allah created the universe. Since the Pagans of Makkah attributed themselves to Ibraaheem (Abraham), may Allah exalt his mention, who observed the sanctity of these months, they also observed the sanctity of these four months and despite their frequent tribal battles, they held it unlawful to fight in these months.

In Islam, the sanctity of these months was upheld and the Holy Quran referred to them as the “sanctified months”. Muharram has certain other characteristics special to it, which are stated below:

Fasting during the month:

muharram-1The Noble Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘The best fasts after the fasts of Ramadan are those of the month of Muharram.”Although the fasts of the month of Muharram are not obligatory, yet one who fasts in these days out of his own will is entitled to a great reward by Allah Almighty. The Hadeeth cited above signifies that the fasts of the month of Muharram are most rewardable ones among the voluntary fasts. It does not mean that the award promised for fasts of Muharram can be achieved only by fasting for the whole month. On the contrary, each fast during this month has merit. Therefore, one should avail of this opportunity as much as he can.

The day of ‘Aashooraa’:

Although Muharram is a sanctified month as a whole, yet, the 10th day of Muharram is the most sacred among all its days. The day is named ‘Aashooraa’. According to Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, the Prophet (pbuh) when he migrated to Madeenah, found that the Jews of Madeenah used to fast on the 10th day of Muharram. They said that it was the day on which Prophet Moosa (Moses), may Allah exalt his mention, and his followers crossed the Red Sea miraculously and the Pharaoh was drowned in its waters. On hearing this from the Jews, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “We are worthier of Moosa than you,” and directed the Muslims to fast on the day of ‘Aashooraa’. [Abu Daawood]

It is also reported in a number of authentic traditions that in the beginning, fasting on the day of ‘Aashooraa’ was obligatory for the Muslims. It was later that the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory and the fast on the day of ‘Aashooraa’ was made optional. ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “When the Prophet (pbuh) came to Madeenah, he fasted on the day of ‘Aashooraa’ and directed the people to do likewise. But when the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory, the obligation of fasting was confined to Ramadan and the obligatory nature of the fast of ‘Aashooraa’ was abandoned. Whoever so desires should fast on it and any other who so likes can avoid fasting on it.” [Abu Daawood]

However, the Prophet (pbuh) used to fast on the day of ‘Aashooraa’ even after the fasting in Ramadan was made obligatory. Abdullaah Ibn Moosa, may Allah be pleased with him, reports that the Prophet (pbuh) preferred the fast of ‘Aashooraa’ on the fasts of other days and preferred the fasts of Ramadan on the fast of ‘Aashooraa’. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

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Retired as Aeronautical Engineer, and worked as a journalist for a long time. Settled down to dedicate myself to the service of the religion. Have translated holy Quran in poetry, and I am in the process of writing Tafsir. I encourage all interested to send articles to this website, where the articles shall be printed with their own names. If you like an article, please "Like' in the "Facebook box" on right side

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