The Significance of Muharram
"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." - [TM Qur'an al-Tawbah 9:36]
"The year is twelve months of which four are sacred, the three consecutive months of Dhu’l-Qa’dah, Dhu’l-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab Mudar which comes between Jumada and Sha’ban." - (Reported by al-Bukhari, 2958).
The Islamic (Hijri) year consists of twelve (purely lunar) months.
Muharram is so called because it is a sacred (Muharram) month and to confirm its sanctity.
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 'Ashurah'.
Authentic Ahadith make mention of two historical events that took place on this day.
1) The Ark of Nuh (Alayhis Salam) berthing on Mount Judi after the Flood, and
2) The parting of the sea for Musa (Alayhis Salam) leading to the salvation of the Banu Israil and the destruction of Firaun.
Al-‘Izz ibn ‘Abd al-Salam (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
"Times and places may be given preferred status in two ways, either temporal or religious/spiritual. With regard to the latter, this is because Allah bestows His generosity on His slaves ah those times or in those places, by giving a greater reward for deeds done, such as giving a greater reward for fasting in Ramadan than for fasting ah all other times, and also on the day of ‘Ashura’, the virtue of which is due to Allah’s generosity and kindness towards His slaves on that day…" - (Qawa’id al-Ahkam, 1/38).
THE VIRTUE OF OBSERVING MORE NAFIL FASTS DURING MUHARRAM
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "The best of fasting after Ramadan is fasting Allah's month of Muharram." - [Reported by Muslim, 1982]
THE VIRTUES OF FASTING ON 'ASHURA'
Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: "I never saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of 'Ashura', and this month, meaning Ramadan." - [Reported by al-Bukhari, 1867]
To Fast 9th & 10th OR 10th & 11th Muharram
It is mustahabb (encouraged) to fast Two Days, The 10th & a Day Preceding or Following the 10th of Muharram.
“When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fasted on ‘Ashura’ and commanded the Muslims to fast as well, they said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘If I live to see the next year, in sha Allah, we will fast on the ninth day too.’ But it so happened that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed away before the next year came.” - (Reported by Muslim, 1916).
What should be done if there is confusion about the beginning of the month?
Imam Ahmad said:
“If there is confusion about the beginning of the month, one should fast for three days, to be sure of fasting on the ninth and tenth days.” - (al-Mughni by Ibn Qudamah, part 3 – al-Siyam – Siyam ‘Ashura’).
Fasting ‘Ashura’ when one still has days to make up from Ramadan
Muslims must hasten to make up any missed fasts after Ramadan, so that they will be able to fast ‘Arafah and ‘Ashura’ without any problem. If a person fasts ‘Arafah and ‘Ashura’ with the intention from the night before of making up for a missed fast, this will be good enough to make up what he has missed, for the bounty of Allah is great.
Karbala and Imam Hussain (May Allah Be Please With Him)
10th of Muharram, 61 years after the Hijrah was a Very Sad Day for the Muslim Ummah when Imam Hussain (Radhiyallahu Anhu) the grandson of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) and many from his family were martyred on the plains of Karbala by tyrants professing Iman, after being deserted by the Kufans who had pledged their unwavering support and allegiance to him.
Some sources mention the following incidents in Islamic History that took place in Muharram
51AH - Death of Abu Ayyub Ansari رضي الله عنه
321AH - Death of Imam Abu Ja'far Tahawi رحمة الله عليه
656AH - Halaku (Hulagu) Khan sacked Baghdad, killing over a million people
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