Facts About Muharram
- Muharram is one of the four sacred Months out of twelve. The other being ZiQad,ZilHajj and Rajab.
- These four months have been sacred since the creation of universe – as told by Allah Subhana Watala in the Quran.
- Muharram is a sacred month NOT because the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (saw) was martyred in this month. It is sacred because Allah made it sacred along with three other months and told us about it in the Quran.
Allah says in the Holy Quran:
“Surely the number of months with Allah is twelve months in Allah’s ordinance since the day when He created the heavens and the earth, of these four being sacred; that is the right reckoning; therefore be not unjust to yourselves regarding them.”[Surah 9 :At-Taubah, Verse 36]
Prophet Muhammad (saw) informed us about the four sacred months in the following narration:
“The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred: Three are in succession Dhul-Qa’ da, Dhul-Hijja and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab…” [Bukhari Vol 004, Book 054, Hadith 419
- After Ramadan, fasting in the month of Muharram is most rewardable.
Prophet Muhammad saw said “The most excellent fast after Ramadan is in Allah’s month; al-Muharram, and the most excellent prayer after what is prescribed is prayer during the night.” [Muslim 6: 2661]
Prophet Muhammad (saw) called Muharram “Allah’s Month”
Facts about Ashura – The 10th of Muharram
- Fasting on the 10th Muharram i.e. Ashura was obligatory on the Muslims before the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory.
Narrated by Mother of the Believers Aisha (ra): “The people used to fast on ‘Ashura (the tenth day of the month of Muharram) before the fasting of Ramadan was made obligatory. And on that day the Ka’ba used to be covered with a cover. When Allah made the fasting of the month of Ramadan compulsory, Allah’s Apostle said, “Whoever wishes to fast (on the day of ‘Ashura’) may do so; and whoever wishes to leave it can do so.”[Bukhari Vol 02, Book 026, Hadith Number 662]
“Abu Qatada al-Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) was asked about his fasting… He was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Ashura (10th of Muharram), whereupon be said: It expiates the sins of the preceding year…”[Muslim: Book 06: Hadith 2603]
Misconceptions about Ashura
- This is the day Prophet Adam (as) was created
- This is the day when Allah accepted the repentance of Adam (as)
- This is the day when Ibrahim (as) was born.
- This is the day the Qayamat (doomsday) will occur. (From hadiths we know Qayamat will occur on a friday, but does not specify which month)
- Whoever baths on Ashura will never get ill.
All of the above are misconceptions based on unauthentic traditions.
- Muharram is an evil or unlucky month.( due to the battle of Karbala)
- Marriages should not be held in Muharram.
This misconception can be easily removed by the fact that on the exact same day Husain (ra) was martyred, years ago Prophet Musa as and his followers were saved from Pharaoh, which is why Prophet Muhammad saw observed the fast on Ashura and ordered the Muslims to do the same. The day can not be lucky and unlucky at the same time.
Historical Facts about Muharram
- Musa (as) and the Bani Israel were saved from the Pharaoh by the parting of the sea on 10th Muharram.
- Prophet Musa (as) as a sign of gratitute to Allah used to fast on the day of Ashura and Jews did the same.
- Prophet Muhammad (saw) on hearing the fast of Musa (as) also ordered the Muslims to fast on this day and himself did the same.
- Prophet Muhammad (saw) decided to fast on 9th Muharram as well to differentiate from the Jews but he passed away before he could do so.
Ibn e Abbas ra narrated: “When the Prophet came to Medina, he found (the Jews) fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’ (i.e. 10th of Muharram). They used to say: “This is a great day on which Allah saved Moses and drowned the folk of Pharaoh. Moses observed the fast on this day, as a sign of gratitude to Allah.” The Prophet said, “I am closer to Moses than they.” So, he observed the fast (on that day) and ordered the Muslims to fast on it. [ Bukhari: Vol 4, Book 055, Hadith Number 609]
Ibn ‘Abbas ra reported: ”When the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) fasted on the day of ‘Ashura and commanded that it should be observed as a fast, they (his Companions) said to him: Messenger of Allah, it is a day which the Jews and Christians hold in high esteem. Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When the next year comes, God willing, we would observe fast on the 9th But the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) died before the advent of the next year.” [ Musim : Book 006, Hadith Number 2528]
Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra) also reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) had said:
“If I live till the next (year), I would definitely observe fast on the 9th.[ Muslim: Book 006, Hadith Number 2529]
- Companion Umar Farooq (ra) succumbed to his injuries and attained Martyrdom on the 1st of Muharram, 23 AH (After Hijri)
- Grandson of Prophet Muhammad (saw) Hussain ibn Ali (ra) along with most of his family members was martyred in the desert of Kerbala in Iraq on the 10th of Muharram.
Authentic Ibadaat (Worship) of Muharram
- Fasting in Muharram (any day)
- Fasting on 10th Muharram and combining it with the fast of 9th Muharram to distinguish from the Jews.
Innovations and things to avoid in Muharram
- Preparing special dishes meals in Muharram and Ashoora
- Muslims should not eat any meals, dishes made specifically by the Shias for Ashoora as it involves eating food on which a name other than the name of Allah has been taken or is prepared as a token to any other other than Allah. If you do end up receiving such food, distribute it amongst your non Muslim servants. Read further details here
- Holding Matam ~lamentation and mourning ceremonies in the memory of martyrdom of Sayyidna Husain (ra)
- Muslims should not take part in Matam as Matam is totally against the basic teaching of Islam. Read : Matam on Ashura is not a part of Islam
- Cursing the companions.
- Wearing black clothes and starving and refusing to drink in memory of Husain (ra)
All these are deviant practices which go against the basic teachings of Quran and Prophet Muhammad (saw) He said “He is not from our group who slaps his checks, tears his clothes and cries in the manner of the people of jahiliyyah.” (Sahih Bukhari)
Sayyidna Husain ra before his demise advised his beloved sister Sayyidah Zainab, ra, not to mourn over his death in this manner. He said, “My dear sister! I swear upon you that in case I die you shall not tear your clothes, nor scratch your face, nor curse anyone for me or pray for your death.” (Al-Kamil, ibn Kathir vol. 4 pg. 24)
Muharram Al Haraam:Significance, Masnoon Acts and Things to Avoid