In fact, our Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said that the best month to fast after that of Ramadan is Shahrullaahil Muharram, the month of Allah al-Muharram. So noticed, our Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam called Muharram the month of Allah. And no other month has been called Shahrullaah other than Muharram.
He literally called it Shahrullahil Muharram, the month of Allah, Muharram, and therefore this is of the highest honor that has been given to this month, and no other month in the Islamic calender has been given this honor.
|The Month of Allah | Muharram|
This month of Muharram is one of the four sacred months, and in fact many of the sahabah said, it is the most sacred of the four months.
Obviously Ramadan is the most sacred months of the year, but Ramadan is not of the four sacred haram months. And Muharram, many of the scholars said is the most sacred of all of the sacred months.
When Umar ibn Khattab instituted the calender, ten years or eight years after the Prophet sallallahu ‘akaihi wasallam passed away, they discussed which month should we begun the calender with. And some said this and other said that, and one opinion was Ramadan, and one opinion was other months as well, until finally, the most of the sahabah they said, Muharram makes the most sense to begin the year with, because of its blessings, and because it occurs right after hajj, so as if it’s a new beginning.
And so they decide that the first month of the year shall be Muharram, and so Muharram from that time on was and has always been the first month of the year. And it is the month where the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam would fast regularly.
And the day of ‘Ashura literally means the tenth, from ‘Ashara. The fasting on this day was made obligatory even before Ramadan, it was made waajib in the first year after the hijrah. And everybody had to fast the first year. Then Allah revealed Ramadan, so Ramadan became waajib, and the next year Muharram became recommended and not obligatory.
So the first year of Islam it was obligatory on all Muslims to fast on the tenth of Muharram. And in the second year it went down from being obligatory to being recommended and strongly encouraged, and our Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said that it served as a forgiveness of the sins of the previous year.
On this day of tenth of Muharram our Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam told us that Musa ‘alahissalam was saved, Moses was saved from Pharaoh, that Nuh ‘alaihissalam, his ship landed on Mount Judi, that on these days many incidents happened in the past, that served as a day of celebration and rejoicing.
When our Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam found that the Yahud are fasting on the tenth of Muharram as well, even though the blessings of the tenth were predating the knowledge of our Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam about the Yahuud, when he found out that the day were fasting because on this day they said, “Moses was saved and Pharaoh drowned, so we take it as a day of celebration.”
Our Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said, “We have more right to Moses than you do.” In other word, we are the true follower of Moses, and from that year onward he also encouraged everybody to fast on the tenth, and he also said,
even though our Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam never did it, because he said the hadith, but he passed away the very year that he said it. So he never actually lived to next year, but he said,
“If Allah allows me to live another year, I shall fast the ninth and the tenth of Muharram.”
And no doubt this day also is a day in which a historical tragedy occurred, and that is the massacre of Hussein radiyallahu ta’ala anhu.
That tragedy does not have anything to do with the sanctity of this day, it was a coincidence that it happened on that day. And the fact of the matter is that the death of Hussein is a historical tragedy, but the blessings of the tenth of Muharram and the fasting of the tenth of Muharram is separate to the historical tragedy that occurred coincidently on the tenth of Muharram in a later year of the hijrah, the massacre of Karbala.
And unfortunately people have taken this massacre to imply and to give meaning to Muharram. But Muharram was blessed and sacred before the massacre, and the massacre has nothing to do with the sanctity of the month and the fasting of the month. And ‘Ashura was the day that was holy before Hussain (A.S) was martyred on that day.
And therefore we as Muslims, we take the tenth of Muharram not as a day of mourning, but as a day of worship of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, as a day of ‘ibadah, as a day where we are conscious of Allah even more, and we come close to Allah through our actions of worship, through the action of fasting, and let us make sure we fast on the tenth, and if we are able to on the ninth and the tenth, or the tenth and the eleventh, but at least on the ninth, and especially in this month overall.
This is the month where overall our Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam encouraged extra good deeds, extra fasting, extra charity. It is one of the sacred month. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala makes us of those who utilize it to the best.
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