Happy New Year!!! No I haven’t set my time forward and think that 2014 has already started. It is unfortunate that most of us are aware that the western New Year is going to start in one and a half months time and some of us might even be planning on how we are going to celebrate when the clock ticks midnight. But we are unaware of the starting of the Islamic New Year, with the first month Muharram which has just started.
The First 10 days of Muharram have extra significance. There are three groups of 10 days in the Islamic calendar that have been singled out and where it is recommended to increased your worship, by fasting, giving in charity, reciting the Quran etc… These three sets are the last ten days of the month of Ramdhan, the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah and the first 10 days of Muharram which we are in now.
If we want to have a successful year and gain proximity to Allah SWT then we should start the year the way we want it to end. So if we are going to start it with disobedience then that is what the year will bring and if we start it with obedience then that is what it will bring. Remember the signs of Allah SWT around us, Allah SWT can instil His Punishment upon us at any time. We have seen the horrific scenes around the world, who is to say that we are immune from this. It doesn’t matter where you live or how rich you are, this kind of destruction can happen to anyone of us. We need to use this time to change our course of action before the final prayers are read upon us and we enter the grave where there is no one with us accept our deeds.
May Allah SWT give strength to the people who are struggling against oppression and help them cope with their suffering and give us all the strength to help them.
Month of Muharram
Duties of the Month of Muharram:
1. It is the best of months for general voluntary fasts, after Ramadan.
2. It is especially recommended to fast the 10th of Muharram (known as the Day of `Ashura’), with a day before it or after it. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar, quoting Kasani’s al-Bada’i`]
3. It is also virtuous to give in charity on this day. The more you give the more “charitable” Allah will be on you for the rest of the year.
Extracts from Ibn Rajab’s Lata’if al-Ma`arif, regarding the month of Muharram:
The Virtues of Fasting in the Month of Muharram and Its First Ten Days
Muslim reported from Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The best of fasts after the month of Ramadan are in the Month of Allah, which you call Muharram. And the best of prayer after the obligatory prayer is the night prayer.” [Muslim, 1163]
This refers to general voluntary fasts according to Imam Ibn Rajab (Allah have mercy on him): These are best in the month of Muharram, just as the best general voluntary prayer is night prayer.
As for voluntary night prayer (qiyam al-layl), it is superior to voluntary prayer during the day because it is closer to secrecy, and nearer to sincerity (ikhlas).
Allah Most High said, “Lo! the vigil of the night is (a time) when impression is more keen and speech more certain.” [Qur’an, 73.9]
This is because the time of the night vigil (tahajjud) is the best of times for voluntary prayer, and the closest a servant gets to his Lord. It is a time when the doors of the skies are opened, supplications answered, and needs fulfilled.
Allah Most High has praised those who wake up at night in His remembrance, supplication, seeking forgiveness, and intimate entreating (munajat), saying, “Who forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of that We have bestowed on them. No soul knows what is kept hid for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do.” [Qur’an, 32.16-17]
Prior To Islam
1. Prophet Adam (pbuh) was born and entered the Paradise on 10th of Muharram.
2. Prophet Ayyub (pbuh) was cured from his illness.
3. A way was made in the sea for Bani Israel.
4. Prophet Suleman (pbuh) was ordained King.
5. The oceans and heavens were created. (Tanbihul-Gaafileen)
1. Hadhrat Hussain (R.A.) was martyred in this month.
2. Shaykhain Tirmizi & Haakim has narrated from Anas (R.A) that the following verse:
“Allah may forgive thee of thy sins that which is past and that which is to come . . .”
(Qur’an Al-Fath 48:2)
was revealed on the 10th of Muharram.
3. The Prophet Muhammed went to defeat Bani Muhaarin and Bani Tha’laba (Tribes of Bani Gatfan) in the year 4 A.H. (Asahhus-siyar)
4. Qiyaamah will take place on the 10th of Muharram.
Muharram also marks the day of Ashura.
The Day of `Ashura’: The Tenth of Muharram
It is mentioned in Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him and his father) that he was asked about fasting the Day of `Ashura’ [10th of Muharram]. He said, “I did not see the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) fast a day while more avid to seek its virtue than this day,” meaning the Day of `Ashura’.”[Bukhari (2006), and Muslim (1132)].
The Day of `Ashura’ has great virtue, and tremendous sanctity (hurma). The virtue of fasting it was known among the Prophets (peace be upon them all). Both Prophet Nuh and Prophet Musa (peace be upon them both) fasted it.
The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) used to fast this day even in Mecca, though he had not yet ordered others to do so, as mentioned in both Bukhari and Muslim. [Bukhari (2002), Muslim (1125)]
When he migrated to Medina, and found the People of the Book fasting this day and venerating it, he ordered the Muslims to fast it, and encouraged it so much that even the children would fast it.
It has been reported in both Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him), that, “When the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) reached Medina, he found the Jews fasting the Day of `Ashura’, so he asked them, ‘What is this day you are fasting?’ They said, ‘This is a tremendous day. Allah saved Musa and his people on this day and drowned Pharaoh and his people. Musa fasted it out of thanks, so we fast it too.’ The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said, ‘And we are more deserving of Musa than you are.’ So he fasted this day, and ordered that it be fasted.” [Bukhari (2004) and Muslim (1130)]
At the end of his life, the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) made the determination not to fast this day alone, but with another day [f: either before or after it], in order to be different from the People of the Book.
It has been reported in the Sahih of Imam Muslim (Allah have mercy on him), also from Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) that, “When the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) fasted the Day of `Ashura’ and ordered his companions to fast it, they said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! This is a day that the Jews and Christians venerate.’ So the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said, ‘When next year comes – if Allah wills – we will fast the Ninth [of Muharram with it].’ But the next year did not come before the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) passed away.” [Muslim (1134), Abu Dawud (2445)]
And it is reported in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad (Allah have mercy on him), from Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Fast the Day of `Ashura’ and be different from the Jews by fasting a day before it or a day after it.” [Ahmad]
Giving in Charity on the Day of `Ashura’
It has been reported from Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As (Allah be pleased with him), that “Whoever fasts `Ashura’ it is as if he has fasted the entire year. And whoever gives charity this day it is like the charity of an entire year.”
Mourning on the 10th of Muharram is an Innovation
As for the mourning and grieving on this day because of the martyrdom of Sayyiduna Husayn ibn Ali (Allah be pleased with him and his father), these actions have no authentic route to the Quran and Sunnah. Neither Allah Most High nor His Messenger (Allah bless him & give him peace) commanded us to mourn on the days of the tribulations of the Prophets, or their deaths, let alone anyone elses.
It is permissible to make dua for them and invoke Allah SWT Mercy on them in this month and in any other month.
[F: The fuqaha have mentioned that it is an innovation to consider Muharram a month of mourning. It is not disliked to marry in this month..]
Some of the Virtues of the Day of `Ashura’
It is a day in which Allah forgave an entire people. Tirmidhi relates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to a man, “If you want to fast a month after Ramadan, then fast Muharram, for it has a day in which Allah forgave an entire people, and He turns to others in repentance in.” [Tirmidhi (841)]
I finish by asking you to make dua for the souls of Hadhrat Umar RA, Imam Hussain RA and the martyrs of Karbala who gave their lives for the service of Islam, May Allah SWT shower His Mercy and Blessings upon their souls, Ameen