By Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt
1. What is Muḥarram?
- Muḥarram is the 1st month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It commences the new year.
2. What is the meaning of Muḥarram?
- Muḥarram means “forbidden” or “sacred”.
- violating its sanctity is forbidden due to the month being sacred.
- Conflicts are especially forbidden during this sacred period. (Qur’ān 9:36)
- Being a sacred month, blessings and rewards are excessive in this month.
3. How is the month sacred?
- Almighty Allāh declared it as sacred in the Qur’ān. (9:36)
- It is dubbed as “Allāh’s month”. (Saḥīḥ Muslim)
- It contains a very blessed day, the 10th, ‘Āshurah day.
- Repentance is accepted in this month. (Tirmidhī)
- It is the best month to fast in, after the month of Ramadān. (Saḥīḥ Muslim)
- Each day of fasting in Muḥarram equals 30 days of fasting in rewards. (Ṭabrānī, Targhīb)
4. What is ‘Āshurah and why is it significant?
- ‘Āshurah is the 10th day of Muḥarram.
- This is the day, Almighty Allāh blessed the Prophet Mūsa (peace and blessings upon him) along with the Israelites, victory and freedom, from the tyranny of the Pharaoh.
5. Fasting on ‘Āshūrah, what, why and how?
- Prophet Mūsa fasted on this day in appreciation to the Almighty for being saved.
- The Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessing upon him) fasted on this day and instructed his followers to fast. (Buhkhārī)
- It was a mandatory fast prior to the Ramadān fasting.
- It is mustaḥab (encouraged prophetic practice) to fast on this day.
- One should also fast either on the 9th or 11th along with the 10th if possible. (Abū Dāwūd)
6. What are the rewards of fasting on ‘Āshūrah?
- Apart from the Muḥarram virtues listed above, the forgiveness of an entire year. (Saḥīḥ Muslim)
7. What else can one do on ‘Āshūrah?
- Be more generous in spending upon family. This will result in Allāh’s blessings for a whole year. (Bayhaqī)
8. What about the illustrious Imam Husayn (may Allāh be pleased with him) and the household of the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) in Muḥarram?
- There is no link with the great personality and Muḥarram apart from the fact that his martyrdom happened to occur in Muḥarram.
- We cherish, respect and love Ḥusayn (may Allāh be pleased with him) and the family of the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him). (Tirmidhī)
- We learn from their lives and teachings.
- We are saddened by the troubled happenings of the past, including the martyrdom of Ḥusayn (may Allāh be pleased with him) however we do not mourn, wail, curse or self inflict torture in memory of any such sad happenings. (Bukhārī)