Muharram is one of the four sacred Months out of twelve. The other being Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah,and Rajab. These four months have been sacred since the creation of universe - as told
by Allah Subhana Watala in the Quran. After Ramadan, fasting in the month of Muharram is most rewardable. 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.
Facts about Ashurah - 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.
- Fasting on the 10th of Muharram expiates the sins of the previous year.
- 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.
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 of Ashura will never get ill.
- Muharram is an evil or unlucky month. (Due to the battle of Karbala)
- Marriages should not be held in Muharram.
All of the above are misconceptions based on unauthentic traditions. 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 or unlucky at the same time.
Historical Facts about Muharram
- 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.
- Holding lamentation and mourning ceremonies in the memory of martyrdom of Sayyidna Husain (ra)
- 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)
It is evident from this advice of Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, that this type of mourning is condemned even by the blessed person for the memory of whom these mourning ceremonies are held. Every Muslim should avoid this practice and abide by the teachings of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and his beloved grand child Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu.
(From Albalagh by Mufti Taqi Usmani)