Muharram is the month in which the Muslims begin their lunar year according to the Hijrah Calendar and it is also a sacred month in which all unlawful acts are forbidden – especially the shedding of blood.

Keep fast either, on the ninth and tenth, or the tenth and eleventh of Muharram. At least, fast on the tenth if not both days. Abu Qataada Radiyallahu Anhu narrated that the Holy Prophet Salallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has said:

It is my thought that, by fasting on the 10th of Muharram, Allah Ta’ala will pardon the sins of the past year.” [Tirmidhi]

Although the fasts of the month of Muharram are NOT obligatory, the person who fasts during this month is entitled to great reward from Allah Ta’ala.

Although the entire month of Muharram has been sanctified, the 10th of Muharram is the most sacred amongst all its days. This day is called “Ashurah”. Although Sayyidinah Husain Radiyallahu Anhu was martyred on this day, its sanctity cannot be ascribed to his death. The sanctity of this day had been established during the days of the Holy Prophet Salallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam ... before the birth of Sayyidinah Husain Radiyallahu Anhu

The Holy Prophet Salallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam found that the Jews of Madinah used to fast on the 10th of Muharram. They said that it was the day on which the Nabi Musa ‘Alayhis Salaam and his followers had crossed the Red Sea in a miraculous way after which the Pharaoh was drowned in its water. Upon hearing this from the Jews, the Holy Prophet Salallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam said: “We are more closely related to Musa ‘Alayhis Salaam than you.” Thereafter he directed the Muslims to fast on the day of “Ashurah”. [Abu Dawood]

Sayyidah Ayesha Radiyallahu Anha has said: “When the Holy Prophet Salallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam came to Madinah, he fasted on the day of “Ashurah” and directed the people to fast. But, when the fasts of Ramadhaan were made obligatory, the obligation of fasting was confined to Ramadhaan and the obligatory nature of the fasts of “Ashurah” was abandoned. One can fast on this day, if he so wills, or he can avoid fasting, if he so wills.”

It has thus been established through a number of authentic Ahadith that fasting on the day of “Ashurah” is a Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Salallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam and that it entitles one to great reward. However, to distinguish the Islamic way of fasting from that of the Jews, the Holy Prophet Salallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam advised the Muslims to add another day’s fast to that of “Ashurah” (i.e. either the 9th or the 11th of Muharram).

According to some Ahadith, one should be more generous to one’s family members on this day by providing more food to them on this day as compared to other days. Although these Ahadith are NOT authentic according to the science of Ahadith, some Scholars – like Baihaqi and ibn Hibban – have accepted these Ahadith as authentic (reliable).

 The following are misconceptions regarding the month of Muharram. None of it is supported by authentic Ahadith and it should all be discarded:

  • On this day Adam ‘Alayhis Salaam was created.

  • On this day Ibrahim ‘Alayhis Salaam was born.

  • On this day Allah Ta’ala accepted the repentance of Ibrahim ‘Alayhis Salaam.

  • Qiyaamah will take place on this day.

  • The one who takes a bath on the day of “Ashurah” will never get ill.

  • It is a Sunnah to prepare a particular type of meal on this day.

  • It is ‘unlucky’ to get married in this month.

All the above – and other similar whims and fancies – are totally baseless and the Ahadith which are mentioned in support of these claims are not worthy of any credit.

The belief that Muharram is an evil and unlucky month because of the fact that Sayyidinah Husain Radiyallahu Anhu was martyred during this month is a great misconception.


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