Religious and Historical Significance of Muharram

Religious and Historical significance of Muharram ul Haram.

 Allah swt is creator of heaven and earth and from the day he has created the earth and heaven he assigned 12 months in a year and has chosen 4 months in a year as sacred one.

 Allah swt says:

Verily, the number of months with Allâh is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allâh on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred, (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islâmic calendar). That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein, and fight against the Mushrikûn (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh) collectively, as they fight against you collectively. But know that Allâh is with those who are Al-Muttaqûn . (At-Tawbah 9:36)

Abu Bakrah, radi Allahu anhu, reported that the Prophet salal laho aliehi wasalam said:

"The year is twelve months of which four are sacred, the three consecutive months of Dhu'l-Qa'dah, Dhu'l-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab Mudar which comes between Jumada and Sha'ban." (Asim Bukhari : 2958)

 This verse and hadith clearly indicates that Moharram ul haram was a sacred month from the beginning of creations.

 All the time belongs to Allah but in sacred months it is the duty of Muslims to respect the signs and commands of Allah more than other months because the part of the above mentioned verse clearly says: “so wrong not yourselves therein” which means that any sin and wrong doing in these months is taken as serious violation compared to the sins and wrong doings done in the other months similarly all the acts which are done to seek reward and pleasure of Allah swt have more weight when they are performed in these sacred months.

 Important incidents that took place in Moharram:

 Although there are many important incidents that took place in Moharram but three of them are significant.

1 Iiberation of Musa aliehis salam and people of Israel from tyranny of Pharaoh .
2 Martyrdom of Hazrat Umer bin Khattab radi Allahu anhu.
3 Martyrdom of syedna Hussain radi Allahu anhu.

Musa aliehi salam along with children of Israel were liberated from tyranny of Pharaoh on 10th of Moharram .
Umer radi Allahu anhu was martyred on 1st of Moharram due to injury inflicted by a Zoroastrian slave Feroz abul lulu while he was leading prayers in majsid of Nabi salal laho aliehi wasalam.

Syedna Hussain radi Allahu anhu was martyred on 10th of Moharram along with is close relatives and companion in Karbala.

Fasting of Ashura is Sunnah of Rasool salal laho aliehi wasalam:

There are many hadiths which tell us that Rasool salal laho aliehi wasalam used to fast on 10th of this month and emphasized on the fasting of other days of Moharram also.

Narrated 'Aisha radi Allahu anha:  (The tribe of) Quraish used to fast on the day of Ashura' in the Pre-lslamic period, and then Allah's Apostle salal laho aliehi waslama ordered (Muslims) to fast on it till the fasting in the month of Ramadan was prescribed; whereupon the Prophet said, "He who wants to fast (on 'Ashura') may fast, and he who does not want to fast may not fast." (Bukharee, Volume 3, Book 31:Number 117)

Abu Hurayrah radi Allahu anhu reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:"The best fasting after Ramadhan is fasting Allah's month of Muharram." (Muslim:1982)

Ibn e Abbas radi Allahu anhu reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of 'Ashura. He asked: "What is this?" They said: "This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Musa fasted on this day." He said: "We have more right to Musa than you," so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day. (Bukhari:1865)

Abu Musa radi Allahu anhu reported :"The Jews used to take the day of 'Ashura as a festival [according to a report narrated by Muslim: the day of 'Ashura was venerated by the Jews, who took it as a festival. The Prophet, salal laho aliehi wasalam said:'So you [Muslims] should fast on that day.' " (Bukhari)

Reward of fasting on day of Ashura:
Fasting on day of Ashura ie 10th of Moharram is a source of earning great blessings of Allah swt.

Ibne Abbas radi Allahu anhu reported:I never saw the Messenger of Allah,salal laho aliehi wasalam so keen to fast on any day other than this day (which means he was keen to fast on this day more than all the days of the year except Ramadan which is indeed having preference due to obligatory fasting) and gave it priority over any other( day) i.e the day of 'Ashura (Bukhari:1867)

The Prophet salal laho aliehi wasalam said:"For fasting the day of 'Ashura, I hope that Allah will accept it as expiation for the year that went before." ( Muslim:1976)

These two hadiths make it clear that it is indeed a great act to fast on Ashura and it is a source of earning such a great reward that due to this fasting Allah forgives sins of the past year may Allah give us toufeeq to earn this reward Ameen.

Important point to be rembered:

This should however be kept in mind that this does not mean that a person goes on sinning with the hope that he will observe fast on Ashura and Arafah and his sins will be forgiven rather he should focus on obligations and should establish obligatory salah and fasting of Ramadan and also fast on Arafah and Ashura.Allah swt will inshaAllah forgive him when he will be dedicated and committed in his worshipping and if he will be leaving obligatory and wil be relying on these days alone than he is mistaken and needs to amend his thinking.

It is encouraged to fast on Ninth besides 10th:
'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas, radi Allahu anhu, said:
"When the Messenger of Allah, salal laho aliehi waslam fasted on 'Ashura and commanded the Muslims to fast as well, they said, 'O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.' The Messenger of Allah salal laho aliehi waslaam said:'If I live to see the next year, insha'Allah, we will fast on the ninth day too.' But it so happened that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, passed away before the next year came." (Muslim: 1916)

This hadith clearly indicates that it was intention of Rasool salal laho aliehi wasalam to fast on 9th besides 10th so it is encouraged to fast on 9th besides 10th.Some of the scholars are of the view that fasting of 10th was actually substituted by 9th but majority of scholars are of the view that it was an addition to 10th of Moharram.

All the above mentioned hadiths make it clear that fasting of Ashura has no direct link with martyrdom of syedna Hussain radi Allahu anhu and it was a practice of Rasool salal laho aliehi waslam long before the martyrdom of Hussain radi Allahu anhu.
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