The month of Muharram, is a month that is very important to the Muslims all over the world. Unfortunately many of us miss the benefit that we could be gaining from it and it’s excellence, because we are negligent when it comes to knowing which month of the Islamic calendar we are currently in. It seems like most times, if we are not at the end of Sha’baan during Ramadan or the beginning of Shawaal, we find that we have no idea which month we it is, in the Islamic calendar. Many times we only know Sha’baan because people have begun talking about the fact that the fast of Ramadan is going to begin in a few days. There is not a Muslim that worldwide that possesses all of his faculties, except that he/she is aware of the fact that Ramadan has entered upon us. We know Shawaal because it is when we stop fasting. Out side of these three months, we find that many of the Muslims are lost in terms of where we are at in the Islamic calendar.
Well we wanted to take a minute or two to talk about the excellence of the month of Muharram and what we should be doing as Muslims.
First off, many of the scholars of Islam say that it is recommended for us to fast the month of Muharram from the beginning of it to the end of it. They say that if we can not fast all of it then we should be trying to fast as much of it as possible. This is because of the hadeeth which was related by Imam Muslim, on the authority of Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) in which he said that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said,
“أَفْضَلُ الصِّيَامِ بَعْدَ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ صِيَامُ شَهْرِ اللَّهِ الْمُحَرَّمِ”
“The best fast after the month of Ramadan is the month of Allah Al Muharram.”
For those that can not fast the whole of the month or the majority of it, it is highly recommended that those individuals do not miss fasting Yawm al Ashoorah (the tenth day of Muharram). The reward for fasting this month is to great to be missed. For everyone capable of fasting it, those individuals should be doing all they can do to prepare to fast this day at the least. It is an opportunity that rarely comes around. There is another hadeeth that was narrated by Imam Muslim but this time it is on the authority of Abi Qataadah (رضي الله عنه). He said that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said,
“صِيَامُ يَوْمِ عَاشُورَاءَ أَحْتَسِبُ عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُكَفِّرَ السَّنَةَ الَّتِي قَبْلَهُ”
“Fasting the day of ‘Ashoora’ I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year that came before it.”
It is also highly recommended to fast the ninth day of Muharram. This is done to be different then the jews and christians. We understand this from the hadeeth narrated by Imam Muslim on the authority of Ibn Abaas (رضي الله عنهما) when he informed us about the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and how he fasted the day of Ashoorah and told the others to fast it as well. They said to him – Oh Prophet, it is a day that the jews and christians celebrate. So the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) replied,
“When next year comes, in sha Allah, we will fast the Ninth.”
And it is well known, that He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not make it to the next year, as he died before it came around.
There are many scholars as well that say that an individual should fast on the eleventh of Muharram as well. This is because of the hadeeth that was narrated by Imam Ahmad on the authority of Ibn Abaas (رضي الله عنهما) where he stated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said,
“صُومُوا يَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ ، وَخَالِفُوا فِيهِ الْيَهُودَ ، صُومُوا قَبْلَهُ يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْدَهُ يَوْمًا”
“Fast the day of Ashoorah. Be different then the jews. Fast before it one day or after it one day.
There is some disagreement about whether or not the eleventh is said to be from the Sunnah or not because some of the scholars do not think that the hadeeth is acceptable. Therefore, those that have graded it as acceptable, then they consider it to be from the Sunnah Those that do not consider this narration to be correct or acceptable say that the fast on the day of the eleventh is not from the Sunnah.
There are many other hadeeth that talk about the benefits of this month. The purpose of this article was to serve as a reminder as to what we should be striving for during the course of this month. The speech of the scholars about the rewards and benefits is almost impossible to put into one article such as this. As well, this was not the purpose of this article. This article is written to remind those that needed to be reminded, and to teach those that needed to be taught about the benefits of fasting in this blessed month.
So realizing the importance of this great month, we should be trying our hardest to fast as much of it as possible. Those that can only fast a day or two, you need to be planning for it in advance so that we do not find much to stand in our ways, so we can complete these days. For those that can not fast them then you should be aiding the others by reminding them about the benefits of fasting these days, so that they can get the reward and you can get rewarded along with them.
Do not forget the statement of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) when he said,
“مَنْ دَلَّ عَلَى خَيْرٍ فَلَهُ مِثْلُ أَجْرِ فَاعِلِهِ”
“Who ever calls to a good, then for him is the reward like the one that acts on it.”