Virtues of the month of Muharram

Virtues of the Month of Allah Al-Muharram and the Day of Ashura

Article written by Mohamed Baianonie.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was asked about which salah is the best after a person performs the obligatory salah. He replied, "The salah in the last third of the night." Then, he was asked about the best fasting after the fasting of the month of Ramadan. He replied, "The month of Allah that you call Al-Muharram."

[Recorded by Imam Muslim and others]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) referred to this month as the month of Allah as a way of honoring it.

Fasting was legislated on the tenth day of this month called the day of Ashura. Actually, fasting on this day was mandatory upon Muslims even before the fasting of the month of Ramadan. However, later when fasting the whole month of Ramadan was made an obligation, fasting on the day of Ashura became recommended.

Aishah said, "The tribe of Quraish used to fast on the day of Ashura in the Pre-Islamic Period of Jahiliyah, and Allah's Messenger used to fast on that day too and ordered others to fast as well. Later when the fasting of the month of Ramdan was prescribed, he gave up fasting on the day of Ashura and it became optional for one to fast on it or to leave its fast."

[Recorded by Imams Buhkari and Muslim]

During the life of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), the Jews and the Christians used to fast on the day of Ashura, out of respect and reverence, because it was the special day on which Allah saved Prophet Musa and his followers, from Pharaoh and his soldiers.

Prophet Musa fasted on that day as a way of showing his gratitude to Allah for saving him and his followers.

Ibn Abbaas said, "The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) came to Al-Madinah from Mecca and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura and asked them about their fasting. They replied, 'This is a good day, the day on which Allah rescued the children of Israel from their enemy. So, Musa fasted on this day.' Therefore, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) fasted on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to fast on that day as well."

[Recorded by Imams Buhkari and Muslim]

In anther narration the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: "If I live to next year I will fast the ninth day (as well as the tenth)."

[Recorded by Imams Muslim and Ahmad]

From this hadith, we learn the historical importance of fasting on the day of Ashura. It is a good day in which Allah saved Prophet Musa and his followers from their enemy: Pharaoh and his soldiers. To show his appreciation to Allah, Prophet Musa fasted on that day. Furthermore, the messenger Muhammad and we are more worthy of honoring Prophet Musa than the Jews because we are the true followers of the message of pure Oneness that Musa and all the other messengers came with. Also to set us apart from the Jews in their fasting of this day, we follow the Prophet's orders to fast the day before and the day of Ashura.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was asked about the rewards of fasting on this day and he replied: "It wipes off the sins of the last year."

[Recorded by Imams Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, and Ahmed]

The opportunity to fast on this day and reap its rewards is a blessing and mercy of Allah upon His believing servants. We ask Allah to help us fast on this day and accept it.