All Muslims know the months of Ramadan and Dhul Hijjah are sacred, and although we may acknowledge the Islamic new year in the month of Muharram, we may forget just how significant this time is.
Why is Muharram important?
Indeed the number of months with Allah is 12 (lunar calendar) months in the register of Allah from the day he created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him]. – Quran 9:36
One of the reasons this month is important is simply because Allah declared it so, but this month also marks when Prophet Musa was saved from the Pharaoh of Egypt when Allah helped him cross the Red Sea with his people.
The importance of the month is also indicated in its name. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) called it, “the Sacred Month of Allah.” making it the only month with Allah’s name attached to it. Muharram means forbidden and because this is a sacred month, certain actions become forbidden during it. Muharram and Allah’s house, Al-Masjid Al-Haram, derive their names from the same Arabic root word and both are sacred spaces in which deeds weigh heavier.
What are the benefits of Muharram?
Like Ramadan or Dhul Hijjah, there is more opportunity to gain extra rewards every day. As mentioned above, during sacred times and even in sacred places, our deeds carry more weight, good or bad. It is vital to examine our behavior and avoid sin.
To take advantage of the rewards we can
- Offer more salaams- The Prophet PBUH said, “When two Muslims meet (give salaam), and shake hands, they are forgiven their sins before they become departed (with each other)” (Abu Dawud).
- Give charity- Since Muharram is the beginning of the Islamic New Year it’s a great time to establish good habits and what’s better than giving?
- Read Quran- Is there ever a list of rewards where you won’t see “read the Quran”? This is how we can strengthen our deen and draw closer to Allah!
- Fast- It is highly recommended to fast during Muharram and do so as much as possible!
“A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said: ‘Which fasting is better after the month of Ramadan?’ He said: ‘The month of Allah which is called Muharram.’” (Ibn Majah)
When asked about fasting on the day of ‘Ashura he said doing so, “expiates the minor sins of the past year.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1162)
Muslims were not the only ones to fast on this day. Ibn Abbas narrated that The Prophet (PBUH) came to Madinah and saw Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashura too. They did this because Allah saved the Children of Israel and Musa fasted on the day as well. The Prophet (PBUH) also advised to fast on the 9th and/or 11th to differentiate between the Ummah and People of the Book.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, `The acts most beloved to Allah, Exalted be He, are those which are done regularly, even if they are small.” (Muslim)
Muharram is a chance for a fresh start, to start new and good habits. Take advantage of this blessed opportunity and earn rewards from Allah SWT. This year Muharram begins Tuesday, August 9.