With the sighting of the new moon the new Islamic month starts. The first month is Muharram. It is a month of great reward and virtue. Muharram means `sacred’. It is from those months which have been mentioned as sacred in the Holy Quraan.
The Almighty Allah states in the Holy Quraan:
“Four of them ( Zil-Qadah, Zil-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab) are sacred.”
Virtues of Muharram
The Holy prophet (SAW) says that:
“The one that keeps a fast in the month of Muharram will receive the reward of thirty fasts for each fast (in this sacred month).”
“This fast is a compensation for the (minor) sins of the past year.”
In another Hadith the Holy prophet (SAW) says about the significance of Fasting in Muharram. He (SAW) said that:
The best of fasts besides the month of Ramadhan is the fasting of Allah’s month of Muharram.”
Although the fasting of Muharram is Nafl ( the fasts one observes out of his own choice without being obligatory on him.) yet the above Hadith gives importance to the significance of Muharram fasting that is most reward able after Farz fasting in Ramadan .
The Day of Aashora (10th Muharram)
Muharram is a month of remembrance that is often considered synonymous with the event of Ashura. Ashura, which literally means the “Tenth” in Arabic, refers to the tenth day of Muharram.
Ashura is one of the most important and blessed days of Allah in the Islamic calendar.
Aashora gain its significance due to the martyr of son of Prophet (SAW) hazrat Hussian ibe Ali.
According to Hazrat Abbas (R.A) a companion of holy Prophet (saw) when the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wassallam migrated to Madinah, he found that the Jews of Madinah used to fast on the 10 th day of Muharram. They said that it was the day on which the Holy Prophet Musa Alayhis Salaam and his followers crossed the Red Sea miraculously, and the Pharaoh was drowned in its water.
On hearing this from the Jews, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wassallam said, “We are more closely related to Musa than you.” So the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wassallam directed the Muslims to fast on the day of Ashura. (Abu Dawood)
As Jews used to fast on the day of Aashora so the it is adviced by the Holy Prophet (SAW) that we should fast on 9th and 10th or 10th or 11th of Muharram so that Muslims can be distinguished from Jews.
Misconception about muharram
The significance of the Day of Aashora is from the time of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Thus, to attribute the significance of Aashora to the martyrdom of Hazrat Husayn (R-A) is baseless. Therefore, the host of baseless customs with regard to his martyrdom must be discarded. The martyrdom of Hazrat Husayn (RA) was indeed a great tragedy but Islam is not a religion of perpetual mourning.
Having love for Hazrat Husayn (R-A) does not necessarily mean that his blessed name should be lamented upon especially when he gained the status of a Shaheed (Martyr), but instead one should convey Thawaab (reward) to him and donate on his behalf for the pleasure of Allah (on Allah’s name).
Therefore mourning and displaying grief is prohibited in Islam.
Another misconception about the month of Muharram is that it is an evil or unlucky month, for Sayyidna Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, was killed in it. It is for this misconception that people avoid holding marriage ceremonies in the month of Muharram. This is again a baseless concept, which is contrary to the express teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah.
If the death of an eminent person on a particular day renders that day unlucky for all times to come, one can hardly find a day of the year free from this bad luck because every day is associated with the demise of some eminent person. The Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, have liberated us from such superstitious beliefs.