Alhamdulillah, according to the local moon sighting the first month of Hijra calendar Muharram already began and Monday October 3rd was the first day of the Islamic New Year (1438 Hijra). Muharram, which means sacred, is among one of the four sacred months which has been described in the glorious Qur’an.

Allah (swt) says:
“Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them, four of them (Dhu’l-Qa’dah, Dhu’l-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab) are sacred. That is the right religion, so do not wrong yourselves therein ..…” [At-Tawbah 9:36].

From out of the four sacred months, Muharram has been blessed with certain specific virtues:

Hadrat Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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, which comes between Jumaada and Sha’baan.” (Al-Bukhari, 2958).

Aashoora in History

Hadrat Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to Madeenah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Aashoora’. He said, ‘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 Hadrat Moosa (AS) fasted on this day.’ He said, ‘We have more right to Moosa than you,’ so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day.” (Al-Bukhari, 1865).

“This is a righteous day” – in a report narrated by Muslim, [the Jews said:] “This is a great day, on which Allah saved Hadrat Moosa and his people, and drowned Pharaoh and his people.”

“Hadrat Moosa fasted on this day” – a report narrated by Muslim adds: “… in thanksgiving to Allah, so we fast on this day.”

According to a report narrated by al-Bukhari: ”… so we fast on this day to venerate it.”

A version narrated by Imam Ahmad adds: “This is the day on which the Ark settled on Mount Joodi , so Hadrat Nooh fasted this day in thanksgiving.”

The practice of fasting on ‘Aashoora’ was known even in the days of Jaahiliyyah, before the Prophet’s mission. It was reported that Hadrat Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “The people of Jaahiliyyah used to fast on that day…”

It was also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to fast on ‘Aashoora’ in Makkah, before he migrated to Madeenah.

The virtues of fasting ‘Aashoora’

Hadrat Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of ‘Aashoora’, and this month, meaning Ramadan.” (Al-Bukhari, 1867).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “For fasting the day of ‘Aashoora’, I hope that Allah will accept it as expiation for the year that went before.” (Al-Muslim, 1976).

It is mustahabb (encouraged) to fast Taasoo’aa’ (9th) with ‘Aashoora’ (10th).

Hadrat ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fasted on ‘Aashoora’ 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 (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed away before the next year came.” (Al-Muslim, 1916).

Imam Al-Shaafa’i and his companions, Imam Ahmad, Imam Ishaaq (may Allah be pleased with them) and others said: “It is mustahabb to fast on both the ninth and tenth days, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fasted on the tenth, and intended to fast on the ninth.”

May Allah (swt) give us Taufeeq to fast on these days!

Please remember us in your Dua’.

Saad bin Khalid
ICNA Chicago