Just like any other calendar, the Islamic Calendar also has twelve months. The calendar starts with the date of migration of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) from Makkah to Madinah along with his companions (Sahabah [RA]) in 622 AD. The calendar is known as the Hijri calendar the meaning of Hijra in Arabic is migration. The Islamic calendar is a lunar one and each month starts with the appearance of the crescent which must be visible to unaided naked eyes.
Although all months of the Islamic year are full of blessings and virtues yet some months have been determined more sacred by Allah (swt) than others. These months are special because in these months Allah All Mighty lets his blessings go unbound and the prayers and worships of Muslims are given some extra credit by Him. In the following lines the importance and religious and spiritual value of the month of Muharram has been discussed.
Muharram (The Month Of Allah)
Muharram is the first month of the Islamic year and is one of those months in which war and bloodshed have been prohibited. As Allah says in Holy Quran,
‘The number of months in the sight of Allah are twelve (in a year) – So ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth; Of them four are sacred: That is the right religion. So wrong not yourselves therein.” (Surah Taubah).
This is the month in which supplications are readily answered by Allah. All your prayers are heard and all your needs are fulfilled if you pray sincerely and with an open heart. The month is so enshrined by Allah that He declared the month of Muharram as his month and named it as the Month of Allah.
Fasting in Muharram
Fasting in Muharram is considered most beneficial than in any other month except Ramadan. Similarly, optional night prayers are most virtuous during the nights of this very sacred month. The fasting in the first ten days of Muharram are especially more conspicuous to the Allah and are rewarded accordingly.
10th of Muharram (Ashura)
The tenth of Muharram is called the Day of Ashura and is a very important day in the Islamic Calendar. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) used to fast on this day and advised other Muslims to do the same. However, fasting on the Day of Ashura is totally optional and it depends upon every Muslims whether he wants to fast on this day or not.
But the virtues of fasting on Day of Ashura cannot be denied because when Prophet Muhammad was asked about the blessings of fasting on this day, he replied,
‘It is a compensation for the sins of the past year.’
i.e. the sins of one year that has just gone by will be forgiven. (Muslim, Vol. 1).
However, only minor sins are forgiven by Allah. For the forgiveness of major sins, one has to resort to the Tawbah (repentance).
Generosity on Day of Aashura
In addition to fasting and optional night prayers, Allah orders us to be more generous to our families on the day of Ashura. Moreover, Allah also bestows great blessings to the ones who are extra chivalrous on this very sacred day. This act encompasses many merits and has been explained in a Hadith where the Holy Prophet (PBUH) says,
‘He who will be generous to his family on the day of Aashura, Allah will be generous to him for the entire year.’
False beliefs related to Day of Ashura
Unfortunately with the passage of time some Muslims have deviated from the teachings of Islam and have fabricated many presumptions about this day that have not been endorsed by any Quranic verse or Hadith. Some misconceptions related to this month are that if a person takes a bath on this day he will not fall ill for an entire year. Another horrendous fallacy related to the 10th of Muharram is that Muslims should not tie themselves in the bound of Nikah on this day.
Allah has endowed Muslims with a complete code of life in the shape of Islam. Now it is the duty of every Muslim to follow Islamic teachings as they should be and stick to the right path. The month of Muharram is full of virtues and blessings and should be celebrated according to the spirit of this month.