Muharram is the first month of the Islamic Calendar. It is one of the four holy months mentioned in the Quran:
‘Indeed, the number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year)-so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are sacred.’ (Quran 9:36)
According to Ibn Abbas (RA) Allah, the almighty, has chosen these four months for himself; these are Allah’s months in which good and bad deeds are increased in reward and punishment.
Even before Islam, in the time of ignorance, people recognised the importance of Muharram- they would avoid taking part in war or any form of violence, shroud of the Kabbah (Kiswah) used to be replaced on the tenth of Muharram and people used to fast on that day. When the Prophet (SAW) migrated to Medina-tul-Munawarrah, he observed that the Jews would fast on the tenth of Muharram to celebrate the salvation of Prophet Musa (AS) and his people from Pharaoh, after which the beloved of Allah declared that since we have more right over Prophet Musa(AS) than the Jews, thus instructing his companions to fast (Bukhari) and in another narration, he instructed to fast for two days.
Just the way the month of Muharram is significant among other months; Ashura (or the tenth day of Muharram) is momentous in the month of Muharram. Abu Qatadah narrates that the one who fasts on the day of Ashura, Allah, the almighty will forgive his sins of the whole year (Muslim). Many historical events took place on the day of Ashura, for example, the forgiveness of Adam (AS) was accepted by Allah, the glorified. The Ark of Nuh (AS) landed on the Mount Judiyy. Prophet Ibraheem (AS) was protected from the fire of Nimrod. Prophet Suleyman (AS) was awarded his kingdom. Prophet Ayyub (AS) was cured of his illness. Prophet Yaqub’s (AS) sight was restored. The historic and momentous event of Karbala took place where Imam Hussain, (RA) the grandson of our Prophet Mohammed (SAW), sacrificed himself and his family for the preservation and elevation of Islam.
Thus, Muslims must strive to do extra good deeds and give charity in this blessed month to attain the closeness of Allah, the Almighty.
By Imam Shahed Tameez