Khutba Summaries

Everything About Muharram & Ashura

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  1. Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar.
  1. It is one of the four sacred months referred to by Allah in the Quran 9:36

Prophet ﷺ said:

“The year is twelve months of which four are sacred, the three consecutive months of Dhu’l-Qadah, Dhu’l-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab Mudar which comes between Jumada and Shaban.” (Bukhari)

  • Commentators of the Quran unanimously agree that these four months are sacred
  • Wrongdoing during the sacred months is more serious and more sinful than at any other time
  1. Prophet ﷺ said: ‘The best of fasting after Ramadan is fasting Allah’s month of Muharram.’” (Muslim)
  • Hadith is to encourage fasting during Muharram, does not mean one fasts all of Muharram, because he used to fast more in Shaban
  • Of the entire month, the 10th of Muharram, called Ashura, is the most sacred
  1. Ibn ‘Abbas said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah ﷺ so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of Ashura, and this month, meaning Ramadan.” (Bukhari)
  1. “For fasting the day of Ashura, I hope that Allah will accept it as expiation for the year that went before.” (Muslim)
  • It expiates for all minor sins, i.e., it brings forgiveness for all except major sins
  • This year Ashura is either today (Friday) or tomorrow (Saturday)
  • By fasting this 1 day, sins of 365 days are wiped away. In other words, fasting 15 hours, you will have the sins of some 8700 hours forgiven!
  1. There are varying degrees of fasting Ashura:
  • Fast Ashura, i.e. the 10th of Muharram
  • Fast the 9th and 10th of Muharram
  • More one fasts in Muharram, the better it is
  1. Prophet’s ﷺ rationale for fasting the 9th: Sahaba mentioned, ‘O Messenger of Allah ﷺ, it is a day venerated by the Jews and Christians.’ The Messenger of Allah ﷺ 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 ﷺ passed away before the next year came.” (Muslim)
  1. What should be done if there is confusion about the beginning of the month?
  • Assume Dhu’l-Hijjah was 30 days and fast on 9th and 10th
  • To assure you fasted 9th as well, fast on 8th, 9th and 10th
  1. Make-up fasts or Voluntary fasts? Safest opinion is to first make up missed fasts of Ramadan to be able to fast Arafa and Ashura without any problem
  1. The historical significance of this day dates back to the time of Musa and Bani Israel. The Prophet ﷺ used to fast Ashura in Makka. When he came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting and celebrating the day of Ashura, their women would wear jewelry on that day. 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 Musa fasted on this day.’ He said,

‘We have more right to Musa than you,’ so he fasted on that day and commanded (the Muslims) to fast on that day.” (Bukhari)

  • When you fast Ashura, remember that we are celebrating Allah splitting the sea to save the Bani Israel. Fasting Ashura has a special relevance to us Muslims in today’s culture of Islamophobia: Allah has power to save the most helpless servants from the greatest tyrants.
  1. Some legends and misconceptions:
  • This is the day on which Adam was created
  • This is the day on which Ibrahim was born
  • This is the day on which Allah accepted the repentance of Adam
  • This is the day on which the Day of Judgment will occur
  • Abraham was saved from the fire on this day
  • Whoever takes bath in the day of Ashura will never fall sick
  • Whoever will be generous to his family on this day, Allah will be generous to him for the rest of the year
  • Whoever will put kohl in his eyes on this day will never suffer from eye disease again
  • Preparing special meals
  1. Important historic events:
  • Ghazwah of Khaibar took place in 7 AH in Muharram
  • Battle of Qadasiyya took place in 14 AH in Muharram during the caliphate of ‘Umar. Sa’d bin ‘Abi Waqqas led the Muslim army against the Persians led by Rustam
  • Maria the Coptic passed away in 16 AH in the month of Muharram. She gave birth to the Prophet’s  ﷺ son, Ibrahim, who died as an infant
  • Foundation of Kufah was laid by Muslims during caliphate of ‘Umar in 17 AH (638 CE) by Sa’d bin ‘Abi Waqqas
  • ‘Uthman was appointed the caliph (khalifa) in 24 AH in Muharram
  • Tragic killing of Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet ﷺ, on Friday, the 10th of Muharram, 61 AH
    • He was chief of the youth of Paradise
    • One who Allah’s Messenger ﷺ loved and asked Allah to love!
    • A man of great learning
    • His mother was the most superior of the daughters of the Prophet ﷺ
    • Main reasons behind the tragedy (same afflictions plague us today):
      • love of dunya and putting it before deen
      • desire to please the ruler
      • disregard for sanctity of a Muslim’s blood in general and the Ahl al-Bait in particular
      • tribal pride and partisanship

May Allah accept our fasting of Ashura, protect us from sins in this blessed month, and unite the Muslims behind the Quran and Sunna.


Feature Image: Flickr