Our Guide to the Holy Month of Muharram
When is Muharram 2019, and what is Muharram, exactly?
What’s more…why is Muharram celebrated and remembered in Islam?
There are 12 months in the Islamic calendar – but we tend to know more about some months than we do about others. Everybody knows that we fast in Ramadan, and many know about the sacrifice of Dhul Hijjah. Muharram, however, seems to be a bit less well-known. Read this article to open your eyes to the rich history and wonder of the month of Muharram.
When is Muharram 2020?
First thing’s first… when is Muharram? Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It’s the Muslim version of January so, for many, it marks the beginning of something new. It’s often referred to as the Islamic New Year, in the same way you’d talk about the Gregorian or Chinese New Year.
This year, Muharram 2020 begins on Thursday, August 20th and ends on Saturday, September 17th.
What is Muharram?
Put simply, Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. But Muharram holds a much greater significance in the hearts of many Muslims across the globe, as both the start of something new and an opportunity to honour those who came before, and paved the way for us.
Allah (SWT) divided the year into seasons. Some of these seasons are more sacred, spiritually, than others. The nights of Ramadan and the days of Dhul Hijjah, for instance, are clearly stated to be superior to other days and nights of the year. We know from the Qur’an that Muharram is one of the four sacred months. In it, the reward of our good deeds is multiplied and any wrongdoing is more serious.
“Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months [in a year], so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred [i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months].” - Surah At-Tawbah [9:36]
The scholars say that one benefit of having sacred months throughout the year is that, during these time periods, we’re motivated to worship Allah (SWT) even more than usual. Imaan (faith) goes up and down like a yoyo – and Allah (SWT) knows that more than anyone. So sometimes we need a bit of push to remind us to do better and to be better – and there’s no more effective motivator than knowing that, during these months, even the smallest of deeds will be multiplied in reward.
Why is Muharram celebrated?
Apart from being a spiritually significant month as ordained by Allah (SWT), Muharram also has a rich and beautiful history. It was during this month that the Prophet Musa (as) freed the Children of Israel from the wicked Pharaoh with the help of Allah (SWT), that the Prophet Nuh (as) and his companions stepped out of the Ark and onto Mount Judi after the great flood and the month when the Prophet Muhammad’s (ﷺ) grandson, Imam Hussain (ra), died defending his values and legacy.
Imam Hussain (ra), his family and his companions stood against a ruthless tyrant Yazid approximately 1400 years ago in the land of Karbala (modern-day Iraq), upholding the values of the Prophet (ﷺ).
It was during this month of Muharram that Imam Hussain (ra) witnessed the loss of his young child, of just six months, who died in his arms as he was denied access to water, whilst many more of his loved ones were held captive and killed.
Throughout Muharram, as one of the Muslim observances of the month, Penny Appeal have a goal to build as many life-saving wells as possible, to honour the legacy of Imam Hussain (ra) and his companions.
Why do we fast in Muharram?
Muslims usually fast in Muharram for up two days of the month. One of these days is the 10th, the Day of Ashura, the other is usually the 9th.
The 10th day of Muharram is also known as the Day of Ashura - the day that Allah (SWT) saved Musa (as) and the Children of Israel from the greatest tyrant to ever walk the earth: Pharaoh. As a sign of gratitude, Prophet Musa (as) used to fast on this day. In honour of his freedom and worship, the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) told Muslims to fast, too. The Messenger (ﷺ) also made it clear that he intended to fast on the ninth of Ashura as well [Sahih Muslim], but he passed away before he could.
Many Muslims also fast on this day to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (ra), the grandson of the Prophet (ﷺ), his companions and other members of the Holy Prophet’s (ﷺ) family at the Battle of Karbala.
Fasting on the Day of Ashura offers an unmissable opportunity for spiritual redemption. Allah (SWT) promises that anyone who fasts on this day will be rewarded by having his minor sins from the past year wiped clean. That’s one day for the price of 365. How generous is Allah (SWT)!
Don’t ignore the tremendous blessings and barakah of the holy month of Muharram. Through Muharram observances like fasting, making duas and giving to charity, we can all become more spiritually fulfilled during this blessed month.
In commemoration of the tragic events at Karbala, and all those who were martyred without water for us during Muharram and on the day of Ashura, we ask you to give others the precious gift of water.
Mark this blessed month of remembrance by offering the vital resource of water with our sustainablRainwater Harvesting Systems or even make a donation towards building a Solar Panel Water and Power Centre. Your donation could provide entire communities with clean water, saving lives for generations to come.
MONDAY 2 SEP 2019