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Muharram and the Day of Ashura

Muharram is the month with which the Muslims begin their lunar Hijrah Calendar. It is one of the four sanctified months about which the Holy Qur’an says, “The number of the months according to Allah is twelve months (mentioned) in the Book of Allah on the day in which He created heavens and the earth. Among these (twelve months) there are four sanctified.” These four months, according to the authentic traditions are the months of Zhul Qa’dah, Zhul Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab.

1. Abu Bakr (ra) reported that the Prophet (saws) said: “The year is twelve months, of which four are sacred: the three consecutive months of Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab […] which comes between Jumadah Thani and Sha’ban.”

 ~ Sahih Bukhari

2. Abu Hurayrah (ra) said: “The Messenger of Allah (saws) said, ‘The best of fasting after Ramadhan is fasting Allah’s month of Muharram.’”

~ Sahih Muslim

3. Narrated Ibn Abbas: “The Prophet came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura. He asked them about that. They replied, ‘This is a good day, the day on which Allah rescued Bani Israel from their enemy. So, Moses (Musa) fasted this day.’ The Prophet said, ‘We have more claim over Moses than you.’ So, the Prophet fasted on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to fast (on that day).

~ Sahih Bukhari

4. Ibn ‘Abbas said: “When Allah’s Messenger (saws) fasted on ‘Ashura’ 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.’ Allah’s Messenger (saws) said, ‘If I live to see the next year, insha Allah, we will fast on the ninth day too.’ But it so happened that Allah’s Messenger (saws) passed away before the next year came.”

 ~ Sahih Muslim

5. Narrated Aisha: “The people used to fast on Ashura (the tenth day of the month of Muharram) before the fasting of Ramadan was made obligatory. And on that day, the Ka’bah used to be covered with a cover. When Allah made the fasting of the month of Ramadan compulsory, Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Whoever wishes to fast (on the day of Ashura) may do so; and whoever wishes to leave it, can do so.’”

~ Sahih Bukhari

6. It was narrated from Humaid bin ‘Abdur-Rahman, that is Ibn ‘Awf, that Abu Hurairah said: “The Allah’s Messenger (saws) said: ‘The best fasting after the month of Ramadan is the month of Allah, al-Muharram, and the best prayer is prayer at night (i.e. Qiyam al-Layl).’”

~ Sunan An-Nasai

7. Abu Qatadah (ra) reported: “Allah’s Messenger (saws) was asked about observing fast on the tenth day of Muharram, and he replied, ‘It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year.’”

~ Sahih Muslim

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