What are the virtues of the month of Muharram:
Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets and Chief of the Messengers, and upon all his family and companions.
Allah’s sacred month of Muharram is a blessed and important month. It is the first month of the Hijri calendar and is one of the four sacred months concerning which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, the number of months with Allaah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allaah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them, four are sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein…” [al-Tawbah 9:36]
It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas said that this phrase (so wrong not yourselves therein…) referred to all the months, then these four were singled out and made sacred, so that sin in these months is more serious and good deeds bring a greater reward.
The Virtue of observing more naafil fasts during Muharram:
Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘The best of fasting after Ramadaan is fasting Allaah’s month of Muharram.'” (reported by Muslim).
This hadeeth is probably meant to encourage increasing one’s fasting during Muharram, without meaning that one should fast for the entire month.
Fasting on ‘Aashooraa’
Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to Madeenah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Aashooraa’. He said, ‘What is this?’ They said, ‘This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allaah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Moosa fasted on this day.’ He said, ‘We have more right to Moosa than you,’ so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari)
Fasting on the day of ‘Aashooraa’, was obligatory but when fasting Ramadaan was made obligatory, the obligation to fast ‘Aashooraa’ was lifted, i.e., it was no longer obligatory to fast on this day, but it is still desirable (mustahabb).
Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of ‘Aashooraa’, and this month, meaning Ramadaan.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari).
Not relying too much on the reward for fasting it:
Some people who are deceived rely too much on things like fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ or the day of ‘Arafaah, to the extent that some of them say, “Fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ will expiate for the sins of the whole year, and fasting on the day of ‘Arafaah will bring extra rewards.”
It is mustahabb (encouraged) to fast Taasoo’aa’ with ‘Aashooraa’:
‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fasted on ‘Aashooraa’ and commanded the Muslims to fast as well, they said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, it is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘If I live to see the next year, insha’ Allaah, we will fast on the ninth day too.’ But it so happened that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) passed away before the next year came.” (Reported by Muslim)
Al-Shaafa’i and his companions, Ahmad, Is- haaq and others said: “It is mustahabb to fast on both the ninth and tenth days, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fasted on the tenth, and intended to fast on the ninth.”
On this basis it may be said that there are varying degrees of fasting ‘Aashooraa’, the least of which is to fast only on the tenth and the best of which is to fast the ninth as well. And the more one fasts in Muharram, the better it is.
Bid’ahs common on ‘Aashooraa’:
Some are wearing kohl, taking a bath (ghusl), wearing henna, shaking hands with one another, cooking grains (huboob), showing happiness….
They also reported a fabricated hadeeth that is falsely attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), which says, “Whoever is generous to his family on the day of ‘Aashooraa’, Allaah will be generous to him for the rest of the year.” Reporting all of this from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is tantamount to lying.’
Nothing to that effect has been reported in any saheeh hadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from his Companions. None of the imaams of the Muslims encouraged or recommended such things, neither the four imaams, nor any others. No reliable scholars have narrated anything like this, neither from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), nor from the Sahaabah, nor from the Taabi’een; neither in any saheeh report or in a da’eef (weak) report.
We ask Allaah to make us followers of the Sunnah of His Noble Prophet and may Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions.
Extracted from Booklet by Shaykh Saleh Munajjid
[Ref: sr amatullaah]