With the sighting of the new moon the Islamic new year is ushered in.The first month Muharram, is a month of great reward and virtue.Muharram itself means `sacred' and is from those months which have been mentioned as sacred in the Holy Quran. Almighty Allah states in the Holy Quran:
"Four of them ( Zil-Qadah, Zil-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab) are sacred." (Surah At-Tawbah:36)
The Day of Aashora (10th Muharram)
Although the month of Muharram is a sacred month as a whole, the 10th of Muharram is the most sacred among all its days.
The day is named ‘Ashurah'.It is one of the most important and blessed days of Allah in the Islamic calendar.
According to the Holy companion, Ibn Abbas (R.A), when the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) migrated to Madinah, he found that the Jews of Madinah used to fast on the 10th day of Muharram. They said that it was the day on which the Holy Prophet Musa (A.S) and his followers crossed the Red Sea miraculously, and the Pharaoh was drowned in its water. On hearing this from the Jews, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) said, “We are more closely related to Musa than you.” So the Prophet (S.A.W)directed the Muslims to fast on the day of Ashura. (Abu Dawood)
One should also observe the fast of the 9th Muharram to safeguard his deed from resemblance with the Non-Muslims who fast only on the 10th Muharram.
Ibn Abbas (R.A) said:"When Rasulullah (S.A.W) observed the fast of the day of Aashora and ordered (his Companions) to fast, they said: `O Rasulullah! It is a day revered (glorified) by the Jews and Christians.' Thereupon Rasulullah said: "The coming year, if Allah wills (I remain alive), I will for surely fast on the ninth (also)."(Muslim)
These Hadiths indicate clearly that one should fast on the ninth and tenth of Muharram. However, if one does not manage to fast on the ninth, then he/she should fast on the eleventh of Muharram instead.
The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) said:"Observe the fast of Aashora and oppose the Jews. Fast a day before it or a day after."(Baihaqi)
Hence, it is important to either fast on the ninth and the tenth or the tenth and the eleventh of Muharram.To fast only on the day of Aashora is Makrooh as stated by Allamah Ibn Aabideen Shaami.
Recommended deeds on the day of Aashora
The Prophet (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) has exhorted and encouraged his Ummah to fast on this day. He said:"This fast is a compensation for the (minor) sins of the past year."
One should be generous on one's family and dependants and spend more on them than what is normally spent.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) said:"One who generously spends on his family on the day of Aashora, Allah will increase (his provision) for the whole year." (Baihaqi)
These are the only actions supported by Ahadeeth.
Let us observe this great day according to the ways of Rasulullah (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) and the Sahabah (Radhiyallahu-Anhum), and refrain from all innovations which deprive us of the blessings from Almighty Allah.May Allah guide us all upon the Straight Path and save us from every act which brings His displeasure.
Did You Know?
The significance of the Day of Aashora is from the time of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam). Thus, to attribute the significance of Aashora to the martyrdom of Hussain (Radhiyallahu-Anhu) is baseless.Therefore, the host of baseless customs with regard to his martyrdom must be discarded.
The martyrdom of Hussain (R.A) was indeed a great tragedy but Islam is not a religion of perpetual mourning. Having love for H Hussain (R.A) does not necessarily mean that his blessed name should be lamented upon especially when he gained the status of a Shaheed (Martyr), but instead one should convey Thawaab (reward) to him and donate on his behalf for the pleasure of Allah (on Allah's name).
Lamenting, mourning, displaying grief and beating heads is forbidden in Islam. To carry out these acts especially on this Day of Aashora is a Bid'ah (an bad innovation in Islam). To take part in them or to look at them with respect is not permissible.
Dirges (songs of mourning) should be abstained from as they have been clearly prohibited in the Ahadeeth.
Some people think that it is not good to marry in the month of Muharram.This is also a baseless conception.