Islamic year follows lunar calendar and has 12 months. Unlike Solar calendar or Georgian calendar, some months hold a special importance in Islamic year. Importance of Muharram can be assessed from the fact that it marks the new Islamic year. Yes, Muharram is the first month of Islamic calendar.
In Quran, Allah has prioritized four islamic months over the rest of twelve.
In Surah Toba, it says:
Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred[ Muharram, Dhil-Qada, Dhil-Hajja and Rajab ]. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him].[Al-Touba:36]
Unfortunately, most of us are unaware about the importance of Islamic months except Ramadhan or Zul-hijja. Most of us recognize Muharram as the first month of Hijri calendar. Or we recognize it with the event of karbala only. However, importance of Muharram is not limited to these two facts only. Purpose of this article is to illuminate significance of Muharram beyond this conventional and limited scope.
Word Muharram it self means “sacred”. In connection to the verse quoted above, its is important to mention that this month demands us to be very conscious of our deeds. A special warning of ” Do not wrong your selves during them [the four sacred months]” indicates that if reward of good deeds is higher in this month, the punishment of a bad deed will also be higher.
Muharram as leader of Months:
Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) said:
“The leader of the people is Prophet Adam, of the Arabs is Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), of the Roum is Suhayb (ra), of the Persian is Salman (ra), the leader of the trees is Sidra, of the months is Muharram, of the days is Friday, of the words is Quran, the leader of the Quran is Surah al Baqara and its leader is Ayat-al Kursi.”
The Day of Ashoora:
The tenth day of Muharram is called ” The day of Ashoora”. It is one of the most sacred days of the whole islamic year. History records that when prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) migrated to Madina, people told him that Jews of Madina observed fast on day of Ashoora to commemorate the day when Prophet Moses (AS) crossed the Red Sea along with his followers and the pursuing Pharaoh and his army drowned. Upon hearing this, Prophet (PBUH) said:
“We are more closely related to Musa than you” Hence He directed all the followers to fast on the day of Ashura.Abu Dawood
Fasting in Muharram:
We have already discussed the significance of day of Ashoora,and fasting on day of ashoora. At another place, prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) said:
“For fasting the day of ‘Aashoora’a, I hope that Allah will accept it as expiation for the past year.”Muslim
However, it is reported that fasting on both 9th and 10th day of muharram is better and masnoon. Not only in relevance to ashoora, but fasting in muharram is advisable otherwise too, as evident from the hadeeth below.
“The best of fasts besides the month of Ramadhan is the fasting of Allah’s month of Muharram.”