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Islamic Months

Thursday, 17 January 2008 12:50

Muharram and Aashura

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Muharram and Aashura


MUHARRAM is the first month of the Islamic, Hijrah calendar. It is one of the four sanctified months about which Allah Ta'ala says, 'The number of months in the sight of Allah are twelve (in a year) - So ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth; Of them four are sacred: That is the right religion. So wrong not yourselves therein.' (Surah Taubah).


 


The four months, according to authentic Ahaadith, are the months of Zul-Qa`dah, Zul Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab. The sanctity of these four months was observed in the Shari'ah of all the Ambiyaa (AS).


 


'Allah Ta'ala made them (i.e. the four months) sacred and increased their sanctity. Hence declared a sin therein more severe and increased the virtue of good deeds and (also) the reward thereof.' (Ibn Katheer).


 


The Ulama have stated that the actions performed in these months have an effect on what a person does in the remaining months of the year.


 


THE MONTH OF MUHARRAM


The best of fasts besides the month of Ramadhaan is the fast during Allah's month of Muharram and the best of Salaats besides the Fardh (obligatory Salaat) is the Tahajjud Salaah (performed after midnight). (Sahih Muslim).


 


THE DAY OF AASHURA (10th OF MUHARRAM)


The tenth of Muharram, known as the day of Aashura, is a very significant day in the Islamic calendar. Nabi (SA) has exhorted the Ummah to fast on this day. Hadhrat Aaisha (RA) reports that Nabi (SAW) ordered the observance of the fast of Aashura. However, when the fast of Ramadhaan became compulsory, Nabi (SAW) left the fast of Aashura (i.e. the compulsion). Thereafter, whosoever desired kept this fast and whosoever desired, (not to keep it) did not observe this fast'. (Sahih Bukhari, Vol 1).


 


Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (RA) says, 'I did not see Rasulullah (SAW) anxiously await the fast of any day, which he gave preference to over other days, but this day (of Aashura) and the month of Ramadhaan (Sahih Bukhaari, Vol. 1).


 



VIRTUE OF THE FAST OF AASHURA


With regard to the blessing of this fast, Nabi (SAW) was asked regarding it's virtue. He answered, 'It is a compensation for the sins of the past year.' i.e. the sins of one year that has just gone by will be forgiven. (Sahih Muslim, Vol. 1).

Note: Only minor sins are forgiven. For the forgiveness of major sins, Towbah is a prerequisite.


 


THE FAST OF AASHURA


Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (RA) narrates that when Nabi (SAW) came to Madinah and found the Jews fasting on the day of Aashura, he inquired, 'What is the significance of this day on which you fast?' They replied, 'This is the day Allah saved Nabi Moosa (AS) and his followers and drowned Fir'oun and his army, thus Moosa (AS) fasted on this day as a token of thanksgiving. Therefore we too fast on this day.' (Sahih Muslim, Vol 1).


 


Rasulullah (SAW) said, 'We are more worthy of Moosa (AS) and nearer to him that you.' Thereafter, he fasted on this day and ordered the Sahaabah to fast on this day. (Sahih Muslim, Vol.

1)


 

Rasulullah (SAW) is reported to have said, 'Observe the fast of Aashura and oppose (the way of) the Jews. Fast a day before it (also) or a day after it.' (Baihaqi, Vol 4)


Hence, one should fast for two days: Either the 9th and 10th or the 10th and 11th. To fast only on the 10th of Muharram is MAKROOH (reprehensible) and bears semblance to the Jews.


 


GENEROSITY TO ONE'S FAMILY


Besides fasting on the day of Aashura, being generous to one's family and spending more than what is normally spent on food, etc. is an act of great merit. It is mentioned in a Hadith, 'He who will be generous to his family on the day of Aashura, Allah will be generous to him for the entire year.'


 


FALLACIOUS BELIEF


The day of Aashura is regarded by many people as the day of mourning the martyrdom of Sayyidina Hussain (RA). To attribute the significance of Aashura to Sayyiduna Hussain (RA)'s martyrdom is totally baseless because the sanctity of Aashura is proven, beyond doubt, from the time of Rasulullah (SAW), whilst Sayyiduna Hussain (RA) was martyred fifty years after Nabi (SAW) left this earthly abode. The fact that the martyrdom of Sayyiduna Hussain (RA) occurred on the Day of Aashura has absolutely no bearing on the significance of this day nor is the sanctity of this day derived from this event. On the contrary, it is one of the merits of Sayyidina Hussain (RA) that he was martyred on the Day of Aashura.


 


RESPECT WHAT ALLAH HAS HONOURED, FOR VERILY TO HONOUR THINGS DUE TO VIRTUE WHICH ALLAH HAS ACCORDED THEM IS AMONG THE TRAITS OF THE INTELLIGENT.


www.radioislam.org.za

 

Friday, 18 January 2008 12:43

Duties of the Month of Muharram

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Duties of the Month of Muharram

1. It is the best of months for general voluntary fasts, after Ramadan.


2. It is especially recommended to fast the 10th of Muharram (known as the Day of `Ashura’), with a day before it or after it. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar, quoting Kasani’s al-Bada’i`]


3. It is also virtuous to give in charity on this day.


Extracts from Ibn Rajab’s Lata’if al-Ma`arif, regarding the month of Muharram:


The Virtues of Fasting in the Month of Muharram and Its First Ten Days


Muslim reported from Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said , “The best of fasts after the month of Ramadan are in the Month of Allah, which you call Muharram. And the best of prayer after the obligatory prayer is the night prayer.” [Muslim, 1163]


This refers to general voluntary fasts according to Imam Ibn Rajab (Allah have mercy on him): These are best in the month of Muharram, just as the best general voluntary prayer is night prayer.


The virtue and honor of this month can be attested to by the fact that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) called it, ‘the Month of Allah.’ (Shahr Allah) Such ascription is only made by Allah to the most special of His creation, such as the ascription of the Prophets Muhammad, Ibrahim, Ishaq, Ya`qub, and others to his slavehood (Allah’s peace and blessings be on them all), and His ascription of the House (Ka`ba) and the camel to himself.


Given that Allah ascribed fasting, between all spiritual works, to Himself [saying, “It is Mine,”] it was suitable that this month, which is also ascribed to Allah, be selected for this particular form of worship.


Fasting is a secret between the servant and his Lord. This is why Allah Mighty and Exalted says, [in the divine hadith (hadith qudsi)], “ Every action of the son of Adam is his, except for fasting. It is Mine, and it is I who reward it.” [Bukhari and Muslim, from Abu Hurayra]


The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) also said, “The fasting person has two joys: one when he breaks his fast, and the other when he meets his Lord.”[Muslim]


Night Prayer


As for voluntary night prayer (qiyam al-layl), it is superior to voluntary prayer during the day because it is closer to secrecy, and nearer to sincerity (ikhlas).


Allah Most High said, “Lo! the vigil of the night is (a time) when impression is more keen and speech more certain.” [Qur’an, 73.9]


This is because the time of the night vigil (tahajjud) is the best of times for voluntary prayer, and the closest a servant gets to his Lord. It is a time when the doors of the skies are opened, supplications answered, and needs fulfilled.


Allah Most High has praised those who wake up at night in His remembrance, supplication, seeking forgiveness, and intimate entreating (munajat), saying, “Who forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of that We have bestowed on them. No soul knows what is kept hid for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do.”[Qur’an, 32.16-17]


And, “Or he who pays adoration in the watches of the night, prostrate and standing, bewaring of the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord? Say: Are those who know equal with those who know not? But only those of understanding will pay heed.” [Qur’an, 39.9]


And He said to His Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace), “And some part of the night awake for it, as voluntary worship for you. It may be that thy Lord will raise thee to a praised estate.” [Qur’an, 17.79]


It has been said that those who worship at night will enter Paradise without reckoning, and that standing in night prayer shortens the length of one’s Standing on the Day of Judgment.


This is why the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Stick to night prayer, for it was the way of the righteous before you. Night prayer is a means of closeness to Allah Most High, of expiating for bad deeds, avoiding sins, and keeping away illness from one’s body.” [Tirmidhi (3543], Bayhaqi, and others; it is a sound (hasan) hadith]


Similarly, it has been related that fasting is a means for good health. The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) is reported to have said, “Fast, and you shall have good health.” [Ahmad, from Abu Hurayra]


Lovers have no time more joyous than when they are alone in entreating their Beloved. This is the healing for their hearts, and the great thing that they could long for.


This is why Abu Sulayman al-Darani would say, “The people of the night find more joy than the people of distraction (lahw) in their distractions. Were it not for the night, I would not like to remain living.”


The Day of `Ashura’: The Tenth of Muharram


It is mentioned in Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him and his father) that he was asked about fasting the Day of `Ashura’ [10th of Muharram]. He said, “I did not see the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) fast a day while more avid to seek its virtue than this day,” meaning the Day of `Ashura’.” [Bukhari (2006), and Muslim (1132)].


The Day of `Ashura’ has great virtue, and tremendous sanctity (hurma). The virtue of fasting it was known among the Prophets (peace be upon them all). Both Prophet Nuh and Prophet Musa (peace be upon them both) fasted it.


The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) used to fast this day even in Mecca, though he had not yet ordered others to do so, as mentioned in both Bukhari and Muslim. [Bukhari (2002), Muslim (1125)]


When he migrated to Medina, and found the People of the Book fasting this day and venerating it, he ordered the Muslims to fast it, and encouraged it so much that even the children would fast it.


It has been reported in both Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him), that, “When the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) reached Medina, he found the Jews fasting the Day of `Ashura’, so he asked them, ‘What is this day you are fasting?’ They said, ‘This is a tremendous day. Allah saved Musa and his people on this day and drowned Pharaoh and his people. Musa fasted it out of thanks, so we fast it too.’ The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said, ‘And we are more deserving of Musa than you are.’ So he fasted this day, and ordered that it be fasted.” [Bukhari (2004) and Muslim (1130)]


At the end of his life, the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) made the determination not to fast this day alone, but with another day [f: either before or after it], in order to be different from the People of the Book.


It has been reported in the Sahih of Imam Muslim (Allah have mercy on him), also from Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) that, “When the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) fasted the Day of `Ashura’ and ordered his companions to fast it, they said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! This is a day that the Jews and Christians venerate.’ So the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said, ‘When next year comes – if Allah wills – we will fast the Ninth [of Muharram with it].’ But the next year did not come before the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) passed away.” [Muslim (1134), Abu Dawud (2445)]


And it is reported in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad (Allah have mercy on him), from Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Fast the Day of `Ashura’ and be different from the Jews by fasting a day before it or a day after it.” [Ahmad]


Giving in Charity on the Day of `Ashura’


It has been reported from Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As (Allah be pleased with him), that “Whoever fasts `Ashura’ it is as if he has fasted the entire year. And whoever gives charity this day it is like the charity of an entire year.”


Mourning on the 10th of Muharram is an Innovation


As for the mourning and grieving of the Shiah on this day because of the martyrdom of Sayyiduna Husayn ibn Ali (Allah be pleased with him and his father), this is of the actions of those whose actions in this life are misguided while they think that they are doing well. Neither Allah Most High nor His Messenger (Allah bless him & give him peace) commanded us to mourn on the days of the tribulations of the Prophets, or their deaths, let alone anyone else.


[F: The fuqaha have mentioned that it is an innovation to consider Muharram a month of mourning. It is not disliked to marry in this month. It is a highly reprehensible innovation to participate in the rituals of the Shiah in mourning the death of Husayn (Allah be pleased with him).]


Some of the Virtues of the Day of `Ashura’


It is a day in which Allah forgave an entire people. Tirmidhi relates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to a man, “If you want to fast a month after Ramadan, then fast Muharram, for it has a day in which Allah forgave an entire people, and He turns to others in repentance in.” [Tirmidhi (841)]


And Allah alone gives success.


Faraz Rabbani

Amman, Jordan


www.qldmuslims.org.au

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