Muharram and Ashura
Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar, holds a special place as a time of renewal, remembrance, and reflection. It marks the beginning of a new year for Muslims and serves as a period of spiritual contemplation and gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon them.
The Month of Muharram is here. Allah says in Quran that
“Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islamic calendar)….” [Quran, Surah Al-Tawbah 9:36]
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The division of time has turned to its original form which was current the day Allah created the heavens and earth. The year consists of twelve months of which four are sacred: three consecutive months, Dhu’l-Qa’dah, Dhu’l-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumada and Sha’baan.” [Hadith mentioned in al-Bukhaari (3167) and Muslim (1679) as narrated from Abu Bakrah (may Allah be pleased with him)]
There are many misconception in the Ummah regarding Muharram. Many of us mix the Shia and Sunni aqeedah. Here I am including some lectures and Videos that can help you educate yourself about Muharram and Ashura. Hope you find them Useful. But before that I would like to clarify some aqeedah of Shia and Sunni on the event of Ashura.
How Shia Observe Ashura
Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram, carries particular importance as it marks the martyrdom of Hussain radi allahu anhu , the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
For the majority of Shi’a Muslims, Ashura marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram, and commemorates the death of Husayn ibn Ali RA , the grandson of Muhammad SAW at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH.
Shia Imams strongly insist that the day of Ashura should not be celebrated as a day of joy and festivity. The day of Ashura, according to Eighth Shia Imam Ali al-Rida, must be observed as a day of rest, sorrow, and total disregard of worldly matters.]Some of the events associated with Ashura are held in special congregation halls known as “Imambargah” and Hussainia.
Shi’as make pilgrimages on Ashura, as they do forty days later on Arba’een, to the Mashhad al-Husayn, the shrine in Karbala, Iraq, that is traditionally held to be Husayn’s tomb. On this day Shi’a are in remembrance, and mourning attire is worn. They refrain from listening to or playing music .They have a Certain traditional flagellation rituals such as Talwar zani (talwar ka matam or sometimes tatbir) use a sword. Other rituals such as zanjeer zani or zanjeer matam involve the use of a zanjeer (a chain with blades)
How Sunni Observe Ashura
Based on the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (saws), Sunni Muslims celebrate Ashura as the day when Prophet Moses (Moosa) fasted on that day because Allah saved the Israelites from their enemy in Egypt. One of the many Ahadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad) that attests to that is in Bukhari that states:
Narrated by al-Bukhari (1865) from Ibn ‘Abbaas, who said: The Prophet (saws) came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashoora. He said, “What is this?” They said, “This is a good day, this is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy and Moosa fasted on this day.” He (the Prophet Muhammad) said, “We are closer to Moosa (Prophet Moses) than you.”
So Prophet Muhammad fasted on this day in Muharram and told the people to fast.
There are many other versions of this Hadith in the books of “Muslim” and “Bukhari”.
According to a version narrated by Muslim,
Allah saved Musa AS on this day
This is a great day when Allah saved Moosa (Moses) and his people and drowned Pharaoh and his people.”
Sunni Muslims celebrate Ashura by fasting on that day. Usually, Sunni Muslims are recommended to fast on the 9th and 10th of Muharram.
Fasting 9th and 10th Muharram
Al-Shafa’i and his companions, Ahmad, Ishaaq and others said: It is mustahabb [recommended] to fast both the ninth and the tenth, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fasted the tenth and intended to fast the ninth. Based on this, there are different ways of fasting ‘Ashoora’, the least of which is to fast the tenth only, but it is better to fast the ninth as well. The more one fasts in Muharram, the better.
Other Ahadith on the subject are the following:
The prophet observed the fast on Ashura (the 10th of Muharram), and ordered (Muslims) to fast on that day. (Agreed upon Hadith i.e. Bukhari & Muslim).
Narrated by Abi Katada: The prophet was asked about fasting on Ashura (the 10th of Muharram), he said: “it expiates the previous year (for sins).” (Sahih Muslim)1
It was proven from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that the best fasting after Ramadan is fasting in the month of Muharram. It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The best fasting after Ramadan is the month of Allah, Muharram, and the best prayer after the obligatory prayer is prayer at night.” Narrated by Muslim, 1163.
It is also Important that one educate oneself on the event of Karbala (the Historical Perspective ) . If You are interested in knowing more about Karbala, I recommend you to watch this lecture by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi.Very elaborate and educative .
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