Muharram: A Holy Month with A Special Day of Ashura

by Ustaz Vincent Souleymane

Holy Months before Islam

The month of Muharram is one of the four holy months, along with the months of Dhul Qa’da, Dhul Hijja and Rajab. These months were in the pre-Islamic era (al jâhiliya), already considered as special periods, forbidding the tribes to fight each other. These were periods of truce that allowed traders to cross the desert without fear of being attacked by an enemy tribe as well as for any other activity that required travelling.

Islam Brought Increased Rewards Within the Holy Months

Islam is a universal religion, and the prophetic message of the last messenger is addressed to the whole world. But Allah chose this prophet to be Arab and to appear among the Arabs, and more precisely from the tribe of Quraysh. They would be the first to receive the message and to spread it to the peoples of the world. 

The Almighty, in His infinite wisdom, wanted this message to take up certain practices that were in use before the advent of Muhammad in the Arabian Peninsula. Among these were the sacred months. However, in the context of Islam, these are no longer considered months in which war is forbidden, but months during which the reward for good deeds is increased. 

Indeed, Allah has given, at certain places on earth and at certain times of the year, an additional merit for the believers. For example, one prayer in the Holy Mosque of Makkah is equivalent to 100,000 prayers in another place.

“One prayer in the Sacred Mosque is better than 100,000 prayers in another place.

The night of destiny, which is one of the odd nights among the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan, is better than a thousand months.”

{The night of destiny is better than a thousand months} Surah the Night of Destiny, verse 4

Increasing Good Deeds during Muharram

There are also these four holy months. We are currently in one of these months, the month of Muharram, which is also the first month of the Hijra year. It is therefore advisable to take advantage of this opportunity to increase our good deeds.

Moreover, this month has a special day, the tenth of this month called the day of Ashura. When the Prophet arrived in Medina, he found the Jews of Medina fasting on this day. He asked them why and they said that it was in commemoration of the day when Allah saved Musa and the Bani Israel from the yoke of Pharaoh who was drowned with his army. Then the Messenger of Allah said, “I am more entitled to follow Musa than you.”

Recommended Fasting on the Day of Ashura

So he ordered the Muslims to fast on that day and this fasting was obligatory until Allah revealed the obligation of fasting in the month of Ramadan, then it became recommended.

Its merits are very great, the Prophet having said in a Hadith reported by Muslim “The fast of Ashura, I hope that Allah erases by its cause, the sins of the year that precedes it”. 

A year’s worth of sins erased for a single day of fasting, such is the mercy of the Creator who gives us an opportunity not to be missed!

Vincent Souleymane, a French imam and shariah advisor at Muslim Pro, has devoted his time to study and enrich others with the knowledge of Islamic sciences ever since he converted to the religion in 1999.

During his studies at the Oussoul Eddine Institute in Saint-Denis, he became aware of the importance of devotion to Allah and decided to continue his religious studies at the daroul ouloum achrafiya of the Island La Réunion and at the IESH of Château Chinon.

Since then, Vincent Souleymane devotes himself to the Almighty by teaching Islam at the Oussoul Eddine Institute, as well as being an imam at the Fontenay sous Bois Mosque.

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