Allah Almighty has distributed the days, the months, the times and the places with high precision and with his ultimate wisdom.
Nothing has created without purpose or significance. Allah Almighty is not only the creator of different things, but he is also the one who chooses from among his creation whatever and whomsoever he wills.
Allah Almighty not only chooses among his people but also picks some places and some seasons over the rest.
Allah Almighty says in the Glorious Qur’an:
“Certainly the charge of months, in the sight of Allah, is twelve months, laid down in Allah’s judgment on the day when he created the heavens and the earth. And out of these months, four are sacred. That is the true ordainment. Don’t, wrong yourselves, for these months….” (Surah Al-Tawbah: 9/36)
This Ayah indicates that Allah Almighty created twelve months out of which he made four months as sacred months. He chose four months to be honored and respected.
According to ahadith, one of these four sacred months is the month of Allah; the month of Muharram.
Abu Bakarah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“The year is twelve months of which four are sacred, the three consecutive months of Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab Mudar which comes between Jumadah and Sha’ban.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari, 2958)
The greatness and sacredness of the month of Muharram can thus be realized by the fact that it has mentioned in the Quran and the ahadith as one of the four sacred months.
More importantly, it’s called the “month of Allah,” which adds even more to its greatness and specialty. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘The best of fasting after Ramadan is fasting in Allah’s month al- Muharram.’” (Reported by Muslim, 1982).
The month of Muharram and specifically the 10th of Muharram has great historical precedence.
It has reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw the Quraish of Makkah giving worship to this day.
Thus, this day is known in the days of Jahiliyyah. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) migrated towards Madina, he saw the Jews celebrating this day.
It’s reported in the hadith of Abu Musa (may Allah be pleased with him), who said:
“The Jews used to take the day of ‘Ashura as a festival [according to a report narrated by Muslim: the day of ‘Ashura loved by the Jews, who made it as a festival.]
[According to another report also narrated by Muslim: the people of Khaybar (the Jews) used to take it as a festival, and their women would wear their jewelry as a symbol on that day.]
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘So you (Muslims) should fast on that day.’” (Reported by al-Bukhari)
Fasting the day of ‘Ashura, the 10th of Muharram has been praised highly in the ahadith.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “For fasting the day of ‘Ashura, I hope that Allah will accept it as compensation for the year that went before.” (Reported by Muslim, 1976).
It is also advised to fast the 9th of Muharram along with the 10th, to oppose the practice of the Jews, as they celebrated only the 10th.
“When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fasted on ‘Ashura and told the Muslims to fast as well, they said,
‘O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that is adored by the Jews and Christians.’
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
‘If I live to see the next year, in sha Allah, we will fast on the 9th day too.’
But it happened that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed away before the next year came.”(Reported by Muslim, 1916).
The scholars thereby view that it is confirmed (Mustahabb) to fast the 9th along with the 10th of Muharram.
There are two extreme groups about the practices that they observe on the 10th of Muharram.
One group, the Shiites, take the 10th of Muharram as a day of grieving and mourning, honoring the sacrifice of Hussain Ibn Ali ( may Allah be pleased with him).
They dedicate this day to narrating stories full of grief and do self-flagellations openly on streets.
Another group takes this day as a day of celebration and festivity. They celebrate this day by cooking unique dishes and wearing new dresses etc.
However, the practices done by both these groups have no basis in the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
The Muslim belief and practice should be limited to what the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has taught, and not that which is not practiced by him.
Thus, we are required to fast on the 9th and 10th of Muharram and not to do all these practices, which have no basis in the Shariah.
May Allah Almighty gives us the ability to follow the Sunnah and to accumulate his blessings in His month, Ameen!