Al-Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, holds great importance in Islam. It is one of the four revered months in the Islamic calendar and is known as the Sacred Month of Allah.
The word Muharram means forbidden, and just like in other holy months, waging war or indulging in sinful acts or any kind of violence is forbidden during this month. Instead, this is an opportunity for us to draw closer to Allah (swt) and seek His infinite mercy and favour. Here are some simple ways to ensure you make the most of Al-Muharram.
Fast as much as possible
‘On the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra) who said, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “The best fasting after Ramadan is the Sacred Month of Allah (Al-Muharram) and the best prayer after the obligatory ones is the night prayer (Tahajjud)”’. (Muslim)
The Prophet (saw) used to mark the most important days of the Islamic calendar by fasting. The month of al-Muharram is of such sanctity though, that even the Quraysh in the days of Jahiliyah (ignorance) used to fast on certain days of the month.
One such day is the Day of ’Ashura, the tenth day of the month, which celebrates Allah (swt) freeing Prophet Musa (as) and his people from the bonds of Pharaoh.
Before Allah (swt) made fasting in Ramadan obligatory, people used to fast on ’Ashura, which was also the day that the Ka’bah used to be covered with a cover or Kiswah. When Allah made fasting in the month of Ramadan compulsory, Allah’s Apostle said,
“Whoever wishes to fast (on the day of ‘Ashura’) may do so, and whoever wishes to leave it can do so.” (Bukhari 1592)
Although not obligatory, there are immense rewards from fasting on the Day of ‘Ashura.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said that fasting on the day of ’Ashura , ‘expiates the minor sins of the past year’ (Muslim).
The Prophet (saw) advised his Ummah to also fast on the 9th or 11th of Muharram in order to differentiate his Ummah from the People of the Book and as we know, following his Sunnah contains immense blessing.
It is also good to keep as many nafl fasts as you can during this month, although fasting the whole month is reserved for Ramadan only.
Indulge in plentiful Ibadah
Allah (swt) has praised those who wake up at night in His remembrance and supplication, seeking forgiveness, and intimate entreating (munajat).
“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]
As we know, the best time for voluntary prayer is at night during tahajjud. This is the closest a servant gets to his Lord and is the time when the doors of the skies are opened, supplications answered, and needs are fulfilled.
Give to charity
It has been reported from Abdullah 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.”
There are huge rewards available for honouring the times of the year favoured by Allah (swt) and the Day of ‘Ashura is one of them. Muslims around the world tend to give their Zakat in Al-Muharram to maximise their rewards. These are also ideal times in which to give Sadaqah as well.
The Prophet (saw) was known for his incredible generosity and there is no better way to seek the mercy of Allah (swt) than by emulating his most favoured creation,
‘You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah, a beautiful pattern [of conduct] for anyone whose hope is God and the Final Day’ (Qur’an, 33:21).
It is important to note that acts of charity do not need to be grand gestures.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “The acts most beloved to Allah, Exalted be He, are those which are done regularly, even if they are small”. (Muslim)
Simply make your intention and commit to a small act of goodness that you can maintain during the entire month of Al-Muharram and beyond. For an even bigger impact, why not give Sadaqah Jariyah and receive the immense blessings of your charity in the hereafter too?
Most of the projects at Muslim Hands are Zakat and Sadaqah eligible and the majority give you the option of choosing to either give a large one-off donation or a smaller amount regularly. Our Sadaqah Jariyah projects start from just R250, making it easier than ever to reap beneficial rewards for years to come.