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The Virtue of Muharram in Islam – Holy Month

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In the Islamic Shari’a Sources, the number of months in a year is twelve months, of which there are four distinctly regarded as special moons or holy months like Zulqaidah, Zulhijjah, the month of Muharram and Rajab. Why is that? Then what about the other months such as Ramadhan regarded as the most sacred month? (Read: The Important of Islamic Month)

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Basically every month has similarities and there is no difference between one another. And of course there are special reasons why the four months like Zulqaidah, Zulhijjah, Muharram and Rajab month are considered as holy or special month in Islam. (Read: Importance of marriage in rajab month)
Allah’s Word in the Qur’an Surat At-Tawba verse 36:

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَقَاتِلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ كَافَّةً كَمَا يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ كَافَّةً وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الْمُتَّقِينَ

Meaning:

Indeed, the number of the months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day , in the ordinance of God when He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him].

Rasulullah Sholallahu Alaihi Wassalah said:

إِنَّ الزَّمَانَ قَدْ اسْتَدَارَ كَهَيْئَتِهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ السَّمَوَاتِ  وَالْأَرْضَ السَّنَةُ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ثَلَاثٌ مُتَوَالِيَاتٌ ذُو الْقَعْدَةِ وَذُو الْحِجَّةِ وَالْمُحَرَّمُ وَرَجَبُ مُضَرَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ جُمَادَى  وَشَعْبَانَ

Meaning:

Verily, the times are turning as they were when God created the heavens and the earth. That year there are twelve months of which there are four respected months: 3 months in a row; Dzulqa’dah, Dzulhijjah and Muharram and a separate month of Rajab Mudhar, which is between Jumada Akhiroh and Sya’ban month. “(Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)

The Origin of the Moon Muharram or as we know Ashura is one of the four months privileged in Islam, which is the first month in the hijri calendar. The name muharram lingustically means is forbidden. According to Abu ‘Amr ibn Al’ Alaa, it is called muharram because in that month it is forbidden to do wage (jihad). (Read: Importance of Safar Month)

While in the book of Tafsir Ibn Kathir states that

Named the month of Muharram because the moon has many virtues and glory, even this month has the privilege and glory very very much because the Arabian people used to call it as the glorious month (haram), the next year called the ordinary month (halal).”

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So it can be said that the virtue of the Moon of Muharram is a blessed and glorified month. In addition, it is very good to perform the sunnah fasting on muharram month. (read also: Virtue of Marrying in Shawwal Month) Then what are the privileges and virtues of the muharram moon? (Read: Fasting Six Days of Shawwal)

Also read:

One of the consecrated months

Muharam is one of the sanctified moon for Muslims, whereas in the month Allah forbids the Muslims to commit to do tyranny or acts that are forbidden by Allah SWT such as killing or fighting.

A tafsir expert named Qatadah bin Di’amah Sadusi rahimahulloh once said,

Sholeh deeds have greater reward if done in the haraam months as bad acts in the haram month have greater sin compared with the bad acts in the other months the bad acts are big sin“.

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The word means that if in haram months like the muharram moon the man commits tyranny such as fighting or killing, he will get double sins from Allah SWT. This is in accordance with the Word of Allah SWT is Al-Qur’an Surat At-Taubah verse 36 above (Read: Majority of the moon of Prophet Muhammad SAW)

There are important events in the month

The 1st day of Muharram is the day when Khalifah Umar Bin Khatab makes the determination of the month in hijrah for the first time (Read: The Importance of Ashura in Islam

On the 10th of Muharram, there were important (historical) events in Islam, such as:

  1. Muharram is the month where the rescue of Prophet Moses Alaihissalam and the Bani Israel clan from the pursuit of Pharaoh, where in the event, Pharaoh and his family drowned in the Red Sea.
  2. The day that God made heaven and earth
  3. The day that Allah created Adam Alaihissalam and Siti Hawa. (Read: Ethical Values of Islam)
  4. The Day where Allah SWT makes heaven
  5. The day that Allah accepts the repentance of the prophet Adam Alaihisalam and puts him to heaven
  6. The Day where God saved the Prophet Nuh Alaihissalam was saved from the ark after the earth sank for six months and was the day where Allah saved Ibrahim from fire that was deliberately used to burn himself by the king of Namrud.
  7. The day in which Prophet Moses received revelation from Allah in the form of the Torah
  8. The Day where God has freed the Prophet Yusuf Alaihisalam from prison
  9. The Day where Allah restored the Prophet Ayyub Alaihisalam from his skin disease
  10. The Day where Allah has restored the vision of the Prophet Yakub Alaihissalam from blindness
  11. The Day where Allah saved the Prophet Yunus Alaihissalam from the belly of the fish after being locked up for 40 days 40 nights
  12. The Day where Allah SWT gave the great kingdom to Prophet Sulayman Alaihissalam
  13. The day Allah SWT created nature and first brought rain down.

Muharram has been dubbed as syahrullah (the month of Allah)

Muharam also has a privileged position in Islam, where the moon is the only moon referred to as syahrullah (the month of Allah). Why is that? There are several opinions about it, such as:

The scholars explain that when a creature gets a title or is based on it Jalallah lafzhul, then it means that the creature gets the glory of Allah SWT. For example, on the occasion of naming the Ka’bah is Baitullah (house of God) which is the Heritage of Islamic History in the World, as well as on Camel prophet Sholeh Alaihissalam nicknamed naqatallah (camel of Allah)

As Suyuthi states that the naming of Syahrullah in the month of Muharram is because the name of Al-Muharram is the names of Islam, while the names of other months have existed since the jahiliyah time. In the past, before the arrival of Islam, the muharram month was named early syafar. (Read: Succession in Islam)

Al Hafiz Abul Fadhl Al ‘Iraqy rahimahulloh explains that the naming of shahrullah is possible because in that month Allah has forbidden the occurrence of war.

In addition, muharram was the first month in the Islamic calendar, hence it was based on Allah lafadz as a form of specialization. And only in the month of muharram Rasulullah Sholallahu alaihi wassalam leaning on Allah’s lafadz Allah. (Read: List of Important Days in Islam)

Also read:

In addition to Syahrullah, Muharram is also often referred to as Syahrullah Al Asham (quiet Allah’s Moon) because this month is regarded as a highly respected month so that no conflict or ripple is allowed in the month. (Read: How to Pray Salatul Layl)

Rasulullah Sholallahu Alaihi Wassalam bersabda :

Such are the virtues of the month of Muharram, and because of that the Muslims are strongly encouraged to reproduce the practices in the haram months. As quoted from the words of Qatadah that Allah SWT will multiply the reward for those who do right deeds in the muharram moon, so all kinds of goodness forms and sholeh practices s highly recommended to be improved in this month. And one form of sholeh charity is by do fasting. (Read: Dua for the Last Day of Ramadan)

Rasulullah Sholallahu Alaihi Wassalam said:

أَفْضَلُ الصِّيَامِ بَعْدَ رَمَضَانَ شَهْرُ اللَّهِ الْمُحَرَّمُ وَأَفْضَلُ الصَّلَاةِ  بَعْدَ الْفَرِيضَةِ صَلَاةُ اللَّيْلِ

Meaning:

The most important fast after Ramadan is fasting in Allah’s month (which is) Muharram and the most important prayer after the obligatory fast is a prayer lail.” (Muslim)

From Aisha Radiallahu Anhu said:

مَا رَأَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَتَحَرَّى صِيَامَ يَوْمٍ فَضَّلَهُ عَلَى غَيْرِهِ إِلَّا هَذَا الْيَوْمَ يَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ وَهَذَا الشَّهْرَ يَعْنِي شَهْرَ رَمَضَانَ

Meaning:

I have never seen the Messenger of Allaah shallallohu alaihi wasallam, striving for fasting one day more than any other except on this day, that is the day of ‘Ashura and this month is Ramadan.” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)

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Rasulullah Sholallahu Alaihi Wassalam ordered his people to fast every 10th of Muharam (asyura) as a sign of gratitude for the help of Allah SWT which is then known as Asyura fasting (Read: Dua for the Last 10 Days of Ramadhan)

عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا قَالَ قَدِمَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْمَدِينَةَ فَرَأَى الْيَهُودَ تَصُومُ يَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ فَقَالَ مَا هَذَا قَالُوا هَذَا يَوْمٌ صَالِحٌ  هَذَا يَوْمٌ نَجَّى اللَّهُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ مِنْ عَدُوِّهِمْ فَصَامَهُ مُوسَى قَالَ فَأَنَا أَحَقُّ بِمُوسَى مِنْكُمْ فَصَامَهُ وَأَمَرَ بِصِيَامِهِ

Meaning:

Ibn Abbas radhiyallohu anhuma said: When the Messenger of Allaah shallallohu alaihi wasallam arrived in Medina, he saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashura, so He asked:” What day is this ?.

They replied, “This is a special day, because today God saves Bani Israel from his enemy, therefore Prophet Musa fasts today. Rasulullah shallallohu alaihi wasallam also said, “I have more right to Musa than you”. So he fasted and ordered his companions to fast in the year to come. (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)

And when the Messenger of Allah Sholallahu Alaihi wassalam  was performing fast on the 10th of Muharram, the Companions asked him “O Messenger of Allah, this is a glorified day of Jews and Christians”. Then Rasulullah shallallohu alaihi wasallam also said:

فَإِذَا كَانَ الْعَامُ الْمُقْبِلُ – إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ – صُمْنَا الْيَوْمَ التَّاسِعَ

Meaning:

If I am alive next year, then I will fast on the 9th of Muharram (with 10 Muharram).” (Muslim)

It is done as a distinction between the Jewish fasting with the Muslims. As the saying of the Prophet Sholallahu Alaihi Wassalam:

صُومُوا يَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ وَخَالِفُوا فِيهِ الْيَهُودَ صُومُوا قَبْلَهُ يَوْماً أَوْ بَعْدَهُ يَوْماً

Meaning:

Fasting on the day of ‘Aasyuura’ and separate the Jews, fasting the day before or the day after.” [HR Ahmad, al-Baihaqi, etc.)

One of the virtues of Asyura fasting is Allah SWT will forgive his sins in the past year. One of the virtues of Asyura fasting is Allah SWT will forgive his sins in the past year.

عَنْ أَبِي قَتَادَةَ رضي الله عنه أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ  قَالَ صِيَامُ يَوْمِ عَاشُورَاءَ إِنِّي أَحْتَسِبُ عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُكَفِّرَ السَّنَةَ الَّتِي قَبْلَهُ

Meaning:

From Abu Qatadah radhiyallohu anhu that the Prophet Muhammad shallallohu alaihi wasallam said,” Asyura fasting day, I wish Allah will abolish the sin of last year“(Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Ahmad)

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