SHAFAQNA – A month of mourning and reflection, Muharram is one of Islam’s most sacred and holy months, so much so that God instructed His faithfuls to observe it with utmost piety. Almighty Allah states in the Holy Quraan, “Four of them ( Zil-Qadah, Zil-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab) are sacred.”(Surah At-Tawbah:36)
As reported by Muslim in his collection of hadiths,the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:“The best of fasts besides the month of Ramadan is the fasting of Allah’s month of Muharram.”
In another Hadeeth, Ibn Abbas reports: “that the Messenger of Allah said: “The one that keeps a fast in the month of Muharram will receive the reward of thirty fasts for each fast (in this sacred month).”
Before God instructed the Prophet Muhammad to observe the fast of Ramadan, Muharram stood a month when fasting was observed,especially on the day of Ashura (10th day of Muharram).
Ashura carried a very special place in the heart of Muslims, as it echoes of events so cataclysmic in Islam’s history that its weight still carry through our modern days.
Ashura remains one of the most important and blessed days of Allah in the Islamic calendar.
According to the Holy companion, Ibn Abbas, when the Holy Prophet (PBUH)migrated to Madinah, he found that the Jews of Madinah used to fast on the 10th day of Muharram. They said that it was the day on which the Holy Prophet Musa and his followers crossed the Red Sea miraculously, and the Pharaoh was drowned in its water. On hearing this from the Jews, the Holy Prophet then said, “We are more closely related to Musa than you.” So the Prophet directed the Muslims to fast on the day of Ashura.
According to another Hadith, it is more advisable that the fast of Ashura should be either preceded or succeeded by an additional fast.
Some scholars, among whom Sheikh Khaled Naswami in Yemen, are of the opinion that before the fasts of Ramadan was made compulsory, the fast of the day of Ashura was compulsory upon the Ummah (community).
For every epoch and generation of men, the day of Ashura has been interchangeably a glorious day – when Prophet Musa was freed from the grip of Pharaoh, a day of deliverance – when Prophet Ayyub was healed and restored to his wealth by the Grace of God, and a day of profound mourning and sorrow as Imam Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the last Prophet of God was murdered in the land of Karbala, outnumbered and betrayed by those he was meant to lead.
In the UK Ashura is being marked by the Muslim community as a mean to unite and bridge difference – a time used to reflect on those values and beliefs which unite the Ummah (community), rather than lament over those disagreements which have fueled resentment and anger.