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The Sacred Month of Muharram


What Is Muharram?

The Sacred Month of Muharram1

Of the Islamic months, there are four that are particularly sacred and special to Muslims around the world. One of which is Muharram, which is the first month in the Islamic calendar, in which Muslims are encouraged to refrain from sinning and increase their good deeds.

Muharram marks the beginning of the Islamic New Year, as well as the Hijrah (emigration) of the Muslims from Makkah to Madina. The Arabic word ‘Muharram’ derives from the root word ‘haram’, meaning ‘forbidden’. This name is linked to how fighting in this sacred month is forbidden, which ensures Muslims can go to and from Hajj without being harmed.

How Is Muharram Observed?

In this sacred month, many Muslims observe Muharram by fasting and worshipping Allah (SWT), and refrain from sinning. Although fasting is not obligatory, Muslims are encouraged to do so, particularly on the 12th day of this month, the Day of Ashura. It is recommended to fast on the 9th and 10th days of the month, or the 10th and 11th days of Muharram in order to differentiate from the Jewish practice of only fasting on the 10th, however, fasting just on the 10th is sufficient.

When Is Muharram 2022?

This year, Muharram starts in the evening of Friday 29th July 2022, and the Day of Ashura is expected to fall on August 7th or 8th, 2022, depending on the sighting of the moon.

What Is The Day of Ashura?

The Day of Ashura translates to ‘the tenth’ and marks the day that Hussain (RA) was martyred by Yazid, the corrupt ruler, who surrounded and killed Hussain (RA) and his companions after he refused to support Yazid’s government. This day is therefore a day of mourning for Shia Muslims.

On this day, Sunni Muslims reflect on how Allah saved Musa (AS) and his followers from Pharoah by splitting the Red Sea. This miracle, as well as other events including; Prophet Yunus (AS) getting out of the belly of the whale, Prophet Yusuf (AS) getting out of the well he was thrown into, and Prophet Isa (AS) being born, all make the Day of Ashura a significant day to Muslims around the world.

In a hadith, Ubaydallah ibn Abi Yazid reported: Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I did not see the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, as eager to fast a day and preferring it over others except for this Day of Ashura and this month of Ramadan.” This encourages Muslims to fast on this day and indicates that there is significance behind it.

On the Day of Ashura, which falls in Muharram, Muslims are encouraged to seek Allah’s forgiveness and make dua. Learning about Muharram and the Day of Ashura, reciting duas and increasing worship, Muslims observe and make the most of this holy month.

International Learning Movement

International Learning Movement (ILM), a UK registered charity that supports deprived and deprivileged people, suggests several different ways to make the most of this month: you could give charity, seek forgiveness, and increase salawat upon the Prophet (PBUH). While none of these acts are obligatory, they particularly hold a lot of reward in this month.

The Reward of This Month

This month is very virtuous, whereby our good deeds have a lot of reward, so Muslims aim to increase their worship. Giving charity in this month is also practiced by many Muslims. However, sins committed in this month are also heavier on our scales than in other months, so refraining from sin is essential.

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