The Significance of Muharram
The Muslim era began with the great event of the Hajra from Mecca to Medina, or which was the emigration of our dear Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W.) and his companions (Rd.A) from Mecca to Medina.
The Muslim calendar is lunar and its months are determined by the various positions of the moon. In every year there are twelve months and each month has either thirty or twenty-nine days depending on the position of the moon.
There are twelve Islamic months. These months are: MUHARRAM, SAFAR, RABEE-UL-AWWAL, RABEEL-US-SAANI, JAMAA-DI-UL-AWWAL, JAMADI-US-SAANI, RAJAB, SHABAAN, RAMAZAAN, SHAWWAAL, ZUL-QADAH and ZUL-HIJJAH.
MUHARRAM is the first month of the Islamic year. Allaah Subhanahu-Wa-Ta’aala caused significant events to occur during this Holy month.
On the 10th of Muharram Allaah created the earth and the sky. On this day, rain first fell on the earth. On this day, Allaah created Adam (A.S.) and Allaah accepted Prophet Adam (A.S.) with mercy, after his exile from Paradise and after his repentance.
On this day Allaah lifted Prophet Idress (A.S.) (Ilijah) to a high abode. On this day Allaah saved the Prophet Noah (A.S.) (Noah) and his companions in the Ark. He preached to the people for 950 years, but they did not listen to him, (Allaah’s message) and did not believe in him as a Prophet.
So Almighty Allaah sent down the great flood and destroyed them all; except Noah (A.S.), and his followers. On this day Allaah cooled the fire in which Prophet Ibraheem (A.S.) (Abraham) the friend of Allaah was thrown by King Namrud (Nimrod), and the fire by a miracle turned into a garden.
On this day Allaah gave Prophet Sulaiman (A.S. ) (Solomon) authority to rule. (He received His Kingdom most honourable). On this day the Prophet Yusuff (A.S.) (Joseph) was taken out from the well in which He was put by his brothers.
On this day Prophet Yunus (A.S.) (Jonas) was taken out from the belly of the whale fish. On this day the Red Sea was divided for the children of Israel. On the 10th of Muharram) Pharaoh and his army followed Prophet Moosa (A.S.) (Moses) and his followers to the Red Sea. When Moosa (A.S.) and his followers had crossed through the Red Sea safely, Pharaoh and his army all drowned.
On this day the Prophet Isaa (A.S.) (Jesus) was taken up to Heaven. On this day Angel Jibraeel (A.S.) (Gabriel) was sent down to the Holy Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W.) with Allaah’s blessings. On this day, 10th of Muharram 61 A.H., Imaam Husain (Rd. A) second son of Hazrat Ali (Rd.A) and Bibi Fatima (Rd.A) and grandson of Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W.) (Peace and blessings of Allaah be showered upon them) was martyred in the battle of Karbala in Iraq. And on this day (10th of Muharram) Qayaamat, i.e. The Day of Resurrection, will come. It will be on a Friday.
Hazrat Imaam Husain (Rd.A) and his handful of followers laid down their lives on the 10th of Muharram at Karbala for the sake of Islam, fifty years after the Prophet’s demise. What has the world to learn from the sacrifice of the great Imaam (leader) Imaam Husain (Rd.A) gave a practical application of the Kalimah (the article of faith):- “LAA ILLAAH ILLAL LAAHU MUHAMMADUR RASOOLULAAH” (There is no one. worthy of worship but Allaah and Muhammad (S.A.W.) is the true Messenger of Allaah When a Muslim utters these words, he declares firm that he would not bow down before evil and he asserts that a Muslim is free and will ever be free, Therefore for the attainment of this freedom he considers Martyrdom an honour.
When the soul marches towards perfection, the powers of darkness always try to bring it down and death if such a struggle is not Death, but a revival and creation. As the Almighty Allaah says in the Holy Qur’aan:
“Do not consider of those who are martyrs in the way of Allaah as dead, but they are living) (meaning Martyrs have a special place in Heaven). But you do not understand). (Ch. 2: V. 154 Q).
CONDOLENCE (EXPRESSION OF SYMPATHY):
It is however a duty on every member of the Islamic Commonwealth to express condolence on the death of his Muslim brother and to convey words of sympathy to the relatives of the deceased. The best words of condolence according to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) are:
“INNAA, ILLAAHI WA INNAA ILAIHI RAAJI-OON
(Surely to Allaah we belong and to Him shall we return).”
Abu Omaamah (Rd.A) reported that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said:
“The Almighty and Glorious Allaah will say: O Son of Adam! If you had patience and cherished hope of reward at the time of first shock, (On hearing the news of the death of someone).
“I could not have been pleased to reward you with less than Paradise”. (Ibn Majah).
Abdullah-Ibn-Masood (Rd.A) reported:
“The Messenger of Allaah (S.A.W.) said “There is none among us who beat faces and tears out shirts and cries aloud like the crying of the day of ignorance.” (Bukhari and Tirmizi).
Umme Habibah (Rd.A) and Zainab-Binte-Jahash (Rd.A) reported that the Messenger of Allaah (S.A.W.) said:
“It is not lawful for a woman who believes in Allaah and the latter day to mourn over a dead man for more than three nights, but except for her husband which four months, and ten days are allowed.” (Bukhari and Tirmizi).
Husain-Ibn-Ali (Rd.A) reported that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said:
“There is no Muslim male or female who is afflicted with mishap and then remembers it, though its period is long past, and recite: “INNAA LILAAHI WA INNAA ILAIHI RAAJI-OON” Ssurely to Allaah we belong and to Him shall we return), but Allaah Almighty will renew for him (Reward him) at that time and will give him a like reward of it on the day on which he was afflicted therewith.” (Baihaqi).
OBSERVANCE OF MUHARRAM
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said that
“Whoever fasts on the 9th and 10th or the 10 and 11th of this month (Muharram), all their sins for the last year would be forgiven.” (Muslim).
“After the fast of Ramzan, fasting on these two days (9th and 10th or the 10th and 11th) is better than any other fast of the year.” (Muslim).
The Prophet Nooh (A.S.) (Noah) and his followers, in order to show their thankfulness to Allaah for being saved from the flood, fasted on the 10th of Muharram.
According to the Hadees, whoever gives charity on the 10th of Muharram, in the sight of Allaah, it is just as if he has given charity for the whole year.
Suf-Yaan-Ibn-Ainaa (Rd.A) reported:
“Who so prepares good food on the 10th of Muharram, and feeds his own children and own family, he will get blessings through the whole year.” (Baihaqi).
There is no special prayer to offer on the 10th of Muharram but according to the Hadees:
“One should fast (if possible) on the 9th and 10th or the 10th and 11th. Give charity and hold meetings in which the true story of the hero of Karbala should be told, so that the same spirit of sacrifice which Imaam Husain (Rd.A) and his brave followers displayed at the sandy plains of Karbala be infused in the hearts of every Muslim man and woman, young and old.”
It has been the practise to mourn the death of Imaam Husain (Rd.A) on the 10th day of Muharram, but this custom, which is an entirely un-Islamic and wrong practice has been inherited from a certain group in Indian called the SHI-AA or RAAFZEE which started this mourning by force among the Muslims (Ahl-E-Sunnat wal Jamaat) who were at the time rulers of India.
Shiaa groups exist up till this day in India, Persia, Iraq and some Middle East countries. The Ismaili and the Aga Khan groups of India hold similar views as that of the Shiaa, regarding the mourning in Muharram for the Martyrdom of Imaam Husain (Rd.A) which is contrary to the Hadees as quoted above and which is not the practice of the Sunni Muslims. They are all condemned by Islam and the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaath.
If we mourn the death of anyone, we should mourn the death of our beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), but this would be difficult since he (Prophet S.A.W.) passed away after sixty-three years on the same day (Monday) that he was born. That means on one side there is happiness and on the other side there is sadness. Yet according to the Hadees, I wish to repeat that it is not lawful for a woman to remain in mourning for over four months and ten days over a deceased husband.
Some may say that the incident of Imaam Husain (Rd.A) occurred after the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) passed away and as a result the above Hadees has no bearing with Imaam Husain (Rd.A). But according to the Ulamas (Islamic Scholars), Islamic Law is eternal, past, present and future.. If we do not know about something and clarification is given from the Holy Qur’aan and Hadees, then we should obey Allaah and please Him and His Prophet (S.A.W.).
Imaam Hasan and Imaam Husain (Rd.A) were brothers and also the grandsons of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) Imaam Hasan (Rd.A) was born on the 15th day of Ramzaan in the year 3 A.H. and died by poisoning on a Friday in the year 50 A.H. This noble soul was buried at Baqee cemetery in Medina.
Imaam Husain (Rd.A) was the Hero of the Tragedy of Kar-bala, the occasion of which the annual Muharram is celebrated. He was born on the 5th day of Shaabaan in the year 4 A.D. and was martyred in the battle of Karbala on a Friday in the year 61 A.H. Imaam Husain (Rd.A) was the second son of Hazrat Ali (Rd.A) and Bibi Fatima (Rd.A).
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) declared that both these brothers will be leaders of the young men of Paradise; He said (Prophet - S.A.W.) that:they are of him and he is of them, and those who love them love the Prophet (S.A.W.), and those who hate them, hate the Prophet (S.A.W.).
May Allaah give us strength to do righteous deeds. May He lead us to the right path. May He guard us against calamities and hardships. May He bestow upon us his Mercies and Kindness, May He end our lives with the Kalimahs Shariff (article-of-faith): “LAA ILAAHAA ILLALAAHU MUHAMMADUR RASOOLULAAH” (There is no one worthy of worship but Allaah, and Muhammad (S.A.W.) is the true Messenger of Allaah).
O Allaah! Lead us to The Righteous Path. Give us strength to follow it, save us from falsehood, and un-Islamic customs and expose it before us so that we may guard ourselves against it. and follow Your Commands and the Sunnah of Your beloved Prophet (S.A.W.). May Allaah remove all hardships and difficulties. May Allaah forgive and pardon all of us.
O Allaah! Make us among your favourite and blessed people during this sacred month of Muharram, and make this day particularly blessed for us for your reward, O Most Merciful of those who show mercy. All praise is due to Allaah who is peerless in His Holy Person and for His distinguished attributes, and for His Immortality. There is neither a beginning for Him, nor an end. He is Lord of the Worlds. (AMEEN)
Allaah knows best