Written by on August 3, 2022

Muharram marks the start of the new Islamic year and is one of the most important months in the Islamic calendar. The Prophet (ﷺ) referred to this month as “the month of Allah”.


Why is Muharram so significant?

Muharram is amongst the four sacred months in the Islamic calendar.

Abu Bakra narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred: Three are in succession Dhul-Qa’ da, Dhul-Hijja and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumadi-ath-Thaniyah and Sha ban.” Bukhari

Muharram has multiple historical and religious significance.

The month marks the hijrah (emigration) of the Muslims to Medina and the beginning of the Islamic year.

It is also the month in which the battle of Karbala took place, and Hussain (grandson of the Prophet (ﷺ)) was martyred.

During this blessed month, we should focus on performing more righteous deeds and stay away from wrongful actions.

image of three lanterns

Day of Ashura

The Day of Ashura falls on the 10th day in Muharram and is a day which Muslims are encouraged to fast.

Ibn `Abbas said: “I never saw the Prophet (ﷺ) seeking to fast on a day that he favoured more than another except this day, the day of ‘Ashura’, and this month, meaning the month of Ramadan.” Bukhari

Prophet Musa (PBUH) and the Israelites were saved by Allah (SWT) for Pharaoh on this day by splitting the Red Sea which they passed through.

“So We inspired Moses: “Strike the sea with your staff,” and the sea was split, each part was like a huge mountain. We drew the pursuers to that place, and delivered Moses and those with him all together.” Surah Ash-Shu’ara, Verses 63 – 65

It was also on this day that Prophet Nuh’s (PBUH) Ark came to rest on mount Judi.


Fasting on the Day of Ashura

The practice of fasting on Ashura was known even before the rise of Islam. Prophet Musa (PBUH) fasted that day out of gratitude to Allah for saving the Believers.

The Prophet (ﷺ) came to Medina and saw the Jews fasting on the Day of Ashura. He asked them about that. They replied, “This is a good day, the day on which Allah rescued Bani Israel from their enemy. So, Moses fasted this day.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “We have more claim over Moses than you.” So, the Prophet fasted on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to fast (on that day). Bukhari

Fasting on this day was obligatory before fasting in the month of Ramadhan was introduced.

Aisha (RA) narrated: “Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) ordered (the Muslims) to fast on the day of ‘Ashura’, and when fasting in the month of Ramadan was prescribed, it became optional for one to fast on that day (‘Ashura’) or not.” Bukhari

There are great rewards for fasting on the Day of Ashura.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Fast the Day of Ashura, for indeed I anticipate that Allah will forgive (the sins of) the year before it.” Tirmidhi

image of dates and fruit

Fasting the 9th and/or 11th of Muharram

The Prophet (ﷺ) wanted to fast on the 9th, in order to differ from the People of the Book.

Ibn ‘Abbas reported that when the Prophet (ﷺ) fasted on the day of Ashura and commanded that it should he observed as a fast, they (his Companions) said to him: “Messenger of Allah, it is a day which the Jews and Christians hold in high esteem.” Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “When the next year comes, God willing, we would observe fast on the 9th.” Unfortunately, the Prophet (ﷺ) did not live to see the next year. Muslim

Most scholars recommend fasting on the 9th of Muharram along with the Day of Ashura. Some scholars also considered fasting on the 11th of Muharram in case one misses the 9th or in order to ensure one catches the 10th of Muharram.

Therefore, one can fast:

  • On the Day of Ashura only
  • On the 9th and 10th
  • On the 10th and 11th
  • Or on the 9th, 10th and 11th of Muharram as some scholars did

View Luton fasting times for Muharram on your device.

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