Muharram is the first month in the Islamic Calendar and is sacred, as no other month has the honour of being the month of Allah (SWT). It is important to note, though, that other months are also sacred and that every month should be used to get closer to Allah (SWT) by increasing worship.
Muharram is one of four sacred months in which good deeds are heavier on the scales, and the punishment for bad deeds is intensified. The other sacred months are Rajab, Dhul Qa’dah, and Dhul Hijjah.
The first day of Muharram marks the beginning of the Islamic New Year, which commemorates the Hijrah (emigration) of the Muslims from Makkah to Yathrib (modern-day Madina), whereby the first Islamic state was established in 622 CE.
When is Muharram 2023?
The Islamic year does not coincide with the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, Muharram is likely to begin on 19 July 2023. This date is subject to change depending on the sighting of the moon. Muharram is estimated to end in the evening of 17 August, at sundown.
The Day of Ashura
The Day of Ashura falls on the 10th day of Muharram and commemorates several significant and important events. It was on this day that Imam Hussain (RA) was martyred by Yazid; the Umayyad caliph and corrupt ruler, after refusing to give him allegiance.
After Hussain (RA) refused to pledge his allegiance to him, Yazid followed Hussain (RA) and attacked him, his family, and his companions with his army. They were deprived of food and water for three days. Hussain’s (RA) six-year-old son was killed, and his women were captured. This makes Muharram an emotional time for some Muslims, in which they honour the sacrifice of innocent lives by observing Muharram with a mourning period.
The Day of Ashura also marks the day where Allah (SWT) saved Musa (AS) and his followers from Pharoah by splitting the Red Sea. On this day, Prophet Yunus (AS) got out of the belly of the whale that he was stuck in, Prophet Yusuf (AS) got out of the well he was thrown into, and Prophet Isa (AS) was born. These events all make the Day of Ashura a special and important day for Muslims all around the world to reflect on.
Fasting in Muharram
It is highly recommended to fast on the Day of Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram, as well as including the day before it or the day after it. This is to differentiate from the Jewish practice of only fasting on the 10th, but just fasting on this day is also sufficient. Fasting on this day compensates for minor sins committed in the previous year and displays gratitude towards Allah (SWT).
Since this month is sacred, fasting at any time during it can be rewarding and virtuous. Therefore, we should aim to fast and increase worship during it, as well as in other months to follow the Sunnah of increasing worship as much as possible.
What To Do in Muharram
During the sacred month of Muharram, we should aim to increase our acts of worship like fasting and giving charity. Good deeds are more virtuous during this month, but it is also important to avoid sinning, as bad deeds are heavier during this month, too.
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As the beginning of the Islamic New Year, Muharram is the perfect time to give charity to pave the way for the rest of the year. Insha’Allah, this will be the beginning of new good habits to continue throughout the year that gains the pleasure of Allah (SWT).
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