Thursday, December 24, 2009
Fasting the 9th and 10th of Muharram
First of all, it is very important to make it clear that fasting on the day of `Ashura’ – the 10th of Muharram- is of great merits in Islam.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Fasting the day of `Ashura' (is of great merits), I hope that Allah will accept it as an expiation for (the sins committed in) the previous year” (Muslim).
Also, fasting the 9th of Muharram is highly recommended by the Sunnah.
Imam At-Tirmidhi reported that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) used to say: We should fast on two days: the 9th and 10th of Muharram to distinguish ourselves from the Jewish community. (At-Tirmidhi)
It is the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to fast on the 9th and 10th of Muharram. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him used to fast on the day of `Ashura'. When he came to Madinah, he found out that the Jews of Madinah were also fasting on this day remembering Prophet Musa (peace and blessings be upon him).
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) admired this tradition and said to the Jews, "I am closer to Musa than you are." He fasted and he also told his Companions to fast on this day. Later, before the end of his life, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told Muslims to add the 9th day also. Thus, it is recommended to fast on both the 9th and 10th of Muharram.
"Be for Allah and Allah will be for you! "
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “The degree to which a person is helped and aided by Allah depends on the degree of his intention, drive, aim and hopes. Help from Allah comes to people in proportion to their drive, intention, hopes and fears. Failure comes to them in a similar manner.”
Muharram is the month with which the Muslims begin their lunar Hijrah Calendar. It is one of the four sanctified months about which the Holy Quran says, "The number of the months according to Allah is twelve (mentioned) in the Book of Allah on the day He created heavens and the earth. Among these (twelve months) there are four sanctified."
These four months, according to the authentic traditions, are Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab. All the commentators of the Holy Quran are unanimous on this point, because the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, in his sermon on the occasion of his last Hajj, declared: "One year consists of twelve months, of which four are sanctified months, three of them are in sequence; Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram, and the fourth is Rajab."
The specific mention of these four months does not mean that any other month has no sanctity, because the month of Ramadan is admittedly the most sanctified month in the year.
But these four months were specifically termed as sanctified months for the simple reason that their sanctity was accepted even by the pagans of Makkah.
In fact, every month, out of the twelve, is originally equal to the other, and there is no inherent sanctity that may be attributed to one of them in comparison to the other months. When Allah Almighty chooses a particular time for His special blessings, the same acquires sanctity out of His grace.
Thus, the sanctity of these four months was recognized right from the days of Ibrahim, alayhi salam. Since the Pagans of Makkah attributed themselves to Ibrahim, alayhi salam, they observed the sanctity of these four months and despite their frequent tribal battles, they held it unlawful to fight in these months.
In the Shariah of our Noble Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, the sanctity of these months was upheld and the Holy Quran referred to them as the "sanctified months".
Muharram has certain other characteristics special to it, which are specified below.
Fasting During the MonthThe Noble Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, has said: 'The best fasts after the fasts of Ramadan are those of the month of Muharram."
Although the fasts of the month of Muharram are not obligatory, yet one who fasts in these days out of his own will is entitled to a great reward by Allah Almighty.
The Hadith cited above signifies that the fasts of the month of Muharram are most rewardable ones among the Nafl or voluntary fasts.
The Hadith does not mean that the award promised for fasts of Muharram can be achieved only by fasting for the whole month. On the contrary, each fast during this month has merit. Therefore, one should avail of this opportunity as much as he can.