10th of Ashura and Muharram

Today’s topic is on 10th of Ashura and the month of Muharram

My dear brothers, we are now in the first month of the Islamic calendar, this being the month of Muharram. This is regarded as one of the sacred months.

The imam referenced the 36th ayat of Sura At-tawbah in reference to this. It’s translated to say:

Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him].

Our Prophet SAWS testifies to this month in the following hadith:

The best of fasting after Ramadhan is fasting during Allah’s month of Muharram

Dear brothers, this hadith illustrates to us the significance of the month and the weight that needs to be placed on it. For the Prophet SAWS to tell us that it is Allah’s month should indicate to us the potential we have here to please our Lord in this month.

Also dear brothers, we have in this month we day of Ashura. This is the 10th day of the month and it is tomorrow this year.

Firstly, the story of this day is explained in the following Hadith:

The Prophet SAWS came to Medina and observed that the Jews were fasting on the day of Ashura. Upon enquiring he was told that “This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Musa fasted on this day.” Our beloved Prophet SAWS responded by saying “We have more right to Musa than you”. And so he fasted on that day and commanded the Muslims to do likewise.

Dear brothers, when we reflect on the mercy shown by Allah SWT to Musa and his followers, we can see why this day is a day that was revered by our Prophet SAWS.

If that isn’t a reason enough to fast, the imam mentioned a hadith in which the reward for fasting on the day of Ashura is relayed. The Prophet SAWS is translated to say:

“Fasting the day of ‘Ashura’, I hope, will expiate for the sins of the previous year.”

Therefore, what is a day to fast dear brothers? It is a day recommended by us all to fast upon so let us use it to increase our worship and thus the pleasure of our Lord.

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Today marks the 10th day since the start of the Islamic year and thus we are in the month of Muharram.

It is regarded as one of the sacred months in Islam and the concept of sacred months in Islam was touched upon in last week’s khutba. Allah SWT mentions the concept of Sacred Months in Sura Al-Tauba, ayat 36 which is translated as:

The number of months ordained by Allah is twelve in the Book of Allah since the day He created the heavens and the earth. Of these, four are sacred; that is the established principle of Deen. Therefore, do not wrong yourselves by violating them. But you may fight against the mushrikin in all these months if they fight against you in all of them. Know that Allah is with the righteous.

Dear brothers and sisters, as we can see, Allah SWT has placed special emphasis on certain months and this one is one of them. So, as Muslims, what can we practically do in this month to benefit from it sacredness?

Firstly, we need to understand that although sin is bad at any time, it is particularly harmful in the sacred months and therefore we should be extra vigilant in this month so as to stay away from sin.

Equally so, we should therefore make a real effort in this month to perform good deeds. From the simplest charity of a smile, to a concerted community effort, we all know what we are capable of doing so let’s put it into action and make it happen this month.

And of course, fasting. We know from last week that this month is one in which the Prophet SAWS fasted more than any month outside of Ramadhan.

We have a hadith of the Prophet SAWS to back this up in which he is reported to have said:

The best of fasting after the month of Ramadhan is the month of Muharram, and the best of prayers after the obligatory prayers is the nightly prayers.

Dear brothers and sisters, these three practical steps is all that is needed to make this month count for us and for us to treat a sacred month with the respect and attention it deserves.

Alongside these practical steps for this month is the need to address misconceptions about this month.

We all know that this month is a source of debate as to what can and can’t be done. Therefore we address the innovations that have come about and therefore must be avoided.

Firstly, leading on from the day of Ashura which is the 10th day of Muharram. This has been the cause of innovation because some people associate the sanctity of this day with the martyrdom of Hussain RA.

As Muslims, no doubt the story of Husain RA, is one of the most tragic episodes of our history. Yet the sanctity of Ashura cannot be ascribed to this event for the simple reason that the sanctity of this day was established during the days of the Prophet SAWS, much earlier than the birth of his grandson Husain.

We must therefore be knowledgeable of this fact as we may get questioned by our neighbours, friends and colleagues as to it’s significance and therefore present the right answer to them.

Some people consider this an unlucky or evil month because of Husain’s martyrdom. They mourn the death and hold ceremonies for it. They avoid marriages for example and this is also a form of innovation that should be avoided.

And to just touch upon the practices that are witnessed at this time, the following hadith ought to be mentioned in which the Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:

He is not of us that would hit his cheeks and the cutting of pockets and behaves as the ignorant behave.

Dear brothers and sisters, as Muslims our behaviour during this month should be like the behaviour of the companions in that it should be not one of mourning, neither one of celebrating.

Rather, we should value Muharram as one of Allah SWT’s sacred months  in which we should do good deeds and be extra careful of sinning. We should try and fast as much as we can in this month.

We should not be superstitious about it and if someone wants to get married during it then they may.

Let’s revive the true essence of this month and use it as a platform to attaining Allah SWT’s pleasure and his mercy. And the sacred month of Muharram is just the time in which to do it.

May Allah SWT enable us to understand the significance of Muharram. May Allah SWT enable us to gain reward from the month of Muharram and may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in the month of Muharram.

Ameen Walhamdullilahi Rabilalameen.

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Sacred Months in Islam

The Islamic calendar is based upon the year our beloved Prophet Muhammed SWS and his companions emigrated to the city of Medina from their home town of Mecca.

This took place in 622 according to the western calendar and so there is a difference between the western calendar and the Islamic calendar in terms of years passed.

The emigration that took place was as a result of 13 years of persecutions from the disbelievers residing in Mecca.

This event marked the second phase of the Islamic movement and it is the phase when Medinah became centre of an Islamic state.

Besides the year difference, there is also a fundamental difference in the calculation of the Islamic calendar. Unlike the western calendar, it is lunar.

Each month in the calendar begins when the new moon is sightable by the unaided naked eye. As Muslims, we are obligated to sight the new moon in every country.

Allah SWT mentions this in the Glorious Quran in Sura At-Tawbah, ayat 36:

Indeed the number of months with Allah is twelve lunar months in the register of Allah from the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these four are sacred. That is the correct religion (i.e. way), so do not wrong yourselves during them.

My brothers, from this ayat, it is clear to see that the Islamic calendar is more than just a form of timekeeping. Allah SWT clearly outlines the objectives He places upon each and every one of us during certain times of the year.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammed SWS, mentioned the four sacred months in his farewell pilgrimage as narrated in the following Bukhari hadith:

“O People, Time has gone back to how it was at the time Allah created the heavens and the earth. A year has twelve months, four of which are sacred, three consecutive: Dhul-Qi’dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab.


As we look through the Quran and Teachings of Prophet Muhammed SWS, we are taught to respect and honour what Allah SWT and his messenger SWS honoured. These sacred months are a time for us to reflect on our lives, exert ourselves in extra worship and ask Allah SWT for His forgiveness.

Allah SWT mentions this specifically in Sura Al-Maidah, ayat 2:

“O you who have believed, do not violate the rights of Allah or the sanctity of the sacred month.”

And again in Sura At-Tawbah, ayat 36:

“So do not wrong yourselves during them (i.e. the sacred months)”


My brothers, Rajab is especially important for us as it reminds us that we are ever closer to the month of Ramadan. We can best prepare for it and respect the sacred months by performing prayers other than the mandatory prayers, fasting other than the mandatory fasts and giving above and beyond the mandatory charity of Zakat. If nothing else, then use these months to reflect upon oneself more and to increase in ones dialogue with Allah SWT.

May Allah SWT make us remember the sacred months. May Allah SWT make us better slaves in the sacred months. And may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts during these months.


Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.

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