The holy month of Muharram is the 1st month of the Islamic calendar. Muharram is a great and blessed month. The month of Muharram is so blessed by Allah (SWT) that He declared the month of Muharram as His month and named it as the Month of Allah. In the Holy Quran Allah (SWT) says: “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.” (Quran 9:36)
Islamic calendar starts with the holy month Muharram, derived from the root word “Haram” which means “forbidden.” In the blessed month of Muharram, Allah Almighty lets His blessings go unbound and the worships of Muslims are given some extra credit by Him. In this Holy month war and bloodshed have been prohibited. Muharram is the holy month in which supplications are readily answered by Allah Almighty.
Though the reward of any good action is multiplied manifolds in the sacred months, it is particularly recommended by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself to fast in the month of Muharram. It is stated in hadith: “ The best fasts after the fasts of Ramadan are those of the month of Muharram” (Muslim). The hadith signifies that the fasts in the month of Muharram are most rewardable ones among the Nafl fasts i.e. the fasts one observes out of his own choice without being obligatory on him. It is not necessary that one have to fast for the whole month of Muharram each fast during this month has its own merit. Therefore, one should avail of this opportunity as much as he/she can.
Spending on the family members or relatives in this month will increase the provision of a person along Barakah, which will be imparted from the mighty Exalted Lord upon the spender. It is stated in Hadith: “One who generously spends on his family on the Day of Ashura, Allah will increase (his provision) for the whole year.” (Baihaqi). One can also do charity, social service, offer optional prayers, and ask Dua from Allah Almighty to shower the blessings and mercy on him.
The month of Muharram has also significance due to the 10th day of Muharram (Day of Ashura). On the 10th day of Muharram Hazrat Imam Hussein ibn Ali (RA) who is the son of Hazrat Ali (RA) and Hazrat Fatima (RA) and grandson of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) with 72 of his followers martyred in the battle of Karbala by the forces of Yazid who is the Umayyad caliph of that time. Muslims remember Hazrat Imam Hussein (AS) and his followers in this holy month of Muharram. Hazrat Musa (AS) and his followers also attained victory over Egyptian pharaoh and his soldiers who drowned in the Red Sea on 10th of Muharram and Hazrat Musa (AS) fasted on this day.
When the Prophet (PBUH) came to Medina, he found (the Jews) fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’ (i.e. 10th of Muharram). They used to say: “This is a great day on which Allah saved Moses and drowned the folk of Pharaoh. Moses observed the fast on this day, as a sign of gratitude to Allah.” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “I am closer to Moses than they.” So, he observed the fast (on that day) and ordered the Muslims to fast on it.” (Bukhari)
The sacred month of Muharram has great significance in Islam as this holy month is full of virtues and blessings and should be celebrated according to the spirit of this month.