Day of Ashura 2017, 10 Muharram 1439
279 Days to go
Day of Ashura:Friday, September 21, 2017
Significance of Muharram
Muharram 2017 is just around the corner. Being the first month of the Islamic New Year, Muharram holds great importance in Islam.
It is one of the four sacred months in the Islamic calendar. Muharram in its literal sense means “forbidden”. Similar to the other sacred months, waging war during this month is forbidden.“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…” (Bukhari 3197)
But a lot of Muslims are still confused about what is Ashura in Islam? Ashura holds special significance due to which Muhammad (PBUH) used to fast on this day. Earlier on it was obligatory to fast on the 10th of Muharram. However later, fasting was made obligatory in Ramadan only.
Narrated by Aisha (RA): “The people used to fast on ‘Ashura (the tenth day of the month of Muharram) before the fasting of Ramadan was made obligatory. And on that day the Ka’ba used to be covered with a cover. When Allah made the fasting of the month of Ramadan compulsory, Allah’s Apostle said, “Whoever wishes to fast (on the day of ‘Ashura’) may do so; and whoever wishes to leave it can do so.”(Bukhari 1592)
But why did he fast on this day? On this day, Prophet Musa (AS) performed the miracle with the help of Allah (SWT) whereby he was able to save his people from the Pharaoh by dividing the sea into two parts creating a pathway for his people to safely cross the sea, while the Pharaoh’s army drowned. Hence, the Jews used to fast on Ashura i.e. the 10th of Muharram. The Prophet (PBUH) himself fasted on this day and also ordered the Muslims to do so as he said that: “I am closer to Moses than they." (Bukhari 3397) The Companions observed that Jews and Christians also consider the day as special, fasting on the day. So Prophet (PBUH) announced that from next year they will fast on the 9th of Muharram so as to distinguish themselves from the Jews and Christians. Unfortunately, Prophet (PBUH) did not live to see the next year. Therefore, Muslims consider the 9th and 10th of Muharram, Ashura, as significant days in the Islamic calendar and observe fast on these days.
According to a tradition, when the Prophet (PBUH) was asked about fasting on the day of 'Ashura (10th of Muharram), he said: “It expiates the sins of the preceding year.” (Muslim 6: 2603)
Similar to the regular New Year, one should make resolutions at the start of the Islamic New Year to improve oneself. You can set small goals for yourself to become a better person. These goals can be both spiritual and social. You can strengthen your relationship with Allah (SWT) through regular Dhikr and Duas. You can help others out through participating in a social cause. It does not need to be a big social project. Allah (SWT) rewards every good deed. It might be small in your eyes but it might inspire someone else to do a good deed, thereby creating a ripple effect of goodness. Thus, a tiny good deed might be of way more magnitude than you deem it to be. Verily Allah (SWT) knows the best!
“The most excellent fast after Ramadan is in Allah’s month; al-Muharram, and the most excellent prayer after what is prescribed is prayer during the night.” (Muslim 6: 2661)
If you have any other queries regarding the Islamic New Year 1439, feel free to contact us. Stay tuned for more updates on Ashura 2017!"
Special Islamic Days
Frequently asked questions
Q How do you spend Ashura/Muharram?
A You can fast on the Days of Ashura and you can start the Islamic New Year by reciting this Dua;Allahumma adkhilhu ‘alayna bil amni wal iman, was salamati wal islam, wa ridwanim minar Rahman, wa jiwarim minash shaytan O Allah, bring this [month or year] upon us with security, Iman, safety, Islam, your pleasure and protection from Satan. (Tabarani 6237).
- Q What is the meaning of Ashura?
A In Arabic, Ashura means ‘the tenth’. For Muslims, it refers to the 10th day of the first month of the Islamic New Year. The Islamic New Year starts off with Muharram. The 9th and 10th of Muharram are collectively known as the Days of Ashura. The 10th of Muharram holds significance for both Muslims and Jews as this is the day Allah (SWT) saved Prophet Musa (AS) and his people from the Pharaoh..
- Q Why do we fast for Ashura?
A On the 10th of Muharram, Prophet Musa (AS) with the help of Allah (SWT) divided the sea into two parts helping his people safely cross the sea to the other side, free from the clutches of the Pharaoh’s army. Muslims and Jews fast on the 10th of Muharram/Ashura in thanksgiving to Allah (SWT) for saving Prophet Musa (AS) and his people..
- Q What is Ashura for Sunni Muslims?
A Ashura comes in the month of Muharram which is the start of the Muslim New Year. Ashura refers to the day when Prophet Musa (AS) performed the miracle with the help of Allah (SWT) whereby he was able to save his people from the Pharaoh by dividing the sea into two parts creating a pathway for his people to safely cross the sea, while the Pharaoh’s army drowned.
- Q What is Tazia in Muharram?
A Tazia is the procession staged by Shias in Muharram where they recreate certain aspects of the Karbala incident. At times, these processions even have replicas of the tomb of Hussain (RA), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). They do this in memory of Hussain (RA).
- Q Why do the Shia hit themselves?
A It is the Shias’ way of remembering Hussain (RA) and mourning for him. Shias believe that since Hussain (RA) and his family suffered a lot in the field of Karbala, they should hit themselves with swords and knives or with bare hands as a gesture of showing empathy to Hussain (RA) and his family.
- Q What is a Tatbir?
On the 10th of Muharram, Shias hit themselves with swords and knives hurting themselves. This act is known as Tatbir. According to the Shia ideology, this way they try to experience the hardships that Hussain (RA) and his family went through in the battlefield of Karbala.