Lessons from Muharram, ‘Ashura & Making 1445 a Year of the Qur’an

Muharram is the first month of the new Islamic year and is one of the four sacred months. It is a month of resetting and renewing one’s intentions. The beginning of a new year gives us the opportunity to reflect upon the previous year and improve our inner and outward character. Making renewed spiritual goals for the year ahead and setting realistic targets for self-development and growth should be a key focus for us.

Significance of ‘Ashura: There are several reward to be gained from worshipping and fasting during this blessed month.Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, ordered fasting on the day of Ashura, the tenth of al-Muharram.

Al-Tirmidhi said, “It is reported from Ibn Abbas that he said to fast on the ninth and tenth of the month and to do so differently from the Jews, and this tradition is the same as was said by Al-Shafi’i, Ahmad, and Ishaq.”

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 755

Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Tirmidhi

عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ أَمَرَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِصَوْمِ عَاشُورَاءَ يَوْمُ الْعَاشِرِ يعنى من الْمُحَرَّمِ

Allah also mentions in the Qur’an:

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ ٱلشُّهُورِ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِى كِتَـٰبِ ٱللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ مِنْهَآ أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا۟ فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ ۚ وَقَـٰتِلُوا۟ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ كَآفَّةً كَمَا يُقَـٰتِلُونَكُمْ كَآفَّةً ۚ وَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ

Indeed, the number of months ordained by Allah is twelve—in Allah’s Record since the day He created the heavens and the earth—of which four are sacred. That is the Right Way. So do not wrong one another during these months. And together fight the polytheists as they fight against you together. And know that Allah is with those mindful ˹of Him˺.

(At-Tawbah – Verse 36)

Allah ends the year with a sacred month and begins the year with a sacred month. This signifies that the momentum of good deeds should continue throughout the year. It also shows that every year should be filled with as many good deeds as possible. We are Muslims for 365 days a year, not just for Ramadan and not just for Muharram.

Always have firm Tawakkul: Allah saved from Musa from Firawn on Ashura. Prophet Muhammad PBUH fasted on this day in gratitude of this. Lessons to take: Even if the world’s most powerful leader has thousands of soldiers coming to attack you, Allah’s help is always there. With one sincere dua, Allah can change ANY circumstance or situation. Allah can make the impossible happen. If He can part the sea to make a path for Musa and his followers, if He can save Yusuf from the darkness of the well, if He can save Ibrahim from the fire and Yunus from the whale, what is not possible for Allah?

Therefore, tawakkul is so crucial. Without having unwavering trust in Allah, how can we truly follow Allah and His commands? We must never lose hope in Allah.قَالَ كَلَّآ ۖ إِنَّ مَعِىَ رَبِّى سَيَهْدِي

Moses reassured ˹them˺, “Absolutely not! My Lord is certainly with me—He will guide me.” (Shu’ara v 62)

Rewards: Fasting on the day of Ashura is an expiation of the minor sins from the previous year. Such a huge reward from Allah. He is giving us an opportunity to have our minor sins expiated from one whole year just by fasting on Ashura. It should humble us and make us reflect upon our own sins.

SubhanAllah, we have truly lost count of how many sins we have committed. We will never be able to remember the exact number due to us sinning so much. Opportunities like these come about only once a year. We should maximise and utilise this blessing from Allah. Fast whichever days you can and according to our own capabilities.

Martyrdom of Hussain (RA): This was one of the most gruesome events in the history of Islam. Tyranny, unjust rule and oppression are all around us. We must always strive to stand up to those who oppress us and aim to hold firm onto the rope of Allah. It’s also an opportunity for us to remember and make dua for our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH and his family even more. They all went through so much persecution throughout their lives, even the Prophet at the beginning of Islam from the treatment of the Quraysh.

Make 1445 a year of the Qur’an: How much Qur’an do we truly recite every day? How much Qur’an have we tried to memorize? How much Qur’an do we understand and reflect upon? Let’s make a firm effort to spend MORE time with the Qur’an this year. Maybe set a target from now; until next Muharram I would like to have memorised 5 or 10 Ajza. Or enrol onto a tafseer course, explore the hidden gems from the Qur’an. It is far more beneficial to understand the Qur’an than to simply memorize or recite it.

Maximising School holidays: Parents, try to spend more time with your children during the summer holidays. Read stories from the Qur’an together every day, go out as a family on walks, holidays, travel, arts and crafts etc. Just spend quality time with your loved ones. Kids – spend less time on your gadgets and parents too! We spend far too much time on our phones than with our loved ones. Connect and engage in conversations, bond with your loved ones. Time is short and time is precious. Young ones, try to learn more about the Qur’an, about Islamic history, about the prophets. Serve and honour your parents. Spend as much time with them as you can.

Lastly, Muharram is undoubtedly an important month and one we should strive to take maximum benefit from. It’s also an opportunity for us to reflect on Allah’s countless blessings upon us and to remember those who are suffering around the world..

May Allah accept our worship and allow us to gain maximum rewards from the blessed month of Muharram. May The Almighty grant us all a prosperous, productive and spiritually uplifting new Islamic year ahead. Ameen!