Significance of Muharram & Historical Importance
The Islamic New Year is ushered in with the sighting of the new moon. Muharram is counted as the first month of the Islamic calendar. This month is considered as one of the four sacred months as mentioned by Allah in the Holy Quran, the other three sanctified months being Zil Qa’dah, Zil Hijjah and Rajab. It was on this first day of Muharram that Allah created the heavens and the earth. Among all the four months considered sacred, Muharram is the most significant one blessed with certain specific virtues.
Since four of the months are regarded sacred in the Islamic calendar, the rewards for the good deeds performed in these months are far greater than in other months. To add on, sins committed in these months are far more heinous than engaging in sins in other months. A person committing murder during any of these months would be required to pay more than the prescribed amount of blood money.
As stated by Prophet Muhammad, observing fasts during Allah’s month of Muharram are the best of the fasts besides the month of Ramadan. The best of the salaat (prayers), beside the fardh (compulsory) salaat is the tahajjud salaat (performed after midnight and before dawn). In another sacred book, it is also mentioned that a person fasting during Muharram would receive a reward of 30 fasts for each fast observed. A person observing fast on the 10th day of Muharram is believed to receive a reward of 10,000 martyrs and the reward of 10,000 people performing Hajj and Umrah.
On this 10th day of Muharram, Hazrat Imam Hussain Ali, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, along with his family and followers, was killed in the battle of Karbala. Hence, Muharram is a sacred festival to remember the death of Imam Hussain. They sacrificed for the cause of truth and justice. Therefore, people fast on both 9th and 10th days of Muharram as recommended by Prophet Muhammad. Speeches are delivered about the battle of Karbala and people are advised to learn from these lessons of courage, patience and perseverance.