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Whats significance of fasting in Muharram?

Whats significance of fasting in Muharram? Fasting is advocated in the month of Muharram. The Prophet is believed to have said: “The best fasts after the fasts of Ramadan are those of the month of Muharram.” Although the fasts of the month of Muharram are not obligatory, yet one who fasts in these days out of his own will is entitled to a great reward by Allah Almighty. Fasting on the tenth day of Muharram, called Ashura, is particularly important, as it supposed to lead to great rewards. A person does not have to fast for the whole month. On the contrary, each fast during this month has merit.

Whats significance of fasting in month of Muharram?

Here are some activities that are recommended for the day of Ashurah:

  1. To observe fast on this day
  2. To give as much charity as you can afford
  3. To perform Nafl Salat prayers
  4. To recite Surah Ikhlas 1000 times
  5. To visit and be in the company of pious Ulema
  6. To place a hand of affection on an orphan’s head
  7. To give generously to one’s relatives
  8. To put surma in one’s eyes
  9. To take a bath
  10. To cut one’s nails
  11. To visit the sick
  12. To establish friendly ties with one’s enemies
  13. To recite Dua-e-Ashurah
  14. To visit the shrines of Awliyas and the graves of Muslims

Why We Fast on the Day of Ashura

The 10th day of Muharram, the day of Ashura, marks many important events in our Islamic history; it is a day of reflection and remembrance. Many of us observe this day by taking up a fast, but why?

On the day of Ashura, we remember the Prophet Musa (as), who freed the slaves in Egypt and escaped the clutches of the Egyptian tyrant when Allah (swt) defeated the Pharaoh and his soldiers by parting the Red Sea for them to cross into freedom. Musa (as) fought oppression and spoke out against the false worship of the Egyptian Pharaoh, who claimed that he himself was divine. Allah (swt) rewarded the Prophet Musa’s (as) steadfast belief and dedication by liberating him and the Children of Israel on the day of Ashura. Each year on this day, Musa (as) would fast as a way of giving thanks to Allah (swt) for this great liberation.

Al-Tirmidhi mentions that Ibn Abbass (ra) used to say that we should fast on two days to recognise our closeness to Musa (as) above others.

The Day of Ashura was also the day that Imam Hussain (ra) was martyred for standing strong in his moral beliefs against Yazid. Imam Hussain (ra) was killed in The Battle of Karbala defending his people against an army of 30,000 soldiers. The Prophet’s (saw) grandson fought nobly for his innocent friends and relatives, bravely defending their dignity, and fell in battle protecting those he loved and the morality he stood for.

The 10th of Muharram is also the day that Nuh’s (as) ark landed on Mount Judiyy when the Great Flood subsided. The Prophet Nuh (as) warned his people to stop their worship of false idols and the sinful ways they had taken up, but they refused to listen to him, and in doing so refused the word of Allah (swt). As a result, Allah (swt) told Nuh (as) to build an ark, gather pairs of every animal and bring his family and a group of loyal believers aboard it. Allah (swt) then brought about the Great Flood. Nuh (as) fasted on the 10th of Muharram in thanksgiving for Allah’s (swt) Mercy and Blessings. On the day of Ashura, we remember his devotion to Allah (swt).

These momentous events all occurred on the 10th day of Muharram and many Muslims fast on the day of Ashura to commemorate the devotion of Musa (as), the death of Imam Hussain (ra), and the obedience of Nuh (as). The Prophet Muhammad (saw) fasted on the 10th of Muharram to honour Musa’s (as) dedication to Allah (swt) and to show devotion himself.

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