Are the first ten days of Muharram virtuous?

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Question:

Dear Mufti saheb, Assalamu alaykum.

I am a Sunni Muslim who was brought up believing that the teachings of Islam are not based on mere hearsay & customary rituals & tradition, but they are firmly established from the Quran and the Hadith of our beloved Nabi Mohammed Mustafa (S).

l know that the Quran refers to the sacredness of the 1st ten days of Zul-Hijjah, and that our beloved Master, Mustafa (S) had also repeatedly encouraged us to devote those 10 days & nights to fasting, zikr and other acts of ibaadat.

What I would love to know is that, as a Sunni, is it an act of special virtue & merit, similarly, to specifically dedicate the 1st ten days of Muharram also to special devotional practices? If yes, please support your answer with authentic references from the Quran and Sunnah.

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-Salāmu ‘Alaykum Wa-Rahmatullāhi Wa-Barakātuh.

There is great importance and significance given to the month of Muharram as it is one of the four sacred months in Islam.

Allah ﷻ says:

“ إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ”

“Surely, the number of months according to Allah is twelve (as written) in the Book of Allah on the day He created the heavens and the Earth, of which there are Four Sacred Months.”[1]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «أَفْضَلُ الصِّيَامِ، بَعْدَ رَمَضَانَ، شَهْرُ اللهِ الْمُحَرَّمُ،

It has been reported from Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) he said, Rasulullah ﷺ said, “The best fast after Ramadan is the month of Allah, Muharram. (Reported in Sahih Muslim)[2]

This hadith could possibly indicate to the fact the best month to fast completely after the month of Ramadan is the Month of Muharram.[3]

In another narration:

، قَالَ: «إِنْ كُنْتَ صَائِمًا بَعْدَ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ فَصُمُ المُحَرَّمَ، فَإِنَّهُ شَهْرُ اللَّهِ، فِيهِ يَوْمٌ تَابَ فِيهِ عَلَى قَوْمٍ، وَيَتُوبُ فِيهِ عَلَى قَوْمٍ آخَرِينَ»: «هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ»

Rasulullah ﷺ said” If you will fast after the month of Ramadan, then fast Al-Muharram, for indeed it is Allah’s month in which there is a day that Allah accepted the repentance of a group of people, and in which He accepts the repentance of other people.”

Fasting on the tenth of Muharram holds great merit and virtue as it has been stated in the tradition below:

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: « وَصِيَامُ يَوْمِ عَاشُورَاءَ، أَحْتَسِبُ عَلَى اللهِ أَنْ يُكَفِّرَ السَّنَةَ الَّتِي قَبْلَهُ»

Rasulullah ﷺ said: “And the Fasting on the day of Aashura, I hope from Allah that fasting on the day of ‘Aashura may atone for the sins of the preceding year.” (Reported in Sahih Muslim)[4]

However, one should bear in mind that it is preferable that one joins the tenth day either with the day before(ninth) or the day after(eleventh).[5]

فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «فَإِذَا كَانَ الْعَامُ الْمُقْبِلُ إِنْ شَاءَ اللهُ صُمْنَا الْيَوْمَ التَّاسِعَ» قَالَ: فَلَمْ يَأْتِ الْعَامُ الْمُقْبِلُ، حَتَّى تُوُفِّيَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ

It has been mentioned in the hadith, Rasulullah ﷺ said, “When the following year comes, if Allah wills, we will fast on the ninth day. Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه said, the following year never came until Rasulullah ﷺ passed away.[6]

In general circumstances, any act of ‘ibadah performed in any of the four sacred months are more rewardable in comparison to the other months.[7]

Hafidh ibn Rajab رحمه الله has mentioned that the best part of the month of Muharram is its first ten days.[8]

Abu ‘Uthman Al-Nahdi has mentioned, that they used to honour and give importance to three types of ten days:[9]

  • Last ten days of Ramadan
  • First ten days of Dhul-Hijjah
  • First ten days of Muharram.

Considering the various evidence, it can be understood that any form of worship performed in the month of Muharram is considerably more rewardable. Therefore, one should honor and give due importance to the month of Muharram by engaging oneself in different forms of worship and avoid getting involved in such practices which are not in conformity to the dictates of Shariah. Other sects (like Shias, etc.) give importance to the day of Aashura for other reasons. One’s Ibaadat in the month of Muharram must not be increased due to these unestablished practices rather due to the virtues mentioned in the Ahadith.

And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best.

Shahid Shaikh

Student Darul Iftaa
New Jersey, USA

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Muhammad Zakariyya Desai.

 

Are the first ten days of Muharram virtuous?