Fasting in the month of Muharram
Abu Hurairah (Radia Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (Salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said,
“The Best month for observing fasting next after Ramadan is the month of Allah, the Muharram, and the best Salaat next after the prescribed Salaat is Salaat at night (Tahajjud prayers).” [Muslim]
Muharram is one of the Sacred Months. This Hadith points out that fasting in the month of Muharram is better than any other month of the year after Ramadan.
- The Most stressed days for fasting is ‘Ashoura (the 10th of Muharram).
He (Salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was asked about observing fast on the tenth day of Muharram, and he replied,
“It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year.” [Muslim]
And He (Salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“If I remain alive till the next year, I shall also observe fast on the ninth of Muharram.” [Muslim]
- Why is it recommended to fast on this day?
It is the day on which Allah granted Prophet Musa (‘Alayhissallaam) emancipation from Pharoah and so they (the Jews) observed Sawm (Fasting) in token of their joy. On this, he (Salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said that Muslims have greater right to observe Sawm than the Jews , consequently, he (Salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) also observed Sawm on the 10th of Muharram. Then he said that if he lived the following year, he would observe Sawm on the 9th of Muharram also, so that muslims would be different from the Jews.
Many scholars are of opinion that the fasting of ‘Ashoura was obligatory in the beginning then it was abrogated by the fasting of Ramadan.
- When the Prophet (Salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said that the best month for fasting next after Ramadan is the month of Muharram. It is does not indicate that fasting the whole month, but fasting in this month.
- The Prophet (Salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to fast Sha’baan more than Muharram because fasting Sha’baan is considered a restricted voluntary fast while fasting Muharram is considered unrestricted voluntary fast, and the restricted is better than the unrestricted. Fasting Sha’baan is like a ‘Ratibah’ for the month of Ramadan. Similarly, Fasting the day of ‘Arafah is better than fasting Muharram because it is restricted to fasting the day of ‘Arafah. With regards to the prayers, the ‘Ratibah’ prayer is better than the unrestricted Tahajjud prayer, because the Ratibah is joined (follows) the obligatory prayer.
Also the Dhikr; the one said after the prayer is better than the one said at other times.