Muharram-ul-Harram: Down the History lane


The month of Muharram marks the beginning of a new Islamic Year. It is one of the four months in which fighting is prohibited. The sunset on the 29th of dec’08 marks the beginning of 1430 AH. Beginning of a new year for Muslims brings with it many challenges. A peek down history explains why Muharram is considered of great importance. Being the First month of the lunar calendar it is believed that the earth was created in this month. Allah created Hazrat Adam in this month and pardoned him of his mistake. Hazrat Noah’s Ark landed successfully on Mount Judi during this time centuries ago. It is also said that Hazrat Ibrahim was saved from fire and Hazrat Musa rescued from the Pharaoh during the month of Muharram. The Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H)
Use to fast during the days of Ashura (I.e the 9th and the 10th of Muharram) as a remembrance  of the incident when Allah saved Prophet Musa (A.S) and the Children of Israel.

The Prophet Muhammad(P.B.U.H) entered the city of Madina in the 1st year of Hijra (of the Islamic calendar) on the 10th of Muharram, and noticed that the Jewish people within were fasting. In reply to his question as to why they were fasting, the Prophet Muhammad(P.B.U.H) was told that they were imitating the fast that Prophet Moses (A.S) offered as gratitude towards Allah for saving him and the Children of Israel from the Pharoah of Egypt. Upon hearing this the Prophet Muhammad responded by saying, “We (Muslims) have a greater right over Prophet Moses( P.B.U.H) and therefore, we too will fast on the day of Ashura.” At that moment one of his companions asked, “But Rasulullah, wouldn’t we be imitating the Jews if we were to do this?”, and so, the Prophet Muhammad added that, “it will then be permissible to fast either the day before or the day after the day of Ashura.”

 Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet came to Medina and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ashura. He asked them about that. They replied, “This is a good day, the day on which Allah rescued Bani Israel from their enemy. So, Moses fasted this day.” The Prophet said, “We have more claim over Moses than you.” So, the Prophet fasted on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to fast (on that day).  (Book #31, Hadith #222)

The significance of Muharram continues with the events of kerbala. One of the most unfortunate incidents in Islamic history. The battle of Kerbala marks the death of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H)‘s grandson Hazrat Immam Hassan (R.A), Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A) and their family.The deaths of the martyrs is mourned during the entire month of Muharram and specially on the 9th and 10th day (I.e Yume ashura). Annually the deaths of the martyrs are mourned by the Muslim world. The events revisited and the pain brought in full vigor. It is this day that marks with it one of the biggest breech among the Muslim Ummah. During the life of the Prophet (P.B.U.H) the emphasis were always laid on unity and submission. The concept of tauheed was embraced fully. However over the years the choices seems to differ. The events during the month of Muharram remind us of the journey of not just the grandson’s of the Prophet (P.B.U.H) but of ISLAM. From the creation of the earth and the first human being to the rescue of Hazrat Musa. The walk down history lane highlights the sufferings of the beloveds for the sake of ISLAM and the word of ALLAH before any other. The enemy in the past incidents and till now is still present and at large. The ‘Fitnah’ continues to haunt the Muslim world. It is essential that we don’t forget and overlook the sacrifices made by ALLAH’s messengers and the family of the Prophet(P.B.U.H). Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) brought forth the same message which was completed by our Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). The life and teachings of ALLAH’s chosen people was not different nor divided. The message continued until the seal of the Prophets and hence our ‘deen’ was completed for us.

However today even though we stay aware of all facts we choose to be ignorant. The concept of Islam was to unite the mankind. The teachings of the books revealed before the Quran aimed but onething ‘Unity’ and submission to a God but ‘One‘. Yet today we stand divided and indifferent. This Muharram I am reminded yet again of the sacrifices and struggles of the Prophets (May ALLAH be pleased with them all ) and their journey towards the completion of ISLAM. This Muharram reminds me of the brutality and injustices at kerbala and the aftermath. More precisely Muharram comes with the stinging fear that with the divisions that we have among us we have pleased nobody but the enemy. May ALLAH make this year a source of comfort from the wounds of the past and maligns the harshness that dawns on the Ummah today.

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