5 Common Muharram Myths Debunked [Infographic]
Do you know what makes the month of Muharram different from other Islamic months?
Sure, it is the first month of the Hijri calendar (the Islamic calendar which began when the Prophet (SAW) migrated from Makkah to Madinah)
It is also one of the four sacred months according to authentic Islamic teachings; which are Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab. (At-Tawbah, 9: 36)
Prophet Muhammad (SAW), in his sermon during the farewell pilgrimage said:
“O People! Time has gone back to how it was at the time Allah created the Heavens and the Earth. A year has twelve months, four of which are sacred, three consecutive, Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram, and Rajab, which comes between Jumaadaa and Sha’baan.” (Bukhari)
We must respect these sacred months, conform to what Allah (SAW) has ordered regarding them and shun all false and innovated matters regarding them. All acts of worship and rulings as declared by Allah (SAW) for these months, must be followed accordingly
Muharram ~ A month of opportunities
The month of Muharram brings with it many opportunities:
– Fasting and hastening to carry out good deeds.
– Increasing in remembrance and worship of your Lord.
– Controlling your nafs, by fighting the desire to sin and follow traditions which have no basis in Islam.
”The best of fasts besides the month of Ramadan is the fasting of Allah’s month of Muharram.” (Muslim)
The above Hadith points to the great value of voluntary fasts in Muharram. Therefore, strive to make the best of the opportunities in the month.
Tenth of Muharram ~ Day of Victory
It was on the tenth day of Muharram that Allah (SWT) granted Musa (AS) victory over Pharoah; he and the Bani Israel were able to cross the Red sea successfully while Pharoah and his army drowned.
It was also on the tenth of Muharram, in the year 61AH that Husain bin ‘Ali (RA) was martyred in the city of Karbala in Iraq. He was a virtuous man, firm believer and great scholar.
Ibn ‘Abbaas (RA) said: The Prophet (SAW) came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashura. He said, “What is this?” They said, “This is a good day, this is the day when Allah (SWT) saved the Children of Israel from their enemy and Musa fasted on this day.” He said, “We are closer to Musa than you.” So he fasted on this day and told the people to fast. (Bukhari)
He (SAW) also said,
”For fasting the day of ‘Ashura, I hope that Allah will accept it as expiation for the past year.” (Muslim)
It is highly recommended to fast on both the ninth and tenth days, because the Prophet (SAW) fasted on the tenth, and intended to fast on the ninth.
Observe the fast of ‘Ashura and oppose the Jews. Fast a day before it or a day after.” (Bayhaqi)
5 Common Muharram Myths
We must come to terms with the fact that the sanctity of Muharram goes a long way back in history, beyond what is being ascribed to it in our present times.
Below are 5 of such popular myths debunked
Read the myths and learn the real facts as well!
The day of ‘Ashura is sacred due to the martyrdom of Husain (RA).
FACT: ‘Ashura was sacred even before Husain (RA), the Prophet’s grandson was born. This is mentioned in the Qur’an and hadiths.
Muharram is an evil month, so do not hold your special celebrations like weddings in it.
FACT: The choice to refrain from any permissible act like marriage in some months or days was a custom of Jahiliyyah (days of ignorance before Islam). There’s no evil or restrictions on any day/month based on personal judgement.
It is a day for holding lamenting and mourning ceremonies to mark the death of Husain (RA).
FACT: It is a practice of the time of ignorance forbidden by the Prophet (SAW). He has forbidden us from holding the mourning ceremonies on the death of any person. The people of Jahiliyyah used to mourn over their deceased through loud lamentations, tearing their clothes and also by beating their cheeks and chests.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) stopped the Muslims from doing this and instead replaced it with a virtuous habit of observing patience; by saying Innaa lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji oon.
Hold special activities on the day of ‘Ashura, such as special prayers, making certain foods and sweets on the 9th or 10th of Muharram and grave visits as an act of worship.
FACT: It is outright bid’ah ~ an act of innovation in the religion, not found in the Qur’an and sunnah.
Aisha (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said that:
“Whoever innovates in this religion of ours, will have it rejected.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
Ibn Taymiyah, may Allah have mercy upon him, was asked about the things that people do on ‘Ashura, such as wearing kohl, taking a bath (Ghusl), wearing henna, shaking hands with one another, cooking grains, showing happiness and so on.
Was any of this reported from the Prophet (SAW) in an authentic narration, or not?
”Is there also any basis for what some people do, such as grieving and mourning, going without anything to drink, eulogizing and wailing, reciting in a crazy manner, and rending their garments?”
FACT: He replied that ”nothing to that effect has been reported in any authentic narration from the Prophet (SAW) or from his Companions (RA). And none of the Imaams of the Muslims encouraged or recommended such things, neither the four Imaams, nor others.
Furthermore, no reliable scholars have narrated anything like this either.
No Hadith of this nature was known during the best centuries, but some of the later narrators reported narrations like the one which says: “Whoever puts kohl in his eyes on the day of ‘Ashura will not suffer from eye disease in that year, and whoever takes a bath on the day of ‘Ashura will not get sick in that year,” and so on.
There are also reports of a fabricated narration that is falsely attributed to the Prophet (SAW) which says: “Whoever is generous to his family on the day of ‘Ashura, Allah will be generous to him for the rest of the year.”
Use the new hijrah year:
– For reflecting on the sacrifice of the earliest Muslims;
– To assess yourself (in addition to daily and weekly assessments);
– To seek and speak ONLY the truth and distance yourself from falsehod of any kind;
– As an opportunity to make sacrifices in your own unique way for the upliftment and preservation of Islam;
– As time to increase in your knowledge of the deen, linking with your Islamic roots and correct historical information.
Islam is a complete way of life.
Nothing is amiss or in excess. It gives us clear etiquettes of celebrating, mourning and reflecting. Muslims must follow the prescribed way as exemplified by the sunnah and strive to avoid innovations as harmless as it may seem.
Try your best to follow the footsteps of the rightly guided in order to achieve success in this temporal life and in the everlasting one.
The reverance of Muharram should be for no other purpose than to get closer to Allah (SWT) and earn great rewards. Get inspiration to do your best in this month.
Over to you – Have you encountered any of these myths or others not mentioned in the post? Please share.