Muharram marks the start of the New Islamic Year. It is a pious month, and one of the four sacred months of the year. The word Muharram entails something “forbidden”, and due to its religious centrality many Muslims use this month to pray and self-reflect.
The month is especially dear to the Shia sect, as it marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala, where the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad SAWW was martyred. Hence, 10th Muharram is widely honored by Shia Muslims across the globe. It was during this month that the Prophet SAWW emigrated to Medina from Makkah.
So as a Muslim, how can you make the best of this month. Here are a few steps you can take to get closer to your religion:
Avoid Sinning As Much as Possible
We are humans, and to err is human, to forgive is Divine. Allah created human kind knowing that we can never be perfect. However, effort is an important aspect of Islamic belief. If you want to get closer to religion, try to refrain yourself from committing any sin.
It is never too late to change. Be it smoking, lying or any other Major or Minor sin (gunah e kabeera, gunnah e sagheera), do not shy away from starting.
Offer Voluntary Prayers
Praying is very dear to Allah. Offer two rakats of nafl of Ishraq, or after Zohr, Maghrib or Isha prayers. If you wanna go the extra mile, fast on Mondays and Thursdays as part of sunnah Abu Hurayrah (r.a) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The best fast after Ramadan is in the month of Allah Muharram.”
Narrated by Muslim (1982).
Although the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not fast for the entire month of Muharram, this hadith suggests that we fast as many days as possible.
You can also recite the Quran during these days to get closer to Allah during this great month.
Fast on the Day Ashura
“Fasting the day of ‘Arafah I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year before it and the year after it, and fasting the day of ‘Ashura’ I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year that came before it.”
Narrated by Muslim, 1162.
’Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourself during them…’ (Qur’an, 9:36)
Another way of making the most of this month is through Sadaqah. Muharram marks the beginning of the Lunar calendar, so it is a great opportunity for you to do good and move with your life. It is also a means of getting your sins forgiven. The sadaqah could be monetary, like giving someone money, or it could include social efforts like feeding the poor.
Ibn Katheer said, ’Allah has chosen elites from His creation: from among the angels He chose Messengers, from among mankind He chose Messengers, from among speech He chose remembrance of Him (dhikr), from among spaces on earth He chose the mosques, from among the months He chose Ramadan and the sacred months…So, venerate that which has been chosen by Allah, for people of understanding and wisdom respect that which has been chosen by Him’. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer). One of these months is Muharram, make the most of it to get closer to your religion, and the Creator of this universe, Allah SWT.