#Ashura day is the 10th day or Muharram (the first month of the Islamic calendar). Since the beginning of this world, Ashura day has been a very important day. On this very Day the following events have taken place:
1. Repentance of Prophet Adam (Allah’s blessing be upon him) was accepted by Allah
2. The ship of Prophet Nuh (Noah) (Allah’s blessing be upon him) came to rest on a mountain called Al-Judi.
3. Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) (Allah’s blessings be upon him) was born on this day.
4. He received the title Khalil-ullah (friend of Allah) on this day.
5. The fire in which Prophet Ibrahim (Allah’s blessings be upon him) was thrown by the king Namrud become cool and means of safety for Prophet Ibrahim, by the order of Allah.
6. Allah delivered Prophet Ayub (Job) (Allah’s blessings be upon him) from distress and he was restored to prosperity.
7. By the Grace of Allah, Prophet Yunas (Jonah) (Allah’s blessings be upon him), after being swallowed by a huge fish (whale) for forty days, was cast out on the shore.
8. Prophet Mussa (Moses) (Allah’s blessings be upon him) was given victory over Pharaoh.
9. Prophet Suleman (Solomon) (Allah’s blessings be upon him) was made a king to rule over mankind, Jinns, Animals and the air.
10. Prophet Idris (Enoch) (Allah’s blessings be upon him) and Prophet Issa (Jesus) (Allah’s blessings be upon him) were lifted up alive.
11. Hazret Hussain (Allah be pleased with him), the grandson of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) , was martyred at Karbala in Iraq. (My personal view is that every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala - not everyone will agree or understand this but it’s a personal statement ) the whole Ummah should be commemorating by renewing commitments to prevent oppression and alleviate the suffering of the innocent.
However the practice of fasting on ‘Ashura’ was known before the martyrdom of Hazret Hussain (RTA)
12. The day of resurrection and judgement will take place on this day (Ashura)
Another point to note for the month of Muharram is the authentic hadith by the prophet mentioned in Sahih Muslim (hadith # 1163) where he (s.a.w.s.) says, “The best fasting after Ramadan is the month of Muharram, and the best prayer after the obligatory prayer is prayer at night.”
Please correct/add if I have erred or missed anything.
There are twelve months in the Islamic lunar calendar. Since their names are in Arabic, their meanings might be somewhat difficult to grasp for a non-Arabic speaking audience. In this short piece, we briefly examine these terms.
1. Muharram: is named so because the Arabs used to prohibit fighting during it.
2. Safar: is named so because the Arabs used to leave their homes during that month as they used to set out to fight their enemies. It is also said that they used to leave their homes to escape summer heat.
3. Rabi` al-Awwal: is named so because it usually coincides with the spring time.
4. Rabi` al-Akhar: is named so because it usually coincides with the winter time.
5. Jumada al-‘Ula: The Arabs named it so because water gets frozen at winter time, and that coincides with the time of Jumada al-‘Ula.
6. Jumada al-‘Ukhra: is named so because it coincides with winter time.
7. Rajab: is derived from the Arabic word ‘rajaba’ which means to ‘sanctify’ something. The Arabs used to sanctify the month of Rajab by putting a halt to fighting during that month.
8. Sha`ban: The Arabic word Sha`ban is derived from the word ‘tash`aba’, which means to go in different directions. It is said that Sha`ban takes such a name because the Arabs used to go in different directions fighting their enemies.
9. Ramadan: The word Ramadan is derived from ‘Ar-ramda’ which refers to extreme heat. Ramadan time used to coincide with that extreme climate of heat in the Arab Peninsula, and that is why it is called Ramadan.
10. Shawwal: The name Shawwal is derived from the Arabic word ‘tashawwala’, which refers to the scarcity in she-camels’ milk.
11. Dhu al-Qa'dah: refers to Arabs decline to go out fighting their enemies as the early Arabs used to call it a sacred month.
12. Dhu'l-Hijjah: is named so because the Arabs used to perform Hajj during that month.
“O you who believe! Observing al-sawn (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become al-muttaqoon (the pious).” (Qur'an, al-Baqarah 2:183)
Many of you may be wondering, what is this thing called ‘Ramadan’? Every year Muslims seem to get very excited about this ‘Ramadan’. You may know a family member, neighbour, co-worker, friend who is fasting throughout Ramadan.
What is it and what makes it so significant?
Ramadan is the name of the ninth month of the Islamic Calender, and the month in itself changes by 11 days each year as it follows the lunar cycle. However Ramadan is like no other month for Muslims, as it is a month in which we perform one important pillar of our religion-fasting.
Every year for 30 days, over a billion Muslims from all over the globe abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, as well as foul/unpleasant language and anything that is ill-natured or excessive; from dawn until the sun sets. It is a holy month for Muslims and a chance for them to review themselves, their spirituality and their character so they can improve for the better. Just as large corporations have annual reports, the Muslim analysis his/her own self and their relationship with God and others in this one month in order to note down what they have been doing wrong (and strive to change that) and to improve their good aspects.
Ramadan is also significant for several other reasons:
God says in the Qur'an:
“The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion…” (Qur'an, al-Baqarah, 2:185)
The Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the month of Ramadan, and this is of huge significance to a Muslim as the Qur'an is a close companion to the Muslim. It is what we believe to be God’s word which speaks to each Muslim on a personal level, yet also addresses all of Mankind.
Ramadan also offers Muslims a chance for all their previous sins to be forgiven. It offers three opportunities:
1-: By fasting in Ramadan, if with sincerity, they will be forgiven their previous sins
2-: By praying at night in Ramadan and
3- By praying during the last 10 nights of Ramadan as one of those nights will be 'The night of decree’, as in the specific night the Qur'an was revealed.
This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever fasted the month of Ramadan out of sincere Faith (i.e. belief) and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his past sins will be forgiven, and whoever stood for the prayers in the night of Qadr out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven .” (Sahih Bukhari, Book 32, Hadith 231)
“Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book 32, Hadith 226)
Ramadan conveys an extraordinary sense of emotional enthusiasm and religious eagerness among Muslims of all ages. Even though fasting is compulsory for capable adults alone (children, the elderly and the ill are exempt from fasting), children as young as eight readily observe or take part in partial fasting with their elders. Children look forward to the thrill of the moon sighting and eating unique meals with their relatives. Adults are grateful for the chance to double their rewards from God and ask for pardon for their past sins. Ramadan highlights Muslim brotherhood and sisterhood, customs and brings about a special feeling of closeness, both to God, and the community.