Monday, January 29, 2007

Muharram and Ashura

I don’t usually mention my religion and religious activities on this blog and I don’t wish to make this blog about Islam or Muslims but I will now be using this blog to try explaining and helping create a greater understanding of what Islam is and how Muslims live their lives.

First I would like to point out that there are a number of different Muslim groups, their views on Islam and the way Muslims should live their lives are very different in some cases. There is also the fact that the different cultures Muslims come from also influence the way in which people follow Islam. Therefore I ask that people who read about Islam and Muslims on this blog do not take what is said to be the views beliefs, views and way of life for all Muslims.

We recently entered into the first month of the Islamic calendar which is Muharram. The word Muharram comes from the Arabic word meaning sacred and it is one of the four months mentioned in the Quran (Holy book for Muslims).

Muslims believe that Muharram is a month of great reward and virtue. The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said, “The best of fasts besides the month of Ramadan is the fasting of Allah’s month of Muharram.” it is also reported that the Prophet Muhammad said “The one that keeps a fast in the month of Muharram will receive the reward of thirty fasts for each fast.”

The Tenth day of Muharram (29th January 2007) is known as “ASHURA”, some Islamic scholars state that before the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory the fast of Ashura was compulsory for Muslims however after the fasts of Ramadan were made compulsory this fast became optional. The Prophet Muhammad continued to fast on this day himself and also encouraged his companions to do so. When asked the reason for this fast the Prophet Muhammad replied “It is a compensation for sins of the past year.” i.e. the sins of the year that has gone will be forgiven. Muslims also believe that this is the day when the Prophet Moses and his followers gained freedom from the pharaoh.

On the day of Ashura Muslims should be generous towards their family & dependants and spend more on them then what is normally spent. The Prophet Muhammad said “One who generously spends on his family on the day of Ashura, Allah (God) will increase his provisions for the whole year.”



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