Three Unknown Features of the month of Muharram
It is necessary to state thatthe month of Muharram has three main important features in the history of Islam:
The first one is fasting; the second one is that it is the beginning of the Hijri calendar; and the third one is the fact that Hazrat Husayn and his children were martyred in Karbala. The fasting performed in the month of Muharram has a historical feature too. After the immigration to Madinah, the Prophet found out that the Jews were fasting one day.
It was the tenth day of the month of Muharram, the day of Ashura. He asked, “What is this fasting for?” The Jews answered, “Today is the day when Allah saved Hazrat Musa (Moses) from his enemies and when He made the Pharaoh drown. Moses performed fasting today to thank Allah."
Our Prophet said to them, "We are nearer than you and we deserve it more than you to carry out the Sunnah of Moses”; he and other Muslims performed fasting that day. That year, the fasting of Ramadan had not been made fard yet. However, when the fasting of Ramadan was made fard the next year, Ramadan became the month of fasting for Muslims. Our Prophet left it to Muslims whether to fast or not on the day of Ashura; he said, “If you wish, perform fasting on the day of Ashura.” Thus, fasting on the day of Ashura became mustahab (recommended).
According to a hadith reported by Ibn Abbas, one of the scholars among the Companions, fasting one day before and after was added to the fasting of Ashura so as not to cause confusion and not to resemble Jews. Thus, fasting for three days became sunnah. Accordingly, neither the Prophet, nor the Companions, nor madhhab imams, nor mujtahids, nor Islamic scholars that came after them stated that it was necessary to perform fasting on the first ten days of the month of Muharram. It is necessary to say that an application apart from the one mentioned above has no place in the history of Islamic worshipping.
The month of Muharram was made the beginning of the calendar of the Islamic history during the caliphate of Hazrat Umar, and it has been used by many Islamic countries since then. The fact that Muharram 1 is the Hijri New Year’s Day is significant because it is the first day of the year although it does not have a tradition of celebration like the New Year’s Eve and Day.
In the Quran, a different feature of the month of Muharram is mentioned. As it is stated in the chapter at-Tawbah (verse 36), "The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year)― so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are sacred; that is the straight usage", one of those four months is the month of Muharram. Sacred months are valuable, important and different in this aspect, and it is stated that we should show respect to those months.
The month of Muharram, which is known as "Shahrullahil-Muharram- Muharram, the month of Allah" with the expression of our prophet, is a month in which, divine bounties and prosperity become abundant. Actually, there is no month, day or year of Allah but our Prophet defined it like that because it is a great opportunity to reach the mercy of Allah.
The month of Muharram has a different place in the history of prophets. Many prophets, primarily, Hazrat Adam, Noah (Nuh), Abraham (Ibrahim), Moses (Musa), David (Dawud), Jacob (Yaqub), Joseph (Yusuf), Job (Ayyub), Jonah (Yunus), Jesus (Isa) attained special bounties and were saved from some troubles on the day of Ashura. It is regarded as an anniversary in this respect.
As for the issue of the brutal martyrdom of Hazrat Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) and his children, in fact, the martyrs received their rewards and reached the highest ranks. We have no doubt that Allah will justly give the oppressors the punishment that they deserved.
Every believer that surrenders to the judgment of the destiny feels sorry about the event but does not lose his moderation and calmness.
His feelings do not lead him to some extreme acts because everything that takes place is the judgment of the preordainment. Therefore, it is not in compliance with the spirit of the Sunnah to turn it to a ceremony of mourning.
(Mehmet Paksu. Mübarek Aylar, Günler ve Geceler; Peygamberimizin Ramazan'ı ve Oruçları)