Today marks the 10th day since the start of the Islamic year and thus we are in the month of Muharram.

It is regarded as one of the sacred months in Islam and the concept of sacred months in Islam was touched upon in last week’s khutba. Allah SWT mentions the concept of Sacred Months in Sura Al-Tauba, ayat 36 which is translated as:

The number of months ordained by Allah is twelve in the Book of Allah since the day He created the heavens and the earth. Of these, four are sacred; that is the established principle of Deen. Therefore, do not wrong yourselves by violating them. But you may fight against the mushrikin in all these months if they fight against you in all of them. Know that Allah is with the righteous.

Dear brothers and sisters, as we can see, Allah SWT has placed special emphasis on certain months and this one is one of them. So, as Muslims, what can we practically do in this month to benefit from it sacredness?

Firstly, we need to understand that although sin is bad at any time, it is particularly harmful in the sacred months and therefore we should be extra vigilant in this month so as to stay away from sin.

Equally so, we should therefore make a real effort in this month to perform good deeds. From the simplest charity of a smile, to a concerted community effort, we all know what we are capable of doing so let’s put it into action and make it happen this month.

And of course, fasting. We know from last week that this month is one in which the Prophet SAWS fasted more than any month outside of Ramadhan.

We have a hadith of the Prophet SAWS to back this up in which he is reported to have said:

The best of fasting after the month of Ramadhan is the month of Muharram, and the best of prayers after the obligatory prayers is the nightly prayers.

Dear brothers and sisters, these three practical steps is all that is needed to make this month count for us and for us to treat a sacred month with the respect and attention it deserves.

Alongside these practical steps for this month is the need to address misconceptions about this month.

We all know that this month is a source of debate as to what can and can’t be done. Therefore we address the innovations that have come about and therefore must be avoided.

Firstly, leading on from the day of Ashura which is the 10th day of Muharram. This has been the cause of innovation because some people associate the sanctity of this day with the martyrdom of Hussain RA.

As Muslims, no doubt the story of Husain RA, is one of the most tragic episodes of our history. Yet the sanctity of Ashura cannot be ascribed to this event for the simple reason that the sanctity of this day was established during the days of the Prophet SAWS, much earlier than the birth of his grandson Husain.

We must therefore be knowledgeable of this fact as we may get questioned by our neighbours, friends and colleagues as to it’s significance and therefore present the right answer to them.

Some people consider this an unlucky or evil month because of Husain’s martyrdom. They mourn the death and hold ceremonies for it. They avoid marriages for example and this is also a form of innovation that should be avoided.

And to just touch upon the practices that are witnessed at this time, the following hadith ought to be mentioned in which the Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:

He is not of us that would hit his cheeks and the cutting of pockets and behaves as the ignorant behave.

Dear brothers and sisters, as Muslims our behaviour during this month should be like the behaviour of the companions in that it should be not one of mourning, neither one of celebrating.

Rather, we should value Muharram as one of Allah SWT’s sacred months  in which we should do good deeds and be extra careful of sinning. We should try and fast as much as we can in this month.

We should not be superstitious about it and if someone wants to get married during it then they may.

Let’s revive the true essence of this month and use it as a platform to attaining Allah SWT’s pleasure and his mercy. And the sacred month of Muharram is just the time in which to do it.

May Allah SWT enable us to understand the significance of Muharram. May Allah SWT enable us to gain reward from the month of Muharram and may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in the month of Muharram.

Ameen Walhamdullilahi Rabilalameen.

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