MUHARRAM: A SACRED MONTH
Imam Ghazali said in Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din: “Fasting is definitely desirable in certain meritorious days, some of them being found in every year, others in every month, and others in every week. Those that are found in every year after the days of Ramadan are:
- the Day of `Arafa [= 9th of Dhu ‘l-Hijja]
- the Day of `Ashura’ [= 10th of Muharram]
- the first Ten Days of Dhu ‘l-Hijja
- the first ten days of Muharram
And all the sacred months are preferred for fasting… and they are: Dhu ‘l-Qi`da, Dhu ‘l-Hijja, Muharram, and Rajab.”
`Ashura is a day of great historical significance. On this day: Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta`ala) accepted the repentance of Sayyidina Adam (ع) after his exile from Paradise; Allah (س) saved Sayyidina Nuh (ع) and his companions in the Ark; Allah extinguished the fire in which Sayyidina Ibrahim (ع) was thrown by Nimrod; And Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta`ala) spoke directly to Sayyidina Musa (ع) and gave him the Commandments. On this same 10th of Muharram, Sayyidina Ayyub (ع) was restored to health (from leprosy); Sayyidina Yusuf (ع) was reunited with his father Ya’qub (ع); Sayyidina Yunus (ع) was taken out from the belly of the fish; and the sea was divided as the nation of israel was delivered from captivity and Pharoah’s army was destroyed. `Ashura is also the day when Sayyidina Dawud (ع) was forgiven; the kingdom of Sulaiman (ع) was restored; Sayyidina `Isa (ع) was raised to Jannah and Sayyidina al-Husayn (ر) (the Holy Prophet’s grandson) achieved the honor of Martyrdom.
FIRST TEN DAYS AND NIGHTS OF MUHARRAM
- Narrated from Ibn al-`Abbas (ر) that the Prophet (ص) said, “Whoever fasts the last day of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah and the first day of Muharram, he completes a whole year’s worth of fasting in that previous year, and Allah gives him penance for fifty  years.”
- Narrated from Anas (ر) that the Prophet (ص) said, “Whoever fasts the first Friday of Muharram Allah will forgive his preceding sins, and whoever fasts three days of Muharram – Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Allah will write for him worship and prayers for nine hundred  years.”
- Narrated from ‘A`ishah Umm al-Mu’minin (ر) that the Prophet (ص) said, “Whoever fasts the first ten days up till `Ashura, he will inherit the Paradise al-Firdaws.”
- Fasting of `Ashura is Sunnah Mu’akkadah, that which is highly desired. When the Prophet (ص) saw the Jews of Madinah fasting on that day, he asked them for what it was. They told him it was the day Musa (ع) led the Bani Isra’il from Pharaoh. The Prophet s.a.w. said, “I have more rights with Musa than you Jews.” So he fasted that day and ordered for its observance. This was part of a longer narration from ‘A`ishah (ر).
- The Prophet (ص) said, “Whoever fasts the `Ashura (10th Muharram), Allah will write for him a thousand  wishes and a thousand years of age, and will grant him the reward of a thousand martyrs, and will write for him the reward of Isma`il (ع), and writes for him seventy  palaces in paradise, and makes his flesh forbidden from the hellfire.”
- In another Hadith the Prophet (ص) said, “Whoever fasts the `Ashura, he will be granted the reward of a thousand angels. And whoever recites “Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad” a thousand  times on the day of `Ashura, Allah will glance at him with the Eyes of Mercy, and will write him from amongst the Siddiqin [The Truthful].”
- In another Hadith the Prophet (ص) said, “Distinguish yourselves from the Jews by fasting either the day before `Ashura or the day after it as well.”
- Whoever prays in `Ashura four  sunnah rak`ats on the day of `Ashura, where after the Fatihah in each rak`ah recites “Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad” eleven  times, Allah will forgive his sins of fifty years, and will build for him a pulpit from light. And whoever takes the sunnah shower on `Ashura he will not suffer sickness in that year except the illness of death, and whoever wears the kohl on his eyes on `Ashura he will not suffer sickness on that year.
- Du`a of `Ashura: Recite “Hasbun Allahu wa ni`ma ‘l-wakeel, ni`ma ‘l-Mawla wa ni`ma ‘n-Naseer” [70 x], and recite: “Hasbun Allahu mila ‘l-Meezaan wa muntahaa ‘l-`ilma, wa mablagha ‘r-ridaa, wa zinatu ‘l-`arsh, laa maljaa wa laa manjaa min Allahi illa ilayhi. Subhan Allahi `adada ‘sh- shaf`i wa ‘l-`arshi, wa `adada kalimaati Rabbina ‘t-taammati kullihaa. As’aluka ‘s-salaamata bi rahmatika ya Arham ar-Rahimeen, wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa billahi ‘l-`Aliyyi ‘l-`Azheem. Wa Huwa hasbee wa ni`ma ‘l-wakeel, ni`ma ‘l-Mawla wa ni`ma ‘n-Naseer. Wa Sallallahu `alaa Sayyidina Muhammadin wa `alaa aalihi wa sahbihi ajma`in.” [7 x].
- About an hour before the Adhan for Maghrib towards `Ashura, sit facing the Qiblah and finish the daily Adab of Tariqah. And then make Tawassul with Sayyidina al-Husayn (ر) and the martyrs of Karbala, where on that day they died Shaheed with Sayyidina al-Husayn (ر) and those who were with him, may Allah’s favors be upon them. After breaking your fast dedicate the blessings and rewards of your fast and daily Awrad upon the Prophet (ص) for the oceans secrets that lie open on the 14th of Muharram.
- Muharram is also a month of great importance to Naqshbandi. Our Master and Imam of the Tariqah Shah Naqshband (ق) was born on the 14th of this month. It is thus important and most desired that the People of the Tariqah congregate on the eve of this holy day for Khatm and Dhikr, and read the Mawlid al-Nabi (ص) in dedication to Mawlana Shah Naqshband, and also reading excerpts from his saintly life.
- It is a tradition and practice of Mawlana Sultan al-Awliya Shaykh `AbdAllah al-Daghestani (ق) to make Qurban of two sheep on the day of `Ashura and distribute the meat to the poor and needy members of the Tariqah. He also did this on the birthday of Shah Naqshband (ق).
Excerpted from Al-Futuhat al-Haqqaniyyah by Shaykh `Adnan Kabbani
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