Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
In his reply to this question, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, Former President of the Fiqh Council of North America, states,
Significance of Muharram
In the month of Muharram, we should remember the Hijrah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) from Makkah to Madinah. There are many lessons in this story and it can help us understand the basic significance of the Hijrah calendar.
The presence and growth of Islam in America also came by the efforts of those who migrated to this land and worked for the cause of Allah.
It is also the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to fast on the 9th and 10th of Muharram. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to fast on the 10th day (Ashura). When he came to Madinah, he found out that the Jews of Madinah were also fasting on this day remembering Prophet Musa (peace and blessings be upon him).
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) admired this tradition and he said to the Jews, “We are closer to Musa than you are.” He fasted and he also told his Companions to fast on this day.
Later, before the end of his life on this earth, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told Muslims to add the 9th day also. Thus, it is recommended to fast on both the 9th and 10th of Muharram.
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It is also good to remember the great sacrifice of Al-Husain and his family (may Allah be pleased with all of them). Theirs was the true Jihad for the cause of truth and justice. We should learn the lessons of courage, patience and perseverance from the episode of Karbala (year 61 A.H. /680 C.E).
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.