My advice at the start of Shahr Muharram

With the sacred month of Muharram starting in a couple of days, I reiterate the following advice or do’s and don’t of Muharram:

  • Fast the first 1/3 of Muharram, especially the 10th or Yawm Ashura. See an old post that I wrote which disagrees with 12’vers who frown on fasting this day. Also see a lecture on this topic in Arabic by Habib Salim Al-Mashhur ash-Shafi’i.
  • Increase good deeds, and pay extra special attention not to bring injury to anyone especially a fellow Muslim.
  • Reflect on the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn bin Ali (may Allah blessings be upon him). The Prophet (prayers & peace be upon him & his family) was informed of his martyrdom and wept over it. This tradition is sound (sahih), including to Salafi hadith critic Albani.
  • Avoid superstition such as thinking Muharram is a month of bad luck or that it is forbidden to get married during the month.  There is nothing sound in the Qur’an and authentic sunnah that forbids marriage during Muharram.
  • Avoid self-flagellation with chains, cutting and/or piercing yourself.  The Prophet (prayers & peace be upon him & his family) stated, “There is no harm nor reciprocating harm in al-Islam.”  Self injury is forbidden.
  • Avoid treating Muharram and Ashura like January 1st with a celebration and fireworks, imitating those who party at the New Year on the Gregorian calendar or how the Chinese treat Chinese New Year. The tradition of celebrating  Muharram with New Year festivities is an innovation of the Ayyubis after they took over the Fatimi dynasty in North Africa.
  • Do not praise Yazid bin Mu’awiyah, the drunkard king of the Ummawis who did not uphold the daily prayers and was responsible for many atrocities.

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