The virtue of observing a lot of naafil fasts in the month of Muharram
Is it Sunnah to observe a lot of naafil [supererogatory] fasts in the month of Muharram? Is there anything special about this month compared with other months?.
Praise be to Allaah.
The month of Muharram is the first month of the Arabic year, and it is one of the four sacred months of Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, the number of months with Allaah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allaah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islamic calendar). That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein”
al-Bukhaari (3167) and Muslim (1679) narrated from Abu Bakrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The division of time has turned to its original form which was current the day Allaah created the heavens and earth. The year consists of twelve months of which four are sacred: three consecutive months, Dhu’l-Qa’dah, Dhu’l-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumada and Sha’baan.”
It was proven from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that the best fasting after Ramadaan is fasting in the month of Muharram. It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best fasting after Ramadaan is the month of Allaah Muharram, and the best prayer after the obligatory prayer is prayer at night.” Narrated by Muslim, 1163.
With regard to the phrase “the month of Allaah”, mentioning the month in conjunction with Allaah is a sign of its great status. Al-Qaari said: it seems that what is meant is all of the month of Muharram.
But it was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not fast any month in full apart from Ramadaan, so this hadeeth is to be understood as meaning that it is it is encouraged to fast a lot in the month of Muharram, not to fast the whole month.
And Allaah knows best.
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“The best fasting after Ramadaan is the month of Allaah Muharram, and the best prayer after the obligatory prayer is prayer at night.” (Muslim)
(Remember: “No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the Hell Fire seventy years further away from his face.”(Bukharee & Muslim)
More specifically it is highly recommended to fast the 10th of Muharram. The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said about the voluntary fasting on the Day of `Aashoraa:
“It expiates the sins of the preceding year.” [Saheeh Muslim]
Ibn `Abbas, radhiallahu `anhu, reported: “The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, came to al-Madeenah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of `Aashooraa. He asked them about that. They replied, “This is a good day, the day on which Allah rescued Baani Israaeel from their enemy. So Moosa observed fast on this day.” The Prophet said, “We have more claim over Moosa than you.” So the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, observed fast on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to observe fast (on that day).” [Saheeh al-Bukhari, Muslim]
Ibn `Abbas also reported, “The Messenger of Allah fasted on the day of `Aashooraa and ordered the people to fast on it. The people said, “O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that the Jews and Christians honor.” The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said, “When the following year comes – Allah willing – we shall fast on the ninth.” The death of the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, came before the following year.” [Saheeh Muslim, Abu Dawood]
So it is recommended to fast on the 10th of Muharram, as well as the day before, the 9th along with it in order to be different from the Jews.