The 1st month on the Islamic calendar, Muharram, is one of the four sacred months in Islam. The other three being Dhul-Qa’dah, Rajab (the month of the Prophet Muhammad’s night journey and ascension to the 7 heavens) and Dhul-Hijjah (the month of pilgrimage). The height of importance of this month is on the 10th day, which is referred to as Aashoora (also transliterated as Ashura).

Recommendations for Muharram:

1) Fasting within the first third of Muharram is highly recommended especially on the day of Aashoora.

2) While fasting, it is also recommended to increase good deeds, prayers, and charitable donations.

3) Breaking the fast with other people and feeding fasting people.

4) Reading the biography of Imam Husayn bin Ali (SA), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SAAS), and learning the lessons of history that are attached to his martyrdom in Karbala, Iraq.

Things to avoid during Muharram:

1) Attributing fabricated stories about the Aashoora in relationship to the prophets, which have no sound textual basis and retelling these fables in assemblies (majalis).

2) Piercing one’s body, cutting one’s self or beating one’s self in mourning for the martyrdom of Imam Husayn bin Ali (SA).

3) Avoiding marriage thinking that Muharram is a month of bad luck or bad omens because of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (SA).

4) Avoiding music thinking that it is unlawful to listen to it in Muharram and Ramadan, but thinking and listening to music outside of Muharram and Ramadan.

5) Wearing all black during Muharram thinking that one will receive a special blessing.

6) Throwing parties during Muharram in imitation of other nations that have big celebrations for the New Year such as the Chinese New Year or the New Year on the Gregorian calendar.

6) Giving speeches that knowingly incite provocation and confrontation between Muslims.