THE FIRST SERMON IN THE MONTH OF MUḤARRAM (4th MUḤARRAM, 1443 AH/13th AUGUST, 2021 CE)
Muharram the Month of Allah
إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ لِلَّهِ نَحْمَدُهُ وَنَسْتَعِينُهُ وَنَسْتَغْفِرُهُ وَنَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ شُرُورِ أَنْفُسِنَا وَمِنْ سَيِّئَاتِ أَعْمَالِنَا ، مَنْ يَهْدِهِ اللَّهُ فَلا مُضِلَّ لَهُ ، وَمَنْ يُضْلِلْ فَلا هَادِيَ لَهُ ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَن لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لا شَريْكَ لَهُ، وَأشْهَدُ أنَّ مُحَمّداً عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُوْلُـه ،أَرْسَلَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا ، فَصَلَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيهِ وَعَلَى آلهِ وأَصْحَابِهِ وَسَلَّمَ تَسْلِيمَاً كَثِيْراً كَثِيْراً
Indeed, All thanks and praises are due to Allāh, Whom we thank, seek for help and invoke for forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allāh from the evils within ourselves. He whom Allāh guides will never be misled and he whorn He misguides will never find one to guide him. 1 bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allāh and that Muḥamrnad is His slave and Messenger.
يَأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِۦ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسلِمُونَ
O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allāh with the care which is due to Him, and do not die unless you are Muslims. (Q. 3: 102)
يَٰأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ ٱتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ ٱلَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفس وَٰحِدَة وَخَلَقَ مِنهَا زَوجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنهُمَا رِجَالا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ ٱلَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِۦ وَٱلأَرحَامَ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيكُم رَقِيبًا
O people! be careful of (your duty to) your Lord, Who created you from a single being and created its mate of the same (kind) and spread from these two, many men and women; and be careful of (your duty to) Allāh, by Whom you demand one of another (your rights), and (to) the ties of relationship; surely Allah ever watches over you. (Q. 4:1)
يَٰأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَقُولُواْ قَولا سَدِيدا يُصلِح لَكُم أَعمَٰلَكُم وَيَغفِر لَكُم ذُنُوبَكُم وَمَن يُطِعِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ فَقَد فَازَ فَوزًا عَظِيمًا
O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allāh and speak the right word. He will put your deeds into a right state for you, and forgive you your faults; and whoever obeys Allāh and His Messenger, he indeed achieves a mighty success. (Q. 33:70-71)
أَمَّا بَعْدُ: فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابُ اللهِ وَخَيْرَ الْهَدْيِ هَدْيُ مُحَمَّدٍ وَشَرَّ الأُمُورِ مُحْدَثَاتُهَا وَكُلَّ مُحْدَثّةٍ بِدْعَةٌ وَكُلَّ بِدْعَةٍ ضَلَالَةٌ وَكُلَّ ضَلَالَةٍ فِي النَّارِ.
Verily, the best speech is Allāh’s speech; the best guidance is Muḥammad’s guidance; and the worst matters (in creed or worship) are those innovated (by the people), for every innovated matter is a bid῾ah (prohibited innovation), and every bid῾ah is an act of misguidance that (whoever initiated it) will reside in the Fire.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Islām! After the passing of the blessed month of Dhul-Ḥijjah, we are now in the sacred month of Muḥarram, which indicates the beginning of the new Hijri year – 1443. It is reported that the companions of the Prophet Muḥammad (SAW) would learn the following du῾ā’ for when the new month or New Year would begin:
اللَّهُمَّ أَدْخِلْهُ عَلينا بِالأمْنِ وَالإيمان وَالسَّلامَةِ وَالإسْلام وَرِضْوَانٍ مِّنَ الرَّحْمن وِجوارٍ مِّنَ الشَّيْطان
O Allāh, bring this upon us with security, Īmān, safety, Islām, your pleasure and protection from shayṭān.
In today’s khuṭbah, we shall be dwelling on the topic: ‘The significance of Sacred month of Muḥarram’ known as the month of Allah.
Muḥarram is not only the first month of the Islamic year but also one of the sacred months with many meritorious deeds, great occurrences and spiritual connection. It is called the month of Allah شهر الله المحرم according to the Prophet (SAW), and no other months have been called month of Allah. This is the highest honour given to this blessed month.
When‘Umar ibn Al-Khaṭṭāb (RA) instituted the Islamic calendar ten years after the Prophet had passed away, all the Companions deliberated on the month to start the year. Some opinions said Ramadan and other opinions settled for other months, but the overwhelming opinion was that the month of Muharram should begin the calendar because of its blessings and for the fact that it follows the month of Hajj. Thus, the Islamic year which has twelve months began on a day corresponding with the first day of the month of MUḤARRAM
Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:
Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them…” (Q.9:36)
In this verse, Allah mentions four sacred months of the year which are: Dhul Qa’dah, Dhul Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab. The first 3 are consecutive while Rajab stands alone. The month of Muḥarrami is the most sacred of the four sacred months.
In the verse quoted above, Allah (SWT) has warned us not to wrong ourselves during these sacred months. Therefore we should beware of wronging ourselves by committing sins, major or minor sins, and by leaving our obligations and worship of Allah. Allah (SWT) has made these 4 months sacred and made sinning in them greater than in other months and likewise the reward for doing good.
In merit, the month of Muḥarram is the month in which the Prophet (SAW) fasted regularly after Ramadan, especially on the day of Āshūrā’, which is the tenth day of Muḥarram. Fasting on the day of Āshūrā’, according to the Prophet is an expiation for the sins of the previous year. In fact, fasting on the day of Āshūrā’ was made obligatory even before Ramadan in the first year after the Hijrah. In other words, everybody was mandated to fast on this day not until the verse of Ramadan was revealed in the second year of Hijrah and Ramadan was made compulsory and Āshūrā’ became recommended.
The are many spiritual connections to the day of Āshūrā’, of them is that it was the day that Allah (SWT) saved Prophet Musa (AS) and his followers from the oppression of Fir’aun [The Pharaoh], and drowned him and his army after they had been shown a miracle of Allah.
This event is mentioned in Sūratu Shu’arā’ thus:
When the two groups came face to face, the companions of Moses cried out, “We are overtaken for sure.” [Moses] said, “No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me.” Then We inspired to Moses, “Strike with your staff the sea,” and it parted, and each portion was like a great towering mountain. We drew the pursuers to that place, And We saved Moses and those with him, all together. Then We drowned the others. Indeed in that is a sign, but most of them were not to be believers. And your Lord is certainly the Almighty, Most Merciful. [Q. 26: 61-68] Also in Sūratu Taha [Q. 20: 77-82]
These days of Allah have lessons for us and reminders. Allah (SWT) commanded Musa (AS) to remind his people about this great incident and great blessing that Allah (SWT) had given them.
And remind them of the days of Allah. Indeed in that are signs for every constantly patient and grateful person. [Q. 14:5]
And for this reason Prophet Musa (AS) made this day of Āshūrā a day of showing thanks to Allah for this blessing, and he fasted on that day and his followers fasted with him out of thanks to Allah.
Our Prophet (SAW) connected us to this event when he entered Madinah and found the Jews fasting on the day of Āshūrā’ and he asked them why they were fasting they replied:
This is the day that Allah gave victory to Musa and Bani Isra’il over Fir’aun, and we fast on this day to show its greatness. To this the Prophet (SAW) responded, “ We have more right to Musa than you. [ Bukhari].
So he (SAW) commanded us to fast on the day of Ashura and made it from his Sunnah , and he said the reward for Fasting on the day of Ashura is an expiation for the sins of the previous year. The Prophet (SAW) even when ahead to declare that if he lived one more year on earth, he would fast on the ninth and tenth of Muharram to differ from the Jews and other nations. So ideally as Muslims we are encouraged to fast on the 9th and 10th or 10th and 11th of Muharram even though the Prophet never did that because he passed away the year he said the Hadith, but if not possible to fast two days at least we should fast on the 10th of Muharram.
It was also on this day that Prophet Nūh (AS) and his obedient followers were saved from the flood and their ship landed on mount Judi.
Also in Muharram after the death of the Prophet a great calamity took place that divided the Ummah and caused it great pain. Of course we are referring to the killing of Hussain (RA) in Karbala. Hussain (RA) was the beloved grandson of our Prophet (SAW), the son of Ali and Fatima, may Allah be pleased with them both. His killing was a great trial for this Ummah even till this day. And there is no doubt that Hussain (RA) was wrongly killed and martyred, and his killing was disobedience of Allah and His Messenger from whoever killed him, or helped in his killing or was happy with it.
However, we must be aware that the massacre of Hussain does not have anything to do with the sanctity of this day, it was a coincidence that it happened on that day and the fasting on this day of Ashura has no any spiritual connection whatsoever with the historical tragedy of karbala where Hussain was brutally killed. Ashura was a day that was holy before the massacre of Hussain, and as such we as Muslims do not take the day of Ashura as a day of mourning as done by the Shia Muslims but rather as a day of worship and consciousness of Allah.
أَقُولُ قَوْلِي هَذَا وَأَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ لِي وَلَكُمْ وَلِسَائِرِ المُسْلِمينَ وَالمُسْلِمَاتْ فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهْ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
I say this and ask Allāh for forgiveness for me and you, so invoke Him for forgiveness, for He is the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.
الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على سيد المرسلين وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين
All praise is due to Allāh, the Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon our Master Muḥammad, his pure family, companions, and all those who follow them in righteousness till the Day of Judgment.
Dear Muslim brethren! ThereSo remains benefit and lessons in reminding one another about the days of Allah, like the day of Ashura, and the battle of Badr, and the conquest of Makkah and so on. There remain lessons for all believers in all times and all places in these events, how Allah (SWT) helped the believers against the oppressors and wrongdoers. Allah (SWT) says in Surah Ghafir:
Indeed, We will support Our messengers and those who believe during the life of this world and on the Day when the witnesses will stand – The Day their excuse will not benefit the wrongdoers, and they will have the curse, and they will have the worst home. [Q. 40: 51-52]
Allah (SWT) promised to give His support to His righteous slaves, His close friends, His messengers and the believers against all oppressors. And how He dealt with the enemies and the arrogant people on the earth is on display in these incidents. They have no power or might against Him (SWT).
Dear Brothers and Sisters! From the day of Ashura we learn lessons about having hope and positivity, and trusting in Allah, and not to lose hope against any oppressor. This event took place during a time when Musa was in the scariest and most powerless situation, and Firaun was in his most powerful position. And it only took a few moments for the whole situation to change, and for the oppressor to be destroyed and victory to come from Allah.
Allah (SWT) provides victory to the oppressed, even if it after some time, and this is the way of Allah in His creation and will remain so until the day of judgement. So beware of oppressing or wronging anyone, even if it is a non Muslim. The messenger (SAW) warned us:
Beware of the prayer of the oppressed person – even it if is a disbeliever- as there is no barrier between it and Allah.
If you find yourself in a powerful position and tempted to oppress or wrong someone then remember the power of Allah over you. And anyone who oppressed a slave of Allah should wait to see how Allah will deal with him. He should be prepared for the wrath and anger and punishment of Allah.
We ask Allah (SWT) to protect us from His wrath and to teach us to take lessons from His days and make us from His patient and grateful slaves. Ameen.
O Allāh, please confer Your blessings and grant peace upon our Prophet Muḥammad (SAW), his family and all of the companions. May Allāh have mercy on our deceased parents, teachers and families and gather them with the righteous. May Allāh make their dwelling with the ones upon whom Allāh has bestowed favour of the prophets and the steadfast affirmers of truth, O the Most Gracious the Most Forgiving.
© Imam Dr. Mubin Olatoye Raji