Also known as ‘the Month of Allah’, the word ‘Muharram’ in Arabic means ‘sacred’.

The first month of the Islamic calendar, Muharram marks the start of the new Islamic year. It is a time for new beginnings: deep reflections, renewed intentions and spiritual growth through acts of devotion – encouraging us to leave behind any negative feelings and embrace a path of righteousness and devotion.

The Significance of Muharram

It is one of the four sacred months; the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “The year has twelve months, four of which are sacred: Dhul Qadah, Dhul Hijjah, Muharram, and Rajab.” (Bukhari)

Muharram is a time for commemoration, prayer, and fasting. It is a month that marks many moments in Islamic history, including the Hijra (migration) of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ from Makkah to Madina.

What is the Day of Ashura?

Ashura is the tenth day of Muharram, a significant day that is observed by Muslims across the globe.

It is a day of remembrance:

  • Mourning of the Prophet ﷺ’s grandson, Imam Hussain ibn Ali AS, who was martyred in Karbala on this day
  • Remembering the day Prophet Nuh AS’s ark landed on Mount Judiyy (modern day Turkiye)
  • Commemorating the day Prophet Musa AS parted the Red Sea to freedom from Pharaoh and his army

Ashura is marked by fasting*, worship and giving in charity; a day to honour faith and history, showing gratitude to Allah for His blessings.

*Muslims fast on the 9th and 10th or the 10th and 11th of Muharram.

Prophet Musa AS would fast on Ashura to show gratitude to Allah for His miracle (parting the Red Sea), and the Prophet continued to do the same

Photo: Open Iftar 2023 x Royal Albert Hall by Acacia Diana for Ramadan Tent Project

It was on the day of Ashura that the covering of the Kabah used to be changed.

Aishah RA said, “The people used to fast on Ashura before the fasting of Ramadan was made obligatory. And on that day the Ka‘bah used to be covered with a cover…” (Bukhari)

Acts on the Day of Ashura

Muslims are encourage to give in charity on the Day of Ashura, as it is narrated that giving on this day is equal to a year’s worth of charity (Ibn Rajab’s Lata’if al-Ma‘arif). Take this opportunity to donate to Ramadan Tent Project, your generosity makes a difference to lives and communities across the UK and globally.

Fast on the Day of Ashura as well as the day before (or after).

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “Fasting on the Day of Ashura, I hope that Allah will accept it as expiation for the previous year.” (Muslim)

Photo: Open Iftar 2024 x British Library by Acacia Diana for Ramadan Tent Project

Seek forgiveness: Ashura is an immense day of repentance.

The Prophet Muhammad said, ‘If you will fast after the month of Ramadan, then fast al-Muharram. For indeed it is Allah’s month, in which there is a day that Allah accepted the repentance of a people, and in which He accepts the repentance of other people’. (Tirmidhi)

Photo: Ramadan Pavilion 2024 by Sally Zarzour for Ramadan Tent Project

Family time: Allah greatly rewards generosity to your family and loved ones on this day.

Photo: Open Iftar Arafah 2024 at Tavistock Square Gardens by Acacia Diana for Ramadan Tent Project

The Prophet Muhammad said, ’One who generously spends on his family on the day of Ashura, Allah will be generous on him for the entire year’. (Tabarani)

Acts in the Sacred Month of Muharram

Muharram is a time to enhance our spiritual practices and perform acts of kindness and devotion. Here are some ways to make the most of this sacred month:

Increase in prayer: strengthen your relationship with Allah through sincere supplications and increased prayer.

Photo: Open Iftar 2024 x Young V&A by Acacia Diana for Ramadan Tent Project

Read the Quran: Deepen your understanding and connection by reading and reflecting on the Quran.

Give in charity: Donate to worthy causes, such as the Ramadan Tent Project, to make a positive, lasting impact in someone’s life.

Perform Good Deeds: Acts of kindness and compassion purify the heart and elevate the soul.

Photo: Open Iftar Arafah 2024 at Tavistock Square Gardens by Acacia Diana for Ramadan Tent Project

Reflect on the legacies of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, his family and companions, incorporating these characteristics into daily life.

Important Dates in Muharram

Mark your calendars with these significant dates:

  • Day Before Ashura: Monday 15 July 2024
  • Day of Ashura: Tuesday 16 July 2024
  • Day After Ashura: Wednesday 17 July 2024
  • White Days:
    • Friday 19 July 2024
    • Saturday 20 July 2024
    • Sunday 21 July 2024

These dates offer additional opportunities to engage in fasting and other acts of worship. Mondays and Thursdays are also Sunnah days to fast, reap maximum reward by fasting Monday 15 July – Sunday 21 July 2024, inshaAllah.

A Question for Reflection

As we begin this new year, reflect on your spiritual journey and consider this question: What is your purpose for this new year on a spiritual level?

May this Muharram bring you peace, spiritual growth, and an abundance of blessings. Let’s honour this sacred month with pure intentions and good deeds, making it a time of renewal and deepening faith.

Photo: Open Iftar Arafah 2024 at Tavistock Square Gardens by Acacia Diana for Ramadan Tent Project