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Muharram ul haram is the first month of the Islamic calendar, launched officially during the era of Hazrat Umar RA (رضي الله عنه). It is one of the most sacred months, discussed in the Holy Quran along with Rajab, Zu al-qidah, and Zu al-hijjah. The sanctity of Muharram has been established since the pre-Islamic era and confirmed by the Quran and Hadith. It’s special significance is indicated by the word “Muharram”, an Arabic word literally meaning “prohibited”.
Any unlawful act like a fight, stealing, and warfare was forbidden in the Arab peninsula to eliminate the chaos, and it was followed strictly. Also the covering (kiswah) of the Kaaba used to be changed on the Day of Ashura (10th of Muharram) in the past.
Every sectarian division in Islam considers Muharram a sacred and significant month. We will discuss the events that impart the Muharram significance and what to teach our kids about Muharram ul haram.
Significance of Muharram ul Haram for Kids
Many historical events took place in the month of Muharram marking it the most significant month in the Islamic calendar. Some events that happened during the era of Islam and others before are:
Allah saved the Prophet Mosah (عليه السلام) in Muharram ul haram
Allah saved the Prophet Noah (عليه السلام) and his companions in Muharram ul haram
Shahadah of the family of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ in Muharram ul haram
Allah saved the Prophet Mosah in Muharram ul haram
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 delivered Moses and those with him all together. [Quran 26:63-65]
It was the modern-day “Red Sea” when Allah split the river/sea into two parts making the path for Mosah (عليه السلام) and his companions; the Sea water fell back down behind them drowning the pharaoh and his army. Followers of Mosah (عليه السلام) fasted on that day as a gratitude to the Almighty for their savior. Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) also fasted and advised his companions to fast on that day in the commemoration of Mosah (عليه السلام).
Significance of the event for Kids?
Try your level best to get rid of the evil
Believe in Allah, pray, and wait for his help
Migrate for good when you are oppressed by surroundings
Change yourself and shun the bad habits before its too late, unlike pharaoh who was too late
Allah saved the Prophet Noah and his companions in Muharram ul haram
Around 950 years ago, Noah (عليه السلام) called his Ummah to believe in Allah Almighty. Very few of them accepted his faith and the rest declined and mocked him. Finally, Allah commanded Noah (عليه السلام) to construct an Ark and then unleashed a flood over the entire earth, through which only the Ark’s occupants escaped.
The waves were as high as the mountains, and months of rain fell. Allah eventually ceased the rain, and the ground swallowed the water. The fact that Allah selected this day to bring His loyal servant back to land, together with the believers, distinguishes it as one of the most important days of the year. Imam Ahmad bin Hambal narrated that It was the day (Ashura, 10th of Muharram ul haram) when the ark of Noah landed on the mountain of judiyy [Tafseer ibn Khateer]. This event is discussed in Quran as:
He cried, “My Lord! I have surely called my people day and night, but my calls only made them run farther away. And whenever I invite them to be forgiven by You, they press their fingers into their ears, cover themselves with their clothes, persist ˹in denial˺, and act very arrogantly. Then I certainly called them openly, then I surely preached to them publicly and privately, saying, ‘Seek your Lord’s forgiveness, ˹for˺ He is truly Most Forgiving. He will shower you with abundant rain, supply you with wealth and children, and give you gardens as well as rivers. [Quran 71:5]
Significance of the event for Kids?
This event is a lesson in perseverance, and extreme patience
Focus on your primary goal; please ALLAH and pray to HIM for the success
Continue the struggle for good even if you are broken inside and still taunted
Carry on even if you lost your nearest ones
Shahadah of the family of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ
Fourteen centuries ago the grandson of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ, Hazrat Hussain (رضي الله عنه) along with his family members and companions was killed mercilessly. In the 61st year of the Islamic calendar, a battle took place in the desert of Karbala between the fewer Army of Hazrat Hussain ibn Ali (رضي الله عنه) consisting only his family members and close friends surrounded by a weaponized army of thousands supervised by the king of the time Yazid bin Muhawiya (Yazid I, the Umayyad caliphate).
They harassed Hazrat Hussain’s (رضي الله عنه) army of children, women, and men, and deprived them of water and food for three consecutive days. The cruel so-called Islamic soldiers killed the grandson of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ along with many of his family members. Muslims honor their sacrifice (massacre of innocents) by remembering him from the 1st of Muharram to the 10th; Shadah of Hazrat Hussain ibn Ali (رضي الله عنه).
Significance of the event for Kids?
- Live with modesty
- Forgive people as Hussain (رضي الله عنه) forgave Hurr on the battle site
- Self-determined to face any situation
- Courageousness for the right stance
- Patience and pray to Allah
Recommended acts for kids to perform in Muharram ul haram
Acknowledging the different events that happened in this sacred month parents should motivate their kids to fast and make thankful prayers to ALLAH as a gratitude to the Almighty. Some of the Sunnah acts a Muslim kid should follow are:
The practice of fasting was very common at Ashura (10th Muharram) before Islam came into existence. When Prophet Mohammad ﷺ observed Jews fast on the 10th Muharram. The Prophet ﷺ asked them:
“Why are you fasting on this day?”. Jews replied, “On this day, Allah made the Mosah victorious over Pharaoh and its Army”. Then Prophet Mohammad said to his companions, “You are the most righteous to celebrate Mosah victory and from now on we will fast on this day” [Bukhari 4680]
When different prophet’s companions told him that fasting on the day of ashura is glorified among Jews and Christians, then the prophet encouraged them by saying:
Unfortunately, our last prophet did not live to see the next year. Therefore, muslims consider the 9th and 10th of Muharram as significant days in the Islamic calendar and observe fast on these days.
After the 1st year of hijra, fasting on 10th Muharram was obligatory but after Ramadan fasting was made obligatory, 10th Muharram fasting became recommended and not mandatory. In this regard, Hazrat Aisha (رضي الله عنها) narrated the prophet that:
“Whoever wishes to fast (on the day of ‘Ashura’) may do so; and whoever wishes to leave it can do so” [Bukhari: 1592]
Nevertheless, Prophet Mohammad ﷺ observed to fast on the 10th Muharram even after fasting on ramadan became obligatory.
Performing night prayers is always recommended in Islam for seeking Allah’s help and hence equally commendable to offer Salat ul Layl in Muharram as Prophet Mohammad ﷺ once said:
The most excellent fast after Ramadan is Allah’s month; al-Muharram, and the most excellent prayer after what is prescribed is prayer during the night. [Muslim, Book 6, Hadith 2611]
As it is the opinion of some fiqh scholars that Allah accept the penitence of Hazrat Adam (عليه السلام) on 10th Ashura, after seeking forgiveness, it is more significant for Muslims to pray for him and his family’s mercy and seek Allah’s shelter on this day of the sacred month. Moreover, the succession of our prayers might be linked to the succession of the prayers of Noah, and Mosah (عليه السلام).
Commemorating the extreme tyranny on Hazrat Hussain (رضي الله عنه); not allowing them to drink water, eat food on the plains of Karbala, and massacre innocent Muslims, we should:
Remove hatred from the core of our hearts
Help our orphans and needy Muslims by giving charity to please Allah
Quran and Hadith declare Muharram as the most sacred month among others in Islamic and pre-Islamic eras. As mentioned in this article, many events happened in the month of Muharram ul haram before and after the rise of Islam.
Muslim parents and their kids should avail the opportunity of this holy month to do fasting, make night prayers and help other muslims to please Allah in this month of Allah.