Date: 31st October 2014; 6th Muharram 1436
Alhamdulillah, this is the very first Khutbah on the Islamic new year. It is sad to see people that they tend to forget this important Islamic date. We tend to remember the dates of the English calendar but we don’t recall the proper dates of the Islamic calendar. This is the month of Muharram and we should know that this month is indeed an important month for all Muslims.
Allah sent us the best human being, the best Messenger, the best teacher of all time and he is our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw.) and we should all love him more than any human in this world. Firstly, Allah is the one who has determined that this Dunya will have twelve months. It is wrong to believe that humans were the first discoverer of this miracle. Allah says in the Quran:
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. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him].
Surah At-Tawbah, Ayah 36 (9:36) Translation: Sahih International
Allah created this world and he planned all the mountains, trees, oceans of this world, everything did not appear out of nowhere. Likewise Allah created this whole universe after creating His very first creation, Al-Lawh al-Mahfuz.
In every culture, religion sects we have new years appointed at different dates. No matter what the dates turn out to be, the fact of one year being comprised of twelve months, will always remain a universal truth as this was ordered by none other than Allah.
All of us have a good idea regarding Ashura, which is the tenth of Muharram. Usually we are more familiar with the observation of mourning by the Shias due to the Karbala but this date of Ashura has plenty of other historical significance.
Abdur Rahman bin Abu Bakrah (rah.) reported that the Prophet (saw.) said: “The year is twelve months of which four are sacred, the three consecutive months of Dhu’l-Qa’dah, Dhu’l-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab Mudar which comes between Jumaada and Sha’baan.”
Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 2958
Four Islamic months have been ordained as holy months. Fighting on these months have been made Haram. It is mentioned in the Quran:
They ask you about the sacred month – about fighting therein. Say, “Fighting therein is great [sin], but averting [people] from the way of Allah and disbelief in Him and [preventing access to] al-Masjid al-Haram and the expulsion of its people therefrom are greater [evil] in the sight of Allah . And fitnah is greater than killing.” And they will continue to fight you until they turn you back from your religion if they are able. And whoever of you reverts from his religion [to disbelief] and dies while he is a disbeliever – for those, their deeds have become worthless in this world and the Hereafter, and those are the companions of the Fire, they will abide therein eternally.
Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 217 (2:217) Translation: Sahih International
The reason why these months have also been referred to as being “Haram” is because of illustrating their holiness, they are haram in the sense that we need to abstain ourselves from Haram activities on these months as much as possible. The reason we call the holy Masjid at the Kaaba Sharif “Masjid Al-Haram” is to indicate that the place is precious to us, Muslims.
Regarding the fasting on the day of Ashura, there is a famous Hadith based on its ruling:
Ibn ‘Abbas (as.) said: “The Prophet (saw.) came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’. He said, ‘What is this?’ They said, ‘This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Musa fasted on this day.’ He said, ‘We have more right to Musa than you,’ so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day.”
Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 1865
Allah described the splitting of the sea in the Quran like this:
Then We inspired to Moses, “Strike with your staff the sea,” and it parted, and each portion was like a great towering mountain.
And We advanced thereto the pursuers.
And We saved Moses and those with him, all together.
Then We drowned the others.
Surah Ash-Shu’ara, Ayahs 63-66 (26:63-66) Translation: Sahih International
One misconception of many people is that they think Musa (as.) stroke his staff to split the Nile River but Allah clearly mentioned the word “sea” in the Quran so we need to remove our misconception about this. There were a total of five lakh Israelites saved by Musa (as.).
Interestingly, the fasting prescribed during Ashura was at first compulsory but when fasting during Ramadan was made Farz, fasting on the day of Ashura became Nafl Ibadah. Hadith mentions:
Aisha (raha.) The people used to fast on ashura (the tenth day of the month of muharram) before the fasting of Ramadan was made obligatory. And on that day the Ka’ba used to be covered with a cover. When Allah made the fasting of the month of Ramadan compulsory, Allah’s Apostle (saw.) said, “Whoever wishes to fast (on the day of ashura) may do so; and whoever wishes to leave it can do so.”
Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari, Chapter No: 26, Pilgrimage (Hajj), Hadith 662
The fasting on Ashura has a lot of blessings. Hadiths mention:
Abu Hurairah (rah.) reports that the Holy Prophet (saw.) said that after Ramadan, the fasts of Muharram have the greatest excellence.
Reference: Sahih Muslim, Hadith 1982
Abu Qatada (rah.) relates that the Holy Prophet (saw.) said that the fast on the 10th of Muharram atones for the sins of the preceding year.
Reference: Sahih Muslim
It is mustahabb (encouraged) to fast ‘Taasoo Aa’ with ‘Ashura’
Ibn ‘Abbas (rah.) said: “When the Messenger of Allah (saw.) fasted on Ashura and commanded the Muslims to fast as well, they said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.’ The Messenger of Allah (saw.) said, ‘If I live to see the next year, In Shaa Allah, we will fast on the ninth day too.’ But it so happened that the Messenger of Allah (saw.) passed away before the next year came.”
Reference: Sahih Muslim, Hadith 1916
It is best to fast on the ninth of Muharram although one can also fast on the eleventh of Muharram along with the fasting of Ashura. Since we do not follow the practices of the Jews it is best we fast both days rather than one. The Prophet (saw.) wanted to fast two days but he could not, as his Ummah we should be ones who need to take the responsibility of practicing this Deen properly.
Ashura is a day of great historical significance. On this day Allah (swt.) created the whole universe and this earth. Adam(as.) was created on this day. Adam (as.) was entered to Jannah on this day. Allah created Hawa (as.) from the rib of Adam (as.) on this day. Allah forgave them on this day. Both of them were also sent to this Dunya on Ashura. Ibrahim (as.) is believed to be born on this day and also after staying in the fire for forty days Allah released him and that day was the tenth of Muharram. Ibrahim (as.) and Ismail (as.) was tested with Ibrahim (as.)’s dream about the sacrifice on this day. Allah (swt.) relieved Ayub (as.) from his disease on this day. Dawud (as.) was forgiven on this day. Suleiman (as.) reattained his kingdom on this day. Prophet Isa (as.) was born on Ashura and ascended to the heaven on Ashura, as well. Yusuf (as.) came out of the well on the day of Ashura. After the great flood, Prophet Nuh (as.)’s ark landed on Mount Judi. Nuh (as.) fasted this day, in thanks to Allah. From him and his Ummah we were born, that is why is called the “Second Adam”. Some Ulamas believe the Prophet Muhammad (saw.) was born on this day though we have fourteen different opinions regarding his birth date. The world will be destroyed on Ashura. Ibrahim (as.) was declared a friend of Allah on this day. Yunus (as.) was freed from the belly of the whale on this day.
Let me elaborate the story of Yunus (as.) regarding his encounter with the whale:
“Prophet Yunus (as.) was sent on a mission to spread Islam among the people of Nineveh. Those people did not like to hear his sermons and did not revert their faith from their idols. Upon experiencing their stubbornness, Yunus (as.) became frustrated and without seeking the permission of Allah (swt.) he abandoned his mission. When the sky grew red, the people realized that it was their ill fate because of ignoring Yunus (as.)’s words and later on regretted their misconduct and wished Yunus (as.) to return. Allah forgave the people of Nineveh but still did not forgive Yunus (as.).
Yunus (as.) left the city being angry at his people and boarded the first ship that sailed away of Nineveh. At night, on his journey, the weather changed as the sea grew violent. The passengers dumped their belongings so as to lighten their ship but still that did not save them from their perilous situation. The passengers agreed that they needed to dump people into the sea so as to balance the ship. Everyone agreed that this matter should be decided upon lottery.
The first person’s name to appear in the lottery was none other than Yunus (as.)s name. The captain knew the excellent character of Yunus (as.) and knew that he was indeed a man of faith so he suggested to draw the lottery once more. One the second draw, Yunus (as.) was once more chosen. The captain drew the lottery for the third time and incredibly the name appeared to be Yunus (as.). As he was casted into the sea, Yunus (as.) realized the wrath of Allah (swt.) over him as he deserted his duty. As he landed on the violent water of the sea, a huge whale swallowed him.
Yunus (as.) being enveloped into complete darkness begged for Allah’s mercy. Some scholars say he stayed there for three days and three nights, others believe it was forty days while some also say it was more than that. Anyway, Yunus (as.) begged for the mercy of Allah (swt.). Allah mentions about his invocation in the Quran:
And (remember) Dhan-Nun (Yunus), when he went off in anger, and imagined that We shall not punish him (i.e. the calamities which had befallen him)! But he cried through the darkness (saying): La ilaha illa Anta [none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah)], Glorified (and Exalted) are You [above all that (evil) they associate with You]. Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers.”
Surah Al-Anbya, Ayah 87 (21:87) Translation: Muhsin Khan
Even all the animals and the seaweeds and all forms of life at the sea heard the sincere dua of Yunus (as.) and they too joined in calling out to Allah for His mercy. Allah knew that the prayers of Yunus (as.) was sincere so He ordered the whale to surface and eject Yunus (as.). That day was the day of Ashura, the tenth of Muharram”
Reference: Al-Islam By Iftikhar Ahmed Mehar, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ph.D.
The dua of Yunus (as.) is a lesson for us and also a standard invocation for those who want to call Allah at the time of distress. Allah loved Yunus (as.)’s dua, that is why He has mentioned it in the Quran and as Muslims we should use this dua to call our Lord for help.
That is the end of this week’s Khutbah, next time the sermon will be dedicated towards the history of Imam Hassan and Hussain (rahm.).