Muharram is the first month of the lunar year. The third month of the sacred four months. Many virtues of this month have been mentioned in Hadith Shareef. More Nafl (supererogatory) fasting and Tauba–Istegfar (repentance and seeking forgiveness) have been encouraged to be accomplished in this month. It has been said in Hadith:
أَفْضَلُ الصِّيَامِ، بَعْدَ رَمَضَانَ، شَهْرُ اللهِ الْمُحَرّمُ، وَأَفْضَلُ الصَلَاةِ، بَعْدَ الْفَرِيضَةِ، صَلَاةُ اللَّيْلِ
Meaning: The best fast after Ramadan is the fast of the month of Allah, which you acknowledge as Muharram. And the best prayer after the obligatory prayer is the night prayer. (Sahih Muslim: Hadith 1163, Kitabus Saum, Fazlu Saumi Muharram)
It is noteworthy that in this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ called the month of Muharram ‘Shahrullah’, i.e. the month of Allah. Indeed, all months are the month of Allah. However, why has Muharram been specially called the month of Allah, is a question. The wisdom behind it is, this month has some special features. For this reason, it has been called so. Just as, all the houses in the world are the houses of Allah. However, not all houses are called Baitullah.
One of the important virtues of Muharram is that the history of accepting repentance is connected to it. There is a Hadith narrated in Musnad Ahmad and Jame Tirmidhi. A man once came to the Prophet ﷺ and asked,
يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ، أَيّ شَهْرٍ تَأْمُرُنِي أَنْ أَصُومَ بَعْدَ رَمَضَانَ؟
O the Messenger ﷺ of Allah! In which month do you instruct me to fast after Ramadan? The Prophet ﷺ replied:
إِنْ كُنْتَ صَائِمًا بَعْدَ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ فَصُم المُحَرّمَ، فَإِنّهُ شَهْرُ اللهِ، فِيهِ يَوْمٌ تَابَ فِيهِ عَلَى قَوْمٍ، وَيَتُوبُ فِيهِ عَلَى قَوْمٍ آخَرِينَ
If you want to fast in another month after (the fast of) Ramadan, then fast in Muharram. Because it is the month of Allah. There is a day in that month on which Allah has accepted the repentance of many. In the future too, more people’s repentance would be accepted on that very day. (Jame Tirmidhi, Hadith 751 (Imam Tirmidhi said- هذا حديث حسن غريب); Musnad Ahmad, Hadith 1322, b. 1 p. 154)
The day referred to in this Hadith is most likely the day of Ashura (the 10th of Muharram). However, the servant should pay attention to repentance and forgiveness on all days of the year. Especially on every day of this month, more importance is given to repentance and forgiveness. And on the day of Ashura, more Istegfar should be carried upon.
The best way to seek forgiveness is to memorize the supplications for forgiveness in the Quran and Hadith. Seek apology and forgiveness through those prayers in the court of Rabb-e-Kareem. However, it is all right to seek forgiveness in one’s own language, because Allah is the creator of all languages. He understands each and every one of them. He accepts everyone’s appeal.
Istegfar from the Holy Quran
رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَاۤ اَنْفُسَنَا، وَ اِنْ لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَ تَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُوْنَنَّ مِنَ الْخٰسِرِیْنَ .
Meaning: They said, “Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.” [Sura Araf: 23]
قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّىٓ أَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنْ أَسْـَٔلَكَ مَا لَيْسَ لِى بِهِۦ عِلْمٌ ۖ وَإِلَّا تَغْفِرْ لِى وَتَرْحَمْنِىٓ أَكُن مِّنَ ٱلْخَـٰسِرِينَ
Meaning: “My Lord, I seek refuge in You from asking that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have mercy upon me, I will be among the losers.” [Sura Hud: 48]
رَبِّ اِنِّیْ ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِیْ فَاغْفِرْ لِیْ
Meaning: “My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, so forgive me,” [Sura Qasas: 16]
لَاۤ اِلٰهَ اِلَّاۤ اَنْتَ سُبْحٰنَكَ ، اِنِّیْ كُنْتُ مِنَ الظّٰلِمِیْنَ.
Meaning: “There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.” [Sura Ambiya: 87]
رَبَّنَا ٱغْفِرْ لِى وَلِوَٰلِدَىَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ ٱلْحِسَابُ
Meaning: Our Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers the Day the account is established. [Sura Ibrahim: 41]
The writer of this article is: Shaikh Fahad Hasan
This article has been published in Monthly IslaminLife Magazine, Muharram ul Haraam Issue 1443 Hijri.