By Imam Syed Anisul Haque (Imam of East London Mosque)

As we commence the Islamic calendar month of Muharram, marking the passage of 1445 years since the Hijrah (migration) of the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) and his beloved companions, numerous Muslims worldwide contemplate how they can enhance their efforts in performing virtuous deeds, with the aspiration of receiving rewards in the Hereafter. Undoubtedly, our ultimate objective of attaining Jannah and beholding the countenance of Allah (SWT) stands as one of the highest, most unparalleled rewards.

Today, we aim to offer you essential guidance to empower yourself and make the most of this Islamic year, insha’Allah.

Virtues of Muharram

A time of reflection

Muharram presents an opportunity for Muslims to engage in self-reflection and self-analysis. It is a time to assess one’s actions, behaviours, and intentions, and to seek repentance for any shortcomings or mistakes made in the past. Muslims are encouraged to reflect on their relationship with Allah, their adherence to Islamic principles, and their overall spiritual growth. During this month, individuals may set aside time for self-evaluation, contemplating their strengths and weaknesses, and identifying areas where they can improve as Muslims. This may involve examining their commitment to prayer, Qur’anic recitation, acts of kindness, and other aspects of their faith.

Day of Ashura

For Muslims around the world, Ashura is a day of immense historical and spiritual importance. On this day, we commemorate various significant events such as the salvation of Prophet Musa (Moses) and the Children of Israel from the tyranny of Pharaoh. The Day of Ashura serves as a reminder of the unwavering commitment to truth, justice, and sacrifice. It is a day of reflection, repentance, and seeking closeness to Allah.

Muslims observe voluntary fasting on this day, following the example of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and expressing gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon them. It is an opportunity to seek forgiveness for past mistakes, renew one’s faith, and embrace the virtues of patience, resilience, and steadfastness.

The virtues of the Day of Ashura extend beyond its historical significance. It is a day of immense blessings and rewards. It is believed that fasting on the Day of Ashura expiates the sins of the previous year, serving as a means of purification and seeking forgiveness. As Ibn Abbas (ra) said,

I do not know Allah’s messenger ﷺ singling out any day’s fast and considering it more excellent than another, except this day (the Day of Ashura) and this month, meaning the month of Ramadan.

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ encouraged Muslims to fast on this day, not only to honour the historical events associated with it but also to gain spiritual rewards and draw closer to Allah. It is a day of immense mercy, where Allah grants His forgiveness and showers His blessings upon His creation. It is also a time to express empathy and compassion towards others, as acts of charity and kindness are highly recommended on this day.

The Day of Ashura serves as a reminder of the eternal struggle between truth and falsehood, urging believers to stand firmly for justice, uphold the values of Islam, and strive for righteousness in all aspects of their lives

Consistent Generosity

For instance, if Allah has blessed you with abundant wealth, you have the capacity to engage in regular charitable giving, such as donating money to worthy causes. However, even if you do not possess significant financial resources, you can still contribute as little as £5.

In a narration by ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was asked about the deeds most beloved to Allah. He responded,

The most beloved deeds to Allah are those performed consistently, even if they are few.

He emphasized the importance of not burdening oneself with tasks beyond one’s capabilities and advised focusing on deeds that can be comfortably undertaken.

Expressing gratitude and Allah’s abundance

One of the most admirable qualities of a believer is to be eternally grateful to Allah (SWT) for all the blessings bestowed upon them, including wealth, health, status, intellectual abilities, and life itself.

It is essential to recognise that Allah (SWT) is the ultimate source of your sustenance and existence. Therefore, He alone deserves all praise, as it is only through His will that others can provide for you. Allah has showered you with countless blessings and bounties.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

Whatever blessings you have are from Allah. Then whenever hardship touches you, to Him alone you cry for help.

{Al-Qur’an 16:53}

This verse shows how we should always be grateful for Allah’s blessings so that in times of difficulty we should turn to him so that he eases that of which upon us is a hardship.

Make it a habit to say “Alhamdulillah” (Praise be to Allah) whenever you witness something for which you feel grateful. Take a few moments after each prayer to thank Allah (SWT) for the big and small blessings in your life. Acknowledge that it is Allah (SWT) who has created and sustains you, and express gratitude for being chosen to be a Muslim, for the gift of faith, and for protection from Shaytan (Satan).

In conclusion, it is important for us to constantly discover new ways to please Allah (SWT) and continually learn from the teachings of the Prophet ﷺ and his companions, applying them to our daily lives.

May Allah (SWT) grant us the ability to continuously improve ourselves and bestow upon us Jannatul Ferdaws (the highest level of Paradise). Ameen.