As we begin this year’s Islamic calendar month of Muharram, 1444 years after the Hijrah (migration) of the Prophet () with his beloved companions, many Muslims around the world will wonder how they will be able to maximise doing good deeds in the hopes of being rewarded in the Hereafter. Indeed, our ultimate goal of entering Jannah and seeing Allah’s (SWT) Face is among the highest of rewards and incomparable to all else.

Today, we’ll provide you with the necessary advice to help you boost yourself and get the most out of this Islamic year, insha’Allah.

Virtues of Muharram

The month of Muharram begins the new Islamic year. We experience the sacred day of Ashura (10th of Muharram), a day on which Ibn Abbas was asked regarding fasting on this day, he said: “I do not know Allah’s messenger () 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 () also said,

Fasting the day of Ashura, I hope that Allah will accept it as an expiation for (the sins committed in) the previous year.

This is a good opportunity to reset and obtain forgiveness for the previous year’s sins.

Allah (swt) has also said in the Qur’an (9:36):

Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve 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 because Muharram falls within these four months, we should abstain from sins because sins multiply during these sacred months, but Allah has also increased the rewards we receive for doing good deeds. So, how do we go about doing this?

Getting the most out of Ashura

Ashura is the tenth day of Muharram. And it is advised by the Prophet () to fast for at least two days in this month. It is mentioned that the Prophet () came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura, and asked them about that. They replied, “This is a good day, the day on which Allah reduced Bani Israel from their enemy. So Moses fasted this day.” The Prophet () said, “We have more claim over Moses than you.” So, the Prophet () fasted on that day and told the people to fast.

It is also recommended to fast another day with the 10th, to show our closeness to Musa (AS) is greater than others (so either 9th and 10th, or 10th and 11th), as the Prophet () fasted on the 10th of Muharram, and intended to fast the 9th the following year but passed away.

We can use the month as a way to find out how we can earn the most reward by trying different deeds and incorporating them into our daily lives, and then using it to help us make the most out of this year.

Regular Giving

For example, Allah may have blessed you with a lot of wealth, so you are able to donate money to charity on a regular basis such as every Friday. And even if Allah hasn’t given you the ability to give large amounts to charity, then you could give as little as £5.

As narrated by ‘Aisha (RA), The Prophet () was asked, “What deeds are loved most by Allah?” He said, “The most regular constant deeds even though they may be few.” He added, “Don’t take upon yourselves, except the deeds which are within your ability.”

Daily Remembrance

As some may be able to do good deeds which others may not be able to do, such as charity, as even during the Prophet’s times due to the vast amount of wealth which Abu Bakr (RA) had been blessed with, compared to other companions, he used it to help support the Muslims and the Prophet ().

Also, some of us may not be able to give charity on a regular basis, instead we could do a lot of dhikr; this could be general dhikr or morning and evening dhikr. And as we do not need wudu, many of us could do dhikr when we’re out and about, or even travelling to and from work, it’s that easy.

Seek Forgiveness (Istighfar)

Allah (SWT) wants us to be in constant remembrance of Him. He knows we will fall into sin, but he wants us to be from those who constantly seek His forgiveness and ask for His mercy.

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

By the One in Whose Hand my soul is! If you do not commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and seek forgiveness from Allah; and Allah will certainly forgive them.

[Muslim]

Identify your mistakes and sins, and then make a sincere intention to rectify yourself and then ask for forgiveness from Allah. Remember, Istigfar is a source of sustenance and also opens the doors of Allah’s mercy.

And (Noah) said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver.’ He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers and give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.

(Qur’an 71:10–12)

Be grateful and Allah will increase you in bounties

Being eternally grateful to Allah (SWT) for everything you have, including your wealth, health, status, intellectual prowess, and life, is one of the best qualities of a believer.

You should be aware that Allah (SWT) is the source of both your sustenance and very existence. Therefore, He alone deserves all the praise because only by His will do others have the ability to provide for you. He has bestowed countless blessings and bounties. 

And should you try to count Allah’s blessings, you could never calculate them. Allah is, indeed, All forgiving, All compassionate; and Allah knows all that you keep secret as well as all that you bring into the open.

(Qur’an 16:17-19)

Always remember to say ‘Alhamdulillah’ when you see something that you feel grateful for. After each prayer, spend a few minutes thanking Allah (SWT) for some of the little and big things you have in your life. Acknowledge that Allah (SWT) has created and sustains us, then give thanks for being chosen to be a Muslim, for giving us our faith and for keeping Shaytan away.

To conclude, it’s important that we always find new ways to please Allah (SWT), and continuously learn lessons from the Prophet () and his companions and apply them to our daily lives.

May Allah (SWT) give us the ability to improve ourselves continuously and may He grant us Jannatul Firdaus. Ameen.