‘Āshūrā’ – Lessons From Muḥarram

In the holy month of Muḥarram there is a day, the tenth day, known as ‘Āshūrā’, literally, “the tenth”, in which the Prophet ‎ﷺ was known to fast:

كَانَ يَوْمُ عَاشُورَاءَ تَعُدُّهُ الْيَهُودُ عِيدًا قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَصُومُوهُ أَنْتُمْ

Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim

“The Jews of Madīnah made the tenth of Muḥarram a holiday commemorating Allāh saving them from Pharaoh to which he said ‎ﷺ “fast it”.

But what are the major lessons to take from this blessed day on this holy month. Below are a few takeaways.

First, Allāh mentions that He conferred His blessings on the Children of Israel (here after referred to as Banī Isrā’īl) to which they turned their backs on.

Second, the Day of ‘Āshūrā’ is also about getting ready for the Day of Judgment as He mentions,

وَٱتَّقُوا۟ يَوْمًۭا لَّا تَجْزِى نَفْسٌ عَن نَّفْسٍۢ شَيْـًۭٔا

“Guard yourselves against the Day on which no soul will be of help to another”. The “day” to which Allah eludes to is the Day of Judgment (Sūrah al-Baqarah v. 48).

Third, the story of Moses (Mūsā) and Banī Isrā’īl are also about remembering Allāh when things are good, not just when they’re bad. It’s also a lesson that all of the hardships in life we experience—just as the good ones are—are tests for our faith. And so Allāh tells them that the hardship and torment of Pharaoh was by His design as a test (balā’ ‘adhīm/بلاء من ربكم عظيم).

وَفِى ذَٰلِكُم بَلَآءٌۭ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ عَظِيمٌۭ

“That was a severe test from your Lord.” – Sūrah al-Baqarah v. 49

Fourth, inconsistency in faith and dedication leads to a lack of appreciation and reverence for the gifts and guidance given to you as a believer and hence, in its abandonment one may even do the unthinkable: worship something other than God!

وَإِذْ وَٰعَدْنَا مُوسَىٰٓ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةًۭ ثُمَّ ٱتَّخَذْتُمُ ٱلْعِجْلَ مِنۢ بَعْدِهِۦ وَأَنتُمْ ظَـٰلِمُونَ

“And ˹remember˺ when We appointed forty nights for Moses, then you worshipped the calf in his absence, acting wrongfully.” – Sūrah al-Baqarah v. 51

There are so many lessons to be learned from the Qur’ān, from the stories of Banī Isrā’īl, Mūsā ‎ﷺ and the Day of ‘Āshūrā’, but these are just a few. Below if the khuṭbah Imam Marc delivered on July 28th, 2023/10th of Muḥarram, 1445, on the same topic.

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