Q: Assalamalaikum Imam, I was wondering if muhurum is a month of mourning because of the war that took place and killed the prophet (SAW)’s grandchildren and family. I also heard that in this month one should contemplate that and not buy new clothes, and laugh a lot.
Time: Sunday December 4, 2011 at 8:57 pm
A: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته
What you have heard is from the works of innovation. It has no authentic religious foundation.
Mourning is permissible for those who have passed away and should not exceed three days. Mourning events as described by you that remain in excess of 1400 years have absolutely no religious credence.
Such mourning is not established from the works of Prophets (peace be upon them all), Ashaab Kareem, and the pious who have come after them. Sahaba have been martyred during various times of the year, yet seldom do we observe people mourning their deaths. Should we mourn the martrydom of every Companion (radiAllaahu anh) and every pious person (rahimuhullaah alayh), we would be in continual mourning — this is not what our faith demands nor is our faith so bleak. One should be cautious in the practices presented as part of faith so as to not abrogate the good deeds we have already established through our hard work and sacrifice.
There is great hasanaat that can be derived from observing the special days of Ashura, which fall in the month of Muharram. It is narrated in the hadith compiled in Muslim that the Rasulullaah Salallaahu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “Whoever fasts on the day of Ashura, his sins of the previous year will be forgiven.” Imam Abu Hanifa said, “that day was an obligatory fast in the beginning of Islam.” Imam Shafi`i said, “It is a Sunnah to fast it but not obligatory.” Now, you can deduce that if fasting for the sake of the forgiveness of all your year’s accumulation of sins is not obligatory, but highly recommended, then the notion of holding all of Muhurram as a month of mourning certainly would be distinctly out of line. Fast, pray abundantly, read Qur’an–and do it with a sense of hope for mercy from our Creator, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’aala.
All this is not to say that we should not feel the pain of the martyrdom of the Ashaab Kareem, the Ahl Bait, and so on–we should and must. However, Shari’ah places limits on how we mourn. Depriving ourselves of clothing and food are more physical manifestations that inconvenience us materially, which usually has little impact on the state of our hearts. Also, knowing that you will be denying yourself a new pair of shoes this month, how easy would it be to put it on the shopping list one month earlier or one month later? Delayed (or advanced!) gratification should not be confused with mourning.
Allah Certainly Knows Best.
Answer verified by the Imaam.