10 Sunnahs of Muharram Every Muslim Must Know

Author Bio: Rafia is a certified Quran scholar and Islamic content writer based in Pakistan. She is passionate about educating and inspiring others through her writing, promoting a deeper understanding of Islamic principles. She occasionally writes articles for Muslim And Quran.

The Holy Quran is a source of Divine Guidance for all Muslims until the end of time. While the Quran is a comprehensive and complete Book from Allah (SWT), the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (SAWW) elaborates on its guidance. This is why the life of the Holy Prophet (SAWW) is the perfect model of a pious Muslim.

The Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (SAWW) has been preserved by his companions and those who came after them. The wise actions and sayings of the Holy Prophet (SAWW) have been handed down generations through a combination of oral and written traditions. This is why we know so much about the life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWW).

This is why we should always seek guidance by examining the life of the Holy Prophet (SAWW). How he ate, slept, prayed, and even greeted others is relevant to our lives, as we must follow his example. For this reason, when we encounter a dilemma or question about how to act in certain circumstances, we must look towards the life of the Holy Prophet (SAWW).


Sunnahs to Follow During Muharram

For example, many people are confused about how to observe the month of Muharram. Muharram is the first month of the Hijri calendar. It is significant primarily because Ashura falls on the tenth day of the month.

Ashura means ‘the tenth day’ and holds great significance for Muslims. Battle of Karbala, which resulted in the martyrdom of the Hazrat Imam Hussain (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ), took place on Ashura. While it is impossible to extract the tragic events of Karbala from the month of Muharram, we can honor it by following the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (SAWW).

The importance of Ashura in Islam cannot be overstated. Here are ten Sunnah anyone can follow in Muharram to dignify and honor the martyrdom of the Muslims at Karbala:

1.    Observing A Fast on Ashura

According to multiple authentic reports, the Holy Prophet (SAWW) used to observe fasting on the 10th of Muharram. The fast on Ashura had pre-Islamic roots, as Jews used to fast on this day in gratitude for finally finding their homeland after being lost in the Sinai Desert for forty years.

'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported. In the pre-Islamic days fast was observed on the day of Ashura, but with the advent of Islam (its position was ascertained as that of a voluntary fast). Then he who wished to fast fasted, and he who liked to abandon it abandoned it. [Sahih Muslim, Book 6, Hadith 2501]

2.    Offering Extra Prayers

We can always offer extra prayers to please Allah (SWT). There are many examples from the life of the beloved Prophet (SAWW) when he used to offer voluntary prayers. the late-night prayer, or Tahajjud, was mandatory for the Holy Prophet (SAWW). In addition to this, he used to offer extra prayers in between the five obligatory prayers regularly.

According to Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ):

The Messenger of Allah would pray two rak'ahs before and two after the noon prayer, two after the sunset prayer in his house, and two after the night prayer. He would not pray after the Friday prayer till he departed. He would then pray two rak'ahs. [Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 5, Hadith 1247]

3.    Refraining from Excessive Celebrations

The month of Muharram has a somber air, especially due to the events of Karbala. The Holy Prophet (SAWW) generally did not like excessive celebrations. Indulging in celebrations excessively can distract from the worship of Allah (SWT) and make the believers forgetful of their duties.

Additionally, Muharram, for a large domination of Muslims, holds great importance because of the tragedy of Karbala. Even if we do not follow the Shia tradition, we must respect their beliefs and honor the need for solemnity.

4.    Refraining from Excessive Sadness

This takes us to the next course of action and that is to avoid excessive mourning. Mourning the dead to the point of denying oneself any kind of happiness was a pre-Islamic tradition. The Holy Prophet (SAWW) forbade the believers from mourning beyond three days for the dead, except for widows observing iddat.

Wailing and hitting the chest were forbidden even during the three-day mourning period. Hazrat Abu Said al-Khidri (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) reports:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) cursed the wailing woman and the woman who listens to her. [Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 20, Hadith 3122]

5.    Giving Charity

Aside from Zakat, charity is a desirable act at any time of the year. To gain the blessings of Allah (SWT), we must give sadaqah. Even a small amount can count as charity. Hazrat Abu Huraira (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) narrates the following Hadith:

There is never a day wherein servants (of God) get up at morn, but are not visited by two angels. One of them says: O Allah, give him more who spends (for the sake of Allah), and the other says: O Allah, bring destruction to one who withholds. [Sahih Muslim, Book 5, Hadith 2205]

6.    Recitation of the Holy Quran

Recitation of the Holy Quran is not only a source of great blessings and rewards during the month of Ramadan. Muslims must recite the Holy Book throughout the year. Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) reports the following tradition:

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Not to wish to be the like except of two men. A man whom Allah has given the knowledge of the Book and he recites it during the hours of the night, and a man whom Allah has given wealth, and he spends it in charity during the night and the hours of the day." [Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 6, Book 61, Hadith 543]

Our aim at any time of the year should be to please Allah (SWT) and gain His favor. Reciting the Holy Quran makes Allah (SWT) pleased with us.

7.    Seeking Allah’s (SWT) Forgiveness

We must always seek Allah’s (SWT) forgiveness. We make countless mistakes intentionally and unintentionally throughout our lifetime. It is in our favor to constantly repent for our sins so we can be spared on the Day of Judgement.

Muharram marks the beginning of the year. Much like how we make New Year's resolutions, we must make an effort to start repenting for our sins from last year so we can start the year with a clean slate. Hazrat Al-Agharr al-Muzani reports that the Holy Prophet (SAWW) used to seek forgiveness from Allah (SWT) a hundred times a day.

This shows that even the model character of the Holy Prophet 9SAWW) was not above seeking forgiveness from Allah (SWT).

8.    Being Thankful to Allah (SWT)

Gratitude towards Allah (SWT) and thanking Him for all the blessings we have been granted is always necessary. Constant Dikhr thanking Allah (SWT) is a great way to begin the year. We must be thankful year-round, not just in Muharram. But we can start being more thankful than usual and this can become habitual.

9.    Helping Others

The Holy Prophet (SAWW) was always helping others. He did not just help those close to him; he even helped those who opposed and oppressed him. We can learn a few things from our beloved Prophet (SAWW) and make our lives more meaningful by providing comfort and assistance to others.

Rather than living selfishly, we can start the year by being more mindful of helping others, starting in Muharram. Again, this could be a resolution for the coming Islamic year. A good gesture, even if it is a smile, is considered sadaqa. This means that even if we cannot help someone financially, there are many other ways of doing so.

10.   Mending Ties with Others

The severing of bonds, familial or otherwise, is strictly prohibited in Islam. The Holy Prophet (SAWW) even said that those who cut ties are not among the believers. Islam preaches the importance of community. All Muslims, for instance, are part of the Islamic Ummah. This means we are all part of a community with a common goal and purpose.

Familial bonds, in particular, should never be broken because these have been created by Allah (SWT). We can begin the year by mending broken ties and improving our relationship with others, even if it is just to please Allah (SWT).


Greengate Trust Water Projects

This year we observe Muharram through our water projects, giving charity whilst helping others.

Pakistan Hand Pump Water Wells

Our Pakistan Hand Pump Water Wells project provides clean and accessible drinking water to communities in remote areas. These hand pumps are a sustainable and low-maintenance solution that empowers communities to manage their own water supply.https://donate.greengatetrust.com/pakistan-hand-pump-water-wells

Pakistan Solar Wells

Greengate Trust's Pakistan Solar Wells project harnesses the power of the sun to pump water in remote areas. This innovative solution provides a reliable source of clean water while reducing dependence on fossil fuels.https://donate.greengatetrust.com/pakistan-solar-wells

Yemen and Pakistan Water Coolers

Our Yemen and Pakistan Water Coolers project distributes life-saving water coolers to communities facing water scarcity. These coolers provide clean, cool drinking water, especially critical during the hot summer months.



Source of Inspiration: The Holy Prophet (SAWW) lived over fourteen hundred years ago, yet his life remains the best source of guidance in conjunction with the Holy Quran for Muslims. His life is just as relevant to us as it was to Muslims during his lifetime. The excellence of his character and the beauty of his actions remain unparalleled

This article was kindly written by Rafia, through our guest post initiative, supporting writers. If you would like a chance to have your writing published, email [email protected] for more information.