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The Month of Muharram and The Day of Ashurah

Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar.  Its also one of the 4 sacred Islamic months. (The four sacred months are: Muharram, Rajab, Dhul Qadah, and Dhul Hijjah)
“The year is twelve months of which four are sacred, the three consecutive months of Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab Mudar which comes between Jumadah and Sha’ban.” [Reported by al-Bukhari, 2958]

The Virtues of the Month of Muharram

"Indeed this month of Muharram has virtue; the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ‘’The best fasting after the month of Ramadhaan is the fasting in the month of Muharram.’’  So it is desired to increase in fasting during this month.  It is the month that the companions—during Umar’s time (radiyallaahu-anhu)—chose to be the beginning of the Hijri calendar." (Source)


Yawmul Ashurah

Within the month of Muharram, there is a special day, the 10th, called Yawmul Ashurah or, the day of Ashurah (The number 10 in Arabic is "ashurah.");It is a significant day for Muslims as it commemorates the day that Musa and Bani Israel escaped from Firaun: The Story behind Fasting ‘Aashoorah: Musa  and the Pharoah

It is from the sunnah to fast on Yawmul Ashurah

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
”The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
‘The best of fasting after Ramadhan is fasting Allah’s month of Muharram.’ ” [Reported by Muslim, 1982]
Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) said:
“I never saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of ‘Ashura’, and this month, meaning Ramadhan.” [Reported by al-Bukhari, 1867]
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“For fasting the day of ‘Ashura’, I hope that Allah will accept it as expiation for the year that went before.” [Reported by Muslim, 1976] (Source)


It is also from the Sunnah to fast the day before Yawmul Ashurah and the Day After it (i.e. the 9th and 11th). 

Muharram Fatwas

Muharram Learning Resources

TJ Muharram Unit Study (2008) - Some years ago, I wrote up a little unit study on the month of Muharram. It's badly in need of modernizing, (in shaa Allah I'll get around to it one day) but I think the content is still beneficial for teaching children about this special month and its special day:

Review Questions on Muharram and the Day of Ashurah - summary questions I wrote up for review.