Ashura

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All praises and thanks be to Allaah The Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon all his family and companions.

Allah’s sacred month of Muharram is a blessed and important month. It is the first month of the Hijri, or Islamic Calendar and is one of the four sacred months concerning which Allaah says that which translates as:

“Indeed, the number of months with Allaah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allaah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion [i.e., way], so do not wrong yourselves during them …” [At-Tawbah 9:36]

Abu Bakrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “The year consists of twelve months, of which four are sacred; the three consecutive months of Dhu’l-Qi’dah, Dhu’l-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab Mudar, which comes between Jumaada and Sha’baan.” (Bukhaari).

The Virtue of observing more naafil fasts during Muharram.

Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “The best of fasting after Ramadaan is fasting during Allaah’s month of Muharram.’” (Muslim).

The phrase “Allaah’s month”, connecting the name of the month to the name of Allaah in a genitive grammatical structure, denotes the importance of the month.

‘Aashooraa’ in History

Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him said: “The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam came to Madeenah and observed that the Jews were fasting on the day of ‘Aashooraa’. He asked: “What is this?” They replied: ‘This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allaah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Moosa fasted on this day.’ He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “We have more right to Moosa than you” so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to do likewise.” (Bukhaari).    According to a report narrated by Al-Bukhaari: “… so we fast on this day to venerate it.”

A version narrated by Imaam Ahmad adds: “This is the day on which the Ark settled on Mount Joodi, so Nooh, peace be upon him, fasted this day in thanksgiving.”

also narrated by Al-Bukhaari: “He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said to his Companions: ‘You have more right to Moosa than they do, so fast on that day.”

The practice of fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ was known even in the days of pre-Islamic ignorance, or Jaahiliyyah, before the Prophet’s mission. It was reported that ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: “The people of Jaahiliyyah used to fast on that day…”

It was also reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to fast on ‘Aashooraa’ in Makkah, before he migrated to Madeenah.

Fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ was a gradual step in the process of introducing fasting as a prescribed obligation in Islam. Fasting appeared in three forms. When the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam came to Madeenah, he told the Muslims to fast on three days of every month and on the day of ‘Aashooraa’, then Allaah made fasting obligatory when He said that which translates as: “… decreed upon you is fasting…” [Al-Baqarah 2:183] (Ahkaam al-Qur’aan by al-Jassas, part 1).

The obligation was transferred from the fast of ‘Aashooraa’ to the fast of Ramadaan,   It was reported from Ibn Mas’ood, may Allaah be pleased with him, that when fasting Ramadaan was made obligatory, the obligation to fast ‘Aashooraa’ was lifted, i.e., it was no longer obligatory to fast on this day, but it is still mustahabb,

The virtues of fasting ‘Aashooraa’

Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him and his father, said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of ‘Aashooraa’, and this month, meaning Ramadaan.” (Bukhaari).

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “For fasting the day of ‘Aashooraa’, I hope that Allaah will accept it as expiation for the year that went before.” (Muslim). This is from the bounty of Allaah towards us: for fasting one day He gives us expiation for the sins of a whole year. And Allaah is the Owner of Great Bounty.

It is mustahabb (encouraged) to fast Taasoo’aa’ with ‘Aashooraa’

‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him and his father, said: “When the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam fasted on ‘Aashooraa’ and commanded the Muslims to do likewise, they said: “O Messenger of Allaah! It is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.’ The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “If I live to see the next year, in shaAllaah, we will fast on the ninth day too.” But it so happened that the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam passed away before the next year came.” (Muslim).

We ask Allaah to make us followers of the Sunnah of His Noble Prophet, to make us live in Islam and die in a state of faith. May He help us to do that which He loves and which pleases Him. We ask Him to help us to remember Him and be thankful to Him, to worship Him properly and to accept our good deeds. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions.