The Day of Ashura'

Author : An Article by His Grace Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalayleh

Date Added : 19-09-2018



The tenth day of the Sacred Month is called Ashura' according the majority of Muslim scholars, such as Saeed Ibn Al-Mosaib, Al-Hassan Al-Basri, Malik, Ahmad, Isaac among others, since Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) narrated: "The Messenger of Allah enjoined fasting the tenth day for the  Day of Ashura." [At-Tirmithi]


Some narrations on fasting the aforementioned day:


1. Ibn Abbas narrated: "I never saw the Prophet (PBUH) seeking to fast on a day more (preferable to him) than this day, the day of 'Ashura', or this month, i.e. the month of Ramadan." [Agreed upon].


In his commentary on the aforementioned Hadith, Al-Hafez Ibn Hajar (May Allah have mercy on his soul) said: "In terms of reward, the day of Ashura' is the best day to be fasted after Ramadan. However, Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) said: "according to what he heard:" Fasting the day of Ashura' atones the sins of the preceding year, and fasting the day of Arafah atones the preceding and the current year. Ibn Abbas is of the view that the reward for fasting the day of Arafah is greater than that of Ashura'. However, he combined them in his narration, although fasting the former is obligatory while fasting the latter is recommended, to indicate that a person will be rewarded for fasting both. This is because the meaning of (seek), as mentioned in the narration, is intending and desiring to fast the day of Ashura` to gain the whole reward.


Ibn Omar (May Allah be pleased with them) said: "In Jahiliyah' (Pre-Islamic period of ignorance), we used to observe fast on the day of Ashura`.But, when fasting at the month of Ramadan was prescribed, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "This is one of the days of Allah; he who wishes may fast on it." [Agreed upon].


2. Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) narrated: "During the Pre-Islamic Period of ignorance the Quraish used to observe fasting on the day of 'Ashura', and the Prophet (PBUH) himself used to observe fasting on it too. However, when he came to Medina, he fasted on that day and ordered the Muslims to fast on it. When (the order of compulsory fasting in ) Ramadan was revealed, fasting in Ramadan became an obligation, and fasting on 'Ashura' was given up, and who ever wished to fast (on it) did so, and whoever did not wish to fast on it, did not fast. [Agreed upon]. In addition, Al-Imam An-Nawawi (May Allah have mercy on his soul) said (What means): "The majority of the Muslim scholars are of the view that fasting the day of Ashura' is a recommended deed, not an obligation."


3. Moreover, Abu Qatada reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said (What means): "fasting on the day of 'Arafa may atone for the sins of the preceding and the coming years, and I seek from Allah that fasting on the day of Ashura may atone for the sins of the preceding year." [Moslim].



The Wisdom behind fasting it:


The day of Ashura' is the day in which Allah, The Exalted, saved His Prophet Musa and his people from the Pharaoh and his army. As an act of thankfulness to Allah, Musa fasted that day. Our Prophet (PBUH) has fasted that day and commanded Muslims to do so where he (PBUH) said (What means): "We have more right to Musa than you do."


Actually, the Prophet (PBUH) along with all the members of the Muslim nation have more right to Musa and other Prophets and Messengers than non-Muslims, because they respect, adore and believe in all of them (Prophets and Messengers) without any sort of distinction or preference; constituting a patron to their religion (Islam), the religion of Allah, The Lord of The Worlds.


Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) recommended fasting this day since it reflects a great wisdom, among others, and that is: Allah's religion is one and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent to complete this message.


Is it reprehensible to fast only the day of Ashura'?


Ibn 'Abbas reported that when the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) fasted on the day of 'Ashura and commanded that it should he observed as a fast, they (his Companions) said to him:  "Messenger of Allah, it is a day which the Jews and Christians hold in high esteem. Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: When the next year comes, God willing, we would observe fast on the 9th But the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) died before the advent of the next year." [Moslim].



Furthermore, Al-Hafeth Ibn Hajar (May Allah have mercy on his soul) said (What means): "When the Prophet(PBUH) intended to fast the 9th day: This implies fasting  it in addition to the 10th in order to free ones-self from the liability or, according to the closest interpretation, to do contrary to the Jews and Christians. This is according to many narrations by Moslim and Ahmad who reported the following traceable Hadith that Ibn Abbas narrated, The Prophet (PBUH) said (What means): "Fast the day of Ashura' contrary to the Jews; by fasting a day before or after it." And this was the last narration in this regard. And Allah Knows Best.