بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Muharramul Haram & Fasting On Aashura

Muharramul Haram is the first month of the Islamic calendar, i.e.  the Hijri year starts off with Muharramul Haram and concludes with Dhul-Hijjah. In addition, Muharramul Haram is one out of such four months that have been called as the months of sanctity by the Almighty Allah. Holy Prophet (PBUH) has declared this month as the month of the Almighty Allah. Although, each and every day and month belongs to the Almighty Allah, but linking this month with the Almighty Allah emphasizes its superiority. Another merit of the month of Muharram is that fasting in it is of the greatest value (second only to the fasts of Ramadanul Mubarak). Abu Huraira (RA) reports that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: The best fasting after Ramadan is in Allah’s month of Muharram (Tirmizi V 1 P 157). Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: The best fast besides the month of Ramadan is the fasting in Allah’s month of Muharram (Sahih Muslim).

Ali (RA) says: One day I was sitting with the Holy Prophet (PBUH), a person came and asked: O Prophet of Allah (PBUH), which month would you order me for fasting besides the month of Ramadan. Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, if you want to fast besides the month of Ramadan, then fast in Muharram as it is the month of Allah. There is a day in this month on which the Almighty Allah accepted the repentance of a race and He would accept the repentance of other people too. (Tirmizi, Vol: 1 P 157). The race that was pardoned this day was Bani Israel as it is explained in Hadeeth that the Almighty Allah granted salvation to Musa (AS) and Bani Israel against Pharaoh and his troupe.

Fasting On Aashura:

The tenth of Muharramul Haram is called Aashura, which literally means the tenth day. This day possesses the Almighty Allah’s special blessings and boons. Holy Prophet (PBUH) fasted on this day and also ordered the Muslims to do the same. Initially, this fast was obligatory (wajib) but when the fasting of Ramadanul Mubarak was made compulsory, Muslims were given the choice to fast on Aashura or not. However, its significance was mentioned that whoever fasts on this day shall have the minor sins of the previous year pardoned.  Initially, this was only one day fast, but to oppose the Jews, Holy Prophet (PBUH) finally said that if I live until the next year, I would also fast on the 9th of Muharram, Insha Allah. But, Holy Prophet (PBUH) passed away before he could fulfill his wish.

Some Ahadeeth about Fasting On Aashura:

Ayesha (RA) says that before the fasting of Ramadan was made obligatory, people used to fast on Aashura and the cover of Baitullah used to be changed on Aashura. When Ramadan was made compulsory, then the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: Whoever wishes to fast shall do so and whoever wishes the otherwise may not (Sahih Bukhari P 217).

According to another narration, Ayesha (RA) reports that Quresh used to fast on Aashura when they were not guided, and Holy Prophet (PBUH) also fasted on the very same day. When Holy Prophet (PBUH) came to Madinah, he fasted here too and also ordered others to do the same. When fasting in Ramadan was made obligatory, then Aashura (the order of fasting on Aashura) was taken back, so that whoever wishes may observe it and whoever doesn’t, may not (Sahih Bukhari P 254, P 268).

Rubayyi’, bint Mu’awwidh (RA) reports: One day Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) announced in the village of Ansar that he who has eaten anything in the morning, shall refrain from eating anything else for the rest of the day. And he who hasn’t, shall fast. She says that she also used to fast on this day and made her children fast too; she used to make a toy out of wool and whenever any of her children cried for food she would give this toy to him so that he would play until the time to break the fast would come (Bukhari Vol: 1 P 263. Muslim Vol: 1 P 360).

Salmah Ibn Al-Akwa’ (RA) reported that the messenger of Allah (PBUH) sent a person on the day of Aashura who was announcing that he who has eaten anything in the morning, should refrain from eating anything else for the rest of the day. And he who hasn’t, shall fast (Bukhari Vol: 1 P 257).

Abdullah Ibne Abbas (RA) reports that the Prophet (PBUH) came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Aashura. He asked them about that. They replied, "This is a good day, the day on which Allah rescued Musa (AS) and Bani Israel from their enemy. So, we fast on this day to honor it." The Prophet said, "We have more claim over Musa (AS) than you." So, the Prophet fasted on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to fast (on that day) (Bukhari Vol: 1 P 268).

Abu Musa Ash’ari (RA) narrates that when Holy Prophet (PBUH) came to Madinah he saw the Jews honouring the day of Aashura, fasting on this day and celebrating it like Eid. Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, we have more claim over this fast. Then the Holy Prophet (PBUH) fasted on that day and ordered the Muslims to fast too (Bukhari Vol: 1 P 268, 526).

Abdullah Ibne Abbas (RA) narrates that I never saw the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), so keen to fast on any day and give it priority over any other  day, than the day of Aashura, and this month, i,e. Ramadan, (Bukhari Vol: 1 P 268) which means Holy Prophet (PBUH) was very keen to observe these fasts.

When Muawiya (RHA) came for pilgrimage, he stood on the pulpit of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) on the day of Aashura and said: O’ residents of Madinah, where are your scholars, I have heard the Holy Prophet (PBUH) say that this is the day of Aashura, and Allah the Almighty has not made this day’s fast compulsory for you, I am fasting, but whoever wishes to fast shall do so and whoever doesn’t may not (Sahih Bukhari V 1 P 262).

Merits of Fasting on Aashura:

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: I have faith in the blessings of the Almighty Allah that whoever fasts on this day of Aashura will have his sins of previous year pardoned (Sahih Muslim). Abu Qatada (RA) narrates from the Holy Prophet (PBUH) saying: I seek from Allah that the person fasting on the day of Aashura is the atonement for the sins of the preceding year (Tirmizi Vol: 1 P 151). These Ahadeeth refer to the minor sins, for major sins one should repent.

How to Fast on Ashura:

Abdullah Ibne Abbas (RA) narrates that Holy Prophet (PBUH) fasted on Aashura and also ordered others to do so. People told him that Jews and Christians also honor this day so Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: If I live until the next year, I will fast on the ninth too Insha Allah. But he passed away the next year (Muslim V 1 P 359).

Abdullah Ibne Abbas (RA) narrates that Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: Observe the fast of Aashura and oppose the Jews. Fast a day before it or a day after it (Musnad Ahmed Vol: 1 P 241). This Hadeeth is found with ‘Wao’ instead of ‘Au’ at some places. If we consider the narration to be with ‘Wao’ (which means AND), then we will have to fast 3 days. Consequently, 4 ways of fasting on Ashura emerge: fast on all three days that is 9, 10 &11. Fast for two days that is 9 & 10. Fast on two days that is 10 &11. And if you can’t fast for two days due to any reason, and then only fast on Aashura.

Conclusion:

Whenever the day of Aashura came during the Holy life of Prophet (PBUH), he fasted, but the Aashura that came just before his death, he observed the fast of Aashura and with that, he also said that since we and Jews both fast on 10th Muharram, and this creates a minor resemblance with them, if I stay alive until the next year, Insha Allah, I shall not only fast on Aashura but combine it with the fast of 9th or 11th Muharram so there is no resemblance at all. But the Holy Prophet (PBUH) passed away before next year’s Aashura and didn’t get a chance to practice this. In the light of this statement of Holy Prophet (PBUH), the companions of Prophet (RA) were always keen to combine the fast of 9th or 11th with Aashura’s fast and claimed it to be Mustahab (desirable) and claimed fasting on Ashura only against the first priority. Which means it’s not a sin to fast on Aashura only, instead he would get its reward. But, since Holy Prophet (PBUH) wished to fast 2 days, it would be better if we fulfill his wish and combine another day’s fast with Ashura.

Explanation:

Some people think that the significance of this day is due to the martyrdom of Holy Prophet’s grandson, Hussain (RA), which happened after the 50 years of Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) death. But, the merit and significance of this day is already proved by the statements and actions of Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). Yes, the Almighty Allah chose this blessed day for the great martyrdom of Hussain (RA) which amplifies the significance of his sacrifice.

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (www.najeebqasmi.com)