Ashura 2021

We should all try to fast on ʿĀshūrāʾ, The 10th of Muḥarram. Learn about Muharram, Ashura, and the importance of this blessed day.

Ashura 2021

Tuesday, August 10th is our Islamic New Year, and it will be the year 1443 – the date marked by the arrival of Our Beloved Messenger ﷺ to al-Madīnah al-Munawwarah, The Illuminated City. The first month in the calendar is Muḥarram, which translates to The Sacred and Sanctified Month. It is a great time to fast, specifically on the 10th day (ʿĀshūrāʾ). We should all try to fast on ʿĀshūrāʾ, the 10th of Muḥarram, which is Thursday, August 19th. If possible, fast the day before or after as well.

 

Muḥarram

This is the 1st month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar. The Messenger of God ﷺ referred to it as “The Month of God (Shahr Allāh),” and it has certain virtues. It is also possibly a month of increased forgiveness[1].

The Messenger of God ﷺ said: “Aside from Ramaḍān, the best fasts are the fasts of The Month of God, Al-Muḥarram.”[2]

 

ʿĀshūrāʾ

This is the 10th day of Muḥarram. It falls on Thursday, August 19th. Those who are able to fast should try to fast on this day.

Reward: The Messenger of God ﷺ said: “Fast on ʿĀshūrāʾ. Doing so will cause your sins of the previous year to be forgiven.”[3]

Encouragement: Ibn Abbās (raḍiya Allāh ʿanhumā[4]) said: “I never saw The Prophet ﷺ wanting to fast a day more than ʿĀshūrāʾ…”[5] In regards to ʿĀshūrāʾ, The Messenger of God ﷺ said: “Fast!”[6]

Reasoning: Ibn ʿAbbās (raḍiya Allāh ʿanhumā) mentioned that the Jews of Al-Madīnah used to fast on ʿĀshūrāʾ because The Exodus — the day Moses (Mūsā alayhi al-salām[7]) escaped with the Israelites from the reign of the Pharaoh — occurred on that day. The Messenger of God ﷺ responded saying: “We have more right to Moses (alayhi al-salām), so fast (on this day).”[8]

Fasting The 9th As Well: The Messenger of God ﷺ said: “If I am still alive next year, I will definitely fast the 9th as well. (Meaning, in addition to the 10th.)”[9] The Messenger of God ﷺ also said: “Differ from the Jews, fast the day before or after as well.”[10] Based on that, it would be okay to fast on the 11th instead of on the 9th. There are different opinions as to which set of days to fast. To list them in brief:

  • The 10th (Thursday, August 19th only). Everyone is in agreement that this day should be fasted.[11]
  • The 9th and 10th (Wednesday and Thursday)
  • The 10th and 11th (Thursday and Friday)[12]
  • The 9th, 10th, and 11th (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday)[13]

 

Spending on One’s Family

There are a few narrations attributed to the Prophet ﷺ stating, “If someone is extra generous with their family[14] on the day of ʿĀshūrāʾ, Allāh ﷻ will be extra generous with him or her throughout the following year.”[15] It should be mentioned that the vast majority of scholars have considered the attribution of that statement to the Prophet ﷺ, albeit through many companions and chains, to be weak (ḍaʿīf). However, there have been great scholars who have acted upon this statement by spending extra on their family, and found extra blessings in the following year. For example, the great Companion (ṣaḥābī) Jābir ibn ʿAbd Allāh (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanhumā) has been quoted saying, “We have experienced that, and have found it to be true.”[16] Abū Al-Zubayr and Shuʿbah (raḥimahumā Allāh[17]) have also been quoted with similar statements.[18] Sufyān ibn ʿUyaynah (raḥimahu Allāh) is famous[19] for this statement, saying that he found this extra generosity for “50 or 60 years.” Ibn Ḥabīb Al-Mālikī (raḥimahu Allāh) composed a few lines of poetry highlighting this.[20]

In summary, despite a weak attribution to the Prophet ﷺ, there are numerous quotes, statements, and testimonies that indicate that receiving extra generosity from Allāh the year following having spent on one’s family has some basis.[21] So anyone who is able to, and chooses to act upon this[22], should go ahead and be extra generous with his or her family on ʿĀshūrāʾ, and hope and pray for extra generosity and blessings from Allāh. — Allāh knows best.

May Allāh — Al-Razzāq, The Sustainer — provide for us all, bless us in what He Alone has provided us with, make us grateful and content, and free us from any and all forms of debt. May Allāh accept our fasting on ʿĀshūrāʾ, and forgive us for our previous years’ sins. Āmīn.

 

ADDITIONAL READING


The Martyrdom of Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanhumā)

As we’ve mentioned, the Prophet ﷺ himself taught us the importance of the day of ʿĀshūrāʾ, as well as the rewards associated to fasting that day. However, after the Prophet ﷺ left this world, his grandson, Ḥusayn (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh), as well as many of his extended family members were martyred on the plains of Karbalāʾ by a platoon from the Umayyad Army, as a result of political issues in the year 56 AH. A detailed overview of the incidents leading up to this event can be found here. Ḥusayn (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh) is the son of ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib and Fāṭimah bint Muḥammad (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanhumā), two of the greatest companions of the Prophet ﷺ. ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh) is the 1st cousin of the Prophet ﷺ, his son-in-law, and the 4rth Caliph. Fāṭimah bint Muḥammad (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanhā) is none other than the daughter of the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ. They also had an older son, Ḥasan (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh). Regarding Ḥasan and Ḥusayn (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanhumā), the Prophet ﷺ said “Ḥasan and Ḥusayn are two leaders of the young men of Jannah.”[23] He ﷺ also said about them while they were holding onto his knees “These two are my sons. The sons of my daughter (Fāṭimah). O Allāh! I love both of them! So You love both of them! And love whoever loves both of them!”[24] He ﷺ also said regarding them “Ḥasan and Ḥusayn are my two fragrant smelling plants[25] of this world.”[26] Regarding Ḥusayn (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh) in particular, Anas ibn Mālik (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh) – the servant of the Prophet ﷺ for 10 years – remarked “He most closely resembles the physical features of the Prophet ﷺ.”[27] There can be no doubt about our love for the Prophet ﷺ, his family, his daughters, his grandchildren, and our respect towards them. And because of our immense love of the Prophet ﷺ, we follow his teachings, his guidelines, and the way of life he modeled for us. He ﷺ taught us that the 10th of Muḥarram is a day of victory, and a day of fasting. He also taught us that we focus on our worship, commemorate successes, and take lessons from – not mourn – times of difficulty. We follow his teachings, and our hearts feel sad for the death of Ḥusayn (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh), in a similar way that it feels sad over the martyrdom of the greatest of the Ṣaḥābah, those who were role models even to Ḥusayn (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh), likeʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh), ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh), and Ḥusayn’s own father, ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh). But our hearts feel the greatest sadness at the loss of our Prophet ﷺ who said “No one from my Ummah has faced a more difficult calamity than my death.”[28] Despite that, we still do not take the passing of the Prophet ﷺ on the 12th of Rabī al-Awwal to be a day of mourning or lamenting. The Prophet ﷺ taught us how to grieve when his own son Ibrāhīm (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh) passed away when he ﷺ said “The eyes shed tears. The hearts feel sad. But we only say what Allāh is pleased with.”[29] We do not say anything or do anything in our sadness that will make Allāh displeased.

As a final point, some people use instances like these to criticize the Ṣaḥābah (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanhum), the companions of the Prophet ﷺ, even though Allāh ﷻ is already pleased and happy with all of them. Allāh ﷻ says in The Qurʾān “Those who spent their money and put their lives on the line before the conquest of Makkah are not equal to those who did so after. The first category has a superior rank compared to those who spent money and fought after the conquest of Makkah. BUT STILL, Allāh has promised and prepared Al-Ḥusnā, Jannah, and Paradise for BOTH groups.[30]

May Allāh ﷻ allow us to love those whom He loves, and to act in a manner that is pleasing to Him in all times and places. Āmīn.


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Footnotes

  1. Al-Tirmidhī, Jāmiʿ: Kitāb al-Ṣawm ʿan Rasūl Allāh ﷺ Bāb mā jāʾa fī ṣawm al-Muḥarram. The other narrations mentioned here should be given preference in terms of reliability for proving the month’s virtues.
  2. Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ #1163 a,b,c. Al-Tirmidhī, Jāmiʿ: Kitāb al-Ṣawm ʿan Rasūl Allāh ﷺ Bāb mā jāʾa fī ṣawm al-Muḥarram. Abū Dāwūd, Sunan: Kitāb al-Ṣawm Bāb fī Ṣawm al-Muḥarram.
  3. Al-Tirmidhī, Jāmiʿ: Kitāb al-Ṣawm ʿan Rasūl Allāh ﷺ Bāb mā jāʾa fī al-ḥathth ʿalā ṣawm yawm ʿĀshūrāʾ. Ibn Mājah, Sunan: Kitāb al-Ṣawm #1810.
  4. May Allāh be pleased with him.
  5. Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ: Kitāb al-Ṣawm Bāb ṣiyām yawm ʿĀshūrāʾ. Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ #1132 a.
  6. Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ #1131 a.
  7. May Allāh protect him and preserve his legacy.
  8. Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ: Kitāb al-Tafsīr Sūrah Yūnus Bāb Wa Jāwaznā bi Banī Isrāʾīl … Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ #1130 c.
  9. Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ #1134b. Ibn Mājah, Sunan: Kitāb al-Ṣawm #1808.
  10. Aḥmad, Musnad #2155. There is a discussion about this ḥadīth, as to whether The Messenger of God ﷺ actually said “after it” or even “and the day after it.” There are other narrations wherein The Prophet ﷺ just said the 9th and 10th.
  11. However, it has been narrated that after the mandate to fast Ramaḍān, Ibn ʿUmar (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanhumā) would not fast on ʿĀshūrāʾ unless it coincided with his normal fasting routine. Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ: Kitāb al-Ṣawn Bāb Wujūb Ṣawm Ramaḍān.
  12. Some scholars opined that there is no virtue in adding the 11th.
  13. Some scholars opined that no one should fast all three: 9th, 10th, and 11th, referring to it as an innovation (bidʿah).
  14. Some reports add “and on themselves.”
  15. This has been narrated by Abū Saʿīd Al-Khudrī, Ibn Masʿūd, Ibn ʿUmar, Abū Hurayrah, and Jābir (raḍiya Allāh ʿanhum). Al-Ṭabarānī, Al-Awsaṭ, v. 9 p. 121 #9302; Al-Ṭabarānī, Al-Kabīr, v. 10 p. 77 #10007; Al-Bayhaqī, Shuʿab Al-Īmān, v. 7 p. 375-9 and v. 8 p. 377; Ibn Ḥibbān, Kitāb Al-Majrūḥīn, v. 3 p. 97; Abū Nuʿaym, Akbār Aṣbahān, v. 1 p. 163 and p. 198; Ibn Maʿīn, Tārīkh, #2223; Al-Khaṭīb, Muwaḍḍiḥ al-Jamʿ wa al-Tafrīq, v. 2 p. 307; Al-Ḥakīm Al-Tirmidhī, Nawādir Al-Uṣūl v. 3 p.14
  16. Ibn ʿAbd Al-Barr, Al-Istidhkār, v. 10 p. 140.
  17. May Allāh have mercy on them.
  18. Ibn ʿAbd Al-Barr, Al-Istidhkār, v. 10 p. 140.
  19. However, Al-Imām Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal (raḥimahu Allāh) said in response to this, “(Well, obviously…) He (Ibn Uyaynah) would be obsequious and groveling to Ibn Al-Muntashir. May Allāh have mercy on Ibn Uyaynah. He lived with the kings.” Masāʾil Ibn Hāniʾ li Al-Imām Aḥmad, v. 1 p. 136-7.
  20. Al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ, Tartīb al-Madārik wa Taqrīb al-Masālik, v. 4 p. 140.
  21. Al-Bayhaqī, Shuʿab Al-Īmān, v. 7 p. 379; Al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar Al-ʿAsqalānī, Al-Amālī Al-Muṭlaqah p. 27-30; Ibn Ḥajar, Mukhtaṣar Al-Targhīb, p. 82; Ibn ʿĀbidīn, Ḥāshiyah, v. 2 p. 419; Al-Ṣāwī Al-Mālikī, Ḥāshiyah Al-Ṣāwī ʿalā Al-Sharḥ Al-Ṣaghīr, v. 1 p. 691; The recommendation has also been mentioned by Sulaymān Al-Jamal in his Ḥāshiyah, and by Al-Bahūtī Al-Ḥanbalī in his Sharḥ Muntahā Al-Irādāt.
  22. If someone refrains from acting on this due to precaution and/or in following those scholars that considered this action to be incorrect or an innovation (like Al-Imām Ibn Bāz raḥimahu Allāh in his Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā, v. 26 p. 252), then, God-willing, they will be rewarded for their caution.
  23. Al-Tirmidhī, Jāmiʿ: Kitāb al-Manāqib ʿan Rasūl Allāh #3768
  24. Ibid #3769
  25. The word rayḥān can also literally mean basil. Perhaps this is the Arabic idiom comparable to the American English idiom, “my rose” or “my flower”.
  26. Al-Tirmidhī, Jāmiʿ: Kitāb al-Manāqib ʿan Rasūl Allāh #3770
  27. Ibid #3778
  28. Ibn Mājah, Sunan: K. al-Janāʾiz B. mā jāʾ fī al-ṣabr ʿalā al-Muṣībah #1599
  29. Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ: K. al-Janāʾiz B. Qawl al-Nabī ﷺ Innā bika la Maḥzūnūn #1303. Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ: #2315
  30. Al-Qurʾān, Sūrah al-Ḥujurāt 57:10 لَا یَسۡتَوِی مِنكُم مَّنۡ أَنفَقَ مِن قَبۡلِ ٱلۡفَتۡحِ وَقَـٰتَلَۚ أُو۟لَـٰۤىِٕكَ أَعۡظَمُ دَرَجَةࣰ مِّنَ ٱلَّذِینَ أَنفَقُوا۟ مِنۢ بَعۡدُ وَقَـٰتَلُوا۟ۚ وَكُلࣰّا وَعَدَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡحُسۡنَىٰۚ

By Muddassir Mayet
IOK Seminary Graduate & Seminary Part-Time Instructor

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Ashura 2021

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