Saturday, July 30th is our Islamic New Year. It will be the year 1444, which indicates the number of years that have passed since 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 Monday, August 8th. If possible, fast the day before or after as well.
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.
The Messenger of God ﷺ said: “Aside from Ramaḍān, the best fasts are the fasts of The Month of God, Al-Muḥarram.”
This is the 10th day of Muḥarram. It falls on Monday, August 8th. 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.”
Encouragement: Ibn Abbās (raḍiya Allāh ʿanhumā) said: “I never saw The Prophet ﷺ wanting to fast a day more than ʿĀshūrāʾ…” In regards to ʿĀshūrāʾ, The Messenger of God ﷺ said: “Fast!”
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) 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).”
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.)” The Messenger of God ﷺ also said: “Differ from the Jews, fast the day before or after as well.” 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 (Monday, August 8th only). Everyone is in agreement that this day should be fasted, even if one cannot fast an extra day before or after
- The 9th and 10th (Sunday and Monday)
- The 10th and 11th (Monday and Tuesday)
- The 9th, 10th, and 11th (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday)
Spending on One’s Family
There are a few narrations attributed to the Prophet ﷺ stating, “If someone is extra generous with their family on the day of ʿĀshūrāʾ, Allāh ﷻ will be extra generous with him or her throughout the following year.” 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.” Abū Al-Zubayr and Shuʿbah (raḥimahumā Allāh) have also been quoted with similar statements. Sufyān ibn ʿUyaynah (raḥimahu Allāh) is famous 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.
In summary, despite a weak attribution to the Prophet ﷺ, there are numerous quotes, statements, and testimonies about receiving extra generosity from Allāh the year following having spent on one’s family on ʿĀshūrāʾ. So anyone who is able to, and chooses to act upon this, 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.
The Martyrdom of Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanhumā)
As was described above, the Prophet ﷺ himself taught us the importance of the day of ʿĀshūrāʾ, as well as the rewards associated with 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 and here. Ḥusayn (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh) is the son of Fāṭimah bint Muḥammad and ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanhumā), two of the greatest companions of the Prophet ﷺ. Fāṭimah bint Muḥammad (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanhā) is the beloved daughter of the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ. ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh) is the 1st cousin of the Prophet ﷺ, his son-in-law, and the 4rth Caliph. 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 the two leaders of the young men of Jannah.” 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!” He ﷺ also said regarding them: “Ḥasan and Ḥusayn are my two fragrant smelling plants of this world.” 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.” There can be no doubt about the love we must have 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. Our hearts should feel sad for the martyrdom of Ḥusayn (raḍiya Allāhu ʿanh), in a similar way that it feels sad over the martyrdom of all of the great 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 should 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.” 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 that which pleases Allāh.” 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 regarding the companions (ṣaḥābah raḍiya Allāhu ʿanhum) “ِAllāh is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Allāh” and “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.”
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.