10 Things You Should Know About Ashura

Saturday, September 30th, 2017 will be the day of Ashura, so here are 10 important points about this special day in the Islamic calendar.

Saturday, September 30th, 2017 will be the day of Ashura, so here are 10 important points about this special day in the Islamic calendar:

  1. The name of Ashura: Ashura (عاشوراء) is derived from the Arabic words  عشرة which is the Arabic numbers 10, so Ashura means the 10th of Muharram.
  2. The history of Ashura: The 10th of Muharram is the day that Allah saved Musa and Bani Isra’il from the Pharaoh, so Musa (alaihi assalaam) fasted this day out of thanks and appreciation for Allah. It is also reported in Al-Bukhari that Quraish used to also fast this day prior to Islam. Historians differ over the reason Quraish used to fast on this day. Some say it is a remnant from the religion of Ibrahim (alaihi assalaam), which would suggest that this was a practice of many of the prophets. Ibn Hajar said it was because they were afflicted one year with a bad famine and then Allah sent them rain on Ashura, so they made it a day of fasting. Imam Ahmad also reported in his Musnad that Ashura was the day that Nuh’s (alaihi assalaam) boat landed on Mount Judi.
  3. The ruling for fasting on Ashura: Fasting Ashura is a Sunnah Mu’akaddah, meaning it is a sunnah that the Prophet ﷺ always performed.
  4. The ruling for someone that has make-up days left: Scholars differ over whether someone can fast Ashura if they have makeup days left over from Ramadan. Ibn Uthaymin and Ibn Baz believed that it is permissible to fast Ashura even if you have make up days. Ibn Uthaymin also said that a person can make their intention for both Ashura and a make-up day and that way the person can get the reward for Ashura whilst also making up a missed day from Ramadan.
  5. How to fast Ashura?: The Prophet ﷺ told us to fast Ashura, because this was the day the Jews used to fast out of thanks to Allah for saving Musa and his people from the Pharaoh and the Prophet ﷺ said, “We have more of a right to Musa.” So he told the Muslims to fast Ashura and then told them to also fast the day before or the day after as well to differentiate from the Jews.
  6. The ruling of fasting the day before Ashura and/or the day after: It is the sunnah to pray the day before and/or after Ashura, because the fasting of these days are connected to the fasting of Ashura and therefore share the same ruling.
  7. The levels of fasting: Ibn Al-Qayyim said the levels of fasting Ashura are as follows: 1. To fast Ashura with the day before and the day after; he believed this to be the highest level because it involves fasting more days whilst also fulfilling the fast of Ashura and differing from the worship of the Jews. 2. To fast Ashura with the day before or the day after to get the reward for fasting Ashura and the reward for fulfilling the requirement of differentiating from the worship of the Jews. 3. To fast Ashura only to get the reward for fasting that day.
  8. The excellence of fasting Ashura: The Prophet ﷺ used to always fast Ashura and he used to encourage the Sahabah to fast it and to tell their families to also fast on that day. Ibn Abbas said, “I never saw the Prophet ﷺ more serious about fasting a day for its excellence than this day, i.e. Ashura, and this month, i.e. Ramadan.” (An-Nasa’i). It is also reported in Sahih Muslim that Abu Qatadah said that the reward for fasting Ashura is forgiveness for the bad deeds of the previous year.
  9. Is it permissible to fast Ashura if it falls on a Saturday?: Some scholars believe it is not permissible to fast on Saturdays due to the hadith “Do not fast on Saturdays, except that which is made obligatory for you.”. However, the authenticity of this hadith was rejected by Imam Malik and others, and those who deemed it authentic either thought it was abrogated, or that the forbiddance was for singling Saturday out as a day of fasting (like Mondays and Thursdays), but as for fasting Ashura on Saturday then this is permissible according to the majority of scholars.
  10. Some made up hadith related to Ashura: The hadith that state that the heavens and earth were created on Ashura is made up. The ahadith that state that you should wear kohl, bathe or dye their hair with henna on Ashura are made up. That the reward for fasting Ashura is forgiveness for 60 years is made up. The ahadith that say you should treat your family or feed your family a special feast on Ashura are made up. The hadith that says that Adam sought forgiveness from Allah on Ashura; Nuh was saved from the flood on Ashura; Ibrahim was saved from the fire on Ashura; Yunus was removed from the belly of the whale on Ashura; and the Tawrah was revealed on Ashura, was also made up. All the ahadith that tell you to pray a certain amount of rak’ahs during a certain time on Ashura, reading certain ayat, and so on, are all made up. The ahadith that state that if you fast Ashura you get the reward of a thousand angels, or a thousand shaheed, or for feeding the whole ummah, and so on, are all made up.

 

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