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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The Two Joys

The first installment of the TMM Ramadan series features the excellence of Ramadan and fasting.

Alhamdulillah Allah has blessed us all to reach another Ramadan, so let us reflect on exactly how amazing this month really is. This article will be the first of a series of Ramadan posts where we will discuss its many different facets.

Ramadan combines personal sacrifice, remembrance of others less fortunate than ourselves, prayer, supplication, forgiveness, forbearance, sincerity of worship to the One who deserves to be worshipped alone without partners, and countless other beautiful traits. No wonder Allah chose this particular form of worship to be for Him alone. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said that Allah said:

“Every act of the Son of Adam is for him, they are multiplied in their reward from ten to seven hundred times, except the fast, which is (exclusively) for Me, and I will reward him for it. The person observing the fast abstains from food and drink only for My sake.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The fast is unlike any other act of worship, because it is truly for Allah alone. This cannot be said for the prayer, charity, Hajj, or any other act of worship, because a man might pray to Allah so that people can say he is pious, or give charity so people can say he is generous, and so on. The fast, on the other hand, is for Allah alone, because no one but Allah and yourself know whether you are truly fasting or not. If you wanted you could easily eat and drink when nobody is watching. Therefore, if you start the day fasting and you end the day fasting then you did that for no other reason than for fear of Allah’s punishment and hope for His reward.

Because of this Allah said “and I will reward him for it”, this doesn’t mean that the reward for other good deeds come from other than Allah, instead it means that Allah will reward the fasting person without limit. Allah in His complete wisdom and generosity rewards the believer from 10 to 700 times for any regular good deed that is performed, but the fast, due to its excellence, may be infinitely rewarded.

The Prophet ﷺ also told us about this truly special month that:

“When Ramadan begins, the gates of Jannah are opened, the gates of Hell are locked, and the devils are chained.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Allah opens the gates to Heaven during Ramadan due to all the good deeds that are done during this time and as an incentive to the doers of good deeds; He locks the gates of Hell due to the lack of bad deeds done by the believers, and He chains the devils so that they are unable to lure and tempt the people who are fasting to disobey Allah.

Ramadan is a joyous month for the believer, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said that:

“The fasting person experiences two joys: when he breaks his fast he feels joy, and when he meets his Lord.” (At-Tirmidhi)

The fasting person feels joy that Allah blessed him to reach another Ramadan, guided him and gave him the desire to fast for His sake and he feels joy on the Day of Judgment when his fast stands as a witness for him and he is called to enter Heaven. The Prophet ﷺ said:

“The fast and the Quran will stand as witnesses for the slave on the Day of Judgment. The fast will say, ‘Indeed my Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires, so allow me to intercede for him’, and the Quran will say, ‘I prevented him from sleep at night, so allow me to intercede for him’ and they will both be allowed to intercede.” (Ahmad)

And Prophet ﷺ said:

“In Jannah there is a gate which is called Ar-Rayaan through which only those who used to fast will enter on the Day of Resurrection. It will be called out, ‘Where are those who used to fast?’ So they will stand up and proceed towards it. When the last of them will have entered, the gate will be closed and then no one will enter through that gate.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Brothers, we have reached a great month full of blessings, mercy and forgiveness, but you can’t receive these blessings unless you perform your fast in the right way, keeping to the etiquettes of Ramadan, so strive to perform your fast in the best way, stick to its boundaries and limitations, and seek forgiveness from Allah for any shortcomings during this month.

And don’t miss the next installment of the TMM Ramadan Series where we will be talking about the obligations and sunan of the fast to help you perfect your blessings and reward.

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