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Aashura (10th Muharram) – Significance and Lessons

History of Aashura

When Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) migrated to Madinah Munawwarah, he (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) found the jews fasting on the 10th of Muharram. Upon enquiry, they said, “This is a very significant day, it is the day on which Allah Ta’aala saved Moosa (Alayhis Salaam) and his people from Firawn and his nation. Moosa (Alayhis Salaam) then fasted on this day as a sign of gratitude to Allah Ta’aala…”. Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “We are more entitled and closer to Moosa (Alayhis Salaam) than you.” Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) then fasted on this day and ordered the Sahaabah (RadiyallahuAnhum) to do so too. (Muslim, 1130)

Virtues of Muharram and Aashura

Sayyiduna ‘Ali (Radiyallahu ‘Anhu) reported that Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: ‘…If you wish to fast after the month of Ramadan, then fast in Muharram, for indeed, it is the month of Allah. [In this month] is a day on which Allah Ta’aala accepted the repentance of a nation, and on which He will accept the repentance of other people.’ (Tirmidhi, 741)
The virtue of Muharram and Ashura was established during the lifetime of Rasulullaah Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam and far pre-dates the tragic martyrdom of the beloved grandson of Rasulullaah Sallallaahu alayhi wa Sallam, Sayyiduna Husain Radhiyallaahu anhu, at Karbala.

‘Increase’ your sustenance by spending on your dependants.

Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) also said, “the one who generously spends on his family and his dependents Aashura, Allah Ta’aala will (increase his provisions) throughout the year.” (Targheeb, 115) Therefore, one should spend on his dependents according to his means while not being wasteful and extravagant.

Fasting on the Day of Aashura

Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Abbaas (Radiyallahu Anhu) said, “Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) anxiously awaited the fast of Aashura more than any other day.” (Bukhari, 2006)
Rasulullah (SalallahuAlayhiWasallam) said, “(Fasting on Aashura) will expiate the sins of the past year.” (Muslim, 1162)

It is Sunnah to fast on either the 9th and 10th or the 10th and 11th of Muharram.

Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Observe the fast of Aashura and oppose the jews, fast a Day before it or a day after it.” (Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah 2095)

Opposing the Jews was the initial reason cited by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) for this command. Once this action has been established as Sunnah and become the continuous practice of the Ummah, it will not change. This is irrespective of whether or not the Jews now fast on this day. There are numerous examples where an action of Shariah was established for a certain reason. Despite that reason no longer applying, that practice has remained Sunnah.

The “Ramal (walking in a soldierly manner)” during the Tawaaf of Hajj and Umrah was initially prescribed for displaying the strength of the Muslims who had arrived from Madinah Munnawarah. Despite the reasoning no longer applying, ‘Ramal’ is still carried out as a sunnah practice in tawaaf. Similar is the case of Ghusl on Friday. Despite the initial reasoning (averting the odour of perspiration) no longer applying, the ghusl remains Sunnah.

This year, the 10th of Muharram will correspond to Tuesday, 9 August 2022. One should therefore fast on Monday, 8 August 2022 and Tuesday, 9 August 2022 OR Tuesday, 9 August 2022 and Wednesday, 10 August 2022.

An important lesson – Remaining distinct from the non-believers!

Even in Ibaadah, Rasulullah (SalallahuAlayhiWasallam) taught us that we should oppose the actions of the disbelievers. Our Imaan demands that we remain distinct from them in our ways and mannerisms. Islam has given us our own identity based on the sunnah of Rasulullaah sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam. For example, we do not participate directly or indirectly in any of the festivities of the non-muslims. Merely wishing them a ‘happy diwali’ or ‘merry christmas’ is equivalent to condoning their shirk and disbelief.

May Allah Ta’ala grant us a true appreciation of the great bounty of Ashura, and may He grant us the ability to learn the great lesson from the words of Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam. Aameen