Fasting on the Day of Ashura in the month of Muharram
Ashura in History
Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to Madeenah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’. He said, ‘What is this?’ They said, ‘This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allaah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Moosa fasted on this day.’ He said, ‘We have more right to Moosa than you,’ so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1865).
The virtues of fasting ‘Ashura’
Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of ‘Ashura’, and this month, meaning Ramadaan.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1867).
The meaning of this being was that he intended to fast on that day in the hope of earning the reward for doing so. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “For fasting the day of ‘Ashura’, I hope that Allaah will accept it as expiation for the year that went before.” (Reported by Muslim, 1976). This is from the bounty of Allaah towards us: for fasting one day He gives us expiation for the sins of a whole year. And Allaah is the Owner of Great Bounty.
Which day is ‘Ashura’?
Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fasted on ‘Ashura’ and commanded the Muslims to fast as well, they said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, it is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘If I live to see the next year, in sha Allaah, we will fast on the ninth day too.’ But it so happened that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) passed away before the next year came.” (Reported by Muslim, 1916).
Al-Shaafa'i and his companions, Ahmad, Ishaaq and others said: “It is mustahabb (recommended) to fast on both the ninth and tenth days, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fasted on the tenth, and intended to fast on the ninth.”
On this basis it may be said that there are varying degrees of fasting ‘Ashura’, the least of which is to fast only on the tenth and the best of which is to fast the ninth as well. The more one fasts in Muharram, the better it is.
1 Muharram 1431 was on Friday 18 December 2009, and 10 Muharram ('Aashooraa) 1431 will fall on Sunday December 27 2009 inshallah.
09 Muharram 1431 = Saturday 26 December 2009
10 Muharram (day of 'Aashooraa) 1431 = Sunday 27 December 2009
11 Muharram 1431 = Monday 28 December 2009
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