Teach me about ‘Aashooraa' in detail?
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
‘Ashooraa' is the 10th day of Muharram. On this day Prophet Muhammad fasted in Makkah with Quraysh. When He migrated to Madeenah, he found the Jews fasting on this day. He continued fasting on that day and ordered the Muslims to fast too. Afterward Allah legislated the fasting during the month of Ramadan. Then, the fast of ‘Ashooraa' became a supererogatory fast. So, it is likable for a Muslim to fast on this day. If one fasts on this day, it is better to fast the 9th of Muharram also to oppose the Jews.
The pieces of evidence for this point are as follows:
1- Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from 'Aa’ishah that she said: "The tribe of Quraysh used to fast on the day of ‘Ashooraa' in the pre-Islamic period, and Allah's Apostle used to fast on that day too. When he came to Madeenah, he fasted on that day and ordered others to fast too. Later, when fasting of the Month of Ramadhanh was prescribed, he (the Prophet ) said: "Whoever wishes may fast - ‘Ashooraa' - and whoever wishes may leave it."
2 - Ibn Abbas related: “When the Prophet Muhammad came to Madeenah, he found the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashooraa'. They used to say: 'This is a great day on which Allah saved Moosa (i.e. Moses ) and drowned the folk of Pharoah. Moosa observed the fast on that day as a sign of gratitude to Allah. The Prophet Muhammad said: "I am closer to Moosa than them". So, he observed the fast (on this day) and ordered the Muslim to fast on it". [Bukhari and Muslim]
3 - It is reported by Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn 'Abbas that he said: "I never saw the Prophet Muhammad seeking to fast on a day more (preferable to him) than this day (i.e. the day of ‘Ashooraa') or this month (i.e. the month of Ramadan)”.
Imam at-Tirmithi narrated from Abu Qatadah that the Prophet Muhammad said: "I hope from Allah that the fast on the day of ‘Ashooraa' atones for the sins of the preceding year."
Moreover, Imam Ahmad narrated that "it atones the sins of two years, past and subsequent year".
4 - Imam Muslim narrated from Ibn Abbas that he said: "When the Messenger of Allah fasted on the day of ‘Ashooraa and commanded that it should be observed as a fast, they (the companions ) said to him: ‘Messenger of Allah, it is a day which the Jews and Christians hold in high esteem. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah said: ‘When the next year comes, Allah willing, we would observe fast on the 9th.’ But the Messenger of Allah died before the advent of the next year."
This is the guidance of the Prophet Muhammad regarding to ‘Ashooraa'. His companions and their followers went on this way. They have not distinguished this day by any practice except fasting.
But many acts done by some ignorant Muslims which "deform the face of Islam" have no evidence from the Qur'an and the Sunnah. These acts include celebrating on this day, slapping one's face, tearing of one's clothes, using swords and blood-shedding. None of these acts have any authentic relevance to ‘Ashooraa', but are among the innovations and bad deeds which the enemies of Islam use to misrepresent Islam.
Allah Knows best.
Fatwa answered by: The Fatwa Center at Islamweb