The Day of ‘Ashoora’
Fatwa No: 81899

Question

Teach me about ‘Ashoora’ in detail?

Answer

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  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

'Ashoora’ is the 10th day of Muharram. On this day, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) fasted in Makkah with Quraysh. When He migrated to Al-Madeenah, he found the Jews fasting on this day. He continued fasting on this day and ordered the Muslims to fast too. Afterwards, Allah legislated the fasting during the Month of Ramadan. Then, the fast of 'Ashoora’ became a supererogatory fast. But it is desirable for a Muslim to fast on this day. If one fasts on this day, it is better for him to fast on the 9th of Muharram as well in order to be different from the Jews.

The pieces of evidence for this point are as follows:

1 - Imam Al-Bukhari and Muslim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him reported that 'Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her said: "The tribe of Quraysh used to fast on the day of 'Ashoora’ in the pre-Islamic period, and Allah's Apostle used to fast on this day too. When he came to Al-Madeenah, he fasted on this day and ordered others to fast too. Later, when fasting of the month of Ramadan was prescribed, he (the Prophet) said: "Whoever wishes to fast 'Ashoora’, he may do so, and whoever wishes not to fast it, he may do so as well”.

2 - Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated: When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) came to Al-Madeenah, he found the Jews fasting on the day of 'Ashoora' (i.e. 10th of Muharram). They used to say: “This is a great day on which Allah saved Moses and drowned the folk of Pharoah. Moses observed the fast on this day as a sign of gratitude to Allah. Thereupon, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "I am closer to Moses than them". So, he observed the fast (on this day) and ordered the Muslims to fast on it". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

3 - It is reported in Saheeh Al-Bukhari and Muslim that Ibn 'Abbas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: "I never saw the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) seeking to fast on a day more (preferable to him) than this day, (the day of 'Ashoora’) or this month, i.e. the month of Ramadan.

Moreover, Imam At-Tirmithi narrated from Abu Qatadah that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: ''I hope from Allah that the fast on the day of 'Ashoora’ atones for the sins of the preceding year."

Imam Ahmad   may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him narrated that "it atones the sins of two years, past and subsequent year".

4 - Imam Muslim reported that Ibn ‘Abbas, may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated: “When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) fasted on the day of ‘Ashoora’ and recommended that it should be observed as a fast, they (his Companions) said to him: “O, Messenger of Allah! It is a day which the Jews and Christians hold in high esteem. Thereupon, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: ''When the next year comes, Allaah willing, we would observe the fast on the 9th. But the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) died before the advent of the next year".

This is the guidance of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) regarding 'Ashoora’. His Companions and their followers followed his example. They have not distinguished this day by any practice except by fasting.

But many acts done by some ignorant Muslims which "deform the face of Islam" have no evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah. These acts include celebrating this day, slapping one's face, tearing off one's clothes, using swords and blood-shedding. Indeed, none of these acts have any authentic relevance to 'Ashoora’; rather, they are pure innovations and bad deeds. The enemies of Islam use them to misrepresent Islam.

Allah knows best.

Related Fatwa