The Virtue of Fasting the Day of ‘Ashûrâ’

Since 2012-11-17

The Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, was asked about observing fast on the day of ‘Ashûrâ’, upon which he replied, “It expiates the sins committed in the preceding year.” [Reported by Muslim]

It Expiates the Preceding Year

 
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
 
All the praises and thanks be to Allah, and prayers and peace of Allah be upon the Messenger of Allah and upon all his family, companions, and followers.
 
The Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, was asked about observing fast on the day of ‘Ashûrâ’, upon which he replied, “It expiates the sins committed in the preceding year.” [Reported by Muslim]
 
«وسئل عن صوم يوم عاشوراء؟ فقال: يكفر السنة الماضية» رواه مسلم
 
Allah Almighty has said, {Say, “In the Bounty of Allâh, and in His Mercy (i.e. Islâm and the Qur’ân); - therein let them rejoice.”} [Surat Yûnus 10:58]
 
{قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّـهِ وَبِرَ‌حْمَتِهِ فَبِذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَ‌حُوا} يونس: 58
 
Transliteration: Qul bifadli Allahi wabirahmatihi fabithalika falyafrahoo huwa khayrun mimma yajmaAAoona
 
O Muslims
 
The day of ‘Ashûrâ’ is the tenth day of the Hijri month al-Muharram. The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has taught us what to do in such a day to obtain the pleasure of Allah Almighty. That is to observe fasting. The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has also commanded to contradict the Jews by fasting a day before it. Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said, “If I live till the next (year), I would definitely observe fast on the ninth day (of al-Muharram).” [Reported by Muslim]
 
«لئن بقيت إلى قابل لأصومن التاسع» رواه مسلم
 
O beloved
 
We have been repeatedly, saying for years, and still are, that the day of ‘Ashûrâ’ is a day of joy and rejoice. It is not a day of grief or weeping. We confirm the authenticity of this statement by clear and decisive evidence from the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him. Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, said, “When the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, came to Medina, he found the Jews observing the fast on the day of ‘Ashûrâ’. He asked the Jews, “What is this?” They said, “It is a good day. It is the day on which Allah granted victory to Moses and (his people) the Children of Israel over their enemy (the Pharaoh) and Moses observed fast on this day.” Upon this the Messenger of Allah said, “I have a closer connection with Moses than you have,” and he fasted it and commanded to observe fast on this day.” [Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim] In some narrations, it is reported that Moses, peace be upon him, fasted this day in gratitude to Allah Almighty.
 
«قدم النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم المدينة، فرأى اليهود تصوم يوم عاشوراء، فقال: (ما هذا). قالوا: هذا يوم صالح، هذا يوم نجى الله بني إسرائيل من عدوهم، فصامه موسى. قال: (فأنا أحق بموسى منكم). فصامه وأمر بصيامه» رواه البخاري ومسلم
 
 
Therefore, the day of ‘Ashûrâ’ is:
 
Firstly, it is the day of joy and delight, the day of thanking Allah Almighty. Certainly, the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said about the believer that, “If he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (Allah).” [Reported by Muslim]
 
«إن أصابته سرَّاء شكر» رواه مسلم
 
Secondly, it is a good day. If the believer does not feel delighted on the good days, then when should he feel delighted?
 
Thirdly, it is the day when a great blessing happened to our Prophet Moses, peace be upon him. He survived and his people, and the pharaoh and his soldiers were drowned. Therefore, it is a happy memory. Does not man feel happy when he remembers the salvation of the people he loves? Have you seen, O dear brother, a man thanking his Lord for a blessing He has bestowed upon him, have you seen such a man thanking Allah while being angry or sad? The grateful and thankful believer is certainly happy and delighted. Certainly he is.
 
Fourthly, the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has delighted over this good day. He has expressed his delight by fasting (as was his habit and Sunnah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him). He commanded his companions and all the Muslims to delight and to express their delight by fasting, and to contradict the Jews (by fasting the day before).
 
Fifthly, it is the consensus of the Muslim scholars that the day of ‘Ashûrâ’ is a day of happiness and delight, and that it is not a day of grief and crying. They all said, “If the Hadith is authentic, then it is my doctrine.” By the Grace of Allah, all the Hadiths that we took as our evidence are authentic.
 
 
Quranic Miracle and a great historical fact occurred on the day of ‘Ashûrâ’
 
Dear beloved, you should know that fasting the day of ‘Ashûrâ’ was in gratitude for Allah Almighty for the salvation of the Children of Israel and the drowning of the Pharaoh, the enemy of Allah. The Pharaoh is the title of the kings of Egypt during the era of Moses. A Pharaoh is equivalent to a king, a prince, a president, and other titles. In 1981, a medical committee was established to examine one of the Egyptians mummies. The committee was presided by the French doctor Maurice Bucaille. The study found out that this very mummy belongs to a man whose cause of death is drowning. It was not a natural cause of death as it was previously supposed. The French doctor was astounded when he knew that the Noble Quran tells about the drowning death of one of the Pharaohs and that the body of such Pharaoh is being preserved as an example and warning. This fact certifies that this mummy belongs to that same pharaoh whom Allah Almighty has drowned, and whose story was mentioned in the Noble Quran. Because of all the previous, the French doctor embraced Islam.
 
Allah is the Greatest. Allah the Supreme is True when He says, {So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea) that you may be a sign to those who come after you! And verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Ayât (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.).} [Surat Yûnus 10:92]
 
{فَالْيَوْمَ نُنَجِّيكَ بِبَدَنِكَ لِتَكُونَ لِمَنْ خَلْفَكَ آيَةً ۚ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرً‌ا مِّنَ النَّاسِ عَنْ آيَاتِنَا لَغَافِلُونَ} يونس: 92
 
Transliteration: Faalyawma nunajjeeka bibadanika litakoona liman khalfaka ayatan wainna katheeran mina alnnasi AAan ayatinalaghafiloona
 
The day of ‘Ashûrâ’ coincides with the memory of the martyrdom of al-Hussein, may Allah be pleased with him, so, what is the true stance to his murder, may Allah be pleased with him?
 
Ibn Kathir, may Allah have mercy on him, said, “Each and every Muslim should grieve over the murder of al-Hussein, may Allah be pleased with him; he is one of the masters of Muslims. He is the grandchild of the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him. He is the son of Fatima, one of the best daughters of Muhammad. He was a worshipper and a generous spender in charity. However, what people show of the manifestations of grief and misery, the majority of which may be in pretention and hypocrisy, are not considered righteous, nevertheless, they are prohibited. His father, Ali ibn Abu Talib, was better than he was, and he was murdered. However, people do not take the day of his murder as a day of mourning as they do with day al-Hussein, may Allah be pleased with him, was murdered. His father was murdered on a Friday when he was going out to perform al-Fajr prayer on the seventeenth of Ramadan, in the year 40 of the Hijri calendar. ‘Uthman, as well, was better than Ali according the people of Sunnah and consensus. He was murdered while being besieged in his home on the days of at-Tashrîq (the 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhull-Hijjah) in 36 of the Hijri calendar. He was slaughtered from the jugular vein to the other; however, people did not take the day of his murder as a day of mourning. So is the matter with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, who is better than Ali and ‘Uthman. He was murdered while he was standing in the pulpit performing al-Fajr prayer. He was reading the Quran. People did not take the day of his murder as a day of mourning. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq was better than ‘Umar and people did not take the day of his death as a day of mourning. May Allah be pleased with all of them. How about the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, the master of the sons of Adam in this worldly life and in the Hereafter, he has died, as have all the Prophets before him (prayers and peace of Allah be upon all of them). No one took the day of their death as a day of mourning.
 
 
The stance of Muslims to the memory of the martyrdom of al-Hussein, may Allah be pleased with him
 
O Muslims: We all lament the death of al-Hussein, may Allah be pleased with him, and the death of those who were with him. He was unjustly killed. He should have not been killed. However, it is the destiny of Allah. He has been killed, the great tragedy and calamity has already taken place. Consequently, what should we do? If we were in his days, it would have been necessary for us to demand Al-Qisâs (the Law of Equality in punishment) to be inflicted on those who carried out this heinous crime. Nonetheless, we exist after the occurrence of that incident by more than thirteen centuries, so what we have to do is not to accept his murder, but that we should say, “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” We should not make other people, than the true criminals; bear the burden of this crime. Allah Almighty has said, {And no bearer of burdens shall bear another’s burden;} [Surat Fâtir 35:18]
 
{وَلَا تَزِرُ‌ وَازِرَ‌ةٌ وِزْرَ‌ أُخْرَ‌ىٰ} فاطر: 18
 
Transliteration: Wala taziru waziratun wizra okhra 
 
 
Dear beloved, Every Muslim should know the following facts, with respect to the martyrdom of al-Hussein, may Allah be pleased with him:
 
Firstly, al-Hussein, may Allah be pleased with him, died a martyr, what a great reward and dignity Allah has set up for martyrs. Allah Almighty has said, {Think not of those who are killed in the Way of Allâh as dead. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision. (169) They rejoice in what Allâh has bestowed upon them of His Bounty} [Surat Al-’Imrân 3:169-170]
 
{وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ أَمْوَاتًا ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ عِندَ رَ‌بِّهِمْ يُرْ‌زَقُونَ ﴿169﴾ فَرِ‌حِينَ بِمَا آتَاهُمُ اللَّـهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ} آل عمران: 196-170
 
Transliteration: Wala tahsabanna allatheena qutiloo fee sabeeli Allahi amwatan bal ahyaon AAinda rabbihim yurzaqoona (169) Fariheena bimaatahumu Allahu min fadlihi
 
Allah Almighty has told about the martyrs that they are rejoicing. They are rejoicing; shall we not be joyful as they are? Shall we not rejoice over their delight?
 
Secondly, the martyring of al-Hussein, may Allah be pleased with him, on the day of ‘Ashûrâ’ does not change or alter the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah, prayer and peace of Allah be upon him. Rather, the day of ‘Ashûrâ’ remains a good day. Let he who is pleased be pleased, and he who is resentful be resentful.
 
Remark: If we imagine that one of the companions has martyred on the day of Eid al-Fitr or on the day of Eid al-Adha, (which has certainly took place with the Prince of the Believers, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, may Allah be pleased with him), does this justify that the Muslims turn the day of Eid (which Allah has clearly stated that it is a day of feast for Muslims) into a day of grief? Is it justified just because a companion has martyred on this day? We say that while we preserve a great status to the companions in our hearts.
 
Thirdly, it is prohibited to slap cheeks and to wail
 
It is not permissible to the one who fears Allah, Glorified and Exalted, to slap his cheeks, tear his clothes and follow the ways and traditions of the Days of Ignorance when he remembers the martyrdom of al-Hussein, may Allah be pleased with him, along with his companions. The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said, “He who slaps his cheeks, tears his clothes and follows the ways and traditions of the Days of Ignorance is not one of us.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
«ليس منَّا من لطم الخدود، وشقّ الجيوب، ودعا بدعوى الجاهلية» رواه البخاري ومسلم
 
Abu Musa Al-'Ash'ari (may Allah be pleased with him) has also said, “I have no concern with what the prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) had no concern with; the woman who wails loudly, shaves her hair and tears her garment (because of grief).” [Agreed upon]
 
The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has also said, “If the wailing woman does not repent before she dies, she will be made to stand on the Day of Resurrection wearing a garment of tar and a chemise of mange.” [Reported by Muslim]
 
«النَّائحة إذا لم تتب قبل موتها، تقام يوم القيامة وعليها سربال من قطران، ودرع من جرب» رواه مسلم
 
The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has also said, “It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to mourn for the dead beyond three days, but (in case of the death) of her husband she should mourn for four months and ten days.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
«لا يحل لامرأةٍ تؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر أن تحدّ على ميتٍ فوق ثلاث ليالٍ إلا على زوج أربعة أشهر وعشرًا» رواه البخاري ومسلم
 
Fourth, the stance of the Noble Family of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them, from the memory of Karbalâ’
 
Dear beloved, it was not known about the distinguished Family nor from the other Imams of guidance -may Allah have mercy on them- that they slapped their cheeks, tore their garments, or wailed loudly. Allah forbid that they do so on this anniversary. It was not known about Ali ibn Al-Hussein, his son Muhammad, his son Ja’far , or Mûsa ibn Ja’far, that they did this. They are our example, may Allah Almighty have mercy on them all.
 
Remark: Many Muslims think that to leave talking about these heresies (the evils that occur on the day of ‘Ashûrâ’) is more appropriate to ward off evils! The answer to this statement is that inferring to this rule is misplaced. This rule works when giving preference between equal matters, thus, warding off evil is preferred to bringing about benefits. However, when the talk is about heresies and the Sunnah, the heresy is fought. The Sunnah is the inevitable right to be followed. In that case, why are the people of the right demanded to waive their right for the benefit of the people of falsehood? Why is not falsehood required to change and to be abandoned? This is the right thing to do!
 
Finally, a piece of advice and an appeal
 
Firstly, we urge those simple people who grew up while influenced by their parents, their mothers, their society and their surroundings where they were raised, we ask them to judge this issue wisely, carefully, and freely. They should judge this issue according to the teaching of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him. This is the most serious issue in the life of the Muslims, because it is the issue of religion, and they are responsible for it on the Day of Judgment!
Therefore, beware, set things right, and be careful.
 
Secondly, we urge those who know the truth about this issue to advise the common simple people. They should guide them to the right true path. They should enjoin them to do the right things and forbid them from doing the heresies that some of them commit, that they may obtain the great reward.
 
The scholars are asked to vow that they show the truth and religion for people. They should not purchase with it a little price or that they will bear their burden along with other burdens.
 
We ask Allah Almighty to guide all the Muslims and us to the right straight path. He is Able to do that.
 
O Allah, have I delivered the message? O Allah be my witness to that.
 
 
Written by Abu Abdullah Sayyid Fu’âd ibn Sayyid Abdul-Rahmân Ar-Rifâ’i al-Hussayni
 

 

 

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