Fasting on ‘Ashura’

24 December 2006 at 3:52 pm 13 comments

Fasting the Day of `Ashura’


By Ælfwine Mischler

A satellite view of Sinai and the Red Sea. `Ashura’ commemorates the day that Allah saved the Children of Israel from Pharaoh.

Fasting on Muharram 10, known as the Day of `Ashura’, expiates for the sins of the past year.

When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) arrived in Madinah in 622 CE, he found that the Jews there fasted on Muharram 10 and asked them the reason for their fasting on this day. They said, “This is a blessed day. On this day Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy (in Egypt) and so Prophet  Musa [Moses] fasted on this day giving thanks to Allah.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “We are closer to Musa than you are.” He fasted on that day and commanded Muslims to fast on this day. (Al-Bukhari)

The following year, Allah commanded the Muslims to fast the month of Ramadan, and the fasting of `Ashura’ became optional.

It is also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) intended to fast on the ninth and tenth. Ibn `Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah fasted on the day of `Ashura’ and ordered the people to fast on it. The people said, “O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that the Jews and Christians honor.” The Prophet said, “When the following year comes, Allah willing, we shall fast on the ninth.” The death of the Prophet came before the following year. (Muslim and Abu Dawud)

For more on `Ashura’ and Muharram, please read:

Thus, according to scholars, you may choose to fast `Ashura’ on three days (ninth, tenth, and eleventh); two days (ninth and tenth); or one day only (the tenth).

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Fasting the day of `Ashura’ (is of great merits), I hope that Allah will accept it as an expiation for (the sins committed in) the previous year.” (Muslim)

But this expiation of minor sins comes only if you avoid major sins. It is a big mistake to rely on fasting a single day to “wipe your slate clean.” If you neglect your daily Prayers or the fast of Ramadan, or if you backbite, lie, commit adultery or other major sins, fasting on `Ashura’ alone will not atone for your sins. The great scholar Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyya (b. 691 AH/1292 CE) wrote: 

This misguided person does not know that fasting in Ramadan and praying five times a day are much more important than fasting on the Day of Arafah and the Day of `Ashura’, and that they expiate for the sins between one Ramadan and the next, or between one Friday and the next, so long as one avoids major sins. But they cannot expiate for minor sins unless one also avoids major sins; when the two things are put together, they have the strength to expiate for minor sins. Among those deceived people may be one who thinks that his good deeds are more than his sins, because he does not pay attention to his bad deeds or check on his sins, but if he does a good deed he remembers it and relies on it. This is like the one who seeks Allah’s forgiveness with his tongue (that is, by words only), and glorifies Allah by saying “subhan Allah” one hundred times a day, then he backbites about the Muslims and slanders their honor, and speaks all day long about things that are not pleasing to Allah. This person is always thinking about the virtues of his saying “subhan Allah” and saying “la ilaha illa Allah” but he pays no attention to what has been reported concerning those who backbite, tell lies, and slander others, or commit other sins of the tongue. They are completely deceived.

(Al-Mawsu`ah Al-Fiqhiyyah, part 31, Ghuroor)

You may hear of some customs associated with `Ashura’ such as cooking and eating certain foods on that day, wearing kohl or henna, or even merrymaking. Others consider this a day of mourning and wailing in honor of the Prophet’s grandson Al-Husayn, who was killed in battle on that day. The scholar Ibn Taymiyah (b. 661 AH/1263 CE) stated that all of these are bid`ahs (reprehensible innovations) that should be avoided.

Take advantage of this opportunity to bring yourself closer to Allah on `Ashura’ by fasting and praying for forgiveness.


Entry filed under: Allah, Allah Most High, Allah's Attributes, Amazing, Amazing Islamic, Bismillah, Fasting, Favourites, Hadeeth, Hadith, Halaqah, Islam, Islamic, Naseeha & Reminders, naseehah, nasehat, Nasihat, Prayers, Quotes, Quran and Sunnah, Ramadan, Salah, Salat, Sawm, Sunnah, The Holy Qur’an.

Du’aa of Prophet Musa (alaihi salaam) Consoling the Heart

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. M BAQI  |  9 January 2007 at 10:02 am

    Assal mo alaikon
    I ma mohammad baqir I am shia ithnaashari
    i am look for job in london
    please if you have job in london
    tell me
    Gulshan-e-Iqabal karachi Pkistan

  • 2. adeel  |  30 January 2007 at 7:57 am

    The concept of ‘bidat’ should not be quoted as often as it is. The sacrifice and martyrdom of Imam Huseyn in 680 AD, on 10 Muharram at Karbala, is a singular example of defiance to tyranny.
    People shed tears as a token of recognition for an act, which most Muslim leaders are unable to do today; stand for principles of honour, democracy and rightousness.
    Those who call this ‘bidah’ need to re-study the history of Islam

    • 3. HumorMe  |  21 July 2010 at 10:32 pm

      you make an important point about recognition of 10th muharram. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with mourning and shedding tears, etc., but i do have a problem with physical destructiveness. What is the point of that? How is it helpful to our cause in Islam? Nothing in Islam supports this method of mourning.

  • 4. Vilas  |  8 March 2007 at 12:19 am

    I agree with adeel. Let us not define our Islam by what is written by abdul-wahhab

  • 5. Jameel  |  27 October 2007 at 11:13 am


    Who killed Hazrat Husain (R.A)?

    The same people that cry over it.

    Unless you have been to Pakistaan and heard what Bhai Abdul Wahhab talks about you should rather keep quiet, All he talks about is the Greatness of Allah and about our beloved Rasullullah S.A.W.

    Go and spend 40 days there before you criticize wiothout evidence. Islam does’nt encourage mourning a loss for more than a fixed period so where did people come up with this every year story? May Allah give the entire Ummah of Rasulullah S.A.W Hidayat, Aameen.

  • 6. Sude Kh  |  19 January 2008 at 6:21 am

    Who killed Hussein ibn ali? not people who are crying over it, but people like you Jameel. Those who favored Uthman and Califa over Ali ibn Abi Taleb. It was decendant’s of your califa’s and their followers (evidently your ancistors) who blocked the water and mortyard the grandson of prophet and his family.

    As for fasting on 10th of Ashura, an prophet asking jews why they fast, i doubt if the story is valid. Prophet already knew about Jews and thei fasting tradition.

    And also another note for Jameel,

    shia’s do not mourn over a loss, they mourn over a tragedy and how severly the ignorant people treated family of hussein.

    • 7. HumorMe  |  21 July 2010 at 10:28 pm

      like you said ‘decendants’ of the caliph, but not the caliph. Get real. Calipha Uthman is a revered man and an important man in the history of Islam and if Ali ibn Abi Taleb had a problem, he would have spoken up. I duno why the likes of you insist on creating differences and hate amongst muslims. Use your head, do your own research and get over your one sided story.

  • 8. Sude Kh  |  19 January 2008 at 6:33 am

    I just found a statement by a distinguished mathematician that proves the above story can not be correct.

    The celebrated mathematician, Abu Rehan Beruni, has challenged the veracity of these reports on the basis of a comparative study of the Jewish and Arabian Calendars.

    He writes:” this report is fallacious and does not stand the test of enquiry. The first day of the month of Muharram in the first year of Hijrat (Migration) was Friday which corresponds to the 16th of Tamuz, 933 (A.E.). As against it, the first day of that year among the Jews was Sunday, the 12th of Awwal which corresponds to the 29th of Safar. Hence, the fast of 1 Ashura should have fallen on Tuesday, the 9th of Rabi-ul-Awwal, while the Migration had taken place during the first half of that month. The two dates, at any rate, do not correspond to each-other.”

    He adds: “The contention that on this day God had drowned the Pharaoh, too, is not supported by what is given in the Torah. The event of the drowning of the Pharaoh had taken place, according to Torah, on the 21st of Nisan which is the seventh day of the festival of Pass-over. The first Jewish fast of Pass-over, after the arrival of the Prophet in Medina, occurred on Tuesday, the 22nd of Azhar 933 which corresponds to the 17th of Ramadhan. This report also is, therefore, without a foundation.””

  • 9. sean thurston  |  24 February 2008 at 4:12 am

    Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
    Psalm 109, 111, 131
    Praise be to Allah.

    1st corinthians 12
    Gloria Excelsis Deo
    Alleluia Amen

  • 10. Mahmood  |  6 January 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Bismillahir Rahmanir Raahim. Every Body, every single creature, every moment should must recite ” La Ilaha Illallahu Muhamadur Rasulullah (PBUH) ” . Please brother stop throwing stones each other, love everyone .

  • 11. HumorMe  |  21 July 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Yea, stop throwing stones at each other and fear Allah swt’s judgement. Mourning the tragedy of Al-Husayn isn’t a sect thing-it is a source of sadness for any muslim. How you mourn does matter. Why do shi’as insist on beating and cutting themselves? What does that get us at the end? why not spend the time reading the Qur’an and praying for those that laid their lives for Islam? Why not give thanks that people like them existed? The emotional outbursts are futile and i can’t imagine Allah swt being pleased with such things. What if you die in the intrim and it’s your fault? The body that Allah swt has given us has to be protected, it is a house for our soul. if inflicting pain and marring your body was okay then tattoos wouldn’t be prohibited. I mean, these are things to think about…

  • 12. Usmani  |  4 February 2011 at 7:58 pm

    ‘Others consider this a day of mourning and wailing in honor of the Prophet’s grandson Al-Husayn, who was killed in battle on that day.’ I wonder if ibn Taymiyah ever considered the reasons behind Husayn’s death – and those who died around him? Only a fool would not. The day has never been considered a day of mourning and wailing – rather a commemoration of Husayn and his followers death. What a crass, uneducated comment to make. Makes me sick to think other Muslim brother’s are so ignorant.

  • 13. Mubarak  |  4 February 2011 at 8:06 pm

    To think to prophet did not know about such traditions, sadly exposes how little the ‘Sunni’ know about this great man. Read about the man, understand the man, respect the man – Realise your faith – without understanding who he was, you can never be a ‘muslim’.

    Thank you Sude Kh, for making this point and providing further proofs against this ridiculous lie


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Words of our Prophet (SAW)

'God (swt) is closer to you than your jugular viens.'

Recent Posts

Blog Stats

  • 1,137,529 hits

Ten causes that result in Allah’s love for His slave and the slave’s love for his Lord – By Imam ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

1. Reciting the Qur’aan while pondering over its meanings and what is meant by it. 2. Getting closer to Allah by performing voluntary deeds after completing obligatory deeds. This is as is stated in a Hadeeth Qudsi: “My slave continues getting closer to Me by performing voluntary deeds until I love him.” [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree] 3. Continual remembrance of Allah under all circumstances, with one’s tongue, heart and actions. The extent of one’s love of Allah is determined by this. 4. Giving precedence to what He loves over what you love when you are overtaken by your desires. 5. The heart being avid of Allah’s Names, and Attributes and the heart roaming in that garden of knowledge. 6. observing Allah’s kindness, goodness and bounties, both hidden and open. 7. And this is the most wonderful, the heart being soft, subdued and meek before Allah. 8. Being alone with Allah during the time when the Lord descends during the last portion of the night while reading His Book and ending that by asking for forgiveness and repenting. 9. Sitting with the beloved and sincere, benefiting from the most fruitful of their speech. And not to speak unless speaking is more beneficial and you know that it will improve your state and be beneficial to others. 10. Remaining away from every cause that comes between the heart and Allah. These ten causes take the lovers to the station of true love and bring them to their Beloved.

%d bloggers like this: