‘Aashura (10th Muharram)

Sayyidinaa Mu’awiyah ibn Abi Sufyaan (Radiyallahu ‘anhu) relates: I heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) say: “It is the day of ‘Aashura. Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has not made fasting obligatory for you. But I am fasting. He who likes to observe fast among you should do so, and he who likes not to observe it (does not have to) observe it.” [Sahih Muslim] Sayyidinaa Abu Qatada (Radiyallahu ‘anhu) relates that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) said that the fast on the 10th of Muharram atones for the sins of the preceding year. [Sahih Muslim] Sayyidinaa Abu Hurairah (Radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) said that after Ramadan, the fasts of Muharram have the greatest excellence. [Sahih Muslim] Alhamdulillah, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has blessed us to see another year. The first month of this year is Muharram. In this month is an excellent day—the day of ‘Aashura—which falls on the 10th of Muharram. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) recommended that we fast on this day, by his Sunnah. He also indicated how we should observe the fast of ‘Aashura.
Hakam ibn Al-Arat (Radiyallahu ‘anhu) relates: I went to Ibn Abbas (Radiyallahu ‘anhu)… I said to him: Tell me about fasting on ‘Aashura. He said, “When you seen the new moon of Muharram count the (days) and (begin to) observe fast on the 9th.” I said to him: “Is it how the Holy Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) observed the fast?” He said, “Yes.” [Sahih Muslim] Ibn Abbas (Radiyallahu ‘anhu) relates that when the Rasoolullah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) said: “If I survive till next year, I will definitely observe fast on the 9th of Muharram (as well).” [Sahih Muslim] (Note: What Rasoolullah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) meant was that he would also fast on the 9th as well as the 10th to which he was accustomed. We also should try fasting on the 9th and the 10th of Muharram.)
Sayyidinaa Ibn Abbas (Radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that the Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) arrived in Madeenah and found the Jews observing fast on the day of ‘Aashura. They said: “It is the day of great (significance) when Allah delivered Sayyidinaa Moosa (‘Alayhis Salaam) and his people and drowned Pharoah (Fir’aun) and his people, and Sayyidinaa Moosa (‘Alaihis Salaam) observed fast out of gratitude. And we also observe it.” Rasoolullah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) responded: “We have more right, and we have closer connection with Sayyidinaa Moosa (‘Alaihis-Salaam) than you have”; so Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) observed fast (on the day of ‘Aashura) and gave us orders to observe it. [Sahih Bukhari and Muslim] ‘Aashura is of gret historical significance. ‘Aashura is commemorated for the following occasions which may have happened on the 10th Day of the Muharram:
▪ Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) accepted the repentance of Sayyidinaa Aadam (‘Alayhis Salaam) after his exile from Jannah
▪ Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) saved Sayyidinaa Nooh (‘Alayhis Salaam) and his companions in the ark
▪ Allah extinguished the fire of Nimrod in which Sayyidinaa Ibrahim (‘Alayhis Salaam) was thrown
▪ Sayyidina Yousuf (‘Alayhis Salaam) was reunited with his father Ya’qub (‘Alayhis Salaam)
▪ Ayyoub (‘Alayhis salaam) was restored to health
▪ Younus (‘Alayhis Salaam) was taken out from the belly of the fish
▪ The kingdom of Sulaimaan (‘Alayhis Salaam) was restored
▪ The sea was divided as the Children of Israeel were delivered from captivity and Fir’aun’s (Pharoah’s) army was destroyed
▪ Eesaa (‘Alayhis salaam) [Jesus] was raised to heaven after attempts by the Romans to capture and crucify him failed
Not all of the above incidents are confirmed to have taken place on ‘Aashura in the Qu’aran, nor by any strong Hadith. These have been reported in the weaker Ahadith, but are nevertheless agreed upon to have taken place. These events are mentioned as what scholars have determined as the specialties of that day in Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq, by Sayyidinaa Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (rahimahullah). However many Islamic scholars like Mufti Taqi Uthmani rebuke such beliefs saying that “there are some legends and misconceptions with regard to ‘Aashura that have managed to find their way into the minds of the ignorant, but have no support of authentic Islamic sources”. And Allah knows best.
The narrations of the Rasool (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) mentioning the Children of Israel being saved from Fir’aun are indeed confimed by authentic hadith in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.
Fasting during ‘Aashura as recommended, mustahab and masnoon, though not fardh (obligatory), having been superseded by the Ramadan fast.

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