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Ashura: Special Activities

Fasting on the day of Ashura is the special deed suggested by the Messenger (Pease and Blessing of Allah be upon him). In a Hadîth narrated by Amr bin Al ‘Aas (May Allah please with him) from Abu moosa Al Madeeni (May Allah please with him), the Messenger (PBH) says: “The fasting in Ashura is entirely equivalent to the fasting in a year” (Irshad: 76, Al -Ajviba: 50-51). Moreover, it can be seen as the part of this Hadîth that to give charity in the day of Ashura is equivalent to the charitable deeds in a year.
“Allah will show mercy in the year entirely to him who shows mercy to his kith and kin on the day of Ashura”. This Hadîth can be seen as reported in different Hadîth books like Ibnu Abdil barr, Thabrani, Baihaqi’s Shu’habul Iemam, Sharvani: 3/455 and Kurdhi 2/199 and so on
Imam sufyan Ibnu Uyayna (May Allah Mercy upon him) stated that concerning the above mentioned Hadîth, we experienced the special blessings of Allah in each year as we did the deeds mentioned in the Hadîth on each Ashura’ of 50 or 60 years approximately (Irshad: 76). Besides, imam Ibnu Hajarul Haithami (May Allah Mercy upon him) reported the experience of Sufyan (May Allah Mercy upon him) for 50 or 60 years as a reliable one (Al-Ajvibah: 50-51). Many of the reporters of this Hadîth confessed that when they examined the deeds described by the above mentioned Hadîth, they could understand the ever-shining reality of the Hadîth (Kurdhi: 2/199, Tharsheeh: 170). It is also preferable to prepare delicious foods on that day and to distribute it among his kith and kin. But it is very necessary to avoid one’s miserliness on the day. In addition, nobody is allowed to celebrate the day as one does in Eids. Imam Ibnu Hajer (May Allah Mercy upon him) stated the above mentioned matter by the help of a Hadîth narrated by Imam Muslim (Al Ajvibah).
The Ashura’ fasting
It is the most venerable feature of tenth day of Muharram that this day witnessed to a lot of historical events. Allah the Most High selected this day for the sake of witnessing a many notable events in the life time of prophets extending from the Messenger Adam (May Allah bless with him) to the Messenger Muhammad (PBH). It is in this historical day Allah protected the Messengers like Nooh (May Allah bless with him), Ibrahim (May Allah bless with him), Yoosuf (May Allah bless with him), Ya’qoob (May Allah bless with him), Moosa (May Allah bless with him), Ayyoob (May Allah bless with him), Yoous (May Allah bless with him), Is’haq (May Allah bless with him) and so on from the clutches of furious miscreants and poignant experiments. He provided them with the ever-satisfying rewards who raised their hands to Him expecting the salvation on this day. The tenth day of Muharram got the memorable chance that Allah defeated the most defiant or arrogant persons who moved against Him and protected the religion from their hands. Hence, the Almighty bestowed his sincere servants with complete protection and ever-shining success. “The dawn mentioned in the word ‘valfajri’ is the very dawn of Ashura’’ (Ghaliath: 2/85). Commemorating the blessings that Almighty gave to humanity, we all have been ordered to perform special doings for showing our gratitude to the Lord. It can be seen in Hadiths even the prophets before the Messenger (PBH) considered the peculiarity of the day. For, the tenth day of Muharram is not only the virtuous day of this community but also that of the ancestors lived before. In Islamic view, to perform fasting is the most appropriate way of showing our gratitude to the Almighty. The interpreters of Qur’an declared that the cause behind the selection of Ramadan for the obligatory fasting is as being the Qur’an, the great oracle, sent down at this month. Considering the birth of prophet on the Monday, it is preferable to do fasting on all Mondays only to show our thankfulness to this holy blessing.
The early Messengers also used to take fasting on this day. Abu Huraira (May Allah please upon him) reports that the prophet says: You should perform fasting on Ashura on which the foregoing prophets took fasting (Ibnu Abi Shaiba). “The Messenger Nooh (May Allah bless with him) and his followers took fasting on the tenth day of Muharram on which they stepped down from the historical ship” (Ghaliathul Mavaidh: 2/86). The mother of believers Aysha (May Allah please with her) says “during the Dark-age, the Quraish used to perform fasting on Ashura. Before his prophet hood, the Messenger too did this fasting. After his pilgrimage to holy Madina, he was very careful to keep the fasting on Ashura’ and he ordered his Companions to do so” (Nasai, Thirmudi, Abu Davud, Ibnu Majah) .
Before and after the age of prophet Muhammad (PBH), the Jews gave more prominence to Ashura and did fasting on this day. Ibnu Abbas (May Allah please upon him) explains: “After the reaching of the Messenger in Madina, as he saw Jews fasting on Ashura and he inquired about it, then the Jews replied him “It was in this day that the Lord saved Moosa (May Allah bless with him) from the hands of Pharaoh”. (The Messenger used to perform fasting on Ashura from holy Makkah itself, but when Jews replied him so) The Messenger advised the Companions to perform fasting on this day saying that “Moosa (May Allah bless with him) is more related to us than to you” (Jews) (Bukhari, Muslim). Abu Moosa narrated that the Messenger suggested his Companions to perform fasting on Ashura, when he saw Jews in Khaybar (the name of an oasis, 95 miles to the north of Medina (ancient Yathrib), Saudi Arabia) fasting and decorating their women with ornaments on this day (Bukhari, Muslim). Jabir Ibnu Samurah says: “The Messenger ordered us to perform fasting in Ashura and persuaded us to do so and even he conducted the deep inquiry to watch our performing on this day (Muslim). There are four deeds that the prophet has never avoided in his life time. Those are fasting on Ashura’, the fasting of first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, three fasting in each month and two rak’aths before the dawn prayer (Nasai). Ibnu Abbas (May Allah Please upon him) says that I saw the Messenger taking the fasting with a compulsory mind only on the day of Ashura’ among the days and on the Ramadan among the months (Bukhari, Muslim).
Imam Ujhoori (May Allah Mercy upon him) says that the one who says the supplication “Hasbiyallahu va nia’mal vakeel, nia’mal mawla va nia’ma nnaseer” as seventy times, Allah will protect him from all entangling of the year (Thaqreer Iaanath: 2/267).
The Messenger (PBH) implemented the Ashura’ fasting on the first stage as seeming it like an obligatory deed. Aysha (May Allah please with her) says: After the Ramadan was selected for obligatory fasting, the Messenger (PBH) avoided his strict approach in the matter of Ashura’. He gave remission to his Companions in the fasting i.e. whether he can do or not (Nasai, Abu Davud, Thurmudi, Ibnu Majah). In spite of giving some remissions to this fasting, the Messenger continuously inspired them to take the fasting on Ashura’. Hence, though it is not an obligatory one, it is most preferable one (Ghayathul Ma’mool: 2/89).
The Messenger (PBH) never tried to make the Ashura’ fasting obligatory at any level. But, he saw it more prominently like the obligatory. Even though, some scholars including Imam Abu Haneefa (Allah Mercy upon him) said that the Ashura fasting was obligatory at first stage, but in due course, the obligation was abrogated. Though this opinion is not agreeable in shafi school of jurisprudent, it indicates into the prominence of Ashura’ (The interpretation of Al-thargheeb va tharheeb by Imam Navavi: 2/115).


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