بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The Month of Muharram has a great status smongst the Muslims. Allah Ta’ala prefers some times to others, and the month of Muharram in which the day of Ahsoora sits, is one of those times.
The Jews of Madeenah used to celebrate the day as the day when Musa a.s defeated the Pharaoh. And with the coming of rasulAllah peace be upon him, and his sahaba during the Hijra, it was then accepted as a day that Muslims also partake in, as it was said “We have more right to Musa, then them (The Jews)”.
It was thus ordered to be a day of fasting for he Muslim Ummah. It became an obligatory day of Fasting, which was later abrogated by the month of Ramadhan.
So where does the controversy start, well that becomes a later problem, because one of the fractions have now taken the first ten days and the day of Ashoora to be a day of Mourning.
So we see pictures and videos of the Shi’a wailing cutting and slapping themselves. But where does the truth lie.
“Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion…so wrong not yourselves therein…” [at-Tawba 9:36]
“It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas said that this phrase “…so wrong not yourselves therein…” referred to all the months, then these four were singled out and made sacred, so that sin in these months is more serious and good deeds bring a greater re-ward.
Qataadah said concerning this phrase “…so wrong not your-selves therein…” that wrongdoing during the sacred months is more serious and more sinful that wrongdoing at any other time. Wrongdoing at any time is a serious matter, but Allaah gives more weight to whichever of His commands He will. Allaah has chosen certain ones of His creation. He has chosen from among the angels Messengers and from among mankind Messengers. He chose from among speech the remembrance of Him (dhikr). He chose from among the earth the mosques, from among the months Ramadaan and the sacred months, from among the days Friday and from among the nights Laylat-ul-Qadr, so venerate that which Allaah has told us to venerate. People of understanding and wisdom venerate the things that Allaah has told us to venerate.” (Tafseer of Ibn Katheerof Surat al-Tawbah, aayah 36).
“The Prophet ﷺ said. “(The division of time has turned to its original form which was current when Allah created the Heavens and the Earths. The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred: Three are in succession Dhul-Qa’ da, Dhul-Hijja and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab” Bukhari
SO MUHARRAM IS A SPECIAL MONTH BUT WHY
“Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “The most virtuous fasting after the month of Ramadan is Allah’s month Al-Muharram.” Tirmidhi Sahih
The phrase “Allaah’s month,” attributing the name of the month to the name of Allaah in a genitive grammatical structure, signi-fies the importance of the month. Al-Qaari said: “The apparent meaning is all of the month of Muharram.” But the Prophet ﷺ never fasted any whole month apart from Ramadaan, so this hadeeth is probably meant to encourage increasing one’s fasting during Muharram, without meaning that one should fast for the entire month.
It was reported that the Prophet ﷺ used to fast more in Sha’baan. According to Imam an-Nawawi (And Scholars like Ibn Jibreen and Ibn al-Uthaymeen), It is likely that the virtue of Muharram was not revealed to him until the end of his life, before he was able to fast during this month. (Sharh al-Nawawi ‘ala Saheeh Muslim).
Allaah Chooses Whatever Times and Places He Wills:
Al-‘Izz ibn ‘Abd al-Salaam said: “Times and places may be given preferred status in two ways, either temporal or religious/spiritual. With regard to the latter, this is because Allaah bestows His generosity on His slaves at those times or in those places, by giving a greater reward for deeds done, such as giving a greater re-ward for fasting in Ramadaan than for fasting at all other times, and also on the day of ‘Aashooraa, the virtue of which is due to Allaah’s generosity and kindness towards His slaves on that day…” (Qawaa’id al-Ahkaam, 1/38)
‘Aashooraa´ in History: Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “The Prophet ﷺ came to Madeenah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Aashooraa. He ﷺ said, ‘What is this?’ They said, ‘This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allaah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Moosa fasted on this day.’ He said,
‘We have more right to Moosa than you,’ so he ﷺ fasted on that day and com-manded [the Muslims] to fast on that day.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1865).
Narrated Abu Musa: When the Prophet ﷺ arrived at Medina, he noticed that some people among the Jews used to respect Ashura’ (i.e. 10th of Muharram) and fast on it. The Prophet then said, We have more right to observe fast on this day.” and ordered that fasting should be observed on it.” Bukhari
“This is a righteous day,” – in a report narrated by Muslim, [the Jews said:] “This is a great day, on which Allaah saved Moosa and his people and drowned Pharaoh and his people.” “Moosa saws fasted this day in gratitude to Allaah” a report narrated by Muslim adds: “…in thanksgiving to Allaah, so we fast on this day.”
According to a report narrated by al-Bukhaari: “… so we fast on this day to venerate it.” A version narrated by Imaam Ahmad adds: “This is the day on which the Ark settled on Mount Joodi, so Nooh fasted this day in thanksgiving.” “…And commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day,” – another report by al-Bukhaari: “He ﷺ said to his Companions: ‘You have more right to Moosa than they do, so fast on that day.”
The practice of fasting on ‘Aashooraa was known even in the days of Jaahiliyyah, before the Prophet’s ﷺ mission. And in a narration it says that the day was also fasted by the Quraysh, due to a story about Ibraheem a.s.* (*Authenticity of this report can not be achieved or objectively verified.)
“The Jews used to take the day of ‘Aashooraa´ as a festi-val [according to a report narrated by Muslim: the day of ‘Aashooraa´ was venerated by the Jews, who took it as a festival. According to another report also narrated by Muslim: the people of Khaybar (the Jews) used to take it as a festival and their women would wear their jewellery and symbols on that day]. The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘So you [Muslims] should fast on that day.’ ” (Bukhaari)
“Apparently the motive for commanding the Muslims to fast on this day was the desire to be different from the Jews, so that the Muslims would fast when the Jews did not, because people do not fast on a day of celebration.” (Ibn Hajar – in Fath al-Baari).
Fasting on ‘Aashooraa was a gradual step in the process of introducing fasting as a prescribed obligation in Islam. Fasting ap-peared in three forms. When the Messenger of Allaah came to Madeenah, he told the Muslims to fast on three days of every month and on the day of ‘Aashooraa´, then Allaah made fasting obligatory when He said:
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous“ [al-Baqarah 2:183]
(Ahkaam al-Qur’aan by al-Jassaas, part 1).
The obligation was transferred from the fast of ‘Aashooraa´ to the fast of Ramadaan, and this one of the proofs in the field of Usool al-Fiqh that it is possible that a lighter duty be abrogated and replaced with one heavier.
Before the obligation of fasting ‘Aashooraa´ was abrogated, fasting on this day was obligatory, as can be seen from the clear command to observe this fast. Then it was further confirmed later, then reaffirmed by making it a general command addressed to everybody, and once again by instructing mothers not to breastfeed their infants during this fast. It was reported from Ibn Mas‘ood that when fasting Ramadaan was made obligatory, the obligation to fast ‘Aashooraa´ was lifted, i.e., it was no longer obligatory to fast on this day, but it is still desirable (mustahabb).
And the Reward – “For fasting the day of ‘Aashooraa´, I hope that Allaah will accept it as expiation for the year that went before.” (Muslim).
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: “Tahaarah, salaah, and fasting in Ramadaan, on the day of ‘Arafaah and on Aashooraa expiate for minor sins only.” (al-Fataawa al-Kubra, part 5). Imaam al-Nawawi said: “It ex-piates for all minor sins, i.e., it brings forgiveness of all sins except major sins.”
Ibn Qudaamah said: “‘Aashooraa´ is the tenth day of Muharram. This is the opinion of Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib and al-Hasan. It was what was reported by Ibn ‘Abbaas, who said: ‘The Messenger of Allaah commanded us to fast ‘Aashooraa´, the tenth day of Muharram.’ (al-Tirmidhi, saheeh).
It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: ‘The ninth,’ and reported that the Prophet ﷺ used to fast the ninth. (Muslim). ‘Ataa´ reported that he said, ‘Fast the ninth and the tenth, and do not be like the Jews.’ If this is understood, we can say on this basis that it is mustahabb (encouraged) to fast on the ninth and the tenth, for that reason. This is what Imam Ahmad said. The more one fasts in Muharram, the better it is.
Imam Ahmad said: “If there is confusion about the beginning of the month, one should fast for three days, to be sure of fasting on the ninth and tenth days.” (al-Mughni by Ibn Qudaamah, part 3 – al-Siyaam – Siyaam Aashooraa).
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah was asked about the things that people do on ‘Aashooraa – Fabricated Hadith and the Extremity of what the Shiah do.
Such as wearing kohl, taking a bath (ghusl), wearing henna, shaking hands with one another, cooking grains (huboob), showing hap-piness and so on is doing these things bid‘ah, or not? Is there any basis for what the other group do, such as grieving, cutting themselves and mourning, going without anything to drink, eulogizing and wailing, reciting in a crazy manner, and rending their garments?
His reply was: ‘Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds. Nothing to that ef-fect has been reported in any saheeh hadeeth from the Prophet ﷺ or from his Com-panions. None of the Imaams of the Muslims encouraged or rec-ommended such things, neither the four Imaams, nor any others. No reliable scholars have narrated anything like this, neither from the Prophet ﷺ, nor from the Sahaabah, nor from the Taabi‘een; neither in any saheeh report or in a da‘eef (weak) report; neither in the books of Sa-heeh, nor in as-Sunan, nor in the Musnads. No hadeeth of this nature was known during the best centuries, but some of the later narrators reported ahaadeeth like the one which says, “Whoever puts kohl in his eyes on the day of ‘Aashooraa´ will not suffer from eye disease in that year, and whoever takes a bath (does ghusl) on the day of ‘Aashooraa´ will not get sick in that year,” and so on.
They also reported a fabricated hadeeth that is falsely attributed to the Prophet, which says, “Whoever is generous to his family on the day of ‘Aashooraa´, Allaah will be generous to him for the rest of the year.” Reporting all of this from the Prophet is tantamount to lying.’
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever narrates a Hadith from me thinking it to be false, then he is one of the two liars.” (Either the one who invents a lie or the one who repeats it; both are liars). And in the Hadith of al-Bukhaari: “Ascribing false things to me is not like ascribing false things to anyone else. Whosoever tells a lie against me intentionally then surely let him occupy his seat in Hell-Fire.”
Then he discussed in brief the tribulations that had occurred in the early days of this ummah and the killing of al-Husayn and what the various sects had done because of this.
Then he said: ‘An ignorant, wrongful group – who were either heretics and hypocrites, or misguided and misled – made a show of allegiance to him and the members of his household, so they took the day of ‘Aashooraa´ as a day of mourning and wailing, in which they openly displayed the rituals of jaahiliyyah such as slapping their cheeks and rending their garments, grieving in the manner of the jaahiliyyah… The Shaytaan made this attractive to those who are misled, so they took the day of ‘Aashooraa as an occasion of mourning, when they grieve and wail, recite poems of grief and tell stories filled with lies.
Whatever truth there may be in these stories serves no purpose other than the renewal of their grief and sectarian feeling, and the stirring up of hatred and hostility among the Muslims, which they do by cursing those who came before them… The evil and harm that they do to the Muslims cannot be enumerated by any man, no matter how eloquent he is.
Some others – either Naasibis, who oppose and have enmity to-wards al-Husayn and his family, or ignorant people who try to fight evil with evil, corruption with corruption, lies with lies and bid’ah with bid’ah – opposed them by fabricating reports in favor of making the day of ‘Aashooraa´ a day of celebration, by wearing kohl and henna, spending money on one’s children, cooking spe-cial dishes and other things that are done on ‘Eids and special occasions. These people took the day of ‘Aashooraa´ as a festival like Eid, whereas the others took it as a day of mourning.
Both are wrong, and both go against the Sunnah, even though the other group (those who take it as a day of mourning) are worse in intention and more ignorant and more plainly wrong… Neither the Prophet nor his successors (the Khulafaa´ al-Raashidoon) did any of these things on the day of ‘Aashooraa´, they neither made it a day of mourning nor a day of celebration…
As for the other things, such as cooking special dishes with or without grains, or wearing new clothes, or spending money on one’s family, or buying the year’s supplies on that day, or doing special acts of worship such as special prayers or deliberately slaughtering an animal on that day, or saving some of the meat of the sacrifice to cook with grains visiting the mosques and mashhads (shrines) and so on… all of this is reprehensible bid‘ah and is wrong. None of it has anything to do with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Al-laah or the way of the Khulafaa’ al-Raashidoon. It was not approved of by any of the Imaams of the Muslims, not Maalik, not al-Thawri, not al-Layth ibn Sa’d, not Abu Haneefah, not al-Awzaa‘i, not al-Shaafi‘i, not Ahmad ibn Hanbal, not Ishaaq ibn Raahawayh, not any of the Imaams and scholars of the Mus-lims.’
(Al-Fataawa al-Kubra by Ibn Taymiyah)
May Allah allow us to fast the day of Ahoora, we ask Allah to accept our deeds done for His sake only.
والله تعالى أعلم
وصلى اللهم وسلم وبارك على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه والتابعين
أخوك أبو ناصر