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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fasting on Ashura (in Muharram) - 9th and 10th of Muharram

Fasting on the the days of Ashura is a highly recommended (though not obligatory) act as the following ahadith prove.



The Prophet said: “Fasting the day of Ashura, I hope will be an expiation of sins for the year before.” [Sahih Muslim v: 1, p: 368]


Vol 2, Book 26. Pilgrimmage (Hajj).
Hadith 662. (Sahih Bukhari)



Narrated By 'Aisha: The people used to fast on 'Ashura (the tenth day of the month of Muharram) before the fasting of Ramadan was made obligatory. And on that day the Ka'ba used to be covered with a cover. When Allah made the fasting of the month of Ramadan compulsory, Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever wishes to fast (on the day of 'Ashura') may do so; and whoever wishes to leave it can do so."


Vol 4, Book 55. Prophets.
Hadith 609. (Sahih Bukhari)

Narrated By Ibn 'Abbas: When the Prophet came to Medina, he found (the Jews) fasting on the day of 'Ashura' (i.e. 10th of Muharram). They used to say: "This is a great day on which Allah saved Moses and drowned the folk of Pharaoh. Moses observed the fast on this day, as a sign of gratitude to Allah." The Prophet said, "I am closer to Moses than they." So, he observed the fast (on that day) and ordered the Muslims to fast on it.


Vol 5, Book 58. Merits Of The Helpers In Madinah
Hadith 278. (Sahih Bukhari)

Narrated By Abu Musa: When the Prophet 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.


Vol 6, Book 60. Prophetic Commentary On The Qur'an
Hadith 202. (Sahih Bukhari)

Narrated By Ibn Abbas: When the Prophet arrived at Medina, the Jews were observing the fast on 'Ashura' (10th of Muharram) and they said, "This is the day when Moses became victorious over Pharaoh," On that, the Prophet said to his companions, "You (Muslims) have more right to celebrate Moses' victory than they have, so observe the fast on this day."


Book 6. Fasting.
Hadith 2612. (Sahih Muslim)


Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported that he (the Messenger of Allah) was asked as to which prayer was most excellent after the prescribed prayer, and which fast was most excellent after the month of Ramadan. He said: Prayer offered in the middle of the night and the most excellent fast after (fasting) in the month of Ramadan is the fast in God's month al-Muharram.


Also, fasting the 9th of Muharram is highly recommended by the Sunnah. Imam At-Tirmidhi reported that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) used to say: We should fast on two days: the 9th and 10th of Muharram to distinguish ourselves from the Jewish community. (At-Tirmidhi)

Explaining the virtue of fasting on the 9th and the 10th of Muharram, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states:


It is the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to fast on the 9th and 10th of Muharram. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him used to fast on the day of `Ashura'. When he came to Madinah, he found out that the Jews of Madinah were also fasting on this day remembering Prophet Musa (peace and blessings be upon him). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) admired this tradition and said to the Jews, "I am closer to Musa than you are." He fasted and he also told his Companions to fast on this day.

Later, before the end of his life, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told Muslims to add the 9th day also. Thus, it is recommended to fast on both the 9th and 10th of Muharram.
Moreover, in his well-known book, Fiqh As-Sunnah, the late Sheikh Sayyed Sabiq states:

Abu Hurayrah reported: "I asked the Prophet: 'Which Prayer is the best after the obligatory Prayers?' He said: 'Prayer during the mid of the night.' I asked: 'Which fasting is the best after that of Ramadan?' He said, 'The month of Allah that you call Muharram’" (Ahmad, Muslim, and Abu Dawud).

Mu`awiyyah ibn Abi Sufyan reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah say: "Concerning the day of `Ashura’, it is not obligatory upon you to fast on it as I do. Whoever wishes may fast and whoever does not wish to is not obliged to do so" (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

It is noteworthy that Muslim scholars have stated that fasting of `Ashura’ is of three levels as follows:

1. fasting for three days, i.e., on the 9th, 10th, and 11th of Muharram,

2. fasting the 9th and 10th of Muharram, and

3. fasting only the 10th of Muharram.



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