‘Aashoora- why a lot of Muslims will be fasting again!
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
*As the 10th of Muharram (the first month of the Islamic calendar) fast approaches, a sister explains the significance of this special day and why many Muslims will be fasting. May Allah reward her, ameen*
What do Muslims do on ‘Aashoora?
‘Aashoora is the 10th of Muharram – which is the first month in the Islamic calendar – and it is a very significant day for Muslims. It is so important that fasting on this day was obligatory upon the Muslims during the time of the Prophets, however, after the commandment of fasting in the month of Ramadan came down and it became an obligation to fast the whole month of Ramadan , fasting on the 10th of Muharram became optional.
Why do Muslims fast on this day?
The reason why ‘Aashoora holds such significance for Muslims is because this is the day when Allah the Almighty granted our Prophet Musa (Moses, peace be upon him) emancipation from Firawn (Pharoah) and his army. While Musa (peace be upon him) and his tribe Banu Israeel were saved from their enemies by the Red Sea miracously splitting for their safe passage, Allah drowned Firawn and his forces in the depths of the water. It was such a joyous day for the Jews that they observed fasting on this blessed day.
One of the companions of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم , Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him), narrated that:
When the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم came to Madinah, he found (the Jews) fasting on the day of ‘Aashoora’ (i.e. 10th of Muharram). They used to say: “This is a great day on which Allah saved Musa and drowned the folk of Firawn. Musa observed the fast on this day, as a sign of gratitude to Allah.” The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said, “I am closer to Musa than they.” So, he observed the fast (on that day) and ordered the Muslims to fast on it.
Thus fasting on this day became significant and highly rewardable for Muslims. Just like we celebrate the day of ‘Eid-ul-Adha (sacrificing of an animal) to remember and honour the test of Prophet Ibraheem (peace be upon him) to sacrifice his son, so too is ‘Aashoora another example of Muslims commemorating an event from the lives of the Prophets, may peace be upon them all.
However, Muslims are unique. Muslims are ordered to differ from following any other culture or religion and therefore our beloved Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم differentiated our fasting from the fasting of the Jewish people. He said that he would also fast the 9th of Muharram the following year just so that this worship of the Muslims would be distinguished from the religious act of the Jews. Therefore, if Muslims do fast this day, it is recommended that they fast 2 consecutive days (i.e. 9th and 10th of Muharram or 10th and 11th of Muharram).
What is the virtue for fasting on A’ashoora?
Abu Qatada al-Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم was asked about his fasting… He was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Aashoora (10th of Muharram), whereupon he said: It expiates the sins of the preceding year (Muslim: Book 06: Hadith 2603).
For more information on the virtues of fasting on this blessed occasion, check out this short explanation by Shaykh Waleed Basyouni: