Sig­nif­i­cance of fast­ing Tasu’a and Ashura


Al­ham­dulil­lah, Al­lah (SWT) has blessed us to see yet an­other year. In this month, Muhar­ram, is an ex­cel­lent day -the day of ‘Ashura - which falls on the 10th; to­mor­row, Fri­day Oc­to­ber 23rd. The Holy Prophet (SAW) rec­om­mended that we fast on this day, by his Sun­nah. He also in­di­cated how we should ob­serve the fast of ‘Ashura.

In his book, Fiqh As-Sun­nah, the late Sheikh Sayyed Sabiq states that: Abu Hu­rairah 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’awiyah ibn Abu Su­fyan (RA) re­lates: I heard the Mes­sen­ger of Al­lah (SWT) say: “It is the day of ‘Ashura. Al­lah (SWT) 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]

Abu Qatada (RA) re­lates that the Holy Prophet (SAW) said that the fast on the 10th of Muhar­ram atones for the sins of the pre­ced­ing year. [Sahih Mus­lim]

Abu Hu­raira (RA) re­ports that the Holy Prophet (SAW) said that af­ter Ra­madan, the fasts of Muhar­ram have the great­est ex­cel­lence. [Sahih Mus­lim]

On Tasu’a fast - the ninth of Muhar­ram which in­ci­den­tally is to­day - Hakam ibn Al-Arat (RA) re­lates: I went to Ibn Ab­bas (RA)… I said to him: Tell me about fast­ing on ‘Ashura. He said, “When you see 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 (SAW) ob­served the fast?” He said, “Yes.” [Sahih Mus­lim]

Ibn Ab­bas (RA) re­lates that when the Holy Prophet (SAW) said: “If I sur­vive till next year, I will def­i­nitely ob­serve fast on the 9th of Muhar­ram (as well).” [Sahih Mus­lim]

What the Holy Prophet (SAW) 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 - that is Tasu’a and Ashura.

Ibn Ab­bas (RA) re­ports that the Holy Prophet (SAW) ar­rived in Mad­i­nah and found the Jews ob­serv­ing fast on the day of ‘Ashura… They said: “It is the day of great (sig­nif­i­cance) when Al­lah de­liv­ered Musa (AS) and his peo­ple and drowned Pharoah and his peo­ple, and Sayyid­ina Musa (AS) ob­served fast out of grat­i­tude. And we also ob­serve it.” The Holy Mes­sen­ger of Al­lah (SAW) re­sponded: “We have more right, and we have closer con­nec­tion with Sayyid­ina Musa (AS) than you have”; so Al­lah’s Mes­sen­ger (SAW) ob­served fast (on the day of ‘Ashura) and gave us or­ders to ob­serve it. [Sahih Bukhari and Mus­lim]

Mu`awiyyah ibn Abi Su­fyan re­ported that he heard the Prophet say­ing, “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)

And of course many forms of wor­ship and cel­e­bra­tion are ob­served by var­i­ous sects and com­mu­ni­ties which schol­ars have said do not have ba­sis in the Qur’an or Sun­nah. Mus­lims should in­quire from the knowl­edge­able and up­right for guid­ance in such mat­ters.

‘Ashura is a day of great his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance. Wor­ship Al­lah (SWT) as much as you can on the 9th and 10th. May Al­lah (SWT) bless us to per­form good deeds and gain their re­ward on ‘Ashura and make the Hijri new year one of unity, co­op­er­a­tion and suc­cess for Mus­lims around the world. Ameen.

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