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Saturday, November 5, 2011

10th day of Muharram (Yaum 'Ashura)

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim - In the name of Allah, Most Beneficient, Most Merciful.

Assalamu 'alaykum w.b.t. and Greetings to all,

Today I discovered the existence of the day of 'Ashura. The virtues of fasting on this day is pretty similar with the virtues of Arafat fasting, but instead of expiating 2 years worth of sin it expiates just a year's worth of sin that is the year before. (The following is a brief description regarding 'Ashura - since I'm fully aware many don't have much time on hand, hence I tried to make it as short as possible and this is the best I could summarise. It would take <5 minutes to read this.)

So what is this day?

This is a righteous day, commemorating the day that Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies (Pharaoh, in Egypt), so Prophet Musa fasted on this day. [Muslim and al-Bukhari]

The practise of fasting on 'Ashura was known even in the days of Jahiliyyah and the people of Jahiliyyah was fasting 'Ashura.

When is 'Ashura?

It is said to be on the 10th day of Muharram. [Sa'id ibn al-Musayyib and al-Hassan]

The Messenger of Alllah (pbuh), commanded us to fast 'Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram. [al-Tirmidhi, graded as sahih hasan hadith]

However, due to circumstances, scholars say you may choose to fast 'Ashura in the following choices i.e.:

  • 3 days (9th, 10th, 11th); 
  • 2 days (9th,10th); or 
  • 1 day only (the 10th).
Ruling on fasting only on the day of 'Ashura

Shaykh ul-Islam said, "Fasting on the day of 'Ashura is an expiation for a year, and it is not makruh to fast only on that day..." [al-Fatwa al-Kubra]

There is nothing wrong with fasting only on 'Ashura. [Ibn Hajar al-Haytami]

For what does it offer expiation?

The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Fasting 'Ashura is of great merits, I hope Allah will accept it as an expiation for sins committed in the previous year." [Muslim, 1976] -- However, it is a huge mistake to rely on fasting a single day to wipe your slate clean i.e. meaning to say, it is not right to think it's okay to commit sin as you are aiming to fast 'Ashura and Arafat. If this is how you function, fasting 'Ashura alone will not atone your sins because:

It expiates for all minor sins i.e. it brings forgiveness for all sins except major sins. [Imam an-Nawawi]


References: 1 & 2

P/s: This post takes you <5 minutes to read but it took me so much more time to produce this summary, trust me. (but at least now I know it like the back of my hand.. alhamdulillah)

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