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Rulings for Fasting the Day of ‘Aashooraa (10th Muharram)


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1 – On the authority of Ash‘ath ibn Qays[1], may Allah be pleased with him, he saw ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood[2] eating on the day of ‘Aashooraa, so he (Ash’ath) said to him, “Oh Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman, indeed today is ‘Aashooraa.” So he (‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood) said, “This day (‘Aashooraa) people used to fast[3], and that was before the legislation of Ramadhaan.  However, once fasting the month of Ramadhaan became obligatory; fasting the day of Aashooraa was abandoned[4].  So, if you were eating (i.e. not fasting), continue to eat.”[Muslim#1127]

2 – On the authority of ‘Aaishah[5], may Allah be pleased with her, “The Quraysh (polytheist) would fast the day of ‘Aashooraa before Islam.  The Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace be upon him, would also fast ‘Aashooraa.  Once he, prayers and peace be upon him, arrived in al-Madeenah, he, prayers and peace be upon him, fasted ‘Aashooraa and commanded his companions to do the same.  However, once Ramadhaan became obligatory he, prayers and peace be upon him, said, ‘Whoever wants to fast (‘Aashooraa) then fast, and whoever doesn’t (want to fast ‘Aashooraa) then leave it off.’” [Muslim # 1125]

3 – On the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas[6] , may Allah be pleased with him, “The Messenger of Allah,  prayers and peace be upon him, would fast on ‘Aashooraa, so the Companions said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, indeed ‘Aashooraa is a day the Jews and the Christians revere.’  So he, may prayers and peace be upon him, said, ‘Then next year we’ll fast the day before (9th of Muharram) if Allah wills’.  However, the following year, the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace be upon him, passed away.” [Muslim #1134]

4 – On the authority of Abu Qataadah[7], may Allah be pleased with him, “The Messenger of Allah, may prayers and peace be upon him, was asked about fasting on the Day of ‘Aashooraa. So he, prayers and peace be upon him said, ‘it expiates (the sins from) the previous year’” [Muslim #1162]

5 – On the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, “The Messenger of Allah, may prayers and peace be upon him said, ‘Fast ‘Aashooraa and be different from the Jews in doing so.  Fast a day before (‘Aashooraa) or a day after (‘Aashooraa), and in another narration ‘Fast the day before (‘Aashooraa) and the day after (‘Aashooraa).’” [Al-Bayhaqi][8] Scholars differ on the authenticity (see footnotes)


Points of Benefit from these Narrations:[9]


●      During the early periods of Islam, fasting on the day of ‘Aashooraa was obligatory.  (refer to hadeeth #1)

●      The hadeeth of Ash’ath ibn Qays nullifies the obligation of fasting ‘Aashooraa.  (refer to  hadeeth #1)

●      The narrations of Ash’ath bin Qays and ‘Aaishah confirm that fasting ‘Aashooraa is highly recommended.  (refer to hadeeths #1 and #2)

●      The narration of Ibn ‘Abbaas shows how the Prophet, prayers and peace be upon him, used to order the companions to be different from the people of the book. (refer to hadeeth#5)

In another narration the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace be upon him, asked the Jews about ‘Aashooraa. They said this day was the day that Allah saved Moosaa and his people from Pharaoh and his army by drowning them (i.e. Pharaoh and his army)   in the sea.  The Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace be upon him, replied by saying, “I have more right to Moosaa than you (Jews).”  So he, prayers and peace be upon him, fasted (‘Aashooraa) and commanded the companions to fast.  (refer to hadeeth#3)

Why did the messenger of Allah, prayers and peace be upon him, say that he has more of a right to Moosaa than the Jews?

Shaykh Uthaymeen, may Allah have mercy on him, mentioned that, “Because the Prophet, prayers and peace be upon him, and the people with him have more of a right to the Prophets than others.” This is due to the statement of Allah, The Most High, {Verily, among mankind who has the best claim to Ibrahim are those who follow him and this Prophet (Muhammad) and those who have believed.  And Allah is the Wali (protector) of the believers} Al-Imran: 68.

●      Fasting is a way of showing thanks to Allah for his enormous amount of blessings that he has bestowed upon his slaves. (refer to  hadeeths #3 and #5)

The scholars mention four positions on fasting ‘Aashooraa:

Fast the 9th and the 10th (refer to hadeeth #3)

Fast the 10th only. (refer to hadeeths #2, and #3)

Fast the 10th and the 11th (refer to hadeeth #5)

Fast the 9th, 10th and 11th (refer to hadeeth #5)

Shaykh Saalih al-Luhaydaan[10], may Allah protect him, was asked about ‘Aashooraa and the narration about fasting three days.  He said that a person should fast the 9th, 10th and 11th due to the narrations that were mentioned, in which, he said were authentic (please review the note above in hadeeth #5).  However, he contended that they were optional not obligatory. (refer to  hadeeth #5)

Shaykh ‘Abdul-Majeed as-Subayyal[11], may Allah protect him, was asked about the same issue mentioned previously.  He said it’s difficult to say that those narrations (i.e. to fast three days) are weak especially when you have major scholars (ash-Shawkaanee, Ibn Baaz, Shaykh Saalih Luhaydaan etc.) saying that you can use them (see hadeeth #5). Next, he mentioned that this is an issue with some room for interpretation.  Don’t be hard on the people.  He also mentioned that whoever fasts the 9th and the 10th this is good, or the 10th and the 11th which is also good, and whoever fast three days for precautionary reasons then that too is o.k., insha-Allah.

The Permanent Committee of Major Scholars in Saudi Arabia[12] stated as it relates to this issue “Fasting the tenth day of Muharaam, is a highly recommended sunnah. It’s better to fast the day before it (the ninth) or after it (the eleventh) as the messenger of Allah, prayers and blessings be upon him, alluded to by saying, ‘be different from the Jews’. So, if a person fasts all three days, this is more complete (i.e. for precautionary reasons).  Ibn al-Qayyum, may Allah have mercy on him, mentions this in his Zaad Al Ma’aad.” Vol. 9.

●      Lastly, fasting ‘Aashooraa will expiate your sins from the previous year. (refer to hadeeth #4)

Test your knowledge:

1. Is it recommended to fast ‘Aashooraa? What is your proof?

2. Why do the Jews fast ‘Aashooraa? What is your proof?

3. Did all of the companions fast ‘Aashooraa? What is your proof?

4. Why should I fast ‘Aashooraa? Provide your reasoning?

5. Can I fast more than just the 10th of Muharram? What is your proof?

Compilers notes: If we as Muslims do what Allah, The Most High, and His Messenger have commanded us to do (obligatory and recommended), then Allah will be pleased with us and grant us a lofty reward.  On the contrary, if we do what Allah, The Most High, and His Messenger have prohibited us from doing, Allah will be displeased with us and we could face a tormenting punishment (We seek refuge in Allah from that).  Now ask yourself, who wouldn’t want to make the Creator of everything  you love, the One worthy of all praise, and the Owner of the heavens and the earths, pleased with them?

Imagine Allah being pleased with you and furthermore wiping away a year’s worth of sins if you fast a recommended fast!  Who wouldn’t benefit from that? And if that’s for doing something recommended then what about something obligatory?  Oh Allah, make us from those whom you are pleased with and not from those who have earned your anger.  Ameen!

In the year 2013, the 9th, 10th and 11th of Muharram 1435 corresponds with the 13th, 14th, and 15th of November and Allah knows best.


Al-Thamaraat Admin. (Ali Davis and Abu Saajid Syid Turcks)

Umm Al-Quraa University

Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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