The day of the Ashura is the 10th day of the month of al-Muharram, which is the first month of the Hegira calendar and one of the four sacred months of Allah.
In this regard, Allah the Almighty says (close translation):
Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him].” (Quran, 9:36).
What are the sacred months in the Islamic calendar?
The sacred months are four. Thus, Al-Bukhari (3167) and Muslim (1679) reported from Abu Bakrata that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Time had resumed its course as it was when Allah created the heavens and the earth: the year has twelve months, of which four are sacred months; the three follow one another and are called Dhul-Qa’ada, Dhul-Hijja and al-Muharram and the fourth Rajab which is inserted between Jumada and Sha’baan. “
The specific status of the month of al Muharram
Al Muharram is a sacred month in which it is encouraged to multiply good deeds and especially the fast. Indeed, it has been authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that the fast performed during al-Muharram is best after that of Ramadan. In this regard, Abu Hurairah said:
“The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The best fast after Ramadan is the fast performed during the month of Allah al-Muharram. And the best prayer made after the obligatory prayer is the one made at night” (reported by Muslim, 1163).
Annexing the month to Allah (the month of Allah) shows the importance of this month. Scholars interpreted the hadith by fasting for the entire month of al-Muharram. However, it has been authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not fast a whole month outside of Ramadan. It makes it possible to understand that the present hadith encourages us to multiply the fast in the month of al-Muharram without going as far as to fast all the month.
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What is the meaning of the day of Ashura?
As its name suggests, the day ‘Ashura (Ashura in Arabic is one of the forms of the number 10) corresponds to the 10th day of the month of al-Muharram, the 1st month of the Islamic calendar. This day has a specific status in Islamic history because it is the commemoration of the Prophet Musa’s fasting, in gratitude to Allah who saved Him and his followers that day from Pharaon and its army.
How was this fast instituted?
According to a hadith of ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), “the people of the tribe of Quraysh fasted on the day of Ashura ‘in Mecca before the advent of Islam” (reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Then, on his arrival in Medina, the Prophet noticed that the Jews were fasting on this day; He asked them about it, and they answered him that it was a feast day for them because it corresponds to the day when Allah saved the Prophet Moses (Moses) and his people, by opening the sea to him and by drowning in his following, Pharaoh and his soldiers. Moses then fasted to thank Allah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) then ordered to fast that day, retorting to the Jews: “We are more worthy to claim Moussa than you.” So he fasted that day and ordered it to be fasted. This fast remained compulsory until the Ramadan fast was prescribed. So, the fast of Ramadan became compulsory instead of the fast of Achourâ ‘, which subsequently became optional.
Ibn’ Umar reports from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “… He who wills fast and he who will eat [on this day]. “ (reported by Al-Boukhari and Muslim)
It is also important for us as Muslims to remember how difficult the immigration of Prophet Musa and its followers was and the immigration (hijrah) of our beloved Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to al Madina. It is one of the best occasions to remind us how this life is temporary and how the believers are strong enough in their faith to leave their beloved land to an unknown place for the sake of Allah to preserve their faith and religion.
What is the best way to fast Ashura?
Fasting on the 9th and 10th of the month al-Muharram is the most recommended way – if Allah wills it – according to the hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), reported by Ibn Abbas: “If I am still alive next year, I will fast on the 9th (that is, with the 10). “ (reported by Muslim). But the Prophet (peace be upon him) died before that. The Prophet, therefore, recommended fasting on the 9th (with the 10th) to differentiate himself from the Jews who only fasted on the 10th. However, the part of the hadith that mentions this: “Differentiate yourself from the Jews, fast a day before or (in another version,” and “) a day after [in addition to the day of ‘Achoûrâ ‘]. ” is weak.
The merit of the one who fasts the day of Ashura
There are merits to fast the day of Ashura. Indeed, according to the hadith of Abu Qatada, the Prophet said: “This fast erase the sins of the previous year.” (reported by Muslims)
With this, we hope, in addition to obtaining from Allah this reward, also to obtain the reward of the following:
- reviving the Sunnah, conforming to the recommendations and the example of the Prophet. For the Muslims, it is important to follow the way of the Prophet (PBUH), especially in the faith and the acts of worship. Thus, our beloved Messenger (PBUH) warned the Muslim ummah against the risk to introduce innovations by saying: “If somebody innovates something which is not in harmony with the principles of our religion, that thing is rejected.” (reported by al Bukhari). That is why we, as Muslims who follow the Messenger, are obliged to celebrate the day of Ashura according to His teachings.
- Inviting Muslims to practice this neglected Sunnah and is one of the best actions. Indeed, reviving a Sunnah is one of the most pious acts of worship. Thus, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Whoever revives my Sunnah then he has loved me. And whoever loved me, he shall be with me in Paradise.” (reported by Muslim)
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