FASTING ON ASHURA
(10 th muharram ul haraam)
The fast of Ashura is one of the most
controversial acts of worship in Islam. It is
an act of worship that requires thorough
dissection and analyses in order to examine
it from a variety of angles
The fast of Ashura upholds both historical and contemporary significance.
In terms of its contemporary significance, people from all over the globe
engage in a fast on the day of Ashura.
According to some scholars, the fast of Ashura ‘Is one of the most beloved
fasts to the holy prophet, after the fast of Ramadan’. Due to its contemporary
significance, it is important to understand the basis of the fast on Ashura,
where this particular act of worship originated from and whether this act is
recognized by all schools of Islam.
Have you ever wondered why the fast of Ashura is the only Sunnah of the
holy prophet Muhammad (pbuh) which is provided with such a vast
As the 10th of Muharram approaches, all the Imams are preparing lectures that
highlight the significance of the fast of Ashura. Millions of pamphlets, books,
posters and many more media machinery operate to encourage the population to
fast on Ashura.
Let Us First Read The Tradition
Sahih Bukhari, Book 60, Volume 6, Hadith 202:
Narrated Ibn Abbas: When the Prophet arrived at Medina, the
Jews were observing the fast on 'Ashura' (10th of Muharram)
and they said, "This is the day when Moses became victorious
over Pharaoh," On that, the Prophet said to his companions,
"You (Muslims) have more right to celebrate Moses' victory
than they have, so observe the fast on this day."
Bukhari, Book 60, Volume 6, Hadith 31:
Narrated Aisha: During the Pre-lslamic Period of ignorance the
Quraish used to observe fasting on the day of 'Ashura', and the
Prophet himself used to observe fasting on it (ashura) too. But
when he came to Medina, he fasted on that day and ordered the
Muslims to fast on it. When (the order of compulsory fasting
in) Ramadan was revealed, fasting in Ramadan became an
obligation, and fasting on 'Ashura' was given up, and whoever
wished to fast (on it) did so, and whoever did not wish to fast
When examining these hadith; we must carefully
consider the following:
When is the hadith mentioned and in which books is it narrated?
Who narrated the hadith and what is their personal history?
What is the meaning of the word „Ashura‟ and does it possess
more than one meaning?
According to the Jewish calendar, did the Jews fast on the day of
savior of the children of Israel? Did this day correspond to the 10th
When did the Arabic calendar begin and how does this coincide
with the above hadith?
Why would the prophet copy the practice of the Jews?
Are there other areas of the Sunnah which have been neglected?
The hadith relating to the fast of Ashura is narrated in
Imam Bukhari’s Sahih; Imam Muslim’s Sahih and Imam
Tirmizi’s Sahih. Thus, it is narrated in three of the six
available Sahih’s. When we look at any narration which tells
us about an act of worship such as fasting, we must analyze
the chain of narrators in order to confirm its reliability.
1. Ibn Abbas
2. Abu Hurraira
3. Abu Musa al ashari &
are the narrators who claim that the prophet
recommended the fast of Ashura.
The above hadith is meant to have been mentioned when the
Prophet arrived in Medina in the 1st year of Hijra. Hence, we will
examine the activities of the narrators at that period of time:
Ibn Abbas was four years old when the prophet arrived in Medina and the
hadith was mentioned. Ibn Abbas was born three years before Hijra. If we assume
that he was with the prophet at Hijra and Ibn Abbas heard every single bit of the
narration, he would have been four years at that time. According to many scholars
of hadith, a four year old child is not exactly the most reliable resource.
Abu Musa al Ashari came from the tribe of Ashar in Yemen. He converted to
Islam before Hijra and since that day till Khaibar, he was no where to be seen.
This is because the prophet sent him back to Yemen to spread the religion of Islam
and consequently he could not have been with the prophet in the 1st year of Hijra
since he was in Yemen. The first glimpse anyone had of Abu Musa was after
Abu Hurraira converted to Islam in his early years and was only seen in
Medina after Khaibar which occurred in the 7th year of Hijra. Now, if you weren’t
even at the event, then how can you narrate what happened?
Further examination of the narrators broadens our understanding of the validity of
the above hadith
Abu Hurraira was made the governor of Bahrain by Omar al khatab in the 21st year of
Hijra. In the 23rd year of Hijra, Omar discovers that Abu Hurraira was gaining an income
through the narration of a hadith. Omar said to him: “When I let you go to Bahrain, you
didn‟t even have shoes on your feet and now in Bahrain, you are buying horses for 1600
dinars each and I hear that you are narrating a hadith and making an income from it”.
This incident emphasizes that the narration of Ahadith became a profession after the death
of the holy prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Can we possibly accept a narration from a person
like Abu Hurraira? How can we accept the hadith as being valid if the narrators weren‟t
even present at the incidence?
Muawiya converted to Islam in the 8th year of Hijra which is seven
years after the mentioning of the hadith relating to the fast of Ashura.
Thus, can you label Muawiya as being a reliable source?
The meaning of the word “Ashura”
Ibn Ather who was one of the greatest scholars of the Arabic
language highlights that the word ‘Ashura’ possesses an old and
a new meaning.
•Taking the old meaning into perspective, “Ashura” refers to the
10th of any month.
•Moreover, the new meaning of the word Ashura was
established after the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (pbuh) and
it refers to the 10th of Muharram
Upon Ibn Ather’s examination of the Hadith relating to the
fast of Ashura, he raises the question:
“When was the hadith mentioned?”
The narrators of the hadith claim that the prophet
mentioned the hadith in the 1st year of Hijra. Thus, the old
usage of the word “Ashura” applies and when the hadith is
put into context, the prophet‟s statement “My people will
fast on Ashura in the same way they are fasting on
Ashura” means that the Muslims will fast on the 10th of
the month in which the prophet was in, when he was at
Medina. As a result we must be fasting on the 9th and 10th
of the month in which the prophet met the Jews at Medina.
Why are the Muslims fasting on 10th of Muharram?
Why is the propaganda always behind the 10th of
Muharram? The Prophet never mentioned Muharram!
The Hadith relating to the fast of Ashura claims that the Jews fast on the
day of the savior of prophet Moses and the children of Israel on the 10th of
Tishri (Jewish calendar) and this corresponds to the 10th of Muharram
(Islamic calendar). The hadith also claims that when the prophet (pbuh)
acknowledged that the Jews were fasting on Ashura, he commanded the
Muslims to fast on the 9th and 10th of Muharram.
Consequently, the existence of Judaism today further assists the
recovery of truth. Ask the Jews whether they fast on the day that
prophet Moses (pbuh) and the children of Israel were saved by the
Almighty Allah. Ask them whether the day in which they fast
corresponds to the 10th of Muharram. The answer is simply NO.
The Jews have no such fast and it NEVER corresponded to the 10th
of Muharram in the first year of Hijra. The only time the 10th of
Tishri corresponded to the 10th of Muharram was in the 29th year
after Hijra. Yet, the hadith claims that the prophet met the Jews in the
first year of Hijra!
Here is the List of days when Jews Fast.
However, the hadith relating to the fast of Ashura
claims that the Jews were fasting on the 10th of Tishri
due to the savior of Moses and the children of Israel!
Rather, the savior of the children of Israel occurred on
the 15th of Nissan in the Jewish calendar and the 15th
of Nissan in the 1st year of Hijra corresponded to
the 23rd of Ramadan. Hence, if there should be a fast
which is recommended then it should have nothing to
do with the 10th of Muharram but rather the 23rd of
When narrating the hadith
relating to the fast of Ashura,
were did this massive mistakes
The mistake was as a result of the naivety of the hadith writer.
Since the Islamic calendar begins with Muharram, the hadith
writer wrote the hadith on the basis that the prophet entered
Medina in Muharram. It is well known that the prophet reached
Medina in Rabi al awal. This big mistake is due to a hadith
writer that didn’t understand how the Islamic, Jewish and
(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 245: …. (when Prophet reached Madina) So all
the Muslims rushed to their arms and received Allah's Apostle on the summit of Harra. The
Prophet turned with them to the right and alighted at the quarters of Bani 'Amr bin 'Auf,
and this was on Monday in the month of Rabi-ul-Awal.)
The Prophet entered Medina in Rabi al awal but the
Islamic calendar began with Muharram due to the
suggestion of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (pbuh):
“The Islamic calendar will start just like the lunar
calendar begins. It will start from the year of Hijra
but the month of Muharram.”
Ironically, some people claim that the fast of
Ashura is such an important Sunnah to be
practiced while there are so many Sunnah of the
holy Prophet which they neglect.
If you are so concerned about the Sunnah of the prophet then
why didn‟t you speak out when the Sunnah of the prophet was
changed! Wasn‟t it a Sunnah of the prophet that the phrase
“Haya ala khair al amaal” is included in the Azan?
When the second Islamic ruler (Khalifa) came in, he simply
altered the Sunnah of the prophet and removed the phrase
above from the daily Azan. This is because he wanted Jihad to
be known as the „good task‟ (khair al amaal) and not prayer.
The fast of Ashura is receiving the most propaganda
because it has an agenda behind it and this agenda involves
diverting attention from what happened to the grandson of
the holy prophet Muhammad (pbuh) at Karbala. The aim of
the fast of Ashura is to divert people‟s attention from the
incident which resulted in the remorseless slaughter of the
Prophet‟s own grandson.
There is no greater event in the history of Islam than the
martyrdom of the master of the youth of paradise; the
murder of the Grandson of the greatest messenger.
Was Hazrat MUHAMMAD(s.a.w.a) SAD
upon killing of HUSSAIN(a.s) or HAPPY
like Bani Umayyah & Present day Nasibies?
Saudi Mufti, Al-Albaani records a ‘Sahih’ Hadith:
Gabriel came to me and informed me that my Ummah will kill my son Hussain. I
asked: ‘This Hussain?’. He (s) replied: ‘Yes’ he then brought me some of its soil
that was red. Narrated by Umm al-Fadhal bint al-Harith that she went to the
Holy Prophet (s) and said: ‘O Prophet (s), I have seen an unclear dream tonight’.
He (s) asked: ‘What is it?’ She replied: ‘I saw that as if a part of your body was
cut off from you and was placed upon my chest’. He (s) said: ‘You have seen
something good. Inshallah Fatimah will bear a baby boy and he will be upon
your chest.’ So Fatima gave birth to Hussain and he was on my chest as the
Prophet (s) had notified me. On one day I went to the Holy Prophet (s) and put
Hussain on his chest then he turned his face to the side and I witnessed his (s)
eyes flowing with tears. I asked: “Prophet of Allah (s), may parents be sacrificed
for you, what is wrong?” he (s) then mentioned it (the above hadith).
Silsilah Al-Ahadith Al-Sahiyah, Volume 2 page 462 Hadith 821
Bani Umayyah were successful in bringing fabricated
Traditions in Sunni Ahadith books, even their most Sahih
books like of Bukhari & Muslim.
And in Shia hatred, their opponents followed these
fabricated traditions with blind eyes.
In name of these fabricated traditions, they started
denying/neglecting the Sunnah of Prophet (saw) i.e. his
sorrow and his mourning the calamities of Hussain.
In name of these Umayyad's fabricated traditions, they
deny the sorrow of Ashura and want to replace it with Joy
and Happiness and declare it Eid.
Even if there was any fast of Atonement, still it is not
contrary to showing sorrow of Hussain on 'Ashura
(especially after it has been established that it was Sunnah
of Prophet too). But Nasibies try to declare this sorrow
Haram in name of this fabricated traditions by Umayyad