Friday, 16 October 2015

Fasting Muḥarram and ʿĀshūrāʾ

A continuation of this article



شهر الله المحرم

Fasting Muḥarram and ʿĀshūrāʾ

By Imam Wahbah az-Zuḥaylī, may Allah have mercy on him[1]

...As for fasting the month of Muḥarram, this is due to what Muslim has narrated in his Ṣaḥīḥ on the authority of Abū Hurayrah, who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, {The best fast after the month of Ramaḍān is Allah’s month of Muḥarram, and the best prayer after the obligatory is the night prayer.}’[2]

In another narration of Muslim, which is also in his Ṣaḥīḥ and on the authority of Abū Hurayrah: {The best fast after the month of Ramaḍān is the month of Allah that you call al-Muarram, and the best prayer after the obligatory is in the middle of the night.}[3][4]

As for fasting ʿĀshūrāʾ, this is due to what al-Bukhārī and Muslim have narrated on the authority of Ibn ʿAbbās, who said, ‘The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came and the Jews were fasting the day of ʿĀshūrāʾ, so he said, {What is this day that they are fasting?} They replied, ‘This is an immense day; it is the day on which Allah saved Mūsā and drowned Firʿawn, so Mūsā fasted it out of gratitude.’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, then said, {We have more right to Mūsā than you.} From then on, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, fasted it and commanded others to do so.

Fasting ʿĀshūrāʾ[5] is a sunnah[6] and not an obligation, and this is due to what has been narrated by al-Bukhārī and Muslim, as well as al-Bayhaqī in his Sunan; ʿAbdullah ibn ʿUmar said – when ʿĀshūrāʾ was mentioned in his presence - : ‘It was a day that the people of Ignorance[7] used to fast, so whoever wants to fast it can do so and whoever would prefer to leave it can do so.’

Al-Bayhaqī has narrated in his Shuʿab on the authority of Abū Qatādah, who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, {Fasting ʿĀshūrāʾ is expiation for one year, and fasting ʿArafah is expiation for the year before it and the year after it}’, i.e. expiation for two years.

It is recommended that the fast of ʿĀshūrāʾ be two days, i.e. one also fasts the day before it or the day after it, and this is due to what Muslim and Abū Dāwūd have narrated, as well as al-Bayhaqī in his Shuʿab, on the authority of ʿAbdullah ibn ʿAbbās, who said, ‘When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, fasted the day of ʿĀshūrāʾ and commanded others to fast it, they said, “O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that the Jews exalt.” The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, thus replied, {Next year, if Allah so wills, we will fast the ninth day as well.} And the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed away before the next year came.

Muslim has narrated that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, {If I live to next year I will fast the day of ʿĀshūrāʾ as well as the ninth day.} Al-Bayhaqī has related on the authority of Ibn ʿAbbās that he said, {Fast the ninth and tenth and be different from the Jews.} In another adīth, al-Bayhaqī relates on the authority of Ibn ʿAbbās that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, {If I were to remain alive I would command that you fast the day before or the day after the day of ʿĀshūrāʾ.}

It is recommended for the Muslim to be generous towards his family on the day of ʿĀshūrāʾ, and this is due to what al-Bayhaqī has related on the authority of Abū Saʿīd al-Khudrī, who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, {Whoever is generous towards his family on the day of ʿĀshūrāʾ, Allah will be generous towards him the rest of the year.}

Al-Bayhaqī has related on the authority of Abū Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, {Whoever is generous towards his family and his dependents on the day of ʿĀshūrāʾ, Allah will be generous towards him the rest of the year.}[8]

The benefit that one takes from these aḥādīth is that fasting the day of ʿArafah, Muarram, and the ninth and tenth of Muarram has an immense reward, and there is benefit therein for the one who fasts as there is a gap of only two months and a bit between Ramaān and these days.

Fasting is a sublime means of drawing nearer to Allah the Exalted and it has a great reward, not to mention the health, social, educational and moral benefits that fasting contains, in Ramaān and outside Ramaān, so whoever is able to fast should do so, and Allah will be pleased with him, and whoever is unable to fast, Allah will open up for him others means of attaining reward and avoiding punishment, because Allah is Most Merciful towards His slaves and He knows best about them. Thus, whoever misses a good opportunity to draw nearer to Allah the Exalted, Allah will prepare other opportunities for him.

And it has been made clear to us that fasting ʿĀshūrāʾ contains lofty evidence of the cooperation that exists between the Prophets, and that every Messenger completes the message of the Messenger who preceded him.

And today, how greatly do we need our connection to all the noble Messengers and their blessed calls to be strong, and to take knowledge from them that is of immense benefit to mankind.





[1] (tn): Translated from the Imam’s book Usūl al-Īmān wa al-Islām (Damascus: Dār al-Fikr, 2008), v.1 p.487-489
[2] Ar. ṣalāt al-layl
[3] Ar. fī jawf al-layl
[4] Ibn ʿAbbās explains that in the āyas: “And by the dawn, and the ten nights” [al-Fajr 89:1-2], the dawn (al-fajr) is Muḥarram, which is the dawn of the year.
[5] (tn): i.e. the 10th of Muḥarram
[6] (tn): i.e. recommendation, in that one is rewarded for doing it but not punished for leaving it off
[7] Ar. ahl al-Jāhiliyyah
[8] Al-Bayhaqī says in his Shuʿab (3/366): ‘These chains of transmission, even though they are weak, if one gathers them together they become stronger, and Allah knows best. The adīth of Abū Hurayrah has been mentioned in chains some of which have been declared authentic by al-Ḥāfi Abū al-Fal ibn Nāir. 

No comments: