Significance of Fasting on Ashura

by | Sep 18, 2018

Ashura is the term to signify fasting on the 10th day of the month of Muharram. Sahih Muslim reports that the Prophet (SAW) said regarding this day,

“ Fasting the day of ‘Arafah. I hope Allaah will expiate thereby for the year before it and the year after it and fasting the day of ‘Ashoora.’ I hope Allaah will expiate thereby for the year that came before it. ”

As Muslims, the Prophet (SAWW) is our role model, and we do our best to emulate his practices. It was the consistent practice of the Prophet (SAWW) to fast on the 10th of Muharram. Ibn ‘Abbaas(RA) said:

“ I never saw the Prophet (PBUH) so keen to make sure he fasted any day and preferring it over another except this day, the day of ‘Ashoora,’ and this month meaning Ramadaan.”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, [1867]

Why Fast on Ashura???

In terms of the significance of fasting on Ashura, Imam Bukhari narrates that Ibn Abbas (RA) said.

The Prophet (PBUH) came to Medina and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashoora.’ He said,

“What is this?”

They said,

“This is a good day, this is the day when Allaah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy, and Moosa fasted on this day.”

He said,

“We are closer to Moosa than you.”

So he fasted on this day and addressed the people to fast as well.

Fast on Two Days:

Fasting on Ashura thus expiates minor sins for the previous year. That significant crimes need separate repentance. 

In regards to fasting on the 9th or 11th day of Muharram. Imam At-Tirmidhi reported that Ibn `Abbas (RA) said:

We should fast on two days: the 9th and 10th of Muharram, to distinguish ourselves from the Jewish community.

(At-Tirmidhi, Hadith 686). 

The Prophet (SAWW) said that he intended to fast on both the 9th and 10th of Muharram to distinguish themselves from the Jewish community. However, the Prophet (SAW) passed away that year. So his Companions (RA) decided to implement fasting on the 9th and the 10th of Muharram. The scholars say that Ashura fast should be preceded by fasting on the 9th or fasting on the 11th of Muharram. Suppose the individual can fast those two days. If an individual cannot fast both days, he can fast any other day of Ashura as there is a great reward in it and should not be left.

May Allah (SWT) grant us the ability to fast Ashura and accept it. Ameen.

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