Chapter 10: The 10th Day of Muharram (Yaum-ul-‘Asyura))

Dear readers,

A small sharing from me to all of you…I hope you could benefits from it. 


Committed to the truth,


p/s: The article below was obtained from



Another virtue of Muharram is that the fasts during this month are second in excellence only to the fasts of Ramadhân. Although every day and every month belongs to AllâhTa’âla, Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam has mentioned that Muharram is Allâh’s month. By saying this, Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam intended to emphasise the added auspiciousness of this month.

Hadhrat Abu Hurayra Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu reports that Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallamsaid[1], “After the fasts of Ramadhân, the best fasts are those observed during Allâh’s month of Muharram.”

Hadhrat Ali Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu narrates that he was once sitting with Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam when a person asked, “O Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam! Besides the month of Ramadhân, in which month would you advise me to fast?” RasulullâhSallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam replied, “If you wish to fast in any month after Ramadhân, then fast in the month of Muharram because this is Allâh’s month. It has a day in which Allâh Ta’âla had accepted the repentance of a nation and in which Allâh Ta’âla will accept the repentance of others also.”[2] The nation whose Taubah (repentance) was accepted on a day in this month was the Bani Isrâ’eel. It was on the 10th of Muharram (Âshura) that the Bani Isrâ’eel (the Jews) and Hadhrat Moosa Alayhis-Salâm were saved from Fir’aun and his army. The details of this are soon to follow.

Some Ulema are of the opinion that the month of Muharram has been given prominence because of the day of Âshura. Others even say that when the Ahadeeth speak about the virtue of Muharram, they actually refer to the day of Âshura and not the entire month of Muharram. Therefore, in their estimation, it is only the fast of the day of Âshura that has special virtue and not the fasts of the entire month of Muharram. The details of this can be found in the book “Arfush Shazi” which is a commentary of Tirmidhi.

The Fast of the Day of Âshura (10th of Muharram)

The 10th of Muharram is a significant day in Islâmic history. Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam used to fast on this day and commanded the Sahabah Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhum also to fast. The fast of this day was initially Wâjib (compulsory), but the compulsion was waived when the fasts of Ramadhân were made Fardh. The Muslims then had a choice to either fast on this day or not to fast. However, the virtues of this fast have been expounded in the Ahadeeth. Among these is the virtue that the previous year’s sins are forgiven.

Initially the Muslims only fasted on the 10th but before his demise, Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam mentioned that if he were alive the next year, he would fast on the 9thas well. Sadly, Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam did not live to see the following Muharram. It is therefore necessary for Muslims to fast on the 9th and 10th of Muharram or on the 10th and 11th. Because certain narrations mention that one should fast a day before Âshura and a day after, it is best for a Muslim to fast on the 9th, 10th and 11th of Muharram (three days). However, to fast on only the 10th is Makrooh Tanzihi (i.e. an act disliked by the Shari’ah).

The history of this fast stems from the time of Hadhrat Moosa Alayhis-Salâm. Because it was on the day of Âshura that Hadhrat Moosa Alayhis-Salâm and the Bani Isrâ’eel were saved from Fir’oun, Hadhrat Moosa Alayhis-Salâm fasted on this day to express his gratitude to Allâh Ta’âla. The Bani Isrâ’eel also did the same and the day was always regarded as a day of fasting among the Bani Isrâ’eel. Emulating this practice of the Jews, the Quraysh also fasted on this day. Rasulullah Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam also kept this fast (in Makkah). When Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam arrived in Madinah, he asked the Jews why they observed this fast. They informed him that they fasted because it was on this day that Allâh Ta’âla delivered them from the tyranny of Fir’oun. RasulullâhSallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam said to them that the Muslims are closer to Hadhrat MoosaAlayhis-Salâm than they are. Therefore, Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam fasted on this day and instructed the Muslims to do so as well.

Although Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam initially preferred to do things according to the ways of the Ahlul Kitâb (Jews and Christians) to win them over to Islâm, Allâh Ta’âlalater commanded him to oppose their ways. It was then that Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam announced that he would fast on the 9th as well if he lived until the next Muharram. It is because the Jews fast only on the 10th that the Shari’ah regards fasting on the 10th only as a Makrooh Tanzihi (disliked) act. Muslims ought to oppose their ways and fast on the 9th as well[3]. We shall now discuss the Ahadeeth pertaining to the fast of Âshura.

Ahadeeth Concerning the Fast of Âshura

Hadhrat Â’isha Radhi-Allâhu ‘anha narrates that before the fasts of Ramadhân were made Fardh, people fasted on the day of Âshura. They also shrouded the Kabah on this day. However, when the fasts of Ramadhân were made Fardh, Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “Those who wish to fast (on the day of Âshura) may fast and those who do not wish to do so may omit the fast.”[4]

According to another narration, Hadhrat Â’isha Radhi-Allâhu ‘anha mentions that the Quraysh used to fast on the day of Âshura during the period of ignorance. RasulullâhSallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam also observed this fast. When Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam migrated to Madinah, he continued observing this fast and also instructed the Muslims to do so. However, when the fasts of Ramadhân were made compulsory, the instruction to fast on the day of Âshura was repealed. Thereafter, whoever wished to fast, fasted and whoever did not wish to fast did not fast.[5]

Hadhrat Rubayyi bint Mu’awwidh Radhi-Allâhu ‘anha reports that on the morning of the day of Âshura, Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam had an announcement made in all the quarters of the Ansâr that whoever had already eaten or drunk anything should complete the day (without eating and drinking) and whoever had not yet had anything to eat or drink should fast for the day. She reports further that they all fasted and also made their children fast. Whenever their children cried for food, they distracted them with woollen toys until sunset[6]. According to a narration of Muslim (Vol. 1 Pg. 360), they also took their children to the Masjid.

Hadhrat Salama bin Akwa Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu narrates that on the day of Âshura Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam sent a person to announce, “Whoever has eaten should complete the day (without eating) and whoever has not eaten should fast.”[7]These narrations make it clear that the fast of the day of Âshura used to be compulsory.

Hadhrat Abdullâh bin Abbâs Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu reports that when Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam came to Madinah, he noticed that the Jews fasted on the day of Âshura. When he asked them the reason for this, they replied, “This is a great day. It was on this day that Allâh Ta’âla delivered the Bani Isrâ’eel from their enemy. On this day Allâh Ta’âla granted victory to Hadhrat Moosa Alayhis-Salâm and the Bani Isrâ’eel. We fast because of the distinction of this day.” Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam then said to the Jews, “We are closer to Hadhrat Moosa Alayhis-Salâm than you.” RasulullâhSallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam also observed this fast and instructed the Muslims to follow suit.[8]

Hadhrat Abu Moosa Ash’ari Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu states that when Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam arrived in Madinah, he discovered that some Jews commemorated the day of Âshura and also fasted on this day. They regarded this day as a day of celebration. Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam said that the Muslims are more deserving of the fast on this day and he instructed the Muslims to fast on this day[9].

Hadhrat Abdullâh bin Abbâs Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu also mentioned that among all the fasts that are more virtuous than the rest, he did not see Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallamattach more importance to or look more forward to any fast more than the fast of the day of Âshura and those of Ramadhân[10]. This hadith makes it clear that the fast of the day of Âshura and the fasts of Ramadhân are accorded precedence over all other fasts and Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam was particular about observing them.

When Hadhrat Ameer Mu’âwiya Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu was travelling from Hajj, he happened to be in Madinah on the day of Âshura. Standing on the Mimbar (pulpit) of RasulullâhSallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam, he addressed the people stating, “O people of Madinah! Where are your Ulema? I have heard Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam say, ‘This is the day of Âshura. Allâh Ta’âla has not made its fast compulsory for you. I am fasting, so whoever wants to fast may do so and whoever does not want to fast need not fast.’”[11]

Hadhrat Ash’ath bin Qais Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu narrates that he once visited Hadhrat Abdullâh bin Mas’ood Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu on the day of Âshura and found him eating. Seeing him arrive, Hadhrat Abdullâh bin Mas’ood Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu called to him, “Come and join me for lunch, O Abu Muhammad.” Hadhrat Ash’ath Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu said, “Is today not the day of Âshura?” Hadhrat Abdullâh bin Mas’ood Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu asked him, “Do you know what is the day of Âshura?” When Hadhrat Ash’ath Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhuasked to be informed, Hadhrat Abdullâh bin Mas’ood Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu said, “This is a day in which Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam used to fast before the fasts of Ramadhân were made Fardh. When the fasts of Ramadhân were made compulsory, this fast was omitted.”[12] This has been reported from Hadhrat Jâbir bin Samura Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu and Hadhrat Abdullâh bin Umar Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu as well. Imâm NawawiRahmatullâhi Alayhi has mentioned that the jurists of the Ummah are unanimous about the fact that the fast of the day of Âshura is not Fardh but Mustahab (optional).

The Reward for the Fasting on the day of Âshura

Hadhrat Abu Qatâdah Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu narrated that Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “I have strong hope that Allâh Ta’âla will forgive the previous year’s sins for fasting on the day of Âshura.”[13] The sins referred to here are minor sins. Taubah is required to secure forgiveness for major sins.


[1]  Tirmidhi Vol. 1 Pg. 157. Imaam Tirmidhi has stated that the hadith is authentic.
[2]  Tirmidhi Vol. 1 Pg. 157. Although this hadith is somewhat weak, it is perhaps because of the strength of the hadith of Hadhrat Abu Hurayra Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu before it that Imâm Tirmidhî Rahmatullaahi Alayhi has mentioned that it is also sound.   
[3]  Durrul Mukhtaar Vol. 2 Pg. 91.
[4]  Bukhari Vol. 1 Pg. 217. 
[5]  Bukhari Vol. 1 Pg. 254 & 268.
[6]  Bukhari Vol. 1 Pg. 263.
[7]  Bukhari Vol. 1 Pg. 257 & 268. 
[8]  Bukhari Vol. 1 Pg. 268 & 562. 
[9]  Bukhari Vol. 1 Pg. 268 & 562. 
[10]  Bukhari Vol. 1 Pg. 268.
[11]  Bukhari Vol. 1 Pg. 268. 
[12]  Muslim Vol. 1 Pg. 358. 
[13]  Tirmidhi Vol. 1 Pg. 151. Imaam Tirmidhi Rahmatullaahi Alayhi states that this is the only hadith he knows that mentions this virtue. This is also the opinion of Imaam Ahmad Rahmatullaahi Alayhi and Is’haaq Rahmatullaahi Alayhi. 

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