Allaah (SWT) gave the Prophet Moosa (SAW) and the believers victory over pharaoh and his army on the 10th of the sacred month of Muharram and the day is called yaumul ‘Aashoora (the day of ‘Aashooraa). It is a day, which has great merit. Prophet Moosa fasted on that day, thanking Allaah (SWT) victory over pharaoh and the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) also fasted that day and ordered the people to fast that day.

Ibn ‘Abbaas (RA) reported that when the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) arrived in Madeenah, he found the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Aashooraa. The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) asked them, "What is the significance of this day that you fast on?" They said, "It is the day of great significance when Allaah (SWT) delivered Moosa and his people and drowned pharaoh and his people. Moosa (SAW) observed a fast out of gratitude, and we also observe it." Upon this, the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said, "We have more right and we have a closer connection (awlaa’) to Moosa than you have." So Allaah’s Messenger (SAW) fasted (on the day of ‘Aashooraa) and gave orders that it should be observed.1

According to Muslim, the Prophet (SAW) said of fasting on ‘Aashooraa that "It is an expiation (of sins) for the previous year."2

According to many authentic ahadeeth, fasting on Aashooraa was obligatory, but later made voluntary when the obligation of fasting the month of Ramadhaan was revealed in the Qur’aan. 3

The Prophet fasted on the day ‘Aashooraa and commanded that the people should fast on that day. The sahaabah (His companions) said, "Messenger of Allaah (SAW), it is a day which Jews and Christians hold in high esteem." Thereupon the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said, "When the next year comes, inshaa’ Allaah, we would fast in the 9th (i.e. the ninth as well as the 10th, in order to differ from the disbelievers)." But the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) died before the advent of the next year. Therefore we should fast that day and one-day before it (the 9th), following the Prophet’s Sunnah and looking for the reward from Allaah (SWT).4


Notes


1Saheeh Muslim (Arabic / English) Vol. 2A, no. 1130R2

2Saheeh Muslim (Arabic / English) Vol. 2A, no. 1162. This refers to minor sins (An Nawawee, Vol. 1 p. 367)

3Saheeh Muslim (Arabic / English) Vol. 2A, no. 1125-1129R2

4Saheeh Muslim We may only single out this day as a day of fasting and not a day of celebration. Abu Moosa (RA) reported that the people of Khaybar (most of them were Jews) observed the fast on the day of 'Aashooraa and they treated it as a an 'Eed and gave their women ornaments and beautiful dresses to wear. The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said, "You (only) fast on this day" (Arabic / English) Vol. 2A, no. 1131R1.

Meanings of the Abbreviations.

(SWT) - Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala { Glory be to him the Most High }
(AS) - 'Alayhi Salaat Was Salaam { Upon him be prayers and peace }
(SAW) - Salallahu 'Alayhi Was Salaam { Prayers and peace be upon him }
(RA) - Radhi Allaahu Anhu { May Allaah be pleased with him }
(RA) - Radhi Allaahu Anha ( May Allaah be pleased with her }
(RA) - Radhi Allaahu Anhum or Anhuma { May Allaah be pleased with them }
(RH) - Raheemhullaah { May Allaah have mercy on him / her }