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Thursday, November 7, 2013

MUHARRAM - Virtues & Duties










MUHARRAM


Virtues & Duties for the Muslims / believers; 

during this 


SACRED MONTH




 “Muharram “ which is the name of the First Month of the Islamic Calendar.


In the Name of Allah, Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.



1. It is the best of months for general voluntary fasts, after Ramadan.


2. It is especially recommended to fast the 10th of Muharram (known as 


the Day of `Ashura), with a day before it or after it. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-

Muhtar, quoting Kasanis al-Badai`]



 3. It is also virtuous to give in charity on this day.





 Extracts from Ibn Rajabs Lataif al-Ma`arif, regarding the month of 

MUHARRAM :


The Virtues of Fasting in the Month of 

Muharram 

and Its First Ten Days

Muslim reported from Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him), that the 

Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said , The best of fasts after 

the month of Ramadan are in the Month of Allah, which you call 

Muharram. And the best of prayer after the obligatory prayer is the night 


prayer. [Muslim, 1163]






This refers to general voluntary fasts according to Imam Ibn Rajab (Allah 

have mercy on him): These are best in the month of Muharram, just as 

the best general voluntary prayer is night prayer.




The virtue and honor of this month can be attested to by the fact that the 

Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) called it, the Month of Allah. 

(Shahr Allah) Such ascription is only made by Allah to the most special of 

His creation, such as the ascription of the Prophets Muhammad, Ibrahim, 

Ishaq, Ya`qub, and others to his slavehood (Allah’s peace and blessings 

be on them all), and His ascription of the House (Ka`ba) and the camel to 

himself.



Given that Allah ascribed fasting, between all spiritual works, to Himself 

[saying, It is Mine,] it was suitable that this month, which is also ascribed 

to Allah, be selected for this particular form of worship.


Fasting is a secret between the servant and his Lord. This is why Allah 

Mighty and Exalted says, [in the divine hadith (hadith qudsi)],  Every 

action of the son of Adam is his, except for fasting. It is Mine, and it is I 

who reward it. [Bukhari and Muslim, from Abu Hurayra]





The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) also said, The fasting 

person has two joys: one when he breaks his fast, and the other when he 

meets his Lord.[Muslim]




Night Prayer

As for voluntary night prayer (qiyam al-layl), it is superior to voluntary 

prayer during the day because it is closer to secrecy, and nearer to 

sincerity (ikhlas).


Allah Most High said, Lo! the vigil of the night is (a time) when impression 

is more keen and speech more certain. [Quran, 73.9]


This is because the time of the night vigil (tahajjud) is the best of times 

for 

voluntary prayer, and the closest a servant gets to his Lord. It is a time 

when the doors of the skies are opened, supplications answered, and 

needs fulfilled.




Allah Most High has praised those who wake up at night in His 

remembrance, supplication, seeking forgiveness, and intimate entreating 

(munajat), saying, Who forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear 

and hope, and spend of that We have bestowed on them. No soul knows 

what is kept hid for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do.

[Quran, 32.16-17]





And, Or he who pays adoration in the watches of the night, prostrate and 


standing, bewaring of the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his 

Lord? 

Say: Are those who know equal with those who know not? But only those 

of understanding will pay heed. [Quran, 39.9]



And He said to His Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace), And some 

part of the night awake for it, as voluntary worship for you. It may be that 

thy Lord will raise thee to a praised estate. [Quran, 17.79]




It has been said that those who worship at night will enter Paradise 

without reckoning, and that standing in night prayer shortens the length 

of ones Standing on the Day of Judgment.




This is why the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, Stick to 

night prayer, for it was the way of the righteous before you. Night prayer 

is a means of closeness to Allah Most High, of expiating for bad deeds, 

avoiding sins, and keeping away illness from one’s body. [Tirmidhi 

(3543], 

Bayhaqi, and others; it is a sound (hasan) hadith]



Similarly, it has been related that fasting is a means for good health. The 

Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) is reported to have said, Fast, 

and you shall have good health. [Ahmad, from Abu Hurayra]


Lovers have no time more joyous than when they are alone in entreating 

their Beloved. This is the healing for their hearts, and the great thing that 

they could long for.



This is why Abu Sulayman al-Darani would say,  The people of the night 

find more joy than the people of distraction (lahw) in their distractions. 

Were it not for the night, I would not like to remain living.


The Day of `Ashura: The Tenth of Muharram




It is mentioned in Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased 

with him and his father) that he was asked about fasting the Day of 

`Ashura [10th of Muharram]. He said, I did not see the Messenger of 

Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) fast a day while more avid to 

seek its virtue than this day, meaning the Day of `Ashura. [Bukhari 

(2006), and Muslim (1132)].




The Day of `Ashura has great virtue, and tremendous sanctity (hurma). 

The virtue of fasting it was known among the Prophets (peace be upon 

them all). Both Prophet Nuh and Prophet Musa (peace be upon them 

both) fasted it.




The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) used to fast this day even 

in Mecca, though he had not yet ordered others to do so, as mentioned in 

both Bukhari and Muslim. [Bukhari (2002), Muslim (1125)]



When he migrated to Medina, and found the People of the Book fasting 

this day and venerating it, he ordered the Muslims to fast it, and 

encouraged it so much that even the children would fast it.


It has been reported in both Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn Abbas (Allah be 

pleased with him), that, When the Messenger of Allah (blessings and 

peace be upon him) reached Medina, he found the Jews fasting the Day of 

`Ashura, so he asked them, What is this day you are fasting? They said, 

This is a tremendous day. Allah saved Musa and his people on this day and 

drowned Pharaoh and his people. Musa fasted it out of thanks, so we fast 

it too. The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said, 

And we are more deserving of Musa than you are. So he fasted this day, 

and ordered that it be fasted. [Bukhari (2004) and Muslim (1130)]




At the end of his life, the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon

 him) made the determination not to fast this day alone, but with another 

day [f: either before or after it], in order to be different from the People 

of the Book.




It has been reported in the Sahih of Imam Muslim (Allah have mercy on 

him), also from Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) that, When the 

Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) fasted the Day of 

`Ashura and ordered his companions to fast it, they said, O Messenger of 

Allah! This is a day that the Jews and Christians venerate. So the 

Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said, When next 

year comes  if Allah wills we will fast the Ninth [of Muharram with it]. But 

the next year did not come before the Messenger of Allah (blessings and 

peace be upon him) passed away. [Muslim (1134), Abu Dawud (2445)]





And it is reported in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad (Allah have mercy on 

him), from Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Allah 

bless him and give him peace) said, Fast the Day of `Ashura and be 

different from the Jews by fasting a day before it or a day after it. 

[Ahmad]





Giving in Charity on the Day of `Ashura




It has been reported from Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As (Allah be pleased 

with him), that Whoever fasts `Ashura it is as if he has fasted the entire 

year. And whoever gives charity this day it is like the charity of an entire 

year.



Mourning on the 10th of Muharram is an 

Innovation


As for the mourning and grieving of the Shiah on this day because of the 

martyrdom of Sayyiduna Husayn ibn Ali (Allah be pleased with him and his 

father), this is of the actions of those whose actions in this life are 

misguided while they think that they are doing well. Neither Allah Most 

High nor His Messenger (Allah bless him & give him peace) commanded us 

to mourn on the days of the tribulations of the Prophets, or their deaths, 

let alone anyone else.



[F: The fuqaha have mentioned that it is an innovation to consider 

Muharram a month of mourning. It is not disliked to marry in this month. 

It is a highly reprehensible innovation to participate in the rituals of the 

Shiah in mourning the death of Husayn (Allah be pleased with him).]




Some of the Virtues of the Day of `Ashura



It is a day in which Allah forgave an entire people. Tirmidhi relates that the 

Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to a man, If you want to 

fast a month after Ramadan, then fast Muharram, for it has a day in which 

Allah forgave an entire people, and He turns to others in repentance in. 


[Tirmidhi (841)]





Above is the extract from  Lataif al-Ma`arif  of Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (Allah have mercy on him)




Fasting on Ashura in the month of 

Muharram:



Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be 

upon our Prophet Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets and Chief of the 

Messengers, and upon all his family and companions.


Allah's sacred month of Muharram is a blessed and important month. It is 

the first month of the Hijri calendar and is one of the four sacred months 

concerning which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):



"Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so it 

was ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the 

earth; of them, four are sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not 

yourselves therein … "[Al-Qur'an 9:36]


Abu-Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet 

(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "The year is twelve 

months of which four are sacred, the three consecutive months of Dhul-

Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab Mudar which comes 

between Jumadah and Sha'ban." [Reported by al-Bukhari, 2958]



Muharram is so called because it is a sacred (muharram) month and to 

confirm its sanctity. Allah's words (interpretation of the meaning):" ... so 

wrong not yourselves therein … " mean do not wrong yourselves in these 

sacred months, because sin in these months is worse than in other 

months. It was reported that Ibn 'Abbas said that this phrase referred to 

all the months, then these four were singled out and made sacred, so 

that sin in these months is more serious and good deeds bring a greater 

reward.



Qatadah said concerning this phrase that wrongdoing during the sacred 

months is more serious and more sinful that wrongdoing at any other 

time. Wrongdoing at any time is a serious matter, but Allah gives more 

weight to whichever of His commands He will. Allah has chosen certain 

ones of His creation. He has chosen from among the angels Messengers 

and from among mankind Messengers. He chose from among speech the 

remembrance of Him (dhikr). He chose from among the earth the 

mosques, from among the monthsRamadhan and the sacred months, 

from among the days Friday and from among the nights Laylatul-Qadr, so 

venerate that which Allah has told us to venerate. People of 

understanding and wisdom venerate the things that Allah has told us to 

venerate. [Summarized from the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, may Allah have 

mercy on him. Tafsir of Surah at-Tawbah, ayah 36]





THE VIRTUE OF OBSERVING 

MORE NAFIL FASTS DURING 

MUHARRAM



Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "The Messenger of 

Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: 'The best of fasting 

after Ramadhan is fasting Allah's month of Muharram.' " [Reported by 

Muslim, 1982]



The phrase "Allah's month", connecting the name of the month to the 

name of Allah in a genitive grammatical structure, signifies the importance 

of the month. Al-Qari said: "The apparent meaning is all of the month 

of Muharram." But it was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of

 Allah be upon him) never fasted any whole month apart from Ramadhan, 

so this hadith is probably meant to encourage increasing one's fasting 

during Muharram, without meaning that one should fast for the entire 

month.



It was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon 

him) used to fast more in Sha'ban. It is likely that the virtue 

ofMuharram was not revealed to him until the end of his life, before he 

was able to fast during this month. [Sharh an-Nawawi 'ala Sahih Muslim]




ALLAH CHOOSES WHATEVER TIMES AND 

PLACES 

HE WILLS



Al-'Izz ibn 'Abdus-Salam (may Allah have mercy on him) said: "Times and 

places may be given preferred status in two ways, either temporal or 

religious/spiritual. With regard to the latter, this is because Allah bestows 

His generosity on His slaves at those times or in those places, by giving a 

greater reward for deeds done, such as giving a greater reward for 

fasting in Ramadhan than for fasting at all other times, and also on the 

day of 'Ashura', the virtue of which is due to Allah's generosity and 

kindness towards His slaves on that day … " [Qawa'id al-Ahkam, 1/38]






'ASHURA' IN HISTORY


Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "The Prophet (peace 

and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to Madinah and saw the Jews 

fasting on the day of 'Ashura'. He said, 'What is this?' They said, 'This is a 

righteous day, it is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from 

their enemies, so Musa fasted on this day.' He said, 'We have more right 

to Musa than you,' so he fasted on that day and commanded [the 

Muslims] to fast on that day." [Reported by al-Bukhari, 1865] "This is a 

righteous day" – in a report narrated by Muslim, [the Jews said:] "This is a 

great day, on which Allah saved Musa and his people, and drowned 

Pharaoh and his people." "Musa fasted on this day" – a report narrated by 

Muslim adds: " … in thanksgiving to Allah, so we fast on this day." 

According to a report narrated by al-Bukhari: " … so we fast on this day to 

venerate it." A version narrated by Imam Ahmad adds: "This is the day on 

which the Ark settled on Mount Judi, so Nuh fasted this day in 

thanksgiving," and "commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day" – 

according to another report also narrated by al-Bukhari: "He said to his 

Companions: 'You have more right to Musa than they do, so fast on that 

day.' "


The practice of fasting on 'Ashura' was known even in the days 

of Jahiliyyah, before the Prophet's mission. It was reported that 'A'ishah 

(may Allah be pleased with her) said: "The people of Jahiliyyah used to 

fast on that day … "



Al-Qurtubi said: "Perhaps Quraysh used to fast on that day on the basis of 

some past law, such as that of Ibrahim, upon whom be peace."


It was also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be 

upon him) used to fast on 'Ashura' in Makkah, before he migrated to 

Madinah. When he migrated to Madinah, he found the Jews celebrating 

this day, so he asked them why, and they replied as described in 

the hadith quoted above. He commanded the Muslims to be different from

 the Jews, who took it as a festival, as was reported in the hadith of Abu 

Musa (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: "The Jews used to take 

the day of 'Ashura' as a festival[according to a report narrated by 

Muslim: 






the day of 'Ashura' was venerated by the Jews, who took it as a festival. 

According to another report also narrated by Muslim: the people of 


Khaybar (the Jews) used to take it as a festival and their women would 

wear their jewellery and symbols on that day]. The Prophet (peace and 

blessings of Allah be upon him) said: 'So you [Muslims] should fast on that 

day.' " [Reported by al-Bukhari] Apparently the motive for commanding 

the Muslims to fast on this day was the desire to be different from the 

Jews, so that the Muslims would fast when the Jews did not, because 

people do not fast on a day of celebration. [Summarized from the words 

of al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar – may Allah have mercy on him – in Fath al-Bari 

Sharh 'ala Sahih al-Bukhari]


Fasting on 'Ashura' was a gradual step in the process of introducing 


fasting as a prescribed obligation in Islam. Fasting appeared in three 

forms. When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon

 him) came to Madinah, he told the Muslims to fast on three days of every 

month and on the day of 'Ashura', then Allah made fasting obligatory 

when He said (interpretation of the meaning): " … observing the fasting is 

prescribed for you … " [Al-Qur'an 2:183] [Ahkam al-Qur'an by al-Jassas, 



part 1]


The obligation was transferred from the fast of 'Ashura' to the fast 

of Ramadhan, and this one of the proofs in the field of Usul al-Fiqhthat it is 

possible to abrogate a lighter duty in favour of a heavier duty.


Before the obligation of fasting 'Ashura' was abrogated, fasting on this 

day was obligatory, as can be seen from the clear command to observe 

this fast. Then it was further confirmed later on, then reaffirmed by 

making it a general command addressed to everybody, and once again by 

instructing mothers not to breastfeed their infants during this fast. It was 

reported from Ibn Mas'ud that when fastingRamadhan was made 

obligatory, the obligation to fast 'Ashura' was lifted, i.e., it was no longer 

obligatory to fast on this day, but it is still desirable (mustahabb).


THE VIRTUES OF 

FASTING 'ASHURA'



Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: "I never saw the 

Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so keen to 

fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day 

of 'Ashura', and this month, meaning Ramadhan."[Reported by al-

Bukhari, 1867]



The meaning of his being keen was that he intended to fast on that day in 

the hope of earning the reward for doing so. The Prophet (peace and 

blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "For fasting the day of 'Ashura', I 

hope that Allah will accept it as expiation for the year that went 

before." [Reported by Muslim, 1976] This is from the bounty of Allah 

towards us: for fasting one day He gives us expiation for the sins of a 

whole year. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty.


WHICH DAY IS 'ASHURA'?


An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) 

said: "'Ashura' and Tasu'a' are two elongated names [the vowels are 

elongated] as is stated in books on the Arabic language. Our companions 

said: 'Ashura' is the tenth day of Muharram and Tasu'a' is the ninth day. 

This is our opinion, and that of the majority of scholars. This is the 

apparent meaning of the ahadith and is what we understand from the 

general wording. It is also what is usually understood by scholars of the 

language." [Al-Majmu'])



'Ashura' is an Islamic name that was not known at the time of Jahiliyyah. 

[Kashshaf al-Qina', part 2, Sawm Muharram]




Ibn Qudamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: "'Ashura' is the tenth 

day of Muharram. This is the opinion of Sa'id ibn al-Musayyib and al-

Hasan. It was what was reported by Ibn 'Abbas, who said: 'The 

Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 

commanded us to fast 'Ashura', the tenth day of Muharram.' [Reported 

by at-Tirmidhi, who said, a sahih hasan hadith] It was reported that Ibn 


Abbas said: 'The ninth,' and reported that the Prophet (peace and 

blessings of Allah be upon him) used to fast the ninth. [Reported by 

Muslim] 'Ata' reported that he said, 'Fast the ninth and the tenth, and do 

not be like the Jews.' If this is understood, we can say on this basis that it 

is mustahabb (encouraged) to fast on the ninth and the tenth, for that 

reason. This is what Ahmad said, and it is the opinion of Ishaq."



IT IS MUSTAHABB (ENCOURAGED)

 TO FAST TASU'A' WITH 'ASHURA'



'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: "When 

the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fasted 

on 'Ashura' and commanded the Muslims to fast as well, they said, 'O 

Messenger of Allah, it is a day that is venerated by the Jews and 

Christians.' The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon 

him) said, 'If I live to see the next year, in sha Allah, we will fast on the 

ninth day too.' But it so happened that the Messenger of Allah (peace and 

blessings of Allah be upon him) passed away before the next year 

came." [Reported by Muslim, 1916]



Ash-Shafi'i and his companions, Ahmad, Ishaq and others said: "It 

is mustahabb to fast on both the ninth and tenth days, because the 

Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fasted on the tenth, 

and intended to fast on the ninth."



On this basis it may be said that there are varying degrees of 

fasting 'Ashura', the least of which is to fast only on the tenth and the 

best of which is to fast the ninth as well. The more one fasts in Muharram,

 the better it is.



THE REASON WHY IT IS 

MUSTAHABB TO FAST ON TASU'A'


An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: "The scholars – our 

companions and others – mentioned several reasons why it 

ismustahabb to fast on Tasu'a':



"The intention behind it is to be different from the Jews, who only 

venerate the tenth day. This opinion was reported from Ibn 'Abbas …


"The intention is to add another day's fast to 'Ashura'. This is akin to the 

prohibition on fasting a Friday by itself, as was mentioned by al-Khattabi 

and others.



"To be on the safe side and make sure that one fasts on the tenth, in 

case 

there is some error in sighting the crescent moon at the beginning 

of Muharram and the ninth is in fact the tenth."



The strongest of these reasons is being different from the People of the 

Book. Shaykh ul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) 

said: "The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade 

imitating the People of the Book in many ahadith, for example, his words 

concerning 'Ashura': 'If I live until the next year, I will certainly fast on 

the 

ninth day.' " [Al-Fatawa al-Kubra, part 6, Sadd adh-Dhara'i' al-Mufdiyyah 


ila'l-Maharim]


Ibn Hajar (may Allah be pleased with him) said in his commentary on 

the hadith "If I live until the next year, I will certainly fast on the ninth 

day" and "What he meant by fasting on the ninth day was probably not 

that he would limit himself to that day, but would add it to the tenth, 
either 

to be on the safe side or to be different from the Jews and Christians, 

which is more likely. This is also what we can understand from some of 

the 

reports narrated by Muslim." [Fath, 4/245]


RULING ON FASTING ONLY 

ON THE DAY OF 'ASHURA'



Shaykh ul-Islam said: "Fasting on the day of 'Ashura' is an expiation for a 

year, and it is not makruh to fast only that day … " [Al-Fatawa al-Kubra, 

part 5] In Tuhfat al-Muhtaj by Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, it says: "There is 

nothing wrong with fasting only on 'Ashura'." [Part 3, Bab Sawm at-

Tatawwu']


FASTING ON 'ASHURA' EVEN IF

 IT IS A SATURDAY OR A FRIDAY



At-Tahawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: "The Messenger of Allah 


(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) allowed us to fast 

on'Ashura' and urged us to do so. He did not say that if it falls on a 

Saturday we should not fast. This is evidence that all days of the week 

are 

included in this. In our view – and Allah knows best – it could be the case 

that even if this is true (that it is not allowed to fast on Saturdays), it is so 

that we do not venerate this day and refrain from food, drink and 

intercourse, as the Jews do. As for the one who fasts on a Saturday 

without intending to venerate it, and does not do so because the Jews 

regard it as blessed, then this is not makruh… " [Mushkil al-Athar, part 

2, Bab Sawm Yawm as-Sabt]



The author of Al-Minhaj said: "It is disliked (makruh) to fast on a Friday 

alone … But it is no longer makruh if you add another day to it, as 

mentioned in the sahih report to that effect. A person may fast on a 

Friday 

if it coincides with his habitual fast, or he is fasting in fulfilment of a vow, 

or he is making up an obligatory fast that he has missed, as was stated in 

a sahih report."




Ash-Sharih said in Tuhfat al-Muhtaj: "If it coincides with his habitual fast – 

i.e., such as if he fasts alternate days, and a day that he fasts happens to 

be a Friday, if he is fasting in fulfilment of a vow, etc." – this also applies 

to 

fasting on days prescribed in Shari'ah, such as'Ashura' or 'Arafah. 

[Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, part 3, Bab Sawm al-Tatawwu']



Al-Bahuti (may Allah have mercy on him) said: "It is makruh to 

deliberately 

single out a Saturday for fasting, because of the hadith of 'Abdullah ibn 

Bishr, who reported from his sister: 'Do not fast on Saturdays except in 

the case of obligatory fasts' [reported by Ahmad with a jayyid isnad and 

by al-Hakim, who said: according to the conditions of al-Bukhari], and 

because it is a day that is venerated by the Jews, so singling it out for 

fasting means being like them … except when a Friday or Saturday 

coincides with a day when Muslims habitually fast, such as when it 

coincides with the day of 'Arafah or the day of 'Ashura', and a person has 

the habit of fasting on these days, in which case it is not makruh, because 

a person's habit carries some weight." [Kashshaf al-Qina', part 2, Bab 


Sawm al-Tatawwu']


WHAT SHOULD BE DONE IF 

THERE IS CONFUSION ABOUT THE 

BEGINNING OF THE MONTH?


Ahmad said: "If there is confusion about the beginning of the month, one 

should fast for three days, to be sure of fasting on the ninth and tenth 

days." [Al-Mughni by Ibn Qudamah, part 3 – as-Siyam – Siyam 'Ashur']


If a person does not know when Muharram began, and he wants to be 

sure of fasting on the tenth, he should assume that Dhul-Hijjahwas thirty 

days – as is the usual rule – and should fast on the ninth and tenth. 

Whoever wants to be sure of fasting the ninth as well should fast the 

eight, ninth and tenth (then if Dhul-Hijjah was twenty-nine days, he can 

be sure of having fasted
 Tasu'a' and 'Ashura').




But given that fasting on 'Ashura' is mustahabb rather than wajib, people 

are not commanded to look for the crescent of the new moon 

of Muharram as they are to do in the case of Ramadhan and Shawwal.


FASTING 'ASHURA' – 

FOR WHAT DOES IT OFFER 

EXPIATION?



Imam an-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: "It expiates for all 

minor sins, i.e., it brings forgiveness of all sins except major sins." Then 

he 

said (may Allah have mercy on him): "Fasting the day of 'Arafah expiates 

for two years, and the day of 'Ashura' expiates for one year. If when a 

person says 'Amin' it coincides with the 'Amin' of the angels, he will be 

forgiven all his previous sins … Each one of the things that we have 

mentioned will bring expiation. If there are minor sins for which expiation 

is needed, expiation for them will be accepted; if there are no minor sins 

or major sins, good deeds will be added to his account and he will be 

raised in status … If he had committed major sins but no minor sins, we 

hope that his major sins will be reduced." [Al-Majmu' Sharh al-

Muhadhdhab, part 6, Sawm Yawm 'Arafah]



Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (ay Allah have mercy on himmay Allah 

have mercy on him) said: "Taharah, salah, and fasting in Ramadhan, on 

day of 'Arafah and on 'Ashura' expiate for minor sins only." [Al-Fatawa al-

Kubra, part 5]




NOT RELYING TOO MUCH ON 

THE REWARD FOR FASTING



Some people who are deceived rely too much on things like fasting 

on 'Ashura' or the day of 'Arafah, to the extent that some of them say, 

"Fasting on 'Ashura' will expiate for the sins of the whole year, and 

fasting on the day of 'Arafah will bring extra rewards." Ibn al-Qayyim 

said: "This misguided person does not know that fasting in Ramadhan and 

praying five times a day are much more important than fasting on the day 


of 'Arafah and 'Ashura', and that they expiate for the sins between 

one Ramadhan and the next, or between one Friday and the next, so 

long 

as one avoids major sins. But they cannot expiate for minor sins unless 

one also avoids major sins; when the two things are put together, they 

have the strength to expiate for minor sins. Among those deceived people 

may be one who thinks that his good deeds are more than his sins, 

because he does not pay attention to his bad deeds or check on his sins, 

but if he does a good deed he remembers it and relies on it. This is like the 

one who seeks Allah's forgiveness with his tongue (i.e., by words only), 

and glorifies Allah by saying "Subhanallah" one hundred times a day, then 

he backbites about the Muslims and slanders their honour, and speaks all 

day long about things that are not pleasing to Allah. This person is always 

thinking about the virtues of his tasbihat (saying "Subhanallah") 

and tahlilat (saying "La ilaha illallah") but he pays no attention to what 

has 

been reported concerning those who backbite, tell lies and slander 

others, 

or commit other sins of the tongue. They are completely deceived." [Al-

Mawsu'ah al-Fiqhiyyah, part 31,Ghurur]



FASTING 'ASHURA' WHEN ONE

 STILL HAS DAYS 

TO MAKE UP FROM RAMADHAN



The fuqaha' differed concerning the ruling on observing voluntary fasts 


before a person has made up days that he or she did not fast 

inRamadhan. The Hanafis said that it is permissible to observe voluntary 

fasts before making up days from Ramadhan, and it is notmakruh to do 

so, because the missed days do not have to be made up straight away. 

The Malikis and Shafi'is said that it is permissible but is makruh, because it 

means that one is delaying something obligatory. Ad-Dusuqi said: "It 

is makruh to observe a voluntary fast when one still has to make up an 

obligatory fast, such as a fast in fulfilment of a vow, or a missed 

obligatory 

fast, or a fast done as an act of expiation (kafarah), whether the 

voluntary fast which is being given priority over an obligatory fast is 

something confirmed inShari'ah or not, such as 'Ashura' and the ninth 

of Dhul-Hijjah, according to the most correct opinion." The Hanbalis said 

that it is haramto observe a voluntary fast before making up any fasts 

missed in Ramadhan, and that a voluntary fast in such cases does not 

count, even if there is plenty of time to make up the obligatory fast. So a 

person must give priority to the obligatory fasts until he has made them 

up. [Al-Mawsu'ah al-Fiqhiyyah, part 28, Sawm at-Tatawwu']




Muslims must hasten to make up any missed fasts after Ramadhan, so 

that they will be able to fast 'Arafah and 'Ashura' without any problem. If 

a person fasts 'Arafah and 'Ashura' with the intention from the night 

before of making up for a missed fast, this will be good enough to make 

up 

what he has missed, for the bounty of Allah is great.




INNOVATIONS 

COMMON ON 'ASHURA'



Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) was 

asked 

about the things that people deople do on 'Ashura', such as wearing kohl, 

taking a bath (ghusl), wearing henna, shaking hands with one another, 

cooking grains (hubub), showing happiness and so on. Was any of this 

reported from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in 

a sahih hadith, or not? If nothing to that effect was reported in a sahih 

hadith, is doing these things bid'ah, or not? Is there any basis for what the 

other group do, such as grieving and mourning, going without anything to 

drink, eulogizing and wailing, reciting in a crazy manner, and rending their 

garments?rments?



His reply was: "Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Nothing to that 

effect has been reported in any sahih hadith from the Prophet (peace and 

blessings of Allah be upon him) or from his Companions. None of the 

Imams of the Muslims encouraged or recommended such things, neither 

the four Imams, nor any others. No reliable scholars have narrated 

anything like this, neither from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah 

be upon him), nor from the Sahabah, nor from the Tabi'in; neither in 

any sahih report or in a da'if (weak) report; neither in the books of Sahih, 

nor in as-Sunan, nor in the Musnads. No hadith of this nature was known 

during the best centuries, but some of the later narrators 

reported ahadith like the one which says, 'Whoever puts kohl in his eyes 

on the day of 'Ashura' will not suffer from eye disease in that year, and 

whoever takes a bath (does ghusl) on the day of 'Ashura' will not get sick 

in that year,' and so on. They also reported a fabricated hadith that is 

falsely attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon 

him), which says, 'Whoever is generous to his family on the day 

of 'Ashura', Allah will be generous to him for the rest of the year.' 

Reporting all of this from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be 

upon him) is tantamount to lying."



Then he [Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him)] discussed in 

brief the tribulations that had occurred in the early days of 

thisUmmah and 

the killing of al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him), and what the 

various sects had done because of this. Then he said:


"An ignorant, wrongful group – who were either heretics and hypocrites, 

or misguided and misled – made a show of allegiance to him and the 

members of his household, so they took the day of 'Ashura' as a day of 

mourning and wailing, in which they openly displayed the rituals 

of jahiliyyah such as slapping their cheeks and rending their garments, 

grieving in the manner of the jahiliyyah...…




"The Shaytan made this attractive to those who are misled, so they took 

the day of 'Ashura' as an occasion of mourning, when they grieve and 

wail, recite poems of grief and tell stories filled with lies. Whatever truth 

there may be in these stories serves no purpose other than the renewal 

of their grief and sectarian feeling, and the stirring up of hatred and 

hostility among the Muslims, which they do by cursing those who came 

before them …

"The evil and harm that they do to the Muslims cannot be enumerated by 

any man, no matter how eloquent he is. Some others – either Nasibis who 

oppose and have enmity towards al-Husayn and his family or ignorant 

people who try to fight evil with evil, corruption with corruption, lies with 

lies and bid'ah with bid'ah – opposed them by fabricating reports in favour 

of making the day of 'Ashura' a day of celebration, by 

wearing kohl and henna, spending money on one's children, cooking 

special dishes and other things that are done on 'Eid and special 

occasions. These people took the day of 'Ashura' as a festival like 'Eid, 

whereas the others took it as a day of mourning. Both are wrong, and 

both go against the Sunnah, even though the other group (those who 

take it as a day of mourning) are worse in intention and more ignorant 

and more plainly wrong …



"Neither the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) nor his 

successors (the khulafa' ar-rashidun) did any of these things on the day 

of 'Ashura', they neither made it a day of mourning nor a day of 

celebration …



"As for the other things, such as cooking special dishes with or without 

grains, or wearing new clothes, or spending money on one's family, or 

buying the year's supplies on that day, or doing special acts of worship 

such as special prayers or deliberately slaughtering an animal on that day, 

or saving some of the meat of the sacrifice to cook with grains, or 

wearing kohl and henna, or taking a bath (ghusl), or shaking hands with 

one another, or visiting one another, or visiting the mosques and shrines 

and so on … all of this is reprehensible bid'ah and is wrong. None of it has 

anything to do with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace and 

blessings of Allah be upon him) or the way of the Khulafa' ar-Rashidun. It 

was not approved of by any of the Imams of the Muslims, not Malik, not 

ath-Thawri, not al-Layth ibn Sa'ad, not Abu Hanifah, not al-Awza'i, not al-

Shafi'i, not Ahmad ibn Hanbal, not Ishaq ibn Rahwayh, not any of the 

Imams and scholars of the Muslims." [Al-Fatawa al-Kubra by Ibn 

Taymiyyah]


Ibn al-Hajj (may Allah have mercy on him) mentioned that one of 

the bid'ah on 'Ashura' was deliberately paying zakat on this day, late or 

early, or slaughtering a chicken just for this occasion, or – in the case of 

women – using henna. [Al-Madkhal, part 1, Yawm 'Ashura']



We ask Allah to make us followers of the Sunnah of His Noble Prophet, to 

make us live in Islam and die in a state of faith. May He help us to do that 

which He loves and which pleases Him. We ask Him to help us to 

remember Him and be thankful to Him, to worship Him properly and to 

accept our good deeds. May He make us of those who are pious and fear 

Him. May Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and 

companions.