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N.B. Rulings are given in accordance with the Hanafi school of thought

The history of Ashura

Q: What is the history of Ashura and what is the significance of the fast?

A: Prior to the Hijrah, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and the Sahabah (radiyallahu anhum) observed the fast of Aashura in Makkah Mukarramah as this conformed to the sharee’ah of Hazrat Ebrahim (alaihis salaam). Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) migrated to Madinah Munawwarah in the month of Rabi’ul Awwal. The following year (2 A.H.), in the month of Muharram, He (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) witnessed the Jews of Madinah Munawwarah fasting. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) inquired from them as to why they were observing the fast on that day. They exclaimed that it was on that day that Allah Ta’ala delivered Hazrat Moosa (alaihis salaam) and the Bani Israaeel from the tyranny and oppression of Fir’oun and his people, and Allah Ta’ala destroyed Fir’oun and his army. In expression of gratitude and thanks to Allah Ta’ala, Moosa (alaihis salaam) fasted on this day. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) remarked, “We are more worthy of following Moosa (alaihis salaam) than you.” Thereafter, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) continued fasting on this day and ordered the Sahabah (radiyallahu anhum) to fast as well. (Bukhari #2004)


Prior to the fast of Ramadhaan becoming compulsory, fasting on the day of Aashura was Fardh (obligatory). After the fast of Ramadhaan became compulsory, fasting on the day of Aashura became optional. However it still remained the practice of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radiyallahu anhum(. In the 11th year of Hijrah (after the fast of Aashura and prior to the demise of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam), He (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Observe the fast of Aashura and oppose the Jews by fasting a day before it or after it (as well) i.e. the ninth and tenth or tenth and eleventh of Muharram.” (Musnad Ahmad #2154)

Hazrat Abu Qatadah (Radiyalllahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “It is hoped that the past year's (minor) sins will be forgiven by fasting on the Day of Ashura.” (Tirmizi #752)

And Allah Knows Best

Darul Ihsan Fatwa Dept

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