The Historical Significance of ‘Ashura

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SHAFAQNA – Hakam ibn Al-Arat (Radiyallahu ‘anh) relates: I went to Ibn Abbas (Radiyallahu ‘anh)… I said to him: Tell me about fasting on ‘Ashura. He said, “When you seen the new moon of Muharram count the (days) and (begin to) observe fast on the 9th.” I said to him: “Is it how the Holy Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) observed the fast?” He said, “Yes.” [Sahih Muslim]

Hazrat Ibn Abbas (Radiyallahu ‘anh) relates that when the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) said: “If I survive till next year, I will definitely observe fast on the 9th of Muharram (as well).” [Sahih Muslim]

(Note: What the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) meant was that he would also fast on the 9th as well as the 10th to which he was accustomed. We also should try fasting on the 9th and the 10th of Muharram.)

Hazrat Ibn Abbas (Radiyallahu ‘anh) reports that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) arrived in Madinah and found the Jews observing fast on the day of ‘Ashura… They said: “It is the day of great (significance) when Allah delivered Hazrat Musa (‘Alaihis-Salaam) and his people and drowned Pharoah and his people, and Sayyidina Musa (‘Alaihis-Salaam) observed fast out of gratitude. And we also observe it.” The Holy Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) responded: “We have more right, and we have closer connection with Sayyidina Musa (‘Alaihis-Salaam) than you have”; so Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) observed fast (on the day of ‘Ashura) and gave us orders to observe it. [Sahih Bukhari and Muslim]

‘Ashura is a day of great historical significance. On this day: Allah  accepted the repentance of Sayyidina Adam (‘Alaihis-Salaam) after his exile from Paradise; Allah saved Sayyidina Nuh (‘Alaihis-Salaam) and his companions in the ark; Allah extinguished the fire in which Sayyidina Ibrahim (‘Alaihis-Salaam) was thrown by Nimrod; And Allah spoke directly to Sayyidina Musa (‘Alaihis-Salaam) and gave him the Commandments. On this same 10th of Muharram, Sayyidina Ayyub (‘Alaihis-Salaam) was restored to health (from leprosy); Sayyidina Yusuf (‘Alaihis-Salaam) was reunited with his father Ya’qub (‘Alaihis-Salaam); Sayyidina Yunus (‘Alaihis-Salaam) was taken out from the belly of the fish; and the sea was divided as the nation of israel was delivered from captivity and Pharoah’s army was destroyed. ‘Ashura is also the day when Sayyidina Dawud (‘Alaihis-Salaam) was forgiven; the kingdom of Sulaiman (‘Alaihis-Salaam) was restored; Sayyidina Isa (‘Alaihis-Salaam) was raised to Jannah and Sayyidina al-Husayn (Radiyallahu ‘anh) (the Holy Prophet’s, Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam, grandson) achieved the honor of Martyrdom.1

Worship Allah as much as you can on ‘Ashura. Whoever fasts on this day is like one who fasts all his life. Whoever clothes a naked person Allah will release him from a painful punishment. He who visits a sick person, Allah will grant him a reward that will not be decreased. Whoever places his hand on an orphan’s head, or feeds a hungry person or gives water to a thirsty man, Allah will feed him a feast from Paradise and will quench his thirst with Salsabil (a wine that does not intoxicate). Whoever provides generously for his family on this day, Allah  will be generous to him throughout this year.

O’ Allah! Bless us to perform good deeds and gain their reward on ‘Ashura. Make the new year one of unity, cooperation and success for Muslims in this city and around the world. Ameen.

 

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