Reflections on the day of Ashura
We reflect on the blessed tenth day of the sacred month of Moharram, the day of Ashura. We will get to know what this day encompasses of blessings, goodness, forgiveness and bounties. We will get to know why our prophet Mohammed (pbuh) singled this day out with importance and nobility and what is commanded of us of deeds and rejection of innovations.
1. First it is the day of salvation; it is the day Allah saved the prophet Noah (mgpbwh) from the flood as his ship landed on dry land and he fasted that day being thankful to Allah. And it is the day Allah saved the prophet Mosa (mgpbwh) and the suns of Israel from the pharos and drowned him and his people, Moses fasted that day being thankful to Allah. It was narrated by Imam Ahmad on the authority of Aby Horirah (mgpbwh) that he said, the prophet (pbuh) passed by some of the Jews who were fasting the day of Ashura and said “why are you fasting this day?” They responded this is the day that Allah saved Moses and the sons of Israel from drowning and drowned the pharaoh and it is the day that the ship of Noah landed on dry land. Noah and Moses fasted that day being thankful to Allah. The prophet responded saying, “I am more worthy to honor Moses and I am more worthy to fast that day” The prophet ordered his companion to fast.
Also, it was narrated in both Saheh on the authority of Abn Abbas that he said “the prophet (pbuh) arrived to medina and found that the Jews fast the day of A’shoura he inquired “why is that fasting” they responded, it is a righteous day Allah saved the son of Israel from their enemies and Mosa fasted being thankful to Allah, the prophet responded “I am more worthy to honor Mosa than you” The prophet (pbuh) fasted that day and commanded his companion to fast.
The prophet Mosa was mentioned with the prophet Noah as both where saved from drowning and their enemies were drowned. For that, the day of A’shoura “God willing” is a day of salvation to whomever fasted being thankful to Allah for saving the righteous among his servant and the demise of the disbelievers. The prophet (pbuh) commanded his Omah to fast it to bean instrument of salvation for them from their enemies and a safety from trials and difficulty in general.
2. The second of this day blessings and goodness, this day is a day of forgiveness from Allah to his servants, it is a day that Allah forgave the sons of Israel and saved them from the pharos. Allah in his generosity and kindness extended his forgiveness in that day to his servants of the Omah of Mohamed and all other prophets. It was narrated by Al-Termazie that Ali (mgbpwh) said that the prophet (pbuh) said to a man “if you were to fast a month after the month of Ramadan then fast the month of Moharram. It is the month of Allah, in it, a day Allah forgives an Omah and also in that day he forgives other Omah.” What is intended in this Hadeath with “the other Omah” is the Muslim Omah, and that is why the prophet (pbuh) loved for his Omah to increase their fast in that month to meet that exact blessed day of forgiveness.
The companion and the early Muslims adhered to that command and encouraged one another to fast that day. It was narrated by Al-Tabaranie on the authority of Al- Aswad Abn Yazeed that he said I asked Obid Abn Omayer about fasting the day of A’shoura he said “a sinned Omah repented that day and Allah forgave them. If you can fast it every time you witness it, then do.”
My dear brothers and sisters the reason of the command to fast that day can be attributed to the fact that the Muslim Omah follow and observe the deeds of the righteous among the servants of Allah in every good and honorable act.
The believers share the goodness of the righteous and are enemies of the wicked in their wickedness. Sayings of the prophet indicates that the motive to fast is to be in agreement with the Jews on their reasoning which is to be thankful to Allah for saving the prophet Mosa (mgpbwh).
The scholar derived from the saying of the prophet “pbuh” “I am more worthy to honor Mosa than you” and what was narrated by Bukarie that he said to his companion, “you are more worthy to honor Moses” so fast that day.”, that this blessed Muslim Omah is an extension in time and place to all the prophets and the righteous. And all the prophets and all the righteous among the previous Omahs are also a follower to the Omah of Mohammed. We the Omah of Mohammed more deserve to honor every prophet more than his people that they disobeyed him and denied his message. Allah said, to us, the Omah of Mohammed, after he illustrated the stories of the prophets in surah Al-Anbiya “Verily, this Brotherhood of yours is a single Brotherhood and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore serve Me (and no other)”. The single brotherhood in this verse is the faith of Islam, as all prophets are one Omah gathered around the ones of Allah, and Muslims followed the same path glorifying the one and only “Allah” and accordingly are more deserving and worthy to honor all prophets of Allah.
3. The third reason for the command to fast that blessed day is the promise from Allah “the merciful” of forgiveness and abolishing of sins of the past year. It was narrated in Saheh Muslim that Aby Qatadah (mgbpwh) said that the prophet (pbuh) said “fasting the day of A’shoura eliminates sins of the past year”
My dear brothers and sisters our duty towards a blessed day like this is not to ignore it or let it pass by like any other day. It is very important that we seek it and confirm the moon of the beginning of the month of Moharram as we seek the moon to fast the month of Ramadan. The prophet (pbuh) did just that, it was narrated by Al-Bokarie on the authority of Abn Abbas (mgbpwbot) that he said “I did not experience the prophet (pbuh) seeking to fast a day that is blessed more than any other day, other than the day of A’shoura or a month more than the month of Ramadan” The scholar explaining the meaning of “seeking the day” said, the prophet (pbuh) was always in a state of awareness to fast it to collect the rewards and harvest the blessings.
Now we all know my dear brothers and sisters what in this day of rewards, blessings, forgiveness and nobility. So let us seek it out as the prophet (pbuh) did and pay attention to it like the companion and early Muslim who fasted that day. Some fasted while they are traveling so they do not lose the promised rewards, among those righteous Abn Abbas, Abo Eshak Al-Sabieaie and Al-Zohrie. Al-Zohrie explained why he made sure to fast that day even if he was traveling saying, the month of Ramadan has days of makeup but the day of Ashura passes with no makeup for it.
The Sunah in fasting the day of Ashura is to add another day before it or another day after it but whomever fast only the tenth day of Moharram will get the rewards.
From Friday Khutbah of December 11, 2011 by Imam Mahmoud Sulaiman
Translation by: Dr. Mounib Shaaban