“O Ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you…” [Surat Al-Baqarah v183]
Fasting on the Day of Ashura’ is one of the best days of fasting, outside of Ramadan. It occurs on the 10th of Muharram (Muharram, which is the start of the Islamic calendar and one of the four sacred months).
Fasting the Day of Ashura’ is a sunnah. If you want to fast, you can. If you leave it, there is not harm.
Narrated ‘Aisha (ra): “(The tribe of) Quraish used to fast on the day of Ashura’ in the Pre-lslamic period, and then Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) ordered (Muslims) to fast on it till the fasting in the month of Ramadan was prescribed; whereupon the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “He who wants to fast (on ‘Ashura’) may fast, and he who does not want to fast may not fast.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘The best of fasting after Ramadhan is fasting Allah’s month of Muharram.’ ” [Reported by Muslim]
Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), upon whom be peace, 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.” [al-Bukhari]
Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (ﷺ) 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]
So, the Prophet (ﷺ) fasted on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to fast (on that day).
In addition the Prophet (ﷺ) directed us to fast a day before 10th Muharram as well, or a day after 10th Muharram, so that we were distinguished from the jews:
“Fast a day before it or a day after it” [Ahmed, Bayhaqi]
In another narration, “Fast a day before it and a day after it” [Ahmed, Bayhaqi]
WHICH DAYS TO FAST
So if you wish to fast during this time, you should fast either of the following:
- 9th and 10th of Muharram, or
- 10th and 11th of Muharram, or
- 9th, 10th and 11th of Muharram
FASTING ON THIS DAY EARNS FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS THE PREVIOUS YEAR
The Prophet (ﷺ) 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]
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