The Significance of the Day of Ashura

All praise is due to Allah, Lord, Cherisher, Nourisher and Sustainer of the worlds, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. Eternal salutations, peace and blessings upon the Beloved of Allah, the Choicest of creation, the Mercy to all the worlds, Sayyidunaa Wa Moulana Rasoolullah SAW; and upon all his pure wives, family and noble Companions RA.

Allah SWT says in Surah Ar-Ra`d, v 28: [Those who believe in the Oneness of Allah, and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of Allah; verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort.]

Sayyidunaa Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari RA reports that Sayyidunaa Moulana Rasoolullah SAW said: [The example of the one who remembers his Lord, in comparison to the one who does not remember Him, is like that of a living creature and a dead one.] (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

The Thikr (remembrance) of Allah SWT is one of the most fundamental pillars that maintain the foundation of Islam. Everything that we are commanded and recommended to carry out contains the Thikr of Allah SWT; and it is for this reason that Allah SWT has obligated Salaah five times daily, so that we can continuously have a direct connection with our Creator. Allah SWT has gifted and blessed us with many opportunities in order for us to gain His love, and it is up to us to exert strenuous efforts and continuously obey Allah SWT in every moment and aspect of our lives, so that this connection can be illuminated with the Divine Light of Allah SWT, thereby strengthening it, and allowing us to gain proximity to our Creator.


If the importance of Thikr in our lives is great to this extent, then everything that is based on the Thikr of Allah SWT is not only recommended, but also of great significance. This brings us to the greatness of the Day of `Aashoora (10th of Muharram), and clearly highlights the significance of commemorating it and other auspicious days in Islam.

The Arabic term `”Aashoora” is derived from the same root as “`Ish-ra”, which means association and companionship. `Aashoora is specifically used to refer to the tenth day of the month of Muharram (meaning sacred), symbolically marking the beginning of the Hijri Calendar. Sayyidunaa Rasoolullah SAW used to observe fasting on this day. Imam Muslim narrates in his Saheeh, on the authority of Sayyidunaa Abu Hurayrah RA that the Holy Prophet SAW said: “[The best of fasting after the month of Ramadaan is the month that is called Al-Muharram. And the best Salaah after the obligatory Salaah is that which is performed at night.”]

All the Prophets AS used to fast on the tenth day of Muharram, and the People of the Book followed them in this and so did the Quraysh during the period of ignorance. Imams Al-Bukhari RA and Muslim RA narrate on the authority of Sayyidunaa Ibn `Abbaas RA, who reported: “[The Holy Prophet SAW arrived in Al-Madeenah and found the Jews fasting on the Day of `Aashoora. He asked them the reason for this. They replied: This day is great, as it is the day on which Allah SWT saved the Banu Israa’eel from their enemy, and thus Nabi Musa AS observed its fast. The Holy Prophet SAW replied: Surely, I am closer to Musa AS than you. Thus, he observed its fasting and commanded that it should be fasted.”]

It is also narrated in Saheeh Muslim on the authority of Sayyidunaa Qataadah RA that a man asked the Holy Prophet SAW about fasting on the tenth day of Muharram. He replied: [“I hope that Allah will wipe out the sins of the entire year before it.”]

It is Also narrated in Saheeh Muslim, on the authority of Sayyidunaa Abu Qataadah RA is that Sayyidunaa Rasoolullah SAW said: [“The fasting of `Aashoora is emancipation expiation [use another word] for the entire year, and the fasting of `Arafah is emancipation expiation for two years; one year before it and one year after.”] Imam Abu Bakr Al-Bayhaqi RA says in his book, Fadaailul Awqaat: “This is for the one who is fasting on this day and he has committed sins that need to be obliterated. If he is fasting and his sins have already been obliterated due to another virtuous action, then his status is elevated manifold.”

Imams Ahmad and An-Nasaa’ee RA narrate on the authority of Sayyidah Hafsah Bint `Umar RA, the mother of the believers who said: “”; that Tthe Holy Prophet SAW never left out the fasting of the tenth day of Muharram, the first ten days of Muharram [double check?] and fasting on 3 days of every month.”]

Later on, before Sayyidunaa Rasoolullah SAW left this temporary world, he implemented fasting on the tenth day of Muharram together with a day before it or after it. Imam Ahmad RA narrates on the authority of Sayyidunaa Ibn `Abbaas RA that the Holy Prophet SAW said: [“Observe fasting on the tenth day of Muharram, and be different to the  differ to the Jews, by fasting one day before it or one day after it.”]

The day of `Aashoora is a day that Allah SWT grants repentance and forgiveness to those who seek it. Imam Tirmithi RA narrates on the authority of Sayyidunaa `Ali RA that the Holy Prophet SAW said to a man: [“If you fast for a month duringwithother than Ramadaan, then fast during the Muharram, as within it is a day that Allah has granted accepted the repentance to of some of His servants, and He accepts repentance of those who seek itdoes so for others.”.” [Retranslate]]

This teaches us that we should renew our Taubah (repentance unto Allah) sincerely on this day. This is done by admitting our sins in front of Allah with true regret and resolution not to return to sinning. When Sayyidunaa `Umar Ibn `Abdul `Aziz RA was leader of the Muslims, he wrote a letter to the Muslim cities, stating therein: “Say as your father Nabi Adam AS said: [“Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy on us, then we will be of those who have lost completely.”] And say like Nabi Nooh AS said: [“And if you do not forgive me and have mercy on me, then I will surely be of the unsuccessful.”] And say like Nabi Musa AS said: “[My Lord, verily I have wronged myself, so do forgive me; and Allah forgave him.”] And say like Nabi Yunus, the Companion of the whale said: [“There is no one worthy of worship but You. You are free from all blemishes; verily I have been from the wrong doers.”]

This day is significant for various reasons. Sayyidunaa `Abdullah Ibn `Abbaas RA reports that Sayyidunaa Moulana Rasoolullah SAW said: [“Allah SWT created Paradise on the day of `Aashoora, and he allowed Nabi Adam AS to dwell in it on the day of `Aashoora. Nabi Ibraheem AS the intimate friend of the Most Merciful was born on the day of `Aashoora and Allah saved him from the fire on the day of `Aashoora. Allah drowned Pharaoh on the day of `Aashoora and He raised Nabi Idrees AS to Him on the day of `Aashoora. Allah removed the suffering of Nabi Ayyoob AS on the day of `Aashoora and he forgave Nabi Adam AS on the day of `Aashoora. Allah also forgave the mistake of Nabi Dawood AS on the day of `Aashoora and He granted Nabi Sulaymaan AS his kingdom on the day of `Aashoora. Allah rose over the Throne on the day of `Aashoora, and the day of Accountability will take place on the day of `Aashoora.”]

Sayyidunaa Moulana Sheikh `Abdul Qadir Al-Jilani RA says in his book, “Al-Ghunya Li Taalibi Tareeqil Haqq”: “On this day Allah SWT saved Nabi Nooh AS and his companions in the ark, Allah SWT extinguished the fire that Nabi Ibraheem was thrown into by Nimrood, and Allah SWT spoke directly to Nabi Musa AS and gave him the ten laws. On this same day, Nabi Yusuf AS was reunited with his father, and Nabi Isa AS was raised to Paradise.”

He RA further says: “Worship Allah SWT as much as you can on the day of `Aashoora. Whoever fasts on this day is like one who has fasted all his life. Whoever clothes one who does not have clothing, Allah SWT will release him from a painful punishment. He who visits a sick person, Allah SWT will grant him reward that will not decrease. Whoever places his hand on an orphan’s head, or feeds a hungry person or gives water to a thirsty man, Allah SWT will feed him a feast from Paradise and will quench his thirst with Salsabeel (a wine of Paradise that does not intoxicate). Whoever takes a Ghusl on this day will enjoy excellent health and freedom from sickness and indolence. Whoever provides generously for his family on this day, Allah SWT will be generous to him throughout this year. And whoever applies Kuhl to his eyes will never suffer from eye-sore again, Insha Allah.”

In addition to this, the day of `Aashoora is so great especially because it is the commemoration of the martyrdom of the Noble grandson of Sayyidunaa Moulana Rasoolullah SAW, Sayyidunaa Imam Al-Husain RA Ibn Sayyidunaa Ali RA Ibn Abu Talib and his blessed family. Their immense sacrifice and distinguished martyrdom for the sake of Allah SWT paved the road for the cause of truth against falsehood; and laid a solidified foundation for the followers of Sayyidunaa Rasoolullah SAW. It was this unselfish sacrifice that revived the Muslim Ummah and helped Islam to become vibrant and alive in the hearts of the Muslims.

Sayyidunaa Abu Musa RA also reports that Sayyidunaa Rasoolullah SAW said: [“This is the day on which Allah granted repentance to some, so spend it by observing Salaah and fasting.”]

Sayyidunaa `Ali RA has said that on this day Allah forgave the people of Nabi Yunus AS. Imam Ahmad Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali RA states in his book, “Lataaiful Ma`aarif” that Allah SWT revealed to Nabi Musa AS: “ Command“Command your people to seek nearness to Me during the first ten days of Muharram. When the tenth day comes, tell them to come out and seek Me and I will forgive them.”]

In the light of these Divine verses from the Holy Qur’aan, the Day of `Aashoora teaches us and reminds us that we should be careful of our sworn enemy Iblees, as he was the reason that Nabi Adam AS was expelled from Paradise. It furthermore reminds us that Iblees attempts to mislead as much of mankind as he can, and that he will take to the Fire of Hell all those who obey him. Some of our Pious Predecessors have said that Nabi Adam AS was expelled from Paradise for committing one sin, and we want to enter Paradise, although we are sinners and commit many sins. It is mentioned in Lataaiful Ma`aarif: “For the reason of one mistake and one sin, the entire mankind has been expelled from Paradise, so tell me how you wish to be admitted into it, while at the same time, you have committed thousands of sins!”

Additionally, the Day of `Aashoora brings to our attention that we are continuously on a journey of Jihaad in this temporary abode. Therefore, we have to try as best as possible to control our Nafs (the lower human ego), and not succumb to its vain desires. ; and Aat the same time we must, reject Iblees, who is the one that beautifies sins, so that he can mislead us. When this journey has ended and we have been successful, then we will return to our true and eternal abode in Paradise, and be blessed with the gracious companionship of Allah SWT, His Beloved Rasool SAW and the Pious. This is the remuneration that Allah SWT has guaranteed to those who strive for it and earn it.

A Muslim should always take advantage of these blessed occasions and days of Islam, in order to gain closer to Allah SWT. In doing so, he should concern himself with knowing these auspicious occasions, so as to emulate the Sunnah of Sayyidunaa Rasoolullah SAW in all spheres of life. Sayyiduna Anas Ibn Malik RA reports that Sayyidunaa Rasoolullah SAW said: [“When you pass by the gardens of Paradise, then partake of its provisions. They enquired: And what are the gardens of Paradise? Sayyidunaa Rasoolullah SAW replied: The congregations of Thikr.”] (Narrated by Imam At-Tirmithi RA)

Today, we commemorate auspicious occasions like Muharram and the Day of `Aashoora, so that we can continuously remember Allah SWT. If our intentions are pure, then Allah SWT will grant us abundant blessings and shower us with His Divine Mercy. We ask Allah SWT to grant us all the guidance and inspiration to live Islam in every moment of our lives. EMay there always be eternal salutations, peace and blessings are upon Sayyidunaa Rasoolullah SAW, his pure household, family and companions, and upon all the Prophets AS and Friends of Allah RA. All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds.


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