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ʿĀshūrāʾ is a sacred day to Muslims celebrated on the 10th of Muḥarram, the first month of the Muslim calendar (Gregorian date varies). The name comes from the Arabic word for the number ten. The word Muḥarram comes from the Arabic root ḥ-r-m, which can indicate “forbidden” (ḥarām). Traditionally, Muḥarram is a sacred month prohibiting warfare in the four (Dhu al-Qadah, Dhu’l-Hijjah, Muharram, and Rajab).

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) designated it as a recommended fasting day and declared it a worthy act for his followers. He also suggested fasting the day before and after. Fasting forgives one’s sins from the preceding year. It is also a day for charity, visiting the sick, and extra worship. This blog will cover many topics related to the day of Ashura, so stay with us till the end.

Interesting Facts About the Day of Ashura

Ashura: Special From the Very Beginning

In Imam Al-Ghazali’s Mukhashfa al-Qulub, he wrote, when asked Umar ibn Al-Khattab (ra) why the day of ‘Ashura is considered so honorable. Umar (ra) mentioned a few occurrences on ‘Ashura, including

  • Allah created the skies and earth on this day and the Preserved Tablet.
  • Allah created Angel Jibril, Adam (as), and Hawwa (as).
  • Allah created Jannah.
  • Allah allowed Adam (as) to live in Jannah.
  • The first rain on earth fell on Ashura.

As a result, Ashura was full of significant events even before the dawn of human history.

As Ibn Katheer stated, Allah chooses from among the days He has created. Some are more wonderful and special than others. Everything was written and prepared by the best planners, so it is not a coincidence that these events occurred in Ashura.

On this day, Allah (SWT) released Musa (as) and the children of Israel.

Ashura commemorates the day when Allah (SWT) rescued Prophet Musa (as) and the Children of Israel from the evil Pharaoh of Egypt. After years of torment and servitude, Allah (SWT) split the Red Sea, allowing them to flee to freedom.

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) described this day in a hadith as “a magnificent day when Allah saved Musa and his people and drowned Pharaoh and his people.” (Sahih Muslim.)

The Prophet Nuh (as) and his companions departed the Ark on this day.

Following the great flood, Nuh’s (as) Ark landed atop Mount Judi in modern-day Turkey on the Day of Ashura. The deluge (flood) continued for six months, following forty days and nights of rain. However, Allah (SWT) spared Nuh (as), his family, and his companions from harm.

“O Nuh, disembark in peace from Us, and blessings on you and the people [descending] from those with you.” [Qur’an, 11:48]

It recalls the Battle of Karbala 1400 years ago.

Thousands of years later, on the same day, another momentous event took place: Imam Hussain (ra), grandson of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), was martyred in the Battle of Karbala alongside his family and allies.

Imam Hussain (ra) had journeyed to Iraq in response to the Muslims of Kufa’s invitation to visit their country and pledge allegiance to him as ruler. 

However, when Imam Hussain (ra) arrived in Karbala (modern-day Iraq), he was confronted with brutal and cruel soldiers. Imam Hussain (ra) and his children were denied water for days in the scorching desert, and when he was murdered, he was thirsty. His youngest kid, who was just six months old, perished of dehydration during this war in Karbala, according to legend.

The blessings will be multiplied on the day of Ashura.

In the following Qur’anic verse, Allah (SWT) advises us that the month of Muharram is so crucial that sin should be avoided even more than usual:

‘Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve [in a year], as Allah ordered on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; four are sacred. “That is the correct religion; therefore, do not harm yourselves.” [9:36]

Scholars conclude that good actions are increased if sin worsens during sacred months such as Muharram. So, on the Day of Ashura, we should do everything possible to boost our worship and good acts.

According to Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), three types of prayers are acceptable: those of a father for his child, those of a fasting person, and those of a traveler. (Sahih Tirmidhi)

To make the most of this particular day, you can perform additional acts of worship such as reciting the Qur’an, fasting, reciting dhikr, or giving to charity on Ashura.

We might give a sustainable rainwater harvesting system to supply clean water to impoverished people worldwide while also honoring the remembrance of Imam Hussain (ra) and his family. Because donating water is an act of Sadaqah Jariyah, the reward for our Ashura charity will be far greater than we think.

Giving on the Day of Ashura equals a year’s worth of generosity.

The Prophet (ﷺ) emphasized the importance of generous activities on the Day of Ashura, stating that your benefits will be multiplied.

On the Day of Ashura, you might donate a well or a rainwater harvesting system or assist in building a solar panel water and power center to supply clean water for impoverished people worldwide while also honoring Imam Hussain(ra) and his family.

Your Ashura charity will be equivalent to a year’s worth of generosity in the eyes of Allah (SWT). Because delivering water is an act of Sadaqah Jariyah, the reward for our Ashura charity will be doubled.

The Story of Ashura and Other Prophets

According to Al-Jilani, several Prophets (as) experienced noteworthy events in Ashura, including Adam (as). Allah acknowledged Adam’s and Ibrahim’s repentance and granted forgiveness. Allah extinguished the fire thrown at him by King Namrood’s subjects. Ayyub (as) endured an extended test with patience and faith despite losing his family, health, and money.

Sulayman (as): Allah gave him a great dominion that no one after him has ever had: he could command the winds, and his army consisted of men, jinn, birds, and animals.

Yunus (as): Allah took him from the belly of the whale and forgave his people for their prior disobedience.

Isa (as): Allah elevated him to the sky.

Thus, Allah tested his Prophets (as) on ‘Ashura, blessing, saving, forgiving, and bringing them back to Him. He (swt) favored them in all of these ways, for even His tests are a favor and a blessing, as the Prophet (saw) stated, “When Allah likes a servant, He tests him.” [Tirmidhi]

Not only did Jews remember ‘Ashura, but the Quraish of pre-Islamic Makkah also recognized its significance. According to Aishah (ra), people used to fast on ‘Ashura before Ramadan became obligatory. On that day, the Ka’bah was covered with a cover. [Bukhari]

Thus, the followers of previous prophets (as) and their descendants regarded ‘Ashura as a significant day.

Do Muslims observe Ashura differently?

Shia vs. Sunni Muslims observe it differently. For Sunni Muslims, Ashura is not only a time of sorrow for Imam Hussain and his companions, but it also remembers Allah’s deliverance of the Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) and the Children of Israel from Pharaoh and his pursuing army and many other things that are described above.

While Shia preachers will conduct sermons and discuss the history of the Battle of Karbala, some will also recite poetry on Hussain’s life and values.

Many sections of Iraq and Iran have enormous public plays, marches, and processions in front of thousands of people who have gathered to grieve and commemorate the event. 

The “passion plays” emphasize the significance of Hussein’s sacrifice and elicit the emotional fervor required to pursue the cause of justice.

Some participate in tatbir, which is illegal in some countries but occurs at Ashura. The use of blades, chains, and other tools to beat oneself represents sacrifice and hardship.

As previously said, many priests disapprove of the practice, and many followers choose to mourn in other ways, such as donating blood.

During Muharram, Shia believers frequently wear black to symbolize grief and sadness. Many will see this as an opportunity to learn from Hussein’s life. 

Fasting the Day of ‘Ashura’

Fasting on Muharram 10, also known as the Day of ‘Ashura, expiates the previous year’s sins. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) arrived in Madinah in 622 CE, he discovered that the Jews there fasted on Muharram 10 and asked them why. Hence, Prophet Musa [Moses] fasted to praise Allah.

The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) stated in a hadith, “We are closer to Musa than you are.”

According to scholars, you can fast ‘Ashura’ for three days (the ninth, tenth, and eleventh), two days (the ninth and tenth), or just one day (the tenth). The Prophet (PBUH) stated, “Fasting the day of ‘Ashura,’ and I trust that Allah would accept it as an expiation for (the sins done in) the previous year.” (Muslim) However, this small sin expiation is only possible if you avoid major sins. It is a tremendous mistake to rely on fasting for one day to “wash your slate clean.” If you fail to attend your daily prayers or fast during Ramadan, or if you commit adultery, backbite, lie, or commit other severe sins, fasting on ‘Ashura’ will not atone for your transgression.

Conclusion

We have collected the data from different sources to give our readers a detailed guide on Ashura Day. This blog shows the definition of the Day of Ashura, interesting facts about it, and many other details. However, Ashura, the day of 10tn Muharram, has great significance as we discuss in the article that many great things have happened throughout history. Moreover, we can get double rewards for our generous activities on the day of Ashura, whether it is a physical activity like fasting, nafl (optional prayers), or giving zakat (money or anything else to help the poor) to the needy in our near. May ALLAH bless us with such days full of our generous activities.