9009

Khutbah No.

The Virtues of Muharram and Fasting on ‘Aashooraa’

Khutbah Title

Fasting – Virtuous deeds

Secondary Topic

Islamic Jurisprudence - Admonition, Morals & Etiquettes

Primary Topic

22

Khateeb’s No.

Muhammad Al-Munajjid

Khateeb’s Name

Nasim Chowdhury

Edited By

www.islam-qa.com

Translated By

 

 

Summary

1)     The importance of the month and why it was given this name.

2)     The virtue of observing extra nafl (voluntary) fasts during Muharram.

3)     Allaah gives preference to certain times and places over others.

4)     ‘Aashooraa’ in History.

5)     The virtues of fasting ‘Aashooraa’.

6)     Which day is ‘Aashooraa’?

7)     Encouraging the fast of Taasoo’aa’ with ‘Aashooraa’ and the reasoning behind that.

8)     The Islamic ruling on singling out the day of ‘Aashooraa’ for fasting.

9)     Fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ if it falls on a Friday or Saturday.

10)      What should be done if there is confusion about the beginning of the month

11)       What does fasting ‘Aashooraa’ expiate?

12)       One must not focus solely on the reward of fasting and overlook their sins.

13)       Fasting ‘Aashooraa’ when one still has days to make up from Ramadaan.

14)       Common Bid’ahs (innovations) falsely attached to ‘Aashooraa’.

 

The Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets and Chief of the Messengers, and upon all his family and companions.

Allah’s sacred month of Muharram is a blessed and important month. It is the first month of the Hijri, or Islamic Calendar and is one of the four sacred months concerning which Allaah says that which translates as:

“Indeed, the number of months with Allaah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allaah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion [i.e., way], so do not wrong yourselves during them …” [At-Tawbah 9:36]

Abu Bakrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “The year consists of twelve months, of which four are sacred; the three consecutive months of Dhu’l-Qi’dah, Dhu’l-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab Mudar, which comes between Jumaada and Sha’baan.” (Bukhaari).

Muharram is so called because it is a sacred month and to confirm its sanctity.

Allaah’s words which translate as: “…so do not wrong yourselves during them…” [At-Tawbah 9:36]. Mean; do not wrong yourselves during these sacred months, because committing sins during these months is worse than during the other months.

It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, said that this phrase: “…so do not wrong yourselves during them…”  initially referred to all the months, then these four were singled out and made sacred, so that sin in these months is more serious and good deeds bring a greater reward.

Qataadah said concerning this phrase “…so do not wrong yourselves during them…” that wrongdoing during the sacred months is more serious and more sinful that wrongdoing at any other time. Wrongdoing at any time is a serious matter, but Allaah gives more weight to whichever of His commands He will. Allaah has chosen certain ones of His creation. He has chosen from among the angels Messengers and from among mankind Messengers. He chose from among speech the remembrance of Him, or dhikr. He chose from among the earth the mosques, from among the months Ramadaan and the sacred months, from among the days Friday and from among the nights Laylat al-Qadr, so venerate that which Allaah has told us to venerate. People of understanding and wisdom venerate the things that Allaah has told us to venerate. (Summarized from the Tafseer of Ibn Katheer, may Allaah have mercy on him. Tafseer of Surat al-Tawbah, aayah 36).

The Virtue of observing more naafil fasts during Muharram.

Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “The best of fasting after Ramadaan is fasting during Allaah’s month of Muharram.’” (Muslim).

The phrase “Allaah’s month”, connecting the name of the month to the name of Allaah in a genitive grammatical structure, denotes the importance of the month. Al-Qaari said: “The apparent meaning is all of the month of Muharram.” But it was proven that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam never fasted any whole month apart from Ramadaan, so this Hadeeth is probably meant to encourage increasing one’s fasting during Muharram, without meaning that one should fast for the entire month.

It was reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to fast more in Sha’baan. It is likely that the virtue of Muharram was not revealed to him until the end of his life, before he was able to fast during this month. (Sharh al-Nawawi ‘ala Saheeh Muslim).

Allaah chooses whatever times and places He wills

Al-‘Izz ibn ‘Abd al-Salaam, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “Times and places may be given preferred status in two ways, either temporal or religious/spiritual. With regard to the latter, this is because Allaah bestows His generosity on His slaves at those times or in those places, by giving a greater reward for deeds done, such as giving a greater reward for fasting in Ramadaan than for fasting at all other times, and also on the day of ‘Aashooraa’, the virtue of which is due to Allaah’s generosity and kindness towards His slaves on that day…” (Qawaa’id al-Ahkaam, 1/38).

‘Aashooraa’ in History

Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him said: “The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam came to Madeenah and observed that the Jews were fasting on the day of ‘Aashooraa’. He asked: “What is this?” They replied: ‘This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allaah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Moosa fasted on this day.’ He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “We have more right to Moosa than you” so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to do likewise.” (Bukhaari).

“This is a righteous day” – in a report narrated by Muslim, [the Jews said:] “This is a great day, on which Allaah saved Moosa and his people, and drowned Pharaoh and his people.”

“Moosa fasted on this day” – a report narrated by Muslim adds: “… in thanksgiving to Allaah, so we fast on this day.”

According to a report narrated by Al-Bukhaari: “… so we fast on this day to venerate it.”

A version narrated by Imaam Ahmad adds: “This is the day on which the Ark settled on Mount Joodi, so Nooh, peace be upon him, fasted this day in thanksgiving.”

“and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day” – according to another report also narrated by Al-Bukhaari: “He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said to his Companions: ‘You have more right to Moosa than they do, so fast on that day.”

The practice of fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ was known even in the days of pre-Islamic ignorance, or Jaahiliyyah, before the Prophet’s mission. It was reported that ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: “The people of Jaahiliyyah used to fast on that day…”

Al-Qurtubi said: “Perhaps Quraysh used to fast on that day on the basis of some past law, such as that of Prophet Ibraaheem, upon whom be peace.”

It was also reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to fast on ‘Aashooraa’ in Makkah, before he migrated to Madeenah. When he migrated to Madeenah, he found the Jews celebrating this day, so he asked them why, and they replied as described in the Hadeeth quoted above. He commanded the Muslims to be different from the Jews, who took it as a festival, as was reported in the Hadeeth of Abu Moosa, may Allaah be pleased with him, who said: “The Jews used to take the day of ‘Aashooraa’ as a festival [according to a report narrated by Muslim: the day of ‘Aashooraa’ was venerated by the Jews, who took it as a festival. According to another report also narrated by Muslim: the people of Khaybar (the Jews) used to take it as a festival and their women would wear their jewellery and symbols on that day]. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: ‘So you [Muslims] should fast on that day.’” (Bukhaari). Apparently the motive for commanding the Muslims to fast on this day was the desire to be different from the Jews, so that the Muslims would fast when the Jews did not, because people do not fast on a day of celebration. (Summarized from the words of Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar – may Allaah have mercy on him – in Fath al-Baari Sharh ‘ala Saheeh al-Bukhaari).

Fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ was a gradual step in the process of introducing fasting as a prescribed obligation in Islam. Fasting appeared in three forms. When the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam came to Madeenah, he told the Muslims to fast on three days of every month and on the day of ‘Aashooraa’, then Allaah made fasting obligatory when He said that which translates as: “… decreed upon you is fasting…” [Al-Baqarah 2:183] (Ahkaam al-Qur’aan by al-Jassas, part 1).

The obligation was transferred from the fast of ‘Aashooraa’ to the fast of Ramadaan, and this one of the proofs in the field of Usool Al-Fiqh that it is possible to abrogate a lighter duty in favour of a heavier duty.

Before the obligation of fasting ‘Aashooraa’ was abrogated, fasting on this day was obligatory, as can be seen from the clear command to observe this fast. Then it was further confirmed later on, then reaffirmed by making it a general command addressed to everybody, and once again by instructing mothers not to breastfeed their infants during this fast. It was reported from Ibn Mas’ood, may Allaah be pleased with him, that when fasting Ramadaan was made obligatory, the obligation to fast ‘Aashooraa’ was lifted, i.e., it was no longer obligatory to fast on this day, but it is still mustahabb,  or desirable.

The virtues of fasting ‘Aashooraa’

Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him and his father, said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of ‘Aashooraa’, and this month, meaning Ramadaan.” (Bukhaari).

The meaning of his being keen was that he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam intended to fast on that day in the hope of earning the reward for doing so.

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “For fasting the day of ‘Aashooraa’, I hope that Allaah will accept it as expiation for the year that went before.” (Muslim). This is from the bounty of Allaah towards us: for fasting one day He gives us expiation for the sins of a whole year. And Allaah is the Owner of Great Bounty.

Which day is ‘Aashooraa’?

An-Nawawi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “ ‘Aashooraa’ and Taasoo’aa’ are two elongated names [i.e. the vowels are elongated] as is stated in books on the Arabic language. Our companions said: ‘Aashooraa’ is the tenth day of Muharram and Taasoo’aa’ is the ninth day. This is our opinion, and that of the majority of scholars. This is the apparent meaning of the ahaadeeth and is what we understand from the general wording. It is also what is usually understood by scholars of the language.” (al-Majmoo’ of Imaam An-Nawawi).

‘Aashooraa’ is an Islamic name that was not known at the time of Jaahiliyyah. (Kashshaaf al-Qinaa’, part 2, Sawm Muharram).

Ibn Qudaamah, may Allaah have mercy on him, said:

‘Aashooraa’ is the tenth day of Muharram. This is the opinion of Sa’eed ibn Al-Musayyib and Al-Hasan. It was what was reported by Ibn ‘Abbaas, who said: ‘The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam commanded us to fast ‘Aashooraa’, the tenth day of Muharram.’ (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, who said, a saheeh hasan hadeeth). It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: ‘The ninth,’ and reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to fast the ninth. (Muslim). ‘Ataa’ reported that he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: ‘Fast the ninth and the tenth, and do not be like the Jews.’ If this is understood, we can say on this basis that it is mustahabb, or encouraged to fast on the ninth and the tenth, for that reason. This is what Ahmad said, and it is the opinion of Ishaaq.”

It is mustahabb (encouraged) to fast Taasoo’aa’ with ‘Aashooraa’

‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him and his father, said: “When the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam fasted on ‘Aashooraa’ and commanded the Muslims to do likewise, they said: “O Messenger of Allaah! It is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.’ The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “If I live to see the next year, in sha Allaah, we will fast on the ninth day too.” But it so happened that the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam passed away before the next year came.” (Muslim).

Al-Shaafa'i and his companions, Ahmad, Ishaaq and others said: “It is mustahabb to fast on both the ninth and tenth days, because the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam fasted on the tenth, and intended to fast on the ninth.” On this basis it may be said that there are varying degrees of fasting ‘Aashooraa’, the least of which is to fast only on the tenth and the best of which is to fast the ninth as well. The more one fasts in Muharram, the better it is.

The reason why it is mustahabb to fast on Taasoo’aa’

An-Nawawi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “The scholars – our companions and others – mentioned several reasons why it is mustahabb to fast on Taasoo’aa’:

1.      The intention behind it is to be different from the Jews, who only venerate the tenth day. This opinion was reported from Ibn ‘Abbaas

2.      The intention is to add another day’s fast to ‘Aashooraa’. This is akin to the prohibition on fasting a Friday by itself, as was mentioned by Al-Khattaabi and others.

3.      To be on the safe side and make sure that one fasts on the tenth, in case there is some error in sighting the crescent moon at the beginning of Muharram and the ninth is in fact the tenth.”

The strongest of these reasons is being different from the People of the Book. Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam forbade imitating the People of the Book in many ahaadeeth, for example, his words concerning ‘Aashooraa’: ‘If I live until the next year, I will certainly fast on the ninth day.’” (Al-Fataawa Al-Kubra, part 6, Sadd al-Dharaa’i’ al-Mufdiyah ila’l-Mahaarim )

Ibn Hajar, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said in his commentary on the hadeeth “If I live until the next year, I will certainly fast on the ninth day”: “What he meant by fasting on the ninth day was probably not that he would limit himself to that day, but would add it to the tenth, either to be on the safe side or to be different from the Jews and Christians, which is more likely. This is also what we can understand from some of the reports narrated by Muslim.” (Fath, 4/245).

Ruling on fasting only on the day of ‘Aashooraa’

Shaykh Al-Islam said: “Fasting on the day of ‘Aashoraa’ is expiation for (the sins committed in) a year, and it is not makrooh to fast only that day…” (al-Fataawa al-Kubra, part 5). In Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj by Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, it says: “There is nothing wrong with fasting only on ‘Aashooraa’.” (part 3, Baab Sawm al-Tatawwu’).

Fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ even if it is a Saturday or a Friday

At-Tahhaawi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam allowed us to fast on ‘Aashooraa’ and urged us to do so. He did not say that if it falls on a Saturday we should not fast. This is evidence that all days of the week are included in this. In our view – and Allaah knows best – it could be the case that even if this is true (that it is not allowed to fast on Saturdays), it is so that we do not venerate this day and refrain from food, drink and intercourse, as the Jews do. As for the one who fasts on a Saturday without intending to venerate it, and does not do so because the Jews regard it as blessed, then this is not makrooh…” (Mushkil al-Aathaar, part 2, Baab Sawm Yawm al-Sabt).

The author of Al-Minhaaj said: “‘It is makrooh, or disliked, to fast on a Friday alone…’ But it is no longer makrooh if you add another day to it, as mentioned in the saheeh report to that effect. A person may fast on a Friday if it coincides with his habitual fast, or he is fasting in fulfilment of a vow, or he is making up an obligatory fast that he has missed, as was stated in an authentic report.”  

Al-Shaarih said in Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj:

“ ‘If it coincides with his habitual fast’ – i.e., such as if he fasts alternate days, and a day that he fasts happens to be a Friday.

‘ if he is fasting in fulfilment of a vow, etc.” – this also applies to fasting on days prescribed in Islamic law, such as ‘Aashooraa’ or ‘Arafaah. (Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj, part 3, Baab Sawm al-Tatawwu’)

Al-Bahooti, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “It is makrooh to deliberately single out a Saturday for fasting, because of the hadeeth of ‘Abdullaah ibn Bishr, may Allaah be pleased with him, who reported from his sister that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Do not fast on Saturdays except in the case of obligatory fasts” (reported by Ahmad with a jayyid isnaad and by Al-Haakim, who said: according to the conditions of Al-Bukhaari), and because it is a day that is venerated by the Jews, so singling it out for fasting means being like them… except when a Friday or Saturday coincides with a day when Muslims habitually fast, such as when it coincides with the day of ‘Arafaah or the day of ‘Aashooraa’, and a person has the habit of fasting on these days, in which case it is not makrooh, because a person’s habit carries some weight.” (Kashshaaf al-Qinaa’, part 2, Baab Sawm al-Tatawwu’).

What should be done if there is confusion about the beginning of the month?

Ahmad said: “If there is confusion about the beginning of the month, one should fast for three days, to be sure of fasting on the ninth and tenth days.” (al-Mughni by Ibn Qudaamah, part 3 – al-Siyaam – Siyaam ‘Aashooraa’).

If a person does not know when Muharram began, and he wants to be sure of fasting on the tenth, he should assume that Dhu’l-Hijjah was thirty days – as is the usual rule – and should fast on the ninth and tenth. Whoever wants to be sure of fasting the ninth as well should fast the eight, ninth and tenth (then if Dhu’l-Hijjah was twenty-nine days, he can be sure of having fasted Taasoo’aa’ and ‘Aashooraa’).

But given that fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ is mustahabb rather than obligatory, or waajib, people are not commanded to look for the crescent of the new moon of Muharram as they are to do in the case of Ramadaan and Shawwaal.

Fasting ‘Aashooraa’ – for what does it offer expiation?

Imaam al-Nawawi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said:

“It expiates for all minor sins, i.e., it brings forgiveness of all sins except major sins.”

Then he said, may Allaah have mercy on him:

“Fasting the day of ‘Arafaah expiates for two years, and the day of I expiates for one year. If when a person says ‘Aameen’ it coincides with the ‘Aameen’ of the angels, he will be forgiven all his previous sins… Each one of the things that we have mentioned will bring expiation. If there are minor sins for which expiation is needed, expiation for them will be accepted; if there are no minor sins or major sins, good deeds will be added to his account and he will be raised in status… If he had committed major sins but no minor sins, we hope that his major sins will be reduced.” (al-Majmoo’ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, part 6, Sawm Yawm ‘Arafaah).

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “Purity, or Tahaarah, Prayer or Salaah, and fasting in Ramadaan, on the day of ‘Arafaah and on ‘Aashooraa’ expiate for minor sins only.” (Al-Fataawa Al-Kubra, part 5).

Not relying too much on the reward for fasting

Some people who are deceived rely too much on things like fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ or the day of ‘Arafaah, to the extent that some of them say, “Fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ will expiate for the sins of the whole year, and fasting on the day of ‘Arafaah will bring extra rewards.” Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: ‘This misguided person does not know that fasting in Ramadaan and praying five times a day are much more important than fasting on the day of ‘Arafaah and ‘Aashooraa’, and that they expiate for the sins between one Ramadaan and the next, or between one Friday and the next, so long as one avoids major sins. But they cannot expiate for minor sins unless one also avoids major sins; when the two things are put together, they have the strength to expiate for minor sins. Among those deceived people may be one who thinks that his good deeds are more than his sins, because he does not pay attention to his bad deeds or check on his sins, but if he does a good deed he remembers it and relies on it. This is like the one who seeks Allaah’s forgiveness with his tongue (i.e., by words only), and glorifies Allaah by saying “Subhaan Allaah” one hundred times a day, then he backbites about the Muslims and slanders their honour, and speaks all day long about things that are not pleasing to Allaah. This person is always thinking about the virtues of his tasbeehaat (i.e. saying “Subhaan Allaah”) and tahleelaat (i.e. saying “Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah”) but he pays no attention to what has been reported concerning those who backbite, tell lies and slander others, or commit other sins of the tongue. They are completely deceived.” (al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, part 31, Ghuroor).

Fasting ‘Aashooraa’ when one still has days to make up from Ramadaan

The jurists differed concerning the ruling on observing voluntary fasts before a person has made up days that he or she did not fast in Ramadaan. The Hanafis said that it is permissible to observe voluntary fasts before making up days from Ramadaan, and it is not makrooh to do so, because the missed days do not have to be made up straight away. The Maalikis and Shaafa’is said that it is permissible but is makrooh, because it means that one is delaying something obligatory. Al-Dusooqi said: “It is makrooh to observe a voluntary fast when one still has to make up an obligatory fast, such as a fast in fulfilment of a vow, or a missed obligatory fast, or a fast done as an act of expiation (kafaarah), whether the voluntary fast which is being given priority over an obligatory fast is something confirmed in Islamic Law, or not, such as ‘Aashooraa’ and the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah, according to the most correct opinion.” The Hanbalis said that it is haraam to observe a voluntary fast before making up any fasts missed in Ramadaan, and that a voluntary fast in such cases does not count, even if there is plenty of time to make up the obligatory fast. So a person must give priority to the obligatory fasts until he has made them up. (al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, part 28, Sawm al-tatawwu’).

Muslims must hasten to make up any missed fasts after Ramadaan, so that they will be able to fast ‘Arafaah and ‘Aashooraa’ without any problem. If a person fasts ‘Arafaah and ‘Aashooraa’ with the intention from the night before of making up for a missed fast, this will be good enough to make up what he has missed, for the bounty of Allaah is great.

Bid’ahs common on ‘Aashooraa’

Shaykh Al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy on him, was asked about the things that people do on ‘Aashooraa’, such as wearing kohl, taking a ghusl, or bath, wearing henna, shaking hands with one another, cooking special grains, showing happiness and so on. Was any of this reported from the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam in any authentic hadeeth, or not? If nothing to that effect was reported, then is doing these things considered bid’ah or not? Is there any basis for what the other group do, such as grieving and mourning, going without anything to drink, eulogizing and wailing, reciting in a crazy manner, and rending their garments?

His reply was:

‘Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds. Nothing to that effect has been reported in any authentic hadeeth from the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam or from his companions. None of the imaams of the Muslims encouraged or recommended such things, neither the four imaams, nor any others. No reliable scholars have narrated anything like this, neither from the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, nor from the Sahaabah, nor from the Taabi’een; neither in any saheeh report or even in a da’eef, or weak report; neither in the books of Saheeh, nor in Al-Sunan, nor in the Musnads. No hadeeth of this nature was known during the best centuries, but some of the later narrators reported ahaadeeth like the one which says, “Whoever puts kohl in his eyes on the day of ‘Aashooraa’ will not suffer from eye disease in that year, and whoever takes a bath (i.e. does ghusl) on the day of ‘Aashooraa’ will not get sick in that year,” and so on. They also reported a fabricated hadeeth that is falsely attributed to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, which says, “Whoever is generous to his family on the day of ‘Aashooraa’, Allaah will be generous to him for the rest of the year.” Reporting all of this from the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam is tantamount to lying.’

Then he [Ibn Taymiyah, may Allaah have mercy on him] discussed in brief the tribulations that had occurred in the early days of the Muslim nation and the killing of Al-Husayn, may Allaah be pleased with him, and what the various sects had done because of this. Then he said:

‘An ignorant, wrongful group – who were either heretics and hypocrites, or misguided and misled – made a show of allegiance to him and the members of his household, so they took the day of ‘Aashooraa’ as a day of mourning and wailing, in which they openly displayed the rituals of jaahiliyyah such as slapping their cheeks and rending their garments, grieving in the manner of the jaahiliyyah… The Shaytaan made this attractive to those who are misled, so they took the day of ‘Aashooraa’ as an occasion of mourning, when they grieve and wail, recite poems of grief and tell stories filled with lies. Whatever truth there may be in these stories serves no purpose other than the renewal of their grief and sectarian feeling, and the stirring up of hatred and hostility among the Muslims, which they do by cursing those who came before them… The evil and harm that they do to the Muslims cannot be enumerated by any man, no matter how eloquent he is. Some others – either Naasibis, who oppose and have enmity towards Al-Husayn and his family or ignorant people who try to fight evil with evil, corruption with corruption, lies with lies and bid’ah with bid’ah – opposed them by fabricating reports in favour of making the day of ‘Aashooraa’ a day of celebration, by wearing kohl and henna, spending money on one's children, cooking special dishes and other things that are done on ‘Eeds and special occasions. These people took the day of ‘Aashooraa’ as a festival like ‘Eed, whereas the others took it as a day of mourning. Both are wrong, and both go against the Sunnah, even though the other group (those who take it as a day of mourning) are worse in intention and more ignorant and more plainly wrong… Neither the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam nor his successors (the khulafa’ Ar-raashidoon) did any of these things on the day of ‘Aashooraa’, they neither made it a day of mourning nor a day of celebration…

As for the other things, such as cooking special dishes with or without grains, or wearing new clothes, or spending money on one’s family, or buying the year’s supplies on that day, or doing special acts of worship such as special prayers or deliberately slaughtering an animal on that day, or saving some of the meat of the sacrifice to cook with grains, or wearing kohl and henna, or taking a bath (i.e. ghusl), or shaking hands with one another, or visiting one another, or visiting the mosques and mashhads (shrines) and so on… all of this is reprehensible bid’ah and is wrong. None of it has anything to do with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam or the way of the Khulafa’ Al-Raashidoon. It was not approved of by any of the Imaams of the Muslims, not Maalik, not Ath-Thawri, not Al-Layth ibn Sa’d, not Abu Haneefah, not Al-‘Awzaa’i, not Al-Shaafa'i, not Ahmad ibn Hanbal, not Ishaaq ibn Raahwayh, not any of the Imaams and scholars of the Muslims.’(al-Fataawa al-Kubra by Ibn Taymiyah)

Ibn al-Haaj, may Allaah have mercy on him, mentioned that one of the bid’ahs on ‘Aashooraa’ was deliberately paying zakaat on this day, late or early, or slaughtering a chicken just for this occasion, or – in the case of women – using henna. (al-Madkhal, part 1, Yawm ‘Aashooraa’)

We ask Allaah to make us followers of the Sunnah of His Noble Prophet, to make us live in Islam and die in a state of faith. May He help us to do that which He loves and which pleases Him. We ask Him to help us to remember Him and be thankful to Him, to worship Him properly and to accept our good deeds. May He make us of those who are pious and fear Him. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions.