Ibn ‘Abbas (RadiAllahu anhuma) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah (Sallellahu alaihi wa sallam) 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.”
[Reported by al-Bukhari, 1867]
The meaning of his being keen was that he intended to fast on that day in the hope of earning the reward for doing so. The Prophet (sallellahu alaihi wa sallam) 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, 1976]
This is from the bounty of Allah towards us: for fasting one day He gives us expiation for the sins of a whole year.And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty.
Which Day is ‘Ashura’?
An-Nawawi (r.al) said: “‘Ashura’ and Tasu’a’ are two elongated names [the vowels are elongated] as is stated in books on the Arabic language. Our companions said:’Ashura’ is the tenth day of Muharram and Tasu’a’ is the ninth day. This is our opinion, and that of the majority of scholars. This is the apparent meaning of the ahadith and is what we understand from the general wording. It is also what is usually understood by scholars of the language.” [Al-Majmu’])
‘Ashura’ is an Islamic name that was not known at the time of Jahiliyyah. [Kashshaf al-Qina’, part 2, Sawm Muharram]
Ibn Qudamah (r.a.) said: “‘Ashura’ is the tenth day of Muharram. This is the opinion of Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib and al-Hasan. It was what was reported by Ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.), who said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) commanded us to fast ‘Ashura’, the tenth day of Muharram.’
[Reported by at-Tirmidhi, who said, a sahih hasan hadith]
It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) said: ‘The ninth,’ and reported that the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) used to fast the ninth. [Reported by Muslim]
‘Ata’ reported that he 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 (encouraged) to fast on the ninth and the tenth, for that reason. This is what Ahmad said, and it is the opinion of Ishaq.”
It is Mustahabb (Encouraged) to Fast Tasu’a’ with ‘Ashura’
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) said: “When the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) fasted on ‘Ashura’and commanded the Muslims to fast as well, they said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.’ The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said, ‘If I live to see the next year, Insha Allah, we will fast on the ninth day too.’ But it so happened that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) passed away before the next year came.”
[Reported by Muslim, 1916]
Ash-Shafi’i and his companions, Ahmad, Ishaq and others said: “It is mustahabb to fast on both the ninth and tenth days, because the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) 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 ‘Ashura’, 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.
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