Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Virtues of Allah’s sacred month of Muharram and Fasting on ‘Aashooraa’

Praise be to Allaah,
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 calendar and is one of the four sacred months.
“so wrong not yourselves therein…” mean do not wrong yourselves in these sacred months, because sin in these months is worse than in other months and good deeds bring a greater reward. Wrongdoing at any time is a serious matter, but Allaah gives more weight to whichever of His commands He will. . People of understanding and wisdom venerate the things that Allaah has told us to venerate. (Tafseer of Ibn Katheer,)

The Virtue of observing more naafil fasts during Muharram.
Abu Hurayrah (RA) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘The best of fasting after Ramadaan is fasting Allaah’s month of Muharram.’” (reported by Muslim, 1982).

‘Aashooraa’ in History

Ibn ‘Abbaas (RA) said: “The Prophet (SAL) came to Madeenah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Aashooraa’. He said, ‘What is this?’ They said, ‘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 said, ‘We have more right to Moosa than you,’ so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1865).

The virtues of fasting ‘Aashooraa’Ibn ‘Abbaas (RA) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allaah (Sal) 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.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 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 (Sal) said: “For fasting the day of ‘Aashooraa’, I hope that Allaah will accept it as expiation for the year that went before.” (Reported by Muslim, 1976). 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’?
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “ ‘Aashooraa’ and Taasoo’aa’ are two elongated names [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’)

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 (Sal) 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 (Sal) used to fast the ninth. (Reported by Muslim). ‘Ataa’ 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 Ishaaq.”

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 (Sal) 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.

Ruling on fasting only on the day of ‘Aashooraa’

Shaykh al-Islam said: “Fasting on the day of ‘Aashoraa’ is an expiation for 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

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’).

But given that fasting on ‘Aashooraa’ is mustahabb rather than 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.”
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Tahaarah, 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 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 (saying “Subhaan Allaah”) and tahleelaat (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 fuqahaa’ 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 sharee’ah or not, such as ‘Aashooraa’ and the ninth of Dhoo’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 problemIf 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-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about the things that people do on ‘Aashooraa’, such as wearing kohl,taking a bath (ghusl), wearing henna, shaking hands with one another, cooking grains (huboob), showing happiness and so on. Was any of this reported from the Prophet (Sal) in a saheeh hadeeth, or not? If nothing to that effect was reported in a saheeh hadeeth, is doing these things 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 saheeh hadeeth from the Prophet (Sal) 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 (Sal), nor from the Sahaabah, nor from the Taabi’een; neither in any saheeh report or in a da’eef (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 (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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), 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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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 this ummah 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 evilcorruption 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 Eids and special occasions. These people took the day of ‘Aashooraa’ as a festival like Eid, 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 (Sal) nor his successors (the khulafa’ al-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 (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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or the way of the Khulafa’ al-Raashidoon. It was not approved of by any of the imaams of the Muslims, not Maalik, not al-Thawri, not al-Layth ibn Sa’d, not Abu Haneefah, not al-Oozaa’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.


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