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#16 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd November 2012 10:18
A Historical Analysis of 'Ashura and its Relation to the Jewish Calendar

By 'Allamah Abu 'l-Hasan 'Ali al-Nadwi حمه الله

The fast of 'Ashura was prescribed before the fasts of Ramadan. The Jews observed it and so did the people of Arabia before the dawn of Islam.

It is related by Imam Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that when the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) came to Madinah he found that the Jews observed the fast of 'Ashura. He enquired about it from them and was told that it was the day on which God had delivered the Children of Israel from the enemy and Moses (upon him be peace) used to keep a fast on it as an expression of gratitude to the Almighty. The Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) thereupon, remarked that "Moses has a greater claim upon me than upon you," and he fasted on that day and instructed his followers to do the same.

It is also mentioned in Sahih Muslim that it is a most important day. On this day God had delivered Moses (upon him be peace) and his followers and drowned Pharaoh and his men. Moses (upon him be peace) fasted on it in thanksgiving. Imam Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) adds that it is related by Abu Bishr: "We also keep fast as a token of respect to Moses (upon him be peace)."

But the celebrated mathematician Abu Rayhan Beruni challenged the veracity of these reports on the basis of a comparative study of the Jewish and Arabian calendars. He writes:

"It is said that 'Ashur is a Hebrew word which became 'Ashura in Arabic. It stands for the tenth day of the Jewish month of Tisri. The fast observed on this day is called Yom Kippur. It came to be incorporated in the Arab Calendar and the name was given to the tenth day of the first month of their year in the same way in which it denoted the tenth day of the first month of the Jewish calendar. It was instituted as a day of fasting among the Muslims in the first year of Migration. Later, when fasting was enjoined in the month of Ramadan it was dropped. A tradition has it that when the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) came to Madinah and saw that the Jews observed the fast of 'Ashura he enquired about it and was told that it was the day on which God had drowned Pharaoh and his people and delivered Moses (upon him be peace) and his followers from them, and that Moses (upon him be peace) used to fast on it in thanksgiving. The Prophet, then, remarked that Moses (upon him be peace) had a greater claim upon him than upon them and he fasted on that day and instructed his followers to do the same. When the fasts of Ramadan were prescribed, the Prophet neither enjoined the fast of 'Ashura nor forbade it."

"But this report is fallacious and does not stand the test of enquiry. The first day of the month of Muharram in the first year of hijrah (Migration) was Friday, which corresponds to the 16th of Tamuz, 933 (A.E.). As against it, the first day of that year among the Jews was Sunday, the 12th of Awwal which corresponds to the 29th of Safar. Hence, the fast of 'Ashura should have fallen on Tuesday, the 9th of Rabi' al-Awwal, while the Migration had taken place during the first half of that month. The two dates, at any rate, do not correspond to each other."

He then adds:

"The contention that on this day God drowned the Pharaoh, too, is not supported by what is given in the Torah. The event of the drowning of the Pharaoh had taken place, according to Torah, on the 21st of Nisan, which is the seventh day of the festival of Passover. The first Jewish fast of Passover, after the arrival of the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) in Madinah, occurred on Tuesday, the 22nd of Azhar 933 which corresponds to the 17th of Ramadan. This report also is, therefore, without a foundation."

With due respect to the scholarship of Beruni, it is clear that he has built his thesis wholly on conjecture. He has, for instance, surmised that the conversation reported by Ibn 'Abbas and other Companions had taken place on the very first day of the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace)'s arrival in Madinah as is evident from his observation, "when the sacred Prophet came to Madinah or entered it."

This misconception is due to the ignorance of the Science of Traditions and of the holy Companion's mode of narration, innumerable instances of which are available in the hadith tradition. For example, it is related by Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him):

When the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) came to Madinah and (saw that) there were two days which the people of that place celebrated as festivals he enquired about their significance. (The people of Madinah) told him, "These were our days of fun and entertainment during the days of Paganism." The Prophet, thereupon, observed, "God has given you two better days in their place, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha."

Now, will it be proper for anyone to infer from the above Tradition that the arrival of the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) in Madinah took place on the same day of celebration in that town, and to proceed to question the veracity of the Tradition on the ground that it was not chronometrically possible? Similar errors of interpretation have been made in respect of other traditions as well, like the one relating to pollination of date palms.

Commenting on the argument advanced by Beruni, 'Allamah Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani (may Allah have mercy on him) says,

"He found it difficult to accept the tradition due to the misunderstanding that when the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) arrived in Madinah he saw the Jews in the state of keeping the fast of 'Ashura while, in fact, it was in the month of Rabi' al-Awwal that the Prophet arrived in Madinah. The answer to this is that he erred in the interpretation of the tradition. What the tradition actually means is that the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) came to know of the fast of 'Ashura only when he had migrated to Madinah and made his enquiry, for the first time, after he had reached there. In other words, the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace), when he came to Madinah and stayed there till 'Ashura, found that the Jews fasted on that day."

There is left no chronological contradiction after 'Allamah Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him)'s explanation of the hadith regarding the fast of 'Ashura.

The second misconception under which Beruni labors is that the fast of 'Ashura mentioned in the hadith signifies the tenth day of the Jewish month of Tisri which is also known as Yom Kippur, or the Fast of Atonement, and is observed by them with greater ceremony than any other fast. But there is nothing in the tradition to warrant such a conclusion, and it is also not supported by the Torah because the Fast of Atonement was instituted in expiation of a mortal sin and observed as a day of penance and mourning.

The Day of Atonement, which is the tenth day of the seventh month of Tisri, is referred to in these words in the Third Book of Moses called, Leviticus:

"And this will be a statute for ever unto you; that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger who sojourneth among you: for on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute forever." (Lev. 16:29-31)

At another place, in the same Book, it is said:

"And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be a holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day; for it is a day of atonement to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God." (Lev. 23:26-28)

Similarly, in the Book of Numbers, it is set forth: "And ye shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month a holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls; ye shall not do any work therein."

On the other hand, it explicitly occurs in the traditions that the day of 'Ashura (on which the Muslims are enjoined to fast) was a day of rejoicing among the Jews. As Imam Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) has related it on the authority of Abu Musa al-Ash'ari (may Allah be pleased with him), the Jews regarded it to be a day of Eid and it was on seeing it that the Holy Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) advised his Companions (may Allah be pleased with him) also to keep fast on it.

In Sahih Muslim, also, it is related from Qays ibn Muslim that men of good-doing observed the fast of 'Ashura and celebrated it as the day of Eid, with their women wearing the best of clothes and ornaments. The Prophet (upon him blessings and peace), on seeing it, said to us, "You should also fast on this day."

It is, further, related by Kurayb ibn Sa'd from 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) that, "On the Day of Judgment God will ask you only about two fasts, the fasts of Ramadan and the fast of the day of adornment (i.e., 'Ashura)."

In the light of the facts given above, it will be incorrect to say that 'Ashura is the Day of Atonement. Were it so, it would have been a day of lamentation and mortification while 'Ashura, as mentioned in the tradition, is a day of merriment and decoration.

The same fallacy is shared by a number of Western scholars as well. For instance, Abraham Katish observes about the Day of Atonement in his book entitled Judaism in Islam that "Mohammad, in the beginning, instituted it as a day of fasting for Muslims."

The assertion of the Jews themselves about 'Ashura that it was the day on which God had delivered the Israelites from their enemies is enough to set at rest all doubts in this connection. In the Torah it has been repeatedly mentioned as Abib which later came to be known as Nisan. About Abib, we read in Da'irat al-Ma'arif, "It is a Hebraic word which means 'green'. It is the name of the first month of the Hebraic year. This name was given to it by Moses and it corresponds nearly to the month of April. When the Jews were exiled in Babylon they changed its name to Nisan, meaning 'the month of flowers.' Their Eid al-Fatir (Passover) is also held in the middle of it."

Beruni, also, has admitted that it is wrong to suppose that the Day of Atonement signified the day on which God had drowned Pharaoh and his men. He says, "Their contention that on this day God had drowned Pharaoh is opposed to what is stated in the Torah because the event of drowning took place on the 21st of Nisan, which is the seventh day of Ayam al-Fatir (Passover). It is set forth in Torah (Ex. 12: 18): 'In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even'."

We, therefore, conclude that 'Ashura, which is mentioned in the traditions related by Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) and others and on which day the Muslims have been exhorted to fast and was included among the near-obligatory duties in Islam before the fasts of Ramadan were prescribed, corresponds, in the largest measure, to the day which falls in the middle of the Hebraic month of Abib, whose name was changed to Nisan by the Jews during the period of their exile in Babylon and was celebrated by them as an Eid and an event of fasting and entertainment. It was on this day that the Israelites had come out of Egypt and the Pharaoh was drowned. In the second Book of Moses it is related: "And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place; there shall no leavened bread be eaten. This day came ye out in the month of Abib." (Ex. 13: 3-4)

In summary, the general consensus among Muslim theologians and religious scholars is that 'Ashura fell on the tenth day of the Arab month of Muharram in the second year of Migration and that it was later annulled by Ramadan.

Besides, any attempt to make the Lunar Arabian Calendar correspond to the Solar Jewish Calendar can, at the best, be only hypothetical. The ancient custom of nasi has also taken a hand in adding to the confusion. This practice was quite common in Arabia, both before and after the advent of Islam, till it was prohibited by the Qur'anic injunction which reads: "Postponement of a month is only an excess of disbelief, whereby those who disbelieve are misled." (9:37)

On the occasion of the Farewell Hajj, the Holy Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) had declared, "Time has returned to the original state that obtained when the heavens and the earth were created." These words were of divine inspiration for the Arab arrangement of time into days, weeks, months and years had been changed so frequently that it could not be relied upon nor restored to its original form through mathematical calculation. It is, therefore, incorrect to question the authenticity of successive traditions merely on the basis of an erratic and inconstant calendar.

It is also possible that the Jews of Madinah were different from other Jewish communities where the fast of 'Ashura was concerned and observed it with greater enthusiasm and regularity, and, in this respect, they were similar to the Arabs who, seeing that so many important events had taken place on that day, fasted on it out of reverence.

It is related by Umm al-Mu'minin 'A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), "The Quraysh fasted on the day of 'Ashura during the Period of Ignorance and the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) also kept it." (Muslim)

Further, the days of fasting among the Jews living in different countries differed from one another. We have seen how in the Jewish Encyclopedia it is indicated that apart from the fixed fast-days many fasts of a local or national character had become established among the Jews from the early days which varied from place to place. Private fasts were also common among the Jews and one could take it upon oneself to fast on certain days in memory of certain events or at the time of adversity to arouse God's mercy. In these circumstances, it is quite possible that the fast of 'Ashura, on the tenth day of the first month of the Arab Calendar, was peculiar to the Jews living in Arabia alone. Perhaps, it is for this reason that the Talmud and the Jewish Calendar are silent on this score. Some historians have treated it as identical to the Fast of Atonement which all the Jews, wherever they be, consider obligatory.

Thus, those who subscribe to this view are inclined to doubt the veracity of the aforementioned traditions. But their judgment is influenced by the ignorance of the habits and practices of the Jews living in various parts of the world, especially in Arabia where they had been settled for generations as a distinct community, possessing their own beliefs and customs and receiving local impressions in the historical course of things.
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#17 [Permalink] Posted on 12th November 2013 13:13
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

"Because of the killing of al-Husayn (may Allaah be pleased with him), the Shaytaan started to spread two kinds of bid'ah (innovation) amongst the people: the bid'ah of grieving and wailing on the Day of 'Aashooraa, striking the cheeks, screaming, weeping and reciting eulogies; and the bid'ah of expressing happiness and joy. So some express grief and others express joy, so they started to like the idea of wearing kohl, taking a bath, spending on their families and preparing special kinds of food on the day of 'Aashooraa and every bid'ah is a going astray; none of the four imams of the Muslims or others approved of either of these things (either expressing grief or expressing joy)."

[Minhaaj as-Sunnah, 4/554-556]
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#18 [Permalink] Posted on 12th November 2013 14:05
`Āshūra (10th of Muḥarram): A Day of Joy or Grief?

Abū 'Abd Allāh I. Damiel 12/13/2010

All Praise belongs to Allāh, the Lord of the Worlds, and may the Peace and blessings of Allāh be upon his Messenger, his family and on all of his companions.

Throughout the year Allāh (subḥānahu wa ta`āla) grants His servants with ample opportunities to have their past sins forgiven and to start anew. One of these special occasions is closely approaching us, known as `Āshūra.

Much confusion surrounds this day. Some Muslims treat this occasion as a day of celebration and joy, and a time where special dishes are prepared. Conversely, the Shi'ites spend the very same day, beating and injuring themselves, and marking it as a day of sadness and mourning.

In this short article, I hope to dispel some of the myths surrounding this day and explain the position of Ahl as-Sunnah with regards to the above two practices.

I have divided the article into three parts. In the first part, I have gathered some of the aḥādīthregarding the merits of `Āshūra; I have made an effort to distinguish between the authentic and the weak narrations. Then in the following two sections, I discuss the innovation of taking`Āshūra as a day of mourning and the innovation of taking it as a day of joy, respectively.

Some Authentic Aḥādīth Regarding `Āshūra

1. `Ā'īshā (raḍī Allāhu anhā) said: "The people of Quraysh used to fast on the day of `Ashūrain the pre-Islamic days. When the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) migrated to Madīnah, he observed this fast and commanded others to observe it. But when fasting during the month of Ramaḍān was made obligatory he left the [fast of] `Āshūra (i.e. it was no longer obligatory); [1] so whosoever wished to observe this fast, did so, and whosoever wished to leave it, did so." [Agreed Upon]

2. Abū Musā al-Ash`arī (raḍī Allāhu anhu) said: The day of `Āshurā was one that the Jews respected and treated as a day of festival. The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) instructed us: "You should also observe fast on this day." [Agreed Upon]

3. Humayd b. `Abd ar-Raḥmān narrated that he heard Mu`āwiyah b. Abū Sufyān (raḍī Allāhu anhumā) say, while delivering a sermon on the pulpit on the day of `Āshūra in the year he came for Hajj: "People of Madīnah, where are your scholars? I heard the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) say: 'This is the day of `Āshūra. Allāh has not made fasting on this day compulsory on you, but I am fasting. So whosoever wishes to observe the fast from amongst you, should do so, and whoever does not wish to observe it, may do so.'" [Agreed Upon]

4. Ibn `Abbās (raḍī Allāhu anhu) said: "When the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) came to Madīnah, he found the Jews fasting on the day of `Āshūra. He asked: 'What is this [that you are doing]?' They replied: 'This is a righteous day. On this day Allāh saved the Israelites from their enemies, and so Moses, on this day, observed a fast.' The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: 'I have a greater right on Moses (alayhis salām) than you.' So, he observed the fast (on that day) and ordered the Muslims to also fast.' [Agreed Upon]. [2]

5. Ar-Rab`ī b. Mu`awadh (raḍī Allāhu anhā) said: "The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) sent a envoy to the village of the Anṣār in the morning of the day of `Āshūraannouncing: 'Whoever has eaten something should not eat but complete the fast, and whoever is observing the fast should complete it.'" She further said: "Since then we fasted regularly on that day and also make our sons fast. We used to make toys of wool for the boys and if anyone of them cried for food, we would give them these [toys] until it was time to break the fast." [Agreed Upon]

6. `Abd Allāh b. `Umar (raḍī Allāhu anhu) narrated: "The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) observed the fast on the day of `Āshūra and ordered others to also fast. When fasting during Ramaḍān was made compulsory, he left it." `Abd Allāh would not fast on this day unless it coincided with his (normal days of) fasting. [al-Bukhārī and Aḥmad]

7. Ibn `Abbās (raḍī Allāhu anhumā) narrated: "I do not know the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) singling out any days for fasting, and considering it more excellent than another, except for this day [the day of `Āshūra] and that month - meaning the month of Ramaḍān." [Agreed Upon]

8. Abū Qatāda al-Anṣārī (raḍī Allāhu anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Fasting three days every month and [fasting] the whole [month] of Ramaḍān every year is a perpetual fast. The fast of the day of `Arafah, [I consider it to] expiate the sins of the preceding and the coming year. The fast of the day of `Āshūra, [I consider it to] expiate the sins of the preceding year." [Muslim, Aḥmad, Abū Dāwūd and Ibn Khuzaymah] [3]

9. Ibn `Abbās (raḍī Allāhu anhumā) narrated that when the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) fasted on the day of `Āshūra and commanded that it be observed as a fast, they (his Companions) said to him: "Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), it is a day which the Jews and Christians hold in high esteem." Thereupon the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "When the next year comes, Allāh willing, we will observe fast on the ninth." The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) died before the advent of the next year. [Muslim, Aḥmad, Abū Dāwūd and Ibn Mājah] [4]

10. Abū Mūsā (raḍī Allāhu anhu) narrated that the people of Khaybar, [most of whom were Jews] observed the fast on the day of `Āshūra and treated it as a festive day. Their women would wear ornaments and beautiful dresses. The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "You (only) observe fast on this day." [Muslim]

Some Weak Aḥadīth Regarding `Āshūra

1. Ibn `Abbās (raḍī Allāhu anhumā) narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Fast on the day of `Āshūra and differ from the Jews; fast a day before it or a day after it." [Weak]

[Aḥmad, Ibn Khuzaymah, al-Ḥumaydī, at-Tahāwī in Ma'ānī al-Āthār, al-Bazzār, Ibn `Adī in al-Kāmil, al-Bayhaqī in al-Kubra and ash-Shu`ab] [5]

2. Ibn 'Abbās (raḍī Allāhu anhumā) reports that the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "He who fasts on the day of `Arafah, his fast will be a compensation for the sins of two years, and he who fast in the month of Muḥarram will receive the reward of thirty fasts for each fast." [Fabricated] [aṭ-Ṭabrāni in as-Saghīr] [6]

3. Abū Hurayrah (raḍī Allāhu anhu) and others narrate: "One who increases [his spending] on his family on `Āshūra, Allāh will increase it for him throughout the year." [Weak]

[Al-Bayhaqī in ash-Shu`ab, al-Uqaylī in aḍ-Ḍu'afā, Ibn `Adī in al-Kāmil, Ibn al-Jawzī in al-Illal and others] [7]

The Innovation (Bid`ah) of Commemorating `Āshūra as a Day of Mourning

On the 10th of Muḥarram (the day of `Āshūra), in the year 61 A.H. the Prophet's (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) beloved grandson al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib (raḍī Allāhu anhumā) was martyred. Undoubtedly the murder of the grandson of the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) was a sad day in Islamic history. However, he was not the first to be martyred; rather, he was preceded by many great companions who were also killed unjustly, including `Umar, Uthmān, al-Ḥusayn's own father, `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib and his brother al-Hassan (raḍī Allāhu anhūma).

After the death of Alī b. Abī Tālib (raḍī Allāhu anhū), some of the companions pledged allegiance to al-Ḥasan (raḍī Allāhu anhū), regarding whom the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "This son of mine is a chief, and Allāh will make peace between two large groups of Muslims through him." [al-Bukhārī].

After a short period he was also martyred, and some tribes wrote to his brother al-Ḥusayn (raḍī Allāhu anhu) promising him support and allegiance if he was to come to them at Kūfa. Ibn `Abbās and Ibn `Umar (raḍī Allāhu anhumā) both advised al-Ḥusayn against accepting their invitation, as they felt that the people inviting him were treacherous and untrustworthy.

Al-Ḥusayn (raḍī Allāhu anhū) relying on the words of the Kūfans set out for the city with his family and followers. On the way he was deserted by his followers and betrayed by the Kūfans. Consequently, he was left with a small band consisting of his family members and friends (a total of 72 people) in the middle of the sandy desert of Karbala fighting against the governor of Kūfa, `Ubayd Allāh b. Ziyād, and his troops of more than 4000 men. The entire group was massacred on the 10th of Muḥarram.

It was after this incident that the Shi'ites, who considered Al-Ḥusayn (raḍī Allāhu anhū) as the third Imām and rightful successor of the Prophet, began to take this day as a day of grief and sadness, mourning the fact that they were not present at the battle to fight and save al-Ḥusayn and his family.

Ibn Taymiyyah writes: "Satan took the opportunity with the death of al-Ḥusayn (raḍī Allāhu anhū) to introduce two innovations: the innovation of showing sadness and mourning on the day of `Āshūra by slapping, screaming, crying and lamenting, and (the innovation of) cursing the Ṣahābas (companions of the Prophet)."

He then reminds the reader that wailing and excessive mourning over past calamities was clearly prohibited by Allāh and His Messenger.

Allāh (ṣubhānahu wa ta'ālā) says in the Qur`ān:

"We will try you with fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives, and fruits; but give glad tidings to those who are patient. Who, when a misfortune overtakes them, say: `To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.' It is these on whom descend blessings and mercy from their Lord, and it is they who are rightly guided." [Surah al-Baqarah: 155-157]
Also the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "He who slaps his cheeks, tears his clothes and follows the ways and traditions of the Days of Ignorance is not one of us." [al-Bukhārī]

In another ḥadīth the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "There are four characteristics among my people that belong to the pre-Islamic (jāhiliyyah) period which they have not abandoned: boasting of high rank, reviling other peoples' genealogies, seeking rain by stars, and wailing." He (further) said: "If the wailing woman does not repent before she dies, she will be made to stand on the Day of Resurrection wearing a garment of brass and an armor of mange." [Muslim]

The Shi'ites-in addition to public processions of ceremonial chest beating, wailing, injuring oneself and cursing Abū Bakr, `Umar (raḍiyallāhu anhumā) and the rest of the companions-avoid all manifestations of joy during this month. They refrain from eating meat and avoid getting married or wearing new clothes during this month and especially during this day. Images of men and small boys slashing themselves with razors or knives, allowing their blood to run freely over their bodies is common among some of the extreme Shi'ites. Others, recognizing the gruesome nature of this act, have opted out of self mutilation and resorted to donating their blood. Many Shi'ites believe that taking part in these mourning rituals absolves them from their sin. A popular Shi'ites saying says, "A single tear shed for al-Ḥusayn washes away a hundred sins!"

The Innovation of Showing Joy and Happiness During This Day

To counteract the extreme position of the Shi`ites, another extreme group called "the Nawāṣib" took this day as a day of happiness. The Nawāṣibs, which consisted mainly of the Khawārij, held animosity against al-Ḥusayn (raḍī Allāhu anhū) and the Ahle al-Bayt. They celebrated this day by wearing new clothes, cooking special food and spending extra money on their family.

The first sign of the appearance of the Khawārij was during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam).

Abū Sa`īd al-Khudrī (raḍī Allāhu anhū) narrated: "We were in the company of the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) while he was distributing the spoils of war; there came to him Dhul-Khuwaysarah, from the tribe of Tamim. and said: 'Messenger of Allāh, do justice!' Upon this the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: 'Woe to you, Who would do justice, if I do not do justice? You would be unsuccessful and incur a loss, if I do not do justice.' Upon this `Umar ibn Khattāb (raḍī Allāhu anhū) said: 'Messenger of Allāh, permit me to strike off his neck.' The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: 'Leave him; he has companions [who would outwardly look to be so religious and pious] that one of you would consider his prayer insignificant when compared to their prayer, and his fast [insignificant when] compared to their fasts. They would recite the Qur`ān but it would not go beyond their collar-bones. They would pass through Islam just as an arrow passes through its prey. He would look at its iron head, but would not find anything there. He would then see at the lowest end, but would not find anything there. He would then see at its grip but there too he would not find anything. He would then look at its feathers and would find nothing stick to them [as the arrow would pass so quickly that nothing would stick to it] neither excrement nor blood. They would be recognized by the presence of a black man among them whose upper arms would be like a woman's breast, or like a piece of meat as it quivers, and they would come forth at the time when there is dissension among the people.'"

Abū Sa`īd (raḍī Allāhu anhu) said: "I testify to the fact that I heard it from the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), and I testify to the fact that `Alī b. Abī Tālib (raḍī Allāhu anhu) fought against them and I was with him. He gave the orders for that man and he was sought for; when he was brought, I looked at him and he was exactly as the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) had described." [Muslim]

The Shi`ites and the Khawārij opposed each other by introducing an innovation in the religion. So while one group lamented and mourned on this day the other group celebrated and made it a day of happiness.

As for the Ahl as-Sunnah they oppose both of these groups, neither making it a day of celebration nor a day of mourning. This is the established practice of the companions and the pious predecessors, including the four Imāms: Imām Abū Hanīfah, Imam Mālik, Imām ash-Shāfi'ī and Imām Aḥmad (May Allāh be pleased with them all).

The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "You must follow my sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly-guided caliphs. Hold on to it and stick fast to it. Avoid newly invented matters [in the religion], for every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is a misguidance." [Abū Dāwūd, Aḥmad and at-Tirmidhī]

Ibn Taymiyyah writes in his Fatāwā:

"As for cooking special foods, wearing new clothes, applying kohl, spending extra money on the children, doing special prayers, having a special bath...all of this is a wretched innovation (bid`ah) which the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) never practiced nor did the rightly guided caliphs, and neither was it recommended by any of the great Imāms such as, Mālik, at-Thawrī, al-Layth b. Sād, Abū Hanīfah, al-Awzāī, ash-Shāfi'ī, Aḥmad b. Hambal, Ishāq b. Rāhūyeh (may Allāh be pleased with them all), nor by other such scholars. Rather some of the later followers started to instruct in some of these things and claimed that there were some authentic aḥādith supporting their view. But these people are clearly mistaken and are in error according to the people of knowledge.

Imām Aḥmad was asked about the ḥadīth: "One should spend on his family on the day of`Āshūra" and regarded it as unauthentic.

In fact the best narration they have is what is reported from Ibrāhīm b. Muḥammad b. al-Muntashir from his father that he said: "It reached us that one who increases (his spending) on his family on [the day of] `Āshūra, Allāh will increase it for him throughout the year." Sufyān b. 'Uyaiynah said: "Ibrahīm b. Muḥammad was from Kūfa and he did not mention from whom he heard it or how it reached him. It is most likely that the one who related this [to him] was someone from the people of Bid`ah who hates the companions and wants to oppose theRāfidhah with lies. So they oppose corruption with corruption and an innovation with an innovation." [8]

To conclude, what is clearly established from the Sunnah is the fasting on the 9th and 10th of Muḥarram. As for mourning, displaying sadness, or celebrating by making special foods, wearing new clothes, etc. then it is all innovations.

Finally, I leave you with the statement of Imām Mālik: "He who introduces an innovation (Bid'ah) in Islam, regarding it as something good has claimed that Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) has betrayed his trust to deliver the message. As Allāh says: 'Today have I completed your Dīn (religion)' Whatever was not part of the Dīn during the time of the Prophet cannot be considered as part of the Dīn today." [al-I`tisām, ash-Shāṭibī]

He also said: "Nothing will benefit the later ones from this Ummah, except that which benefited the earlier ones (i.e., the companions)." [Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Qā'idah al-Jalīlah]

Allāh knows best.

May the Peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), his family, and his companions.

End Notes:

[1] See Ibn al-Qayyim, Zād al-Ma`ād, Volume two, page 68, Mu`assasah al-Risālah, 1424 A.H.

[2] Imām Aḥmad reported a similar ḥadīth on the authority of Abū Hurayrah with the additional words: "On this day the ship [of Noah] settled on [Mount] al-Judī." This is a weak narration due to the presence of `Abd aṣ-Ṣamad b. Ḥabīb, who is weak, and Ḥabīb b. `Abd Allāh, who is unknown. Ibn Kathīr in his Tafṣīr (2/448) stated that this was a strange report.

[3] The predominant view among the scholars is that it expiates minor sins, as for major sins, repentance is required. This was explicitly expressed by an-Nawawī in al-Majmū` (6/382) and Ibn Taymiyyah in al-Fatāwā al-Kubrā (4/428)

[4] Imām an-Nawawī in his commentary to this ḥadīth writes: "This is a clear statement from Ibn `Abbās that according to him `Āshūra is on the ninth of Muḥarram...The majority of early and later scholars are of the opinion that `Āshūra is on the tenth of Muḥarram. From those who held this view are: Sa`īd b. al-Musayyib, al-Ḥassan al-Baṣrī, Mālik, Ishāq and others. This is the apparent meaning of the ḥadīth, and the proper understanding of the word."

Ibn al-Qayyim was of the view that Ibn `Abbās did not differ on this issue and had only told the questioner to fast the ninth, since it was already assumed that he would be fasting the tenth. (Ẓād al-Ma`ād 2/75)
[5] This ḥadīth has been graded weak by numerous scholars. Ash-Shawkānī said: "This report in Aḥmad via Dāwūd b. `Alī from his father from his grandfather was narrated by Ibn Abī Laylā and therefore is weak and rejected (munkar)."

Muḥammad b. Abi Laylā is known to have an awful memory and was graded weak by Aḥmad, Ibn Ma`īn, and others. See: Tahdhīb al-Kamāl (25/622) and Miẓān al-I`tidāl (3/No. 7825). Likewise, Dāwūd b. `Alī, is also weak. Ad-Dhahabī writes in al-Mizān (2/13): "He is not an authority."

Al-Bazzar writes: "The ḥadīth is reported from ibn `Abbās (raḍī Allāhu anhū) with different wordings. We do not know anyone narrating: "Fast a day before it or a day after it," except Dāwūd b. `Alī from his father from Ibn Abbās from the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam).

`Atā and others reported from Ibn 'Abbās as a saying of his (Mawquf) with a different wording.

On the authority of ibn Jurayj, who was informed by Atā from ibn Abbās who said: "Fast the ninth and the tenth and differ from the Jews." (`Abd ar-Razzāk (7839), al-Bayhaqī (4/287) and aṭ-Ṭahāwī in Sharḥ Ma`ānī al-Āthār (2/78).

Ibn Rajab graded this narration authentic. (al-Laṭā'if, pg. 108)

Ibn Hajr, Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Mubārakpurī and others, who deemed the ḥadīth in Aḥmad as acceptable, mentioned three levels of fasting during these days:

1. Fasting on the 9th/10th and 11th. (This being the best form)

2. Fasting on the 9th and 10th.

3. Fasting on the 10th only.

According to the Ḥanafī School fasting just on the tenth is disliked (makrūh) and this was also the opinion of Ibn `Abbās (raḍiyallāhu anhu) and Imām Aḥmad (Iqtiḍā' aṣ-Ṣirāṭ al-Mustaqīm 1/420). Ibn Taymiyyah was of the view that it was not makrūh (al-Fatāwā al-Kubrā 4/461).
[6] There are several problems with this chain. Ad-Dhahabī accused al-Haytham b. Habīb, one of the narrators, of falsehood. As for Salām aṭ-Ṭawīl, he is well known among the hadith scholars for fabricating ahādith. Ibn Karrās said: "He is a liar." Ibn Ḥibbān said: "He narrates fabrications from trustworthy people." Al-Hākim said: "He narrates fabricated ahādith." Additionally, Layth b. Abī Salīm, another narrator in the chain, is also weak. From a textual point of view there is another problem, one of the narrations mentioned by aṭ-Ṭabarānī in his al-Kabir, with the same chain, ends with "or every day he has thirty blessings." instead of "thirty days".

[7] Al-Bayhaqi argued that although the ḥadīth is weak it can be strengthened by supporting channels. This claim is true if all the channels are only slightly weak, but a study of the channels, demonstrate that they are extremely weak and cannot be strengthened by one another. All of the channels have individuals either accused of fabricating or known to be extremely weak. It is for this reason that, ad-Dāraqutnī, ad-Dhahabī, Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Haythamī and others regarded this ḥadīthas weak. Ibn al-Jawzi regarded it as a fabrication.

[8] Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmū`ah al-Fatawā, Volume 13, page 169, Dar al-Wafā, 1426 A.H.
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#19 [Permalink] Posted on 17th November 2013 18:11
The Massacre Of Karbala: A Historical Analysis - Dr Yasir Qadhi, 10th November 2013

Halalified YT Audio

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#20 [Permalink] Posted on 24th June 2015 04:36
As-Salamu ala man ittaba'a alhuda!! .

May Allah's wrath be upon those, who call themselves muslims let alone muftis. Who do not recognise the martyrdom of the Grandson of Holy Prophet, Leader of the youth of paradise, Light of Knowledge and guidance, beloved of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Imam Hussain (AS).

I have met brothers who have not even heard of Imam Hussain, let alone his sacrifice and the Battle of Karbala. What does this tell us? These so called "muftis" and "lecturers" and "scholars" are not even telling these stories, mentioning his name and the battle, in lectures, sermons etc.

I am not a person who is in favor of beating oneself with chains, using swords to commemorate etc.
I simply want people to know the truth! What really happened, how it happened? How it ended?

I am fed up of meeting brothers, who have no idea about Imam Hussain and his sacrifice. They tell me their Imams have never said anything about this.

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#21 [Permalink] Posted on 24th June 2015 10:02
Abdus_Salam_Khan wrote:
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You obviously haven't heard the heart melting lecture by Shaikh Zahir Mehmood, nor have you read much of this thread and others alike. Just because others don't mention anything, no need for you to take it out on us. Read the other threads too, listen to the lectures posted. It will bring tears to your eyes.
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#22 [Permalink] Posted on 6th September 2019 14:25
  1. Monday = 9th of Muharram 1441
  2. Tuesday = 10th of Muharram 1441
  3. Wednesday = 11th of Muharram 1441


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