TweetAashooraa in History Ibn Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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).
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 fasted this day in thanksgiving.
and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day according to another report also narrated by al-Bukhaari: He 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 Jaahiliyyah, before the Prophets mission. It was reported that Aaishah (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 Ibraaheem, upon whom be peace.
It was also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: So you [Muslims] should fast on that day. (Reported by al-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-Haafiz 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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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 (interpretation of the meaning): observing the fasting is prescribed for you [al-Baqarah 2:183] (Ahkaam al-Quraan 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 Masood 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 desirable (mustahabb).
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