Fasting ‘Aashooraa’: Sharh al-Nawawi

Imam Muslim, in his Saheeh in the chapter entitled “Fasting on the Day of ‘Aashooraa'” reports the following from Ibn ‘Abbaas:

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَدِمَ الْمَدِينَةَ فَوَجَدَ الْيَهُودَ صِيَامًا يَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ فَقَالَ لَهُمْ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ مَا هَذَا الْيَوْمُ الَّذِي تَصُومُونَهُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقَالُوا هَذَا يَوْمٌ عَظِيمٌ أَنْجَى اللَّهُ فِيهِ مُوسَى وَقَوْمَهُ وَغَرَّقَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَقَوْمَهُ فَصَامَهُ مُوسَى شُكْرًا فَنَحْنُ نَصُومُهُ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ فَنَحْنُ أَحَقُّ وَأَوْلَى بِمُوسَى مِنْكُمْ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَصَامَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَأَمَرَ بِصِيَامِهِ ‏.‏

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) arrived in al-Madinah and found the Jews observing fast on the day of ‘Aashooraa’. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to them, “What is this day that you observe fast on it?” They said, “It is a great day when Allah delivered Moosaa and his people, and drowned the Firawn and his people, and Moosaa observed fast out of gratitude so we fast it.” Upon this the Messenger of Allah said, “We have more right, and we have a closer connection with Moosaa than you have; so Allah’s Messenger observed fast, and gave orders that it should be observed.

[Saheeh Muslim #1130]

Imam al-Nawawi, in his commentary on Saheeh Muslim, brought the following explanation:

قوله : ( أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قدم المدينة فوجد اليهود يصومون عاشوراء ، وقالوا : إن موسى صامه وإنه اليوم الذي نجوا فيه من فرعون وغرق فرعون ، فصامه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وأمر بصيامه ، وقال : نحن أحق بموسى منهم )  .

His statement [in another narration], “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) arrived in al-Madinah and found the Jews observing fast on the day of ‘Aashooraa’. And they said to him, ‘Verily Moosaa fasted it, and verily it is the day on which they were saved from Firawn and Firawn was drowned.’ So the Prophet fasted it, and commanded it’s fasting. And he said, ‘We have more right to Moosaa than them.'”

قال المازري : خبر اليهود غير مقبول ، فيحتمل أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أوحي إليه بصدقهم فيما قالوه ، أو تواتر عنده النقل بذلك حتى حصل له العلم به . ـ

Al-Maaziri said: The information of the Jews is not accepted, so it is likely that the Prophet (ﷺ) received revelation of the veracity of what they said, or it was reported with such a high degree of mutually affirming transmission such that he knew of it.

قال القاضي عياض ردا على المازري : قد روى مسلم أن قريشا كانت تصومه ، فلما قدم النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم المدينة صامه ، فلم يحدث له بقول اليهود حكم يحتاج إلى الكلام عليه ، وإنما هي صفة حال ، وجواب سؤال ، فقوله : ( صامه ) ليس فيه أنه ابتدأ صومه حينئذ بقولهم ، ولو كان هذا لحملناه على أنه أخبر به من أسلم من علمائهم كابن سلام وغيره ،

Al-Qaadhi ‘Iyaadh said a refutation of al-Maaziri: Muslim has narrated that the Quraish used to fast it [i.e. the day of ‘Aashooraa’], so when the Prophet (ﷺ) arrived in al-Madinah he fasted it. So it was not introduced to him by the speech of the Jews as a legislative ruling requiring a comment about it; it was only a description of the situation, and a response to the question. So his statement, “He fasted it” – this is not an initiation of  his fasting at that time due to their statement, and even if it did carry that meaning [i.e. that the Prophet instituted the fasting based on a single report], then it is likely that he was informed of it by one of those who became a Muslim from among their scholars, such as Ibn al-Salaam of other than him.

قال القاضي : وقد قال بعضهم : يحتمل أنه صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يصومه بمكة ، ثم ترك صيامه حتى علم ما عند أهل الكتاب فيه فصامه ، قال القاضي : وما ذكرناه أولى بلفظ الحديث

Al-Qaadhi said: And some of them have said, “It is likely that he (ﷺ) used to fast [the day of ‘Aashooraa’] in Mecca, then he abandoned his fasting [on that day] until he learned that the Ahl al-Kitaab would fast it. And al-Qaadhi said: And what we have mentioned of it is according to the wording of the hadeeth.

قلت : المختار قول المازري ، ومختصر ذلك أنه صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يصومه كما تصومه قريش في مكة ، ثم قدم المدينة فوجد اليهود يصومونه فصامه أيضا بوحي أو تواتر أو اجتهاد ، لا بمجرد أخبار آحادهم . والله أعلم

I [Imam al-Nawawi] say: The statement of al-Maaziri is selected, and the summary of that is that he (ﷺ) used to fast it [‘Aashooraa’] just as the Quraish fasted it in Mecca, then when he arrived in al-Madinah he found the Jews fasting it, so he fasted it also according to revelation or mutawaatir reports or out of independent judgement, but not merely according to a single report. And Allah knows best.

[Sharh al-Nawawi ‘alaa Muslim pg 204]

See also: The Four Stages of Fasting ‘Aashooraa’: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: Khutbah regarding ‘Aashooraa’: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: A brief clarification on ‘Aashooraa’: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

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3 thoughts on “Fasting ‘Aashooraa’: Sharh al-Nawawi

  1. Pingback: A brief clarification on ‘Aashooraa’: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Khutbah regarding ‘Aashooraa’: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: The Four Stages of Fasting ‘Aashooraa’: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali | Tulayhah

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