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

In his book detailing the different activities of the year, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali wrote the following discussion concerning the Day of ‘Aashooraa’ (the 10th day of the month of Muharram) and its fasting:

وكان للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في صيامه أربع حالات: ـ

The Prophet (ﷺ) went through four different stages regarding the fasting of ‘Aashooraa’:

الحالة الأولى: أنه كان يصومه بمكة ولا يأمر الناس بالصوم ففي الصحيحين عن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت: كان عاشوراء يوما تصومه قريش في الجاهلية وكان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يصومه فلما قدم المدينة صامه وأمر بصيامه فلما نزلت فريضة شهر رمضان كان رمضان هو الذي يصومه فترك يوم عاشوراء فمن شاء صامه ومن شاء أفطره وفي رواية للبخاري وقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “من شاء فليصمه ومن شاء أفطر”. ـ

○The First Stage: That he used to fast it in Mecca but he did not command the people to fast. There is a narration in the Saheehayn on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah who said:

The Day of ‘Aashooraa’ was a day that the Quraish used to fast during the times of al-Jaahiliyyah and the Prophet (ﷺ) also used to fast it. Then when he came to al-Madinah he fasted it and he commanded its fasting. Then when the obligation of fasting the month of Ramadan was revealed, it was Ramadan that he fasted and thus he left off the Day of ‘Aashooraa’, so whoever wished could fast it and whoever wished did not have to fast it.

And in the narration of al-Bukhari, “And the Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘Whoever wishes then let him fast and whoever wishes then do not fast.'”

الحالة الثانية: أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لما قدم المدينة ورأى صيام أهل الكتاب له وتعظيمهم له وكان يحب موافقتهم فيما لم يؤمر به صامه وأمر الناس بصيامه وأكد الأمر بصيامه والحث عليه حتى كانوا يصومونه أطفالهم ففي الصحيحين عن ابن عباس قال: قدم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم المدينة فوجد اليهود صياما يوم عاشوراء فقال لهم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ما هذا اليوم الذي تصومونه؟ قالوا: هذا يوم عظيم أنجى الله فيه موسى وقومه وأغرق فرعون وقومه فصامه موسى شكرا فنحن نصومه فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “فنحن أحق وأولى بموسى منكم” فصامه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وأمر بصيامه. ـ

○The Second Stage: That the Prophet (ﷺ) came to al-Madinah and he saw the Ahl al-Kitaab fasting it and holding it in high regard, and he was pleased with his having been in accord with them in in the fast which he had not previously ordered the people to do. So he then commanded the people to fast that day and emphasized the command to fast it. He encouraged the people to do so to the extent that even the children would fast it. So there is a report in the Saheehayn on the authority of ibn ‘Abbaas who said: Continue reading


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

In a collection of more than 400 sermons of sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di, the following khutbah was one of several related to the month of Muharram:

خطبة ثانية لشهر الله المحرم

The second Khutbah regarding the month of Allah, al-Muharram

الحمد لله القاهر فوق عباده عزا وسلطانا ، القادر على مراده فما اتّخذ في خلق السماوات والارض أعوانا ، الناصر من نصر دينه فحاشاه أن يرهقه خذلانا ، العظيم الشان وناهيك بشأن الربوبية شانا ، خضعت لعزته رقاب الجبابرة إذعانا ، ودلت على وحدانيته شواهد الاعتبار عيانا ، قسم الخلق كما شاء شمائل وأيمانا ، فمنتحل إيمانا ومنتحل كفرانا ، قسمة كتبت فكتمت غير أنّ للسعادة والشقاوة عنوانا ، فطوبى للذين : < إِذَا ذُكِرَ‌ اللَّـهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا > [الانفال 2] ، وبعدا للذين إذا ذُكّروا بآيات ربهم خرّوا عليها صمّا وعميانا .  ـ

All praise belongs to Allah, the One who is irresistibly powerful over His slaves with might and authority; the One who is fully capable of enacting His will for He did not take any assistance in the creation of the heavens and the earth; the One who aids those who aid His deen so He saves these ones from being overcome by failure. How magnificent is His greatness, not to mention the greatness of His Lordship! The necks of the tyrants humble themselves to His might in submissiveness, and the testimony of witnessed examples proves His right to be singled out. He divided the creation as He willed into those of the right and those of the left; some of them ascribed to eemaan and some ascribed to disbelief. This division was ordained and then concealed except for the fact that ultimate happiness and sorrow have signs and indications, so glad tidings to those who:

إِذَا ذُكِرَ‌ اللَّـهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا

 when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith [8:2]

and ill tidings for those who, when the ayaat of their Lord are mentioned to them, they suddenly become deaf and blind.

أحمده سبحانه سرا وإعلانا . وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له شهادة أرجو بها يوم القيامة أمانا . وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله أكمل الخلق عقلا وأرجحهم ميزانا . ـ

I praise Him – exalted is He – privately and openly. And I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allah alone with no partners – a testimony through which I hope for safety on the Day of Judgement. And I testify that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger – the most complete of the creation in terms of intellect and the most just in judgement.

اللهم صلّ على عبدك ورسولك محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه الذين أيّد الله بهم دينه فكانوا على ذلك أنصارا وأعوانا ، وسلّم تسليما . ـ

O Allah, bestow peace and blessings upon Your slave and Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and his companions – those through whom Allah aided His religion and as such they were helpers and aids.

أما بعد : ـ فيا أيها الناس ؛ اتّقوا الله تعالى تقية من خاف وحذر واستقام ، والتزموا ما وجب عليكم من حقوق الإيمان والإسلام ، وأحبوه تعالى لما غذاكم به من جزيل الفضل والإنعام . ـ

To proceed: O People! Exercise taqwa of Allah – the taqwa of one who fears Him, keeps his guard up and is upright -, and adhere to what is obligatory upon you of the duties of al-eemaan and al-islaam, and love Him due to that with which He has nurtured you of abundant favors and blessings.

واعلموا رحمكم الله أنكم استقبلتم عاما جديدا ، وشهرا محرّما أكيدا ، خصّ باليوم العاشر ، بالأجر الجزيل الوافر . ـ

And know – may Allah have mercy on you all – that you are facing a new year and an emphasized sacred month – especially its tenth day – of abundant and plentiful rewards.

فعن ابن عباس قال : ( قدم النبي ﷺ المدينة فوجد اليهود صياما يوم عاشوراء ، فقال ‏”‏ ما هذا اليوم الذي تصومونه ؟ ‏”‏‏.‏ قالوا ” هذا يوم نجى الله فيه موسى وقومه ، وأهلك فيه فرعون وقومه ، فصامه موسى‏ شكرا لله ، ونحن نصومه ” .‏ قال ﷺ ‏”‏ نحن أَحقُّ وأولى بموسى منكم ‏”‏‏.‏ فصامه وأمر بصيامه.‏ )  [أخرجه البخاري (3315) ومسلم (2714)] ـ

For Ibn ‘Abbas reported:

Continue reading

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

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

While discussing the virtue and prescribed acts of worship legislated for the day of ‘aashooraa’ (the 10th of Muharram), Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali briefly yet eloquently addresses a common misconception. He writes:

وأما اتخاذه  مأتماً كما تفعله الرافضة لأجل قتل الحسين بن علي رضي الله عنهما فيه, فهو من عمل مَن ضلّ سعيه في الحياة الدنيا وهو يحسب أنّه يُحسن صُنعاً, ولم يأمر الله ولا رسولُه باتخاذ أيّام مصائب الأنبياء وموتهم مأتماً, فكيف بمن دُونَهم؟

And as for taking it [i.e.yawm al-‘aashooraa’] as a time of mourning as the raafidhah (Shi’a) have made it on account of the murder of al-Hussain ibn ‘Ali (radiAllaahu ‘anhuma) on this day, then this is from the actions of those whose efforts have gone astray in the life of this dunya and who consider it as a beautified invention. And neither Allah nor His messenger ordered the taking of the calamitous days of the anbiyaa’ or their deaths as times of mourning, so then what about someone less than them?

[Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif pg. 113]

For a explanation of the true origin of fasting ‘Aashooraa’ and its merits, see: Khutbah regarding ‘Aashooraa’: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: A Comprehensive Statement regarding Bid’ah: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: The Mahdi will be from the offspring of al-Hasan: Ibn al-Qayyim

See also: Fasting ‘Aashooraa’: Sharh al-Nawawi

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