9th Muharram = 27th July 2023 | Thursday
10th Muharram = 28th July 20723 | Friday
11th Muharram = 29th July 2023 | Saturday
The Prophet,(sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), said:
“For fasting the day of ‘Ashura, I hope that Allah will accept it as expiation for the year that went before.”
[Reported by Muslim, 1976]
Don’t forget to observe fasting on the day preceding Ashura which is Taasu’a (9th of Muharram) or succeeding it (the 11th of Muharram) to be different from the Jews.
Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “If I remain alive till the next year, I shall also observe fast on the ninth of Muharram (i.e. along with the tenth day.).”
You have 4 options.
Fast 9th and 10th (2 days)
Fast 10th only (1 day)
Fast 10th and 11th (2 days)
Fast 9th,10th and 11th (all 3 days)
‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fasted on the day of ‘Ashura and told the people to fast, they said, “O Messenger of Allaah, this is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Next year, if Allaah wills, we will fast on the ninth day.” But by the time the following year came, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had passed away.
Al-Shaafa’i and his companions, Ahmad, Ishaaq and others said: It is mustahabb [recommended] to fast both the ninth and the tenth, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fasted the tenth and intended to fast the ninth.
Based on this, there are different ways of fasting ‘Ashura’, the least of which is to fast the tenth only, but it is better to fast the ninth as well. The more one fasts in Muharram, the better.
If one were to ask, what is the wisdom behind fasting the ninth as well as the tenth? The answer is:
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The scholars among our companions and others said that there are several reasons for recommending fasting on the ninth day (Tasoo’a’):
- The intention behind it is to be different from the Jews who limit their fasting to the tenth day. This was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas.
- The intention was to join the fast of ‘Ashura’ to another day, just as it is not allowed to fast on a Friday on its own [but it is allowed if one fasts the day before or the day after as well].
- The idea is to be on the safe side and make sure one is fasting on the tenth, in case the moon sighting was not accurate and what people think is the ninth is actually the tenth.
The strongest of these reasons is in order to be different from the People of the Book. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade resembling the People of the Book in many ahaadeeth. For example, he said concerning ‘Ashura’: “If I live until next year I will certainly fast the ninth.”
Al-Fataawa al-Kubra, part 6.
Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, commenting on the hadeeth “If I live until next year I will certainly fast the ninth”:
His concern to fast the ninth may be understood as meaning that he would not limit himself to that, rather that he would add it to the tenth, either to be on the safe side, or to be different from the Jews and Christians, which is more likely to be correct; this is what may be understood from some of the reports narrated by Muslim.”
From Fath al-Baari, 4/245
WHAT ABOUT 11th MUHARRAM THEN?
The scholars regarded it as mustahabb to fast on the eleventh of Muharram because it was narrated from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that he instructed people to fast on this day. This is seen in the report narrated by Ahmad from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Fast the day of ‘Ashura’, and be different from the Jews with regard to it; fast the day before it or the day after it.”
The scholars differed regarding the soundness of this hadeeth. Shaykh Ahmad Shaakir classed it as hasan, but the editors of the Musnad classed it as da‘eef.
It was also narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah with the same wording. Al-Albaani said: Its isnaad is da‘eef, because of the poor memory of Ibn Abi Layla, and it was contradicted by a mawqoof report narrated by ‘Ata’ and others from Ibn ‘Abbaas, the isnaad of which is saheeh according to at-Tahhaawi and al-Bayhaqi. End quote.
If the hadeeth is hasan, that is all well and good. If it is da‘eef, then da‘eef hadeeths about such matters are tolerated by the scholars, because its weakness is minor; it is not false or fabricated, and it speaks about virtuous deeds. Moreover, it is narrated from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that he encouraged fasting in the month of Muharram. Indeed the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The best fast after Ramadaan is the month of Allah Muharram.” Narrated by Muslim, 1163.
Al-Bayhaqi narrated this hadeeth in as-Sunan al-Kubra with the wording mentioned above, and in another report with the wording “Fast one day before it and one day after it,” saying “and” instead of “or”.
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar narrated it in It-haaf al-Mahrah (2225) as follows: “Fast one day before it and one day after,” and he said: It was narrated by Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi with a da‘eef isnaad, because of the weakness of Muhammad ibn Abi Layla, but he is not the only one who narrated it; Saalih ibn Abi Saalih ibn Hayy followed him in that.
This report indicates that it is mustahabb to fast on the ninth, the tenth and the eleventh.
The scholars also mentioned another reason for it being mustahabb to fast on the eleventh, which is to be on the safe side with regard to the tenth day, because people may be mistaken in sighting the new moon of Muharram, and it may not be known exactly which day is the tenth. So if the Muslim fasts on the ninth, the tenth and the eleventh, then he will have fasted ‘Ashura’ for certain. Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated in al-Musannaf (2/313) from Tawoos (may Allah have mercy on him) that he used to fast one day before it and one day after it, for fear of missing it.
Imam Ahmad said: whoever wants to fast ‘Ashura’ should fast on the ninth and the tenth, unless there is some uncertainty about the months, in which case he should fast for three days. Ibn Sireen said that.
Thus it becomes clear that it is not correct to describe fasting three days as being an innovation (bid‘ah).
But if a person misses fasting on the ninth, and he fasts only on the tenth, there is nothing wrong with that, and it is not makrooh. But if he adds the eleventh to it, that is better.
Al-Mardaawi said in al-Insaaf (3/346):
It is not makrooh to single out the tenth for fasting, according to the correct view. Shaykh Taqiy ad-Deen (Ibn Taymiyah) agreed that it is not makrooh.
IMPORTANT: Dates may differ based on where you live. Please check with your local masajids.
Author: Dr Waleed Basyouni