The Historical Significance of Ashura

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The first month of the year is Muharram, and in this month is an excellent day--the day of Ashura--which falls on the 10th of Muharram. The Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) recommended that we fast on this day

Excerpts are taken from Al Ghunya li Talibi Tariq al Haqq Volume Three

by Sayydina Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (peace be upon him) 

Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) has blessed us to see another year. The first month of the year is Muharram, and in this month is an excellent day–the day of Ashura–which falls on the 10th of Muharram.  The Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) recommended that we fast on this day, by his Sunnah (his actions and sayings).  Hakam ibn Al-Aratt (peace be upon him) relates, “I went to Ibn Abbas (peace be upon him) and said to him, “Tell me about fasting on Ashura.  He said, “When you’ve seen the new moon of Muharram count the days and begin to observe fast on the 9th.”  I said to him, “Is it how the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) observed the fast?”  He said, “Yes.”  (Sahih Muslim) 

Hazrat Ibn Abbas (peace be upon him) reports that the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) arrived in Madinah and found the Jewish people observing fast on the day of Ashura…They said, “It is the day of great significance when Allah delivered Hazrat Musa (peace and blessings be on him) and his people and drowned Pharaoh and his people, and Nabi Musa (peace be upon him) observed fast out of gratitude and we also observe it.”  The Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) responded, “We have a better right, and we have a very close connection with Hazrat Musa (peace be upon him), closer than you have,”  so Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) observed fast on the day of Ashura and gave us orders to observe it. (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)

Abu Huraira (peace be upon him) said, “It was made incumbent upon the Children of Israel to fast on the one day in the year, namely, the day of Ashura, the tenth of Muharram, so they devoted it to fasting, and on it they treated their dependents with special generosity.  If someone uses his wealth to treat his dependents with special generosity on the day of Ashura, Allah will treat the person with special generosity throughout the rest of the year.  If someone devotes the day to fasting, it will count in his favor as the atonement of forty years.  If someone spends the night of Ashura in vigilant worship and enters upon the morning in a state of fasting, he will return to Allah without knowing the agony of maut.

Ashura is a day of great historical significance.  On this day:  Allah accepted the repentance of Nabi Adam (peace be upon him) after his exile from Jannah (paradise); Allah saved Nabi Nuh (peace be upon him) and his companions in the ark; Allah extinguished the fire in which Nabi Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was thrown by Nimrod, and Allah spoke directly to Nabi Musa (peace be upon him) and gave him the Ten Commandments.  On this same 10th of Muharram, Nabi Ayyub (peace be upon him) was restored to health (from leprosy); Nabi Yusuf (peace be upon him) was reunited with his father Nabi Yaqub (peace be upon him), Nabi Yunus (peace be upon him) was taken out from the belly of the whale; and the sea was divided as the nation of Israel was delivered from captivity and Pharaoh’s army was destroyed.  Ashura is also the day when Nabi Dawud (peace be upon him) was forgiven; the kingdom of Nabi Sulaiman (peace be upon him) was restored, Nabi Isa (peace be upon him) was raised to Jannah and Hadrat Imam Hussein  the Holy Last Messenger’s (peace and blessings be upon them both) grandson achieved the honor of  Shaheed (one who gives up his life for Allah) during the battle of Karbala.

Fasting on the day of Ashura – If someone fasts on this day, he will be granted the spiritual reward of the thousand angels.  He will be granted the spiritual reward of 111 thousand martyrs, as well as the spiritual reward of the thousand pilgrims and visitants.  Allah knows best.

Iftar – If someone provides a believer (Mumin) with a meal to break his fast on the night of Ashura, it will be just as if the entire community of the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) had broken fast as his guests, and had filled their stomachs to capacity.

Best of days – “Oh Messenger of Allah”, his listeners exclaimed, “it would seem that Allah has give preference to the day of Ashura over all the other days!” “Yes,” said he (peace and blessings be upon him) as he went on to explain:  ‘Allah glory be to Him created the heavens and the earth likewise, on the day of Ashura, He created the mountains and the stars on this day, the oceans, He created the Heavenly Throne and the Pedestal (Kursi) likewise, Pen and the Tablet on this day.  He created Nabi Adam (peace be on him) on the day of Ashura and He caused him to enter the Garden of Paradise.  On the day of Ashura Nabi Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was born, then He redeemed his son from being sacrificed on the day of Ashura.  He caused Pharaoh to drown on the day of Ashura.  Nabi Ayyub (peace be upon him) Allah relieved of his trials and tribulations on the day of Ashura.  Nabi Dawud (peace upon him) was forgiven on the day of Ashura, and Nabi Isa (peace be upon him) was born on the day of Ashura.  Yaum al Qiyama (Day of Resurrection) will occur on the day of Ashura.