By Sheikhul Hadith Hadhrat Maulana Fazlur Rahman Azmi (rahimahullah)
The virtues of day of Âshura, its importance and the reason for its significance have already come to your knowledge. The reason is that Hadhrat Mûsa Alayhis-Salâm and the Bani Isrâ’îl were rescued from Fir’aun and his army on this day. As a token of gratitude, Hadhrat Mûsa Alayhis-Salâm fasted on this day. In emulation, Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam also fasted on this day and instructed the Muslims to do the same. While the compulsion to fast on this day has been waived, the fast has still been retained in the Shari’ah as an optional but highly commendable deed. It is perhaps because of this same incident that people are encouraged to spend freely on their families on this day. Allâh Ta’âla knows best.
A Grave Misconception
Because of misleading propaganda, many people believe that the significance of Muharram and Âshura is linked to the martyrdom of Hadhrat Husain Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu. This belief is erroneous. The Shari’ah of Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam was perfected during his very lifetime. How can any aspect of the Shari’ah then pivot on an incident that took place long after the demise of Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam? In fact, it occurred many years after the period of the four Khulafa Râshideen (the four righteous Khalifs).
Without doubt, the martyrdom of Hadhrat Husain Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu was an extremely painful and tragic incident. However, Islâm does not permit fanatical mourning because Islâm is not a religion of mourning. Every page of Islâmic history is filled with the blood of martyrs. If Muslims were required to mourn the death of every martyr, their every day of the year would be occupied with mourning. Among the many illustrious martyrs of Islâm were Hadhrat Umar Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu, Hadhrat Uthmân Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu and Hadhrat Ali Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu. In fact, before them was the martyrdom of the “leader of all martyrs” Hadhrat Hamza Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu. Many Sahabah Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhum were also martyred during the tragedies of the battle of Muta, Bir Ma’oona and the battle of Rajee. These incidents were not only tragedies for the Muslims, but even Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam was extremely hurt by them. How can a Muslim forget all these and many more tragedies and remember only the incident of Hadhrat Husain Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu?
Rather than engaging in bereavement, Islâm encourages Muslims to sacrifice their lives and wealth for the Deen. As Muslims, we have to think about what we have sacrificed for Deen when all these illustrious souls laid down their very lives?
In his book “Mâ Thabata bis Sunnah”, Shah Abdul Haqq Muhaddith Dehlawi Rahmatullâhi Alayhi quotes the following extract from the book “Kitâbus Sawâ’iq”, which was written by the Egyptian Sheikh Ibn Hajar Haythami Rahmatullâhi Alayhi, who was a renowned Mufti of Makkah Mukarramah and one of the leading jurists and Muhadditheen of his era. He writes, “One should remember that what happened to Hadhrat Husain Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu on the day of Âshura was that he was martyred. This means that Allâh Ta’âla had elevated his status and reunited him with the other members of Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam’s pure family. If anyone thinks of the tragedy that occurred on this day, he should recite ‘Innâ Lillâhi wa Innâ Ilayhi Râji’oon’. By doing so, he will be obeying Allâh Ta’âla’s command and will attain the reward that Allâh Ta’âla has promised for those who recite ‘Innâ Lillâhi wa Innâ Ilayhi Râji’oon’ when a tragedy occurs. Concerning such people, Allâh Ta’âla has mentioned, ‘These are the ones upon whom the collective and special mercies of Allâh descend and these are the ones who are rightly guided.’”
He further writes, “On this day of Âshura, one should engage only in good deeds such as fasting and should specifically avoid the baseless innovations that the Shias and Rawâfidh practice. Some of these misleading practices include excessive wailing, mourning and crying. These are not among the practices of Muslims. If it were, then the day on which Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam passed away would have been more deserving of bereavement. Muslims should also avoid the practices of the Nawâsib, who are the enemies of Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam’s family. Such people are ignorant. They oppose falsehood with falsehood, Bid’ah with Bid’ah and evil with evil. In opposition to mourning, they make the day a day of rejoicing and celebration. On this day, they adorn themselves, apply henna and kohl, wear new clothing and spend their wealth very liberally. They also prepare elaborate meals that are not prepared on other days. They regard these practices as Sunnah practices and have made them customary. However, they are actually opposing the Sunnah because none of these practices have been reported from Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam.”
“When the scholars of Fiqh (Islâmic jurisprudence) and Ahadeeth were asked about applying henna and kohl, about wearing new clothes, about taking a bath and expressing joy on the day of Âshura, they made it clear that no narration has every proven that these acts were practised by Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam. Neither the Sahabah Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhum nor the Imâms of Fiqh or any other scholar ever regarded such practices as being Mustahab (commendable) for this day. There is neither any authentic or weak narration in this regard reported in any of the reliable Islâmic books. Among the many virtues cited about this day, the narration concerning spending freely on one’s family has been established from the Ahadeeth. However, comments have been made about the authenticity of its chain of narrators. The famous virtues of the day of Âshura that are all fabrications are:
• That the person applying kohl on this day will not have any pain in the eyes for the entire year.
• That the person who baths on this day will not suffer any illness for the year.
• That there is a special salâh to be performed on this day.
• That the repentance of Hadhrat Âdam Alayhis-Salâm was accepted on this day.
• That the ark of Hadhrat Nûh Alayhis-Salâm settled on Mount Judi on this day.
• That Hadhrat Ibraheem Alayhis-Salâm was saved from the fire on this day.
• That on this day Allâh Ta’âla sent the ram to be sacrificed in place of Hadhrat Isma’eel Alayhis-Salâm.
• That on this day Allâh Ta’âla returned Hadhrat Yusuf Alayhis-Salâm to his father Hadhrat Ya’qûb Alayhis-Salâm.
Because of their ignorance, the Nawâsib regard the day of Âshura as a day of celebration whereas the Rawâfidh regard it to be a day of grief and bereavement. Both these attitudes oppose the Sunnah. Thus have the Scholars of Ahadeeth stated.”
It is therefore evident that the above are all fabrications, save for the narration concerning spending freely on one’s family. Allâma Ibn Qayyim Rahmatullâhi Alayhi has also made it clear that the narrations about applying kohl, oil, perfume and other things specifically on the day of Âshura have all been concocted.
Shah Abdul Haqq Muhaddith Dehlawi Rahmatullâhi Alayhi has also quoted another narration which Sheikh Ali bin Muhammad Ibn Arrâq Rahmatullâhi Alayhi  has classified as a fabricated hadith. The fabricated hadith states that the person who fasts on the day of Âshura will receive the reward of fasting for sixty years and for standing in salâh for sixty years. In addition to this, he will also receive the rewards of ten thousand angels and the rewards of a thousand people performing Hajj and Umrah. He will also receive the rewards of ten thousand martyrs together with all the rewards of the seven heavens. This fabricated hadith also states that the person who feeds a hungry person on the day of Âshura will receive the reward of feeding every poor person from the Ummah of Muhammad Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam to his fill. Furthermore it states that the person who on this day places his hand on the head of an orphan will have his status in Jannah raised by a degree for every strand of the orphan’s hair that falls beneath his hand. The other false impressions that the fabrication creates is that Allâh Ta’âla created the creation on the day of Âshura, including the heavens, the earth, the pen, the Lowhul Mahfoodh, Hadhrat Jibra’eel Alayhis-Salâm, Hadhrat Mika’eel Alayhis-Salâm and Hadhrat Âdam Alayhis-Salâm. It also states that Hadhrat Ibraheem Alayhis-Salâm was born on this day, that he was rescued from the fire on this day, that the ram was sent in place of Hadhrat Isma’eel Alayhis-Salâm on this day, that Fir’oun was drowned on this day, that Hadhrat Idrees Alayhis-Salâm was raised to the heavens on this day and that Hadhrat Âdam Alayhis-Salâm’s repentance was accepted on this day. Moreover, it states that Hadhrat Dawood Alayhis-Salâm was forgiven on this day, that Allâh Ta’âla focuses His attention to His throne on this day and that Qiyâmah shall take place on this day. Allâma Ibn Jowzi Rahmatullâhi Alayhi has also stated that this hadith has been concocted by a person called Habeeb Ibn Abi Habeeb and attributed to Hadhrat Abdullâh bin Abbâs Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu.
After mentioning all of the above, Hadhrat Shah Abdul Haqq Rahmatullâhi Alayhi quotes another fabrication. This fabrication states that on this day Hadhrat Yusuf Alayhis-Salâm was freed from prison, Hadhrat Ya’qoob Alayhis-Salâm’s eyesight was restored, Hadhrat Ayyoob Alayhis-Salâm was cured and Hadhrat Yunus Alayhis-Salâm was removed from the belly of the fish. It also states that on this day the past and future mistakes of Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam were forgiven, the repentance of Hadhrat Yunus Alayhis-Salâm’s nation was accepted and the first rains fell. In addition to this, the “hadith” states that the person who fasts on the day of Âshura shall have forty years of his sins forgiven and that the day of Âshura was the first creation of Allâh Ta’âla. It states that the person who fasts on this day will be rewarded like one who fasts all the time and the person who stands in Ibâdah during the night preceding the day of Âshura will receive the reward of the Ibâdah of everything within the seven heavens. Furthermore, it states that all the Ambiya Alayhum-Salâm fasted on this day and that fifty years of a person’s future sins and fifty years of his past sins will be forgiven if on this day he performs four rakât salâh and recites Surah Fâtiha once, followed by Surah Ikhlâs (Surah 112) fifty times in every rakât. In addition to this, the “hadith” states that such a person will have a thousand pulpits of Nûr (celestial light) erected for him in the highest echelons of the heavens. It also asserts that the person who gives a single sip to another to drink on this day, his status will be like one who has not disobeyed Allâh Ta’âla for even a moment as brief as the blink of an eye. It says also that one who feeds a poor person to his fill on this day will cross over the bridge of Sirât with the speed of lightning. Another concocted detail of this “hadith” is where it states that the person who gives charity on this day is like one who never refuses any beggar and someone who passes his hand over the head of an orphan will be rewarded like one who has behaved kindly to every orphan among mankind. In a similar fashion, it states that whoever visits a sick person on this day will be equal to one who has visited every sick person from among mankind.
Allâma Ibn Jowzi Rahmatullâhi Alayhi has mentioned that this narration has certainly been fabricated although its chain of narrators include all reliable narrators. It is therefore obvious that whoever concocted this “hadith” attached a reliable chain of narrators to it.
Everything said above has made it evident that the day of Âshura is especially important because it was the day in which Hadhrat Moosa Alayhis-Salâm and the Bani Isrâ’eel were saved while Fir’oun and his army were drowned. It is also because of this that the fast is observed on this day. Everything else pertaining to its importance is unfounded. No injunction of the Shari’ah pertaining to this day is related to the martyrdom of Hadhrat Husain Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu. There are no special salâhs to be performed and no special foods that have to be prepared either.
Although Allâma Ibn Kathîr Rahmatullâhi Alayhi has recorded a narration in his Tafsîr stating that the ark of Hadhrat Nûh Alayhis-Salâm settled on Mount Judi on the day of Âshura, he has added that this narration is “Ghareeb”. As noticed in many of his comments, when Allâma Ibn Kathîr Rahmatullâhi Alayhi classifies a hadith as “Ghareeb”, he means that the hadith should be disregarded. We will therefore suffice only with what has been stated in authentic Ahadeeth.
May Allâh Ta’âla grant the Ummah the ability to remain steadfast on the Qur’ân and Sunnah, remaining aloof from all acts of Bid’ah and all customs. May Allâh Ta’âla also guide them to refrain from adding baseless beliefs and injunctions to the Shari’ah. May Allâh’s choicest blessing and mercies be showered on our leader Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam, his family and all his Companions Radhi-Allâhu ‘anha. All praises are definitely for Allâh Ta’âla alone. Âmîn.
 Surah Baqara, verse 157.
 Maa Thabata bis Sunnah Pg. 16.
 Maa Thabata bis Sunnah Pg. 17.
 From his book “Tanzi’atush Shari’atul Marfu’ah Anil Ahadeethil Mowdoo’ah”.
 Maa Thabata bis Sunnah Pg. 20
 Maa Thabata bis Sunnah Pg. 21.
 Ma’aarifus Sunan Vol. 4 Pg. 306.
 In his book “Tanzi’atush Shari’atul Marfu’ah Anil Ahadeethil Mowdoo’ah” Vol. 2 Pg.149.
 In his book “Al La’aalil Masnoo’ah” Vol. 2 Pg. 108.