Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Hizaam hafidhuhallah wrote:
It comes in the Saheeh Muslim from Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (ﷺ) was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Ashoora. He said: “It expiates the sins of the past year”
An-Nawawi (mercy be upon him) said in Sharh Saheeh Muslim (8/4): “The Scholars agreed that fasting ‘Ashoora is Sunnah”.
They differed regarding the day of ‘Ashoora. The majority of the Scholars of the Salaf and those who came after them were of the opinion that ‘Ashoora is the tenth of Muharram.
It was said it is the ninth day. They said: it is the opinion of Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) and they used as evidence what is in Saheeh Muslim:
Hakam b. al-‘Araj reported:
I went to Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be Pleased with both of them) and he was reclining using his mantle as a pillow near the fountain of Zamzam. I said to him: Tell me about fasting on Ashura. He said: When you see the new moon of Muharram then count the (days) and observe fast on the 9th. I said to him: Is it how the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) observed the fast? He said: Yes.
What is apparent is that Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) intended by fasting the ninth to oppose the Jews, not that ‘Ashoora is the ninth due to the evidence of what came in Saheeh Muslim:
– يَقُولُ حِينَ صَامَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ وَأَمَرَ بِصِيَامِهِ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ يَوْمٌ تُعَظِّمُهُ الْيَهُودُ وَالنَّصَارَى . فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ فَإِذَا كَانَ الْعَامُ الْمُقْبِلُ – إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ – صُمْنَا الْيَوْمَ التَّاسِعَ ” . قَالَ فَلَمْ يَأْتِ الْعَامُ الْمُقْبِلُ حَتَّى تُوُفِّيَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم.
That when the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) fasted on the day of ‘Ashoora and commanded that it should he observed as a fast, they (his Companions) said to him: Messenger of Allah, it is a day which the Jews and Christians hold in high esteem. Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: When the next year comes, God willing, we would observe fast on the ninth. But the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) died before the advent of the next year.
And what supports that is what is established from Sa’eed ibn Mansoor with a Saheeh chain as is in the book al-Iqtidaa as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem from Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him):
“Fast the ninth and tenth, oppose the Jews”
[See: Sharh Saheeh Muslim (8/11-12), Fath (no. 2008), and Tafseer al-Qurtubi (1/391)]
Combining Between the Ninth and Tenth Day
It is benefited from the Hadith from Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) in the previous issue that it is recommended to fast the ninth with the tenth in opposition to the Jews. The majority of the Scholars recommended it. From them is Shafi’ee and Ahmad (may Allah have mercy upon them)
[See: Sharh Muslim (8/12-23) and Tawdeeh al-Ahkaam (3/201)]
Wisdom Behind the Command to Fast ‘Ashoora
In the Saheeh on the authority of Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) that:
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 لله عليه وسلم ” فَنَحْنُ أَحَقُّ وَأَوْلَى بِمُوسَى مِنْكُمْ ” . فَصَامَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَأَمَرَ بِصِيَامِهِ
That the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) arrived in Medina and found the Jews observing fast on the day of ”Ashoora. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to them:
What is the (significance) of this day that you observe fast on it? They said: It is the day of great (significance) when Allah delivered Moses and his people, and drowned the Pharaoh and his people, and Moses observed fast out of gratitude and we also observe it. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: We have more right, and we have a closer connection with Moses than you have; so Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) observed fast (on the day of ‘Ashoora), and gave orders that it should be observed.
[See: Sharh Muslim (8/9)]
It was mentioned in the previous Hadith: “It expiates the sins of the past”. What is apparent is that fasting the day of ‘Ashoora expiates the minor and major sins. However, the majority of Scholars are of the opinion that it does not expiate the major sins. If one fasts the day of Arafah and the day of ‘Ashoora, then they are not better than fasting Ramadan nor are they better than the five obligatory prayers.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
الصَّلَوَاتُ الْخَمْسُ وَالْجُمُعَةُ إِلَى الْجُمُعَةِ وَرَمَضَانُ إِلَى رَمَضَانَ مُكَفِّرَاتٌ مَا بَيْنَهُنَّ إِذَا اجْتَنَبَ الْكَبَائِرَ
The five (daily) prayers and from one Friday prayer to the (next) Friday prayer, and from Ramadhan to Ramadhan are expiations for the (sins) committed in between (their intervals) provided one shuns the major sins [\
Reported by Muslim from the authority Abu Hurariah (may Allah be pleased with him)]
This is the statement of the majority of the Scholars and it is the more correct opinion.
[See: Sharh Muslim (6/383) and Tawdeeh al-Ahkam (3/201)]”
[Ithaaf al-Anaam (pg. 160-163)]
And Allah Knows Best
Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan