What is ’Ashura?
’Ashura or ’Aashoora is derived from the word ’Asharah, which means ten in Arabic. ’Ashura is the 10th day of Muharram. Al-Muharram is one of the sacred months alluded to in the following Qur’anic verse: ‘Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them…’ (Qur’an, 9:36)
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “The best fasting after Ramadan is the month of Allah Muharram, and the best prayer after the obligatory prayer is prayer at night.” [Muslim]
He (pbuh) called this month “the Month of Allah.” When Allah azza wa jal connects His Name to something, it shows the great status and virtue of the subject.
The most important things that happened on this day are:
- Allah azza wa jal accepted the repentance of Adam (pbuh) after he committed the sin of eating from the forbidden tree in Paradise.
- The Arc of Prophet Noah (pbuh) landed safely on the Mount of Al-Judiyy in modern day Turkey after the flood .
- Allah azza wa jal saved the Children of Israel (Jews) and Prophet Moses (pbuh) from Pharaoh, who also drowned also on that day.
Some quick facts about ’Ashura:
- Giving charity on ’Ashura is equal to an entire year’s worth of charity: ’On the authority of ’Abdullah bin ’Amr bin al-’As (may Allah be pleased with both of them) that he said, “Whoever fasts ‘Ashura’ it is as if he has fasted the entire year. And whoever gives charity this day it is like the charity of an entire year”’. (Ibn Rajab’s Lata’if al-Ma‘arif)
- Fasting on ’Ashura wipes out the sins of the past year: ’On the authority of Abu Qatadah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw), was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’, and he said, “It expiates [wipes out the minor sins of] the past year”’.(Muslim)
- The covering (Kiswah) of the Ka‘bah used to be changed on ’Ashura: ’On the authority of ’Aishah (ra) who said, “The people used to fast on ’Ashura before the fasting of Ramadan was made obligatory. And on that day the Ka‘bah used to be covered with a cover. When Allah made the fasting of the month of Ramadan compulsory, Allah’s Messenger (saw) said, ’Whoever wishes to fast (on the day of ‘Ashura’) may do so; and whoever wishes to leave it can do so”’. (Bukhari)
- ’Ashura is an immense day of repentance: ‘The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “If you will fast after the month of Ramadan, then fast al-Muharram, for indeed it is Allah’s month in which there is a day that Allah accepted the repentance of a people, and in which He accepts the repentance of other people”’ (Tirmidhi).
- Be generous to your family on ’Ashura: ’The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “One who generously spends on his family on the day of ‘Ashura’, Allah will be generous on him for the entire year”’ (Baihaqi).