3Aashooraa’ in History
Ibn 3Abbaas radi Allaahu 3Anhu said: “The Prophet sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam came to Madeenah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Aashooraa’. He said, ‘What is this?’
They said, ‘This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allaah saved the Children of Israeel from their enemies, so Moosa fasted on this day.’
He said, ‘We have more right to Moosa than you,’ so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day.”
According to another report: “He said to his Companions: ‘You have more right to Moosa than they do, so fast on that day.” (2)
The practice of fasting on 3Aashooraa’ was known even in the days of Jaahiliyyah, before the Prophet’s mission. It was reported that 3Ayeshah radi Allaahu 3Anha said: “The people of Jaahiliyyah used to fast on that day…”
It was also reported that the Prophet sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam used to fast on 3Aashooraa’ in Makkah, before he migrated to Madeenah. When he migrated to Madeenah, he found the Jews celebrating this day, so he asked them why, and they replied as described in the hadeeth quoted above. He commanded the Muslims to be different from the Jews, who took it as a festival, as was reported in the hadeeth of Abu Moosa radi Allaahu 3Anhu, who said: “The Jews used to take the day of 3Aashooraa’ as a festival [according to a report narrated by Muslim: the day of ‘Aashooraa’ was venerated by the Jews, who took it as a festival.
The Prophet sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam said: ‘So you [Muslims] should fast on that day.’”
Apparently the motive for commanding the Muslims to fast on this day was the desire to be different from the Jews, so that the Muslims would fast when the Jews did not, because people do not fast on a day of celebration. (3)
Fasting on the day of 3Aashooraa’ was obligatory, but when fasting Ramadaan was made obligatory, the obligation to fast 3Aashooraa’ was lifted, i.e., it was no longer obligatory to fast on this day, but it is still desirable (mustahabb).
[wearing kohl, taking a bath (ghusl), using henna, shaking hands with one another, cooking grains (huboob), showing their happiness]:
Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about it & he replied:
‘Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds. Nothing to that effect has been reported in any saheeh hadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from his Companions. None of the imaams of the Muslims encouraged or recommended such things, neither the four imaams, nor any others.
No reliable scholars have narrated anything like this, neither from the Prophet sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam, nor from the Sahaabah, nor from the Taabi3een; neither in any saheeh report or in a da3eef (weak) report; neither in the books of Saheeh, nor in al-Sunan, nor in the Musnads.
No hadeeth of this nature was known during the best centuries, but some of the later narrators reported ahaadeeth like the one which says “Whoever puts kohl in his eyes on the day of 3Aashooraa’ will not suffer from eye disease in that year, and whoever takes a bath (does ghusl) on the day of 3Aashooraa’ will not get sick in that year, etc.”
They also narrated reports concerning the supposed virtues of praying on the day of 3Aashooraa’, and other reports saying that on the day of 3Aashooraa’ Adam repented, the Ark settled on Mount Joodi, Yoosuf returned to Ya3qoob, Ibraaheem was saved from the fire, the ram was provided for sacrifice instead of Ismaa’eel, and so on. They also reported a fabricated hadeeth that is falsely attributed to the Prophet sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam, which says, “Whoever is generous to his family on the day of 3Aashooraa’, Allaah will be generous to him for the rest of the year.”
As for the other things, such as cooking special dishes with or without grains, or wearing new clothes, or spending money on one’s family, or buying the year’s supplies on that day, or doing special acts of worship such as special prayers or deliberately slaughtering an animal on that day, or saving some of the meat of the sacrifice to cook with grains, or wearing kohl and henna, or taking a bath (ghusl), or shaking hands with one another, or visiting one another, or visiting the mosques and mashhads (shrines) and so on… all of this is reprehensible bid3ah and is wrong.
None of it has anything to do with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam, or the way of the Khulafa’ al-Raashidoon. It was not approved of by any of the imaams of the Muslims, not Maalik, not al-Thawri, not al-Layth ibn Sa3d, not Abu Haneefah, not al-Oozaa3i, not al-Shaafa3’i, not Ahmad ibn Hanbal, not Ishaaq ibn Raahwayh, not any of the imaams and scholars of the Muslims. (4)
Taking it as a day of mourning:
Celebrating that day is an innovation (bid3ah), and making it an anniversary for mourning is also an innovation.
What the Shi3ah do on 3Ashooraa’ of beating their chests, slapping their cheeks, striking their shoulders with chains and cutting their heads with swords to let the blood flow are all innovations that have no basis in Islaam. These things are evils that were forbidden by the Prophet sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam, who did not prescribe for his ummah to do any of these things or anything similar to them to mark the death of a leader or the loss of a martyr, no matter what his status.
3Abd-Allaah ibn Mas3ood radi Allaahu 3Anhu said: The Prophet sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam said: “He is not one of us who strikes his cheeks, rends his garment, or cries with the cry of the Jaahiliyyah.” (5)
These reprehensible actions that the Shi3ah do on the day of 3Ashooraa’ have no basis in Islam. The Prophet sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam did not do them, nor did any of his companions. None of his companions did them when he or anyone else died, although the loss of Muhammad sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam was greater than the death of al-Husayn radi Allaahu 3Anhu. (6)
Al-Haafidh ibn Katheer rahimahAllaah, known for his work of tafseer, states regarding this act of mourning the death of Husayn ibn 3Alee radi Allahu anhu:
“Every Muslim should mourn the killing of al-Husayn radi Allahu anhu, for he is one of the leaders of the Muslims, one of the scholars of the Sahaabah, and the son of the daughter of the Messenger of AllaahsallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam, who was the best of his daughters. He was a devoted worshipper, and a courageous and generous man. But there is nothing good in what the Shi3ah do of expressing distress and grief, most of which may be done in order to show off. His father was better than him and he was killed, but they do not take his death as an anniversary as they do with the death of al-Husayn. His father was killed on a Friday as he was leaving the mosque after Fajr prayer, on the seventeenth of Ramadan in 40 AH.
3Uthmaan was better than 3Alee according to Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa3ah, and he was killed when he was besieged in his house during the days of al-Tashreeq in Dhu’l-Hijjah of 36 AH, with his throat cut from one jugular vein to the other, but the people did not take his death as an anniversary.
3Umar ibn al-Khattaab was better than 3Alee and 3Uthmaan, and he was killed as he was standing in the mihraab, praying Fajr and reciting Qur’aan, but the people did not take his death as an anniversary. Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq was better than him but the people did not take his death as an anniversary.
The Messenger of Allah sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam is the leader of the sons of Adam in this world and the Hereafter, and Allaah took him to Him as the Prophets died before him, but no one took the dates of their deaths as anniversaries on which they do what these ignorant Raafidis do on the day that al-Husayn was killed. … The best that can be said when remembering these and similar calamities is that which 3Al33 ibn al-Husayn narrated from his grandfather the Messenger of Allah sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam, who said: “There is no Muslim who is afflicted by a calamity and when he remembers it, even if it was in the dim and distant past, he says Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji3oon (verily to Allaah we belong and unto Him is our return), but Allaah will give him a reward like that of the day when it befell him.” (7)
Eating food that is made on 3Ashooraa’:
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: This is an abhorrent evil and reprehensible innovation which must be abandoned; it is not permissible to take part in it and it is not permissible to eat the food that is offered.
And he said: It is not permissible take part in it or to eat of these meats or drink these drinks [prepared for this occasion] (8)
About 3Aashooraa (download as pdf)
(3) Summarized from the words of al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar – may Allaah have mercy on him – in Fath al-Baari Sharh ‘ala Saheeh al-Bukhaari
(4) Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah – may Allaah have mercy on him. Al-Fataawa al-Kubra, part 5)
(5) Al-Bukhaari (1294) and Muslim (103)
(7) Al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah (8/221).