Are there any stages of commandment for Ashura’ fasting and when is the start of this Ashura’ fasting?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Ashura’ fasting is fasting on 10th Muharram and it is put under the category of Sunnah fasting which is highly commendable. This is because its fadhilat or benefits are great where the sins of a person in the previous year will be forgiven.
- It is narrated from Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma that he said when he is asked on fasting on Ashura’:
مَا عَلِمْتُ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم صَامَ يَوْمًا يَطْلُبُ فَضْلَهُ عَلَى الأَيَّامِ إِلاَّ هَذَا الْيَوْمَ وَلاَ شَهْرًا إِلاَّ هَذَا الشَّهْرَ يَعْنِي رَمَضَانَ
I do not know Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) singling out any day's fast and considering it more excellent than another, except this day (the day of Ashura) and this month, meaning the month of Ramadan
Sahih Muslim (1132)
Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali stated in his book pertaining conditions or stages of Ashura’ fasting. Ashura’ fasting is divided into four stages or conditions:
First: The Prophet PBUH fast in Mecca but he did not command the Companions to do so. In addition, the mushrikin of Mecca also fasted on that day.
- It is narrated by Aisha R.Anha where she said:
كَانَ يَوْمُ عَاشُورَاءَ تَصُومُهُ قُرَيْشٌ فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ، وَكَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَصُومُهُ
During the Pre-lslamic Period of ignorance the Quraish used to observe fasting on the day of 'Ashura', and the Prophet (ﷺ) himself used to observe fasting on it too
Sahih al-Bukhari (3831)
Second: When the Prophet PBUH arrived in Medina, the Prophet PBUH saw the Jews fast on the day of Ashura’. Therefore, the Prophet PBUH command the Companions to fast on that day.
- It is narrated that Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma said:
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 الله عليه وسلم " فَنَحْنُ أَحَقُّ وَأَوْلَى بِمُوسَى مِنْكُمْ " . فَصَامَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَأَمَرَ بِصِيَامِهِ
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) arrived in Medina and found the Jews observing fast on the day of 'Ashura. 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 'Ashura), and gave orders that it should be observed.
Sahih Muslim (1130)
Third: When Ramadhan fasting is sanctioned, the Prophet left Ashura’ fasting.
- It is narrated by Ibn Umar R.Anhuma that he said:
صَامَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَاشُورَاءَ، وَأَمَرَ بِصِيَامِهِ فَلَمَّا فُرِضَ رَمَضَانُ تُرِكَ
“The Prophet PBUH fast on the day of Ashura’ and he ordered to fast on that day. When Ramadhan fasting is sanctioned, he PBUH abandoned it (Ashura’ fasting).”
Sahih al-Bukhari (1892)
- It is narrated by Aisha R.Anha said:
كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَمَرَ بِصِيَامِ يَوْمِ عَاشُورَاءَ، فَلَمَّا فُرِضَ رَمَضَانُ كَانَ مَنْ شَاءَ صَامَ، وَمَنْ شَاءَ أَفْطَرَ
Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) ordered (the Muslims) to fast on the day of 'Ashura', and when fasting in the month of Ramadan was prescribed, it became optional for one to fast on that day ('Ashura') or not.
Sahih al-Bukhari (2001)
Fourth: On the last days of the Prophet PBUH’s life, he set the goal to fast and also the goal to fast on the 9th of Muharram. However, the Prophet PBUH did not have the chance to do so because the Prophet PBUH already passed away before reaching Muharram.
- It is narrated by Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma that he said:
لَئِنْ بَقِيتُ إِلَى قَابِلٍ لأَصُومَنَّ التَّاسِعَ
If I live till the next (year), I would definitely observe fast on the 9th
Sahih Muslim (1134)
- It is narrated by Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma where he said:
صُومُوا يَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ، وَخَالِفُوا فِيهِ الْيَهُودَ، صُومُوا قَبْلَهُ يَوْمًا، أَوْ بَعْدَهُ يَوْمًا
“Fast on the day of Ashura’ and be different with the Jews. Observe fasting before or after it for one day.”
Musnad Ahmad (1134) [Sheikh Shu’aib al-Arnaouth evaluates the sanad of this hadith as dhaif]
In conclusion, there are four stages related to Ashura’ fasting as explained by Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali that the Prophet PBUH observed fasting on that day since the Prophet PBUH was in Mecca. Besides, the sahih fadhilat pertaining to the day of Ashura’ is all sins of the past year will be forgiven.
- It is narrated by Abu Qatadah RA that the Prophet PBUH said:
صِيَامُ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ أَحْتَسِبُ عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُكَفِّرَ السَّنَةَ الَّتِي قَبْلَهُ
fasting on the day of 'Arafa may atone for the sins of the preceding year
Sahih Muslim (1162)
Lastly, may Allah SWT gives us the strength to fast on this holy month as well as accept all our good deeds done. Ameen.