Assalamualaikum Datuk Mufti, if I have fasted on the 10th of Muharram, is it necessary for me to fast on the day after that?
Wa’alaikumussalam w.b.t. 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 wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The month of Muharram is undeniably one of the honourable months in Islam. There are numerous Quranic and prophetic evidences that mentioned the advantages of this particular month.
The Advantages of the Month of Muharram
Allah SWT stated the advantages of this month in the Quran:
إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنْفُسَكُمْ
“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.”
Surah al-Taubah (36)
The Prophet PBUH explains the four sacred months mentioned in the above verse:
السَّنَةُ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا مِنْهَا، أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ، ثَلاَثٌ مُتَوَالِيَاتٌ، ذُو الْقَعْدَةِ وَذُو الْحِجَّةِ وَالْمُحَرَّمُ وَرَجَبُ مُضَرَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ جُمَادَى وَشَعْبَان
“The year is twelve months, four of which are sacred. Three of them are in succession; Dhul-Qa'da, Dhul-Hijja and Al-Muharram, and (the fourth being) Rajab Mudar (named after the tribe of Mudar as they used to respect this month) which stands between Jumad (al-thani) and Sha'ban.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (184)
Thus, the two evidences above clearly show how Muharram is honoured as one of the sacred months in Islam, where wars are prohibited and the rewards for worship is increased. While sins and misdeeds are also greatly judged during these sacred months.
The Encouragement of Fasting in the Month of Muharram
Among the worships encouraged in Muharram, one of it is sunnah fasting. This is stated in a hadith from Abu Hurairah RA, where he reported that the Prophet PBUH said:
أَفْضَلُ الصِّيَامِ بَعْدَ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ شَهْرُ اللَّهِ الْمُحَرَّمُ وَإِنَّ أَفْضَلَ الصَّلاَةِ بَعْدَ الْمَفْرُوضَةِ صَلاَةٌ مِنَ اللَّيْلِ
“The most excellent fast after Ramadan is Allah's month al-Muharram, and the most excellent prayer after the prescribed prayer is the prayer during night.”
Sunan Abu Daud (2429)
The same is stated in another hadith, where a man asked the Prophet PBUH in which month should he fast after Ramadhan and the Prophet PBUH answered:
إِنْ كُنْتَ صَائِمًا بَعْدَ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ فَصُمِ الْمُحَرَّمَ فَإِنَّهُ شَهْرُ اللَّهِ
“If you will fast after the month of Ramadan, then fast Al-Muharram, for indeed it is Allah's month.”
Sunan al-Tirmizi (741)
According to the above hadiths, there are two advantages for the month of Muharram:
- It is mentioned as Allah SWT’s month, when all the other months are not referred to as such. Everything that is associated with Allah SWT is honoured. For example, the Baitullah, Abdullah, Rasulullah and others.
- Muharram is the prioritized month for us to fast among all other months after Ramadhan.
The Encouragement of Fasting on the Day of ‘Asyura
Although it is encouraged to fast all through the month of Muharram, there is a specific prophetic evidence stating the great advantage of fasting on the 10th of Muharram or also known as the Day of ‘Asyura. This is in accordance with several hadiths of the Prophet PBUH.
From Abu Qatadah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
صِيَامُ يَوْمِ عَاشُورَاءَ إِنِّي أَحْتَسِبُ عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُكَفِّرَ السَّنَةَ الَّتِي قَبْلَهُ
“Fasting the day of ‘Ashura’, I hope, will expiate for the sins of the previous year.”
Sunan Ibn Majah (1738)
In another narration by Abdullah Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma, he said:
قَدِمَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم الْمَدِينَةَ، فَرَأَى الْيَهُودَ تَصُومُ يَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ، فَقَالَ " مَا هَذَا ". قَالُوا هَذَا يَوْمٌ صَالِحٌ، هَذَا يَوْمٌ نَجَّى اللَّهُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ مِنْ عَدُوِّهِمْ، فَصَامَهُ مُوسَى. قَالَ " فَأَنَا أَحَقُّ بِمُوسَى مِنْكُمْ ". فَصَامَهُ وَأَمَرَ بِصِيَامِهِ
“The Prophet (ﷺ) came to Medina and saw the Jews fasting on the Day of Ashura. He asked them about that. They replied, "This is a good day, the day on which Allah rescued Bani Israel from their enemy. So, Moses fasted this day." The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "We have more claim over Moses than you." So, the Prophet fasted on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to fast (on that day).”
Sahih al-Bukhari (2004)
Both hadiths are clear evidences for the sanctioning of sunnah fasting for Muslims on the Day of ‘Asyura.
The Commandment to Differ from the Jews
Even though we are encouraged to fast on the 10th of Muharram, we are also encouraged to fast on the day preceding it or the day following it. The reason being, Muslims are commanded to differ from the Jews who fast only on the 10th of Muharram. This is in accordance with a hadith of the Prophet PBUH from Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma, where he reported that the Prophet PBUH said:
صُومُوا يَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ، وَخَالِفُوا فِيهِ الْيَهُودَ، صُومُوا قَبْلَهُ يَوْمًا، أَوْ بَعْدَهُ يَوْمًا
“Fast on the Day of ‘Asyura and differ from the Jews. Fast on the day before it or after it.”
Musnad Ahmad (2154)
The same is stated in another hadith from Abdullah Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma, where the Prophet PBUH said:
لَئِنْ بَقِيتُ إِلَى قَابِلٍ لأَصُومَنَّ التَّاسِعَ
“If I live till the next (year), I would definitely observe fast on the 9th(Muharram),”
Sahih Muslim (1134)
Ibn 'Abbas reported that when the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) fasted on the day of 'Ashura and commanded that it should be 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:
فَإِذَا كَانَ الْعَامُ الْمُقْبِلُ - إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ - صُمْنَا الْيَوْمَ التَّاسِعَ
“When the next year comes, God willing, we would observe fast on the 9th,”
Sahih Muslim (1134)
From the above hadiths, it is clear that the Prophet PBUH commanded us to fast a day before 10th Muharram or a day after it to differ from the Jews.
Opinions of Fuqaha
The following are the opinions of scholars regarding the issue of fasting on the day before or after the Day of ‘Asyura. Some scholars concluded three situations of how the Day of ‘Asyura fasting should be observed:
- Fast a day before it or a day after it.
- Fast solely on the day (10th Muharram).
- Fast a day before and a day after it.
The best way to observe the completeness of fasting for the Day of ‘Asyura is stated by Imam Ibnu Qayyim al-Jauziyyah in his book Zaad al-Ma’ad:
- Fast on the day before it and the day after it.
- Fast on the 9th and 10th of Muharram.
- Fast on the 10th of Muharram only.
Lastly, we would like to state that it is sunnah to fast on the 9th Muharram or 11th Muharram along with the fast on the Day of ‘Asyura to differ with the Jews. We pray that Allah SWT give us understanding and bless us in our every day lives. Ameen.