The Day of Ashura falls on the 10th day of Muharram, which is the first month of the Islamic calendar, and marks the beginning of the Islamic New Year. In this month, Muslims are encouraged and advised to fast as often as they can, particularly the Day of Ashura, known as ‘the tenth’, as well as increasing other forms of worship and good deeds. It is recommended to fast the 9th and 10th or the 10th and 11th days of Muharram to differentiate from the Jewish practice of only fasting on the 10th, however, fasting just on the 10th is sufficient. This year, Ashura is expected to fall on August 7th or 8th, 2022, depending on the sighting of the moon.
Although fasting on this day is not obligatory, it is highly recommended and holds abundant reward: “On the authority of Abu Qatadah (RA) that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’, and he said, it expiates [wipes out the minor sins of] the past year” (Muslim). Fasting is also a way of increasing our gratitude towards Allah (SWT), as well as maintaining our humility. Therefore, we should take advantage of this and not only increase our good deeds, but also seek forgiveness from Allah (SWT).
For Shia Muslims, Ashura is a day of mourning the martyrdom of Hussain, and some re-enact the martyrdom as a way of reflecting on it. Hussain (RA) was killed for opposing Yazid’s corrupt rule and refusing to support him. This led to Hussain (RA) leaving Madina with his family and companions and going to Makkah to avoid being followed or attacked by Yazid. However, despite Makkah being a holy land, Yazid followed Hussain (RA) with his army, which led to Hussain (RA) being forced out of Makkah and heading for Kufa, a city in Iraq. Before he could arrive, Yazid's army surrounded Hussain (RA) and his family and companions, and demanded they support his government. In refusing to do so, Yazid ordered his forces to kill Hussain and his companions, and this was on the Day of Ashura.
On the Day of Ashura, Sunni Muslims reflect on how Allah saved Musa (AS) and his followers from Pharoah, through the miracle of splitting the Red Sea. As well as this, there are several other events that occurred on the Day of Ashura, including Prophet Yunus (AS) getting out of the belly of a whale, Prophet Yusuf (AS) getting out of the well that he was thrown in, and Prophet Isa (AS) being born. These events, as well as others, make the Day of Ashura a significant day to Muslims all around the world.
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