12 Jul 2024

Significance of the day of ‘Ashura

Significance of the day of ‘Ashura


Dr Amjad Aziz
Dr Amjad Aziz is responsible for some of the Q&A. He has obtained an Alim degree from Darul Aloom Muhamaadia Ghosia and BA from Punjab University. He has worked as a research scholar in Zavia Publications and produced books on Sufism. His speciality is in Islamic sciences education literature Sufism philosophy history and dawah.

Significance of the day of ‘Ashura

‘Ashura is derived from the Arabic term ‘Asharah,’ which means ten. The 10th day of Muharram is Ashura, which this year falls on Thursday, August 19, 2021.

Muharram is one of the holy months mentioned in the following verse from the Qur’an:

The number of months recorded in Allah’s book since the day He created the Heavens and the Earth is twelve, four of them are sacred; this is the established law of nature, so don’t be mistaken regarding them. You may fight the idolaters all out just as they fight you all out, and know Allah is with those who are mindful of Him.

The Majestic Quran 9:36

Muharram is further mentioned in the following hadith:

On the authority of Abu Bakrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said, ‘Time has come back to its original state which it had when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth; the year is twelve months, four of which are sacred. Three of them are in succession: Dhul-Qa‘dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Al-Muharram and Rajab of Mudar [named after the tribe of Mudar as they used to respect this month], which stands between Jumada (ath-Thani) and Sha‘ban’.


Allah parted the Red Sea on ‘Ashura, allowing Musa (as) and the Children of Israel to flee Pharaoh and his army.

We revealed to Musa: “Strike the sea with your staff.” The sea parted, each side like a mighty mountain. We lured Pharaoh to approach that place. We saved Musa and anyone was with him, and drowned the others. There was a lesson in that, but most of them didn’t believe. Your Lord is the Almighty, the Caring.

The Majestic Quran 26:63-68

Prophet Musa (as) escaped over the modern-day Red Sea. As a result, Musa (as) would fast on ‘Ashura to honour this noble day and express thankfulness to Allah, and the Prophet Muhammed (saw) followed suit.

Ibn Abbas (ra) said:

The Prophet (saw) came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashura. He said, “What is this?” They said, “This is a righteous day. It is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Musa [as] fasted on this day”. He said, “We have more right to Musa [as] than you”, so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day.


The Sahabah (ra) not only fasted on ‘Ashura, but they also designated it as a day for charitable giving.

Whoever fasts ‘Ashura is as if he had fasted for the full year,’ Abdullah bin Amr bin al-As (ra) remarked. And whomever gives today is giving the equivalent of a year’s worth of charity.

Ibn Rajab’s Lata’if al-Ma‘arif

According to Abu Qatadah (ra), when the Messenger of Allah (saw) was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Ashura, he replied:

It expiates [wipes out the minor sins of] the past year.


When the Prophet arrived in Madinah, he discovered that the Jews fasted on Ashura to remember Allah’s deliverance of Musa (as) and the Children of Israel from Pharaoh. To separate the Ummah from the People of the Book, the Prophet (saw) urged believers to fast for another day, either the 9th or 11th of Muharram, in addition to ‘Ashura.

The Prophet (saw) said:

Fast the Day of ‘Ashura and be different from the Jews by fasting a day before it or a day after it. Ahmad


He (saw) also said:

If I remain [alive] till the following year, I will most certainly fast the ninth, alongside the 10th al-Muharram.


The Day of Ashura is a huge day for repentance. Allah’s Messenger (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 (i.e. the people of Yunus (as)), and in which He accepts the repentance of other people


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


The covering (Kiswah) of the Ka‘bah used to be changed on ’Ashura Aishah (ra) 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’.


On ‘Ashura, Nuh’s (as) ark landed on Mount Judiyy (modern-day Turkey) and The Majestic Quran states:

A voice called out: “Earth, swallow your water!” And “Sky, clear away the clouds and the water receded!” Allah’s order was carried out, and the ship came to rest on Mount Judi.a A voice said: “Away with the wrongdoers!”

The Majestic Quran 11:44

Share this post: