Fasting on the Day of ‘Ashuraa – and a Mention of How Allaah Delivered Moosaa and His People From Pharaoh


الحمد لله رب العالمين، والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين، نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين أما بعد


Shaikh ‘Abdur-Rahmaan as-Sa’dee (rahimahullaah) stated:[1]


“Know, may Allaah have mercy upon you, that you are at the reception of a new year, and certainly an inviolable month, it has been specified with the tenth day with reward that is of abundance and is profuse.

From Ibn ‘Abbaas who said:

The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) came to Al-Madeenah, so he found the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashuraa, so he said: ((What is this day that you observe fast upon?)) They said: “This is the day in which Allaah delivered Moosaa and his people, and within it He destroyed Pharaoh and his people, so Moosaa observed the fasting of it out of thankfulness to Allaah, thus we fast within it.” So he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: ((We have more right and are more entitled to Moosaa than you.)) So he observed the fast on it and commanded with the observance of fasting it.[2]


That is because Moosaa set out with the intent for that which he worshipped (i.e. his Lord), certain of that which He promised, so Pharaoh pursued him with his army:

فَلَمَّا تَرَاءَى الْجَمْعَانِ قَالَ أَصْحَابُ مُوسَىٰ إِنَّا لَمُدْرَكُونَ

قَالَ كَلَّا إِنَّ مَعِيَ رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ

((And when the two groups saw each other, the companions of Moosaa said: “We are sure to be overtaken.” He (Moosaa) said: “By no means! Indeed; with me is my Lord, He will guide me.”)) (Ash-Shu’araa: 61-62)


So Allaah inspired to Moosaa:

أَنِ اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْبَحْرَ

((Strike the sea with your staff)) (Ash-Shu’araa: 63)


So he struck it

فَانفَلَقَ فَكَانَ كُلُّ فِرْقٍ كَالطَّوْدِ الْعَظِيمِ

((So it parted, and each portion became like a great towering mountain.)) (Ash-Shu’araa: 63)


Thus; Moosaa and those with him traversed in calmness and security, and Pharaoh pursued them as did his army perpetrating belligerence and aggression. So when they entered in an attempt to carry out (the pursuit), and those (with Moosaa) had exited; Allaah ordered the sea to close upon them, so when Pharaoh perceived the drowning:

قَالَ آمَنتُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا الَّذِي آمَنَتْ بِهِ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَنَا مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

((He said: “I believe that there is no Ilaah [deity worthy of worship] except He in whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am of the Muslims.”)) (Younus: 90)


So it was said to him:

آلْآنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنتَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

((Now [you believe] and you had disobeyed before and you were of the Mufsideen [doers of corruption/evil doers].)) (Younus: 91)


So their bodies were swept away to drown, and their souls to the Fire and to burn, and this is the Sunnah of Allaah in regard to the one that exceeds the bounds and acts immorally.

From Anas who said: the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:


((The fast of the day of ‘Ashuraa, I hope [in anticipation of reward] from Allaah that it expiates [the sins of] the year which preceded it.))[3]


With Regard to Fasting the Day Before the Day of ‘Ashuraa or the Day After it


Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said:


“There occurs in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad:

((Fast a day before it or a day after it; differ from the Jews.))[4]


So the differing from the Jews is done either by way of fasting on the ninth day, as the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:

((If I remain alive until the next [year], I will surely fast on the ninth.))[5]


Meaning: along with the tenth.

Or it is done by fasting the day after it, since the Jews would single out the tenth day, therefore differing from them occurs through fasting a day before it or a day after it.

Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) mentioned in Zaad al-Ma’aad[6] that the fast of ‘Ashuraa is of four types:

  • A person fasts on the tenth day on its own
  • Or along with the ninth
  • Or along with the eleventh[7]
  • Or that he fasts all three, and fasting the three (days) has a benefit to it also, and it is achieving the three fasts from the month.”[8]


With regard to the rulings of fasting on the day of ‘Ashuraa if it falls on a Saturday, refer to:



[1] As occurs in his Majmu’ Mu’allafaat vol 23 p.501-502

[2] Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.3216) and Muslim (no.1130)

[3] Reported by Muslim (no.1162) and Abu Dawood (no.2425) and At-Tirmidhee (no.749)

[4] Reported by Ahmad (1/241) and Ibn Khuzaimah (2095) and others.

[5] Reported by Muslim (no.1134 and 134)

[6] Refer to vol 2 p.75-76

[7] The text of the book here mentions: “along with the tenth” – however; this could be a printing error as what is intended is the eleventh. That which supports this is that on the following page (p.39), the Shaikh again mentions these forms of fasting, and in them he mentions fasting the eleventh day along with the tenth.

[8] Majmu’ Fataawa vol 20 p.38

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