Joined: Sep 2002
The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) established fasting on the Day of 'Aashooraa' (the 10th of Muharram) every year, in a way that opposes the Jews who also fast it, and that is to fast it along with the day before or the day after it. He said (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam), If I live to next year, I will fast the ninth (along with the tenth)." (Muslim)
also in saheeh Muslim is his statements that it "expiates sins committed over the last year".
Listed below are the possible scenarios for us approaching 'Aashooraa', Thursday, the 10th of Muharram:
1) Best situation: fasting on the 9th and 10th (Wed & Thurs).
2) Also recommended: fasting on the 10th and 11th (Thurs & Fri).
#1 is preferred over #2 for the following reasons:
a) The generality of rushing to do good deeds and not delaying them
b) The hadeeth mentioned above.
c) Fasting the 9th secures your opposition to the Jews early, while fasting the 11th may be forgotton or left due to a valid excuse, had it happened on the 9th he would still have a chance on the 11th.
d) specifically this year it keeps one away from an issue of differing among the scholars - the issue of fasting on Friday (while it seems most correct to understand the prohibition of fasting on Friday to be when it is singled out because of Friday, not when it is fasted for another reason, and Allaah knows best.)
3) Permissible: not fasting any of the days (9th, 10th, or 11th) due to the fasting of 'Aashooraa' and the day before it or after it being recommended and not obligatory.
4) Fasting the 10th only (intentionally) - the best opinion being that it is not allowed, since it is a direct imitation of the religious practice of the Jews, without anything in it to be a point of differring between them and us.
5) Fasting the 9th, 10th, and 11th intending to fulfill the fast of 'Aashooraa' due to one or both of the following reasons:
a) that a narration that mentions "a day before it AND a day after it" is authentic, while it is not (and there is differing over this claim). What is authentically established is a day before OR a day after.
b) or believing that it safeguards the idea of "catching" 'Aashooraa' in case the moon sighting was not accurate or the month was started earlier or later somehow, a concept which is unacceptable when it would be more important, like establishing ramadhaan or the day of arafah or an-nahr, etc.
this is not permissible, even if some scholars have recommended this last scenario as the best - it was not practiced by the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) nor is it authentically established from his encouragements, and Allaah knows best. and thus an act of worship built on this kind of grounding would not be acceptable. and again there is some differing over this point.
and I hope that these words have helped some of Allaah's servants draw nearer to Him, and Allaah knows best.
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