Fasting on The Day of Ashura

Ashura is the tenth day of Muharram, the first month of the Hijri year.

 A special event is taking place on this day. It is a Sunnah of Allah’s laws that never changes. The story of the Prophet of God Moses – peace be upon him – with one of the human tyrants, Pharaoh.

 This story is repeated in the Holy Quran in several places to illustrate the battle between truth and lies.


The story of Moses with Pharaoh:

Prophet Moses – peace be upon him – was sent by Allah Almighty with clear signs to Pharaoh of Egypt to call him to worship Allah, The Lord of all worlds and no one else.

 Therefore Pharaoh asked, (And what is the Lord of all worlds?) Ash -Shu’ara, 23.

Moses replied, (˹He is˺ the Lord of the heavens and the earth and everything in between, if only you had sure faith.) Ash -Shu’ara, 24. 

Pharaoh mocked and ridiculed Moses and rejected his invitation. 

(Pharaoh said to those around him, “Did you hear what he said?”) Ash -Shu’ara, 25.

Therefore Moses proved to him that Allah is The Only Lord Who created them and their forefathers. 

(Moses said: “˹He is˺ your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers”) Ash -Shu’ara, 26.

 Since Musa debunked the Pharaoh with arguments and proof, the Pharaoh failed to resist the truth and resorted to terrorism and threats of the helpless and arrogant; he vowed to jail Moses. 

(Pharaoh threatened, “If you take any other god besides me, I will certainly have you imprisoned.) Ash -Shu’ara, 29.


The miracle of the huge snake:

 Moses – peace be upon him – kept explaining and proving the truth to the people through marvels and signs.

Pharaoh wanted to challenge Moses. Therefore he gave Moses a date when each of them would provide what he had. 

Moses had confidence in Allah’s support.

 Pharaoh came with all his cunning and deception, and he brought magicians who challenged Moses.

(They asked: “O Moses! Will you cast, or shall we be the first to cast?”) Al-A’raf, 115.

Then they cast the spells they had. Allah then commanded Moses, saying:

(Cast what is in your right hand, and it will swallow up what they have made, for what they have made is no more than a magic trick) Ta-Ha, 69.

So he threw the stick in his hand, and the miracle happened;  it turned to a giant snake opening its mouth to catch what they made with magic tricks.

(So the magicians fell down in prostration, declaring: “We believe in the Lord of Aaron and Moses”.) Ta-Ha, 70.

As a result, the Pharaoh became angry and tortured those who believed in God and followed Moses.


The miracle of the splitting of the sea:

Moses was ordered by Allah to depart from Egypt at night with all the believers, so they went out.  When the Pharaoh heard this, he gathered his army and soldiers to follow them, and he reached them close to the sea.

 There was nothing before the believers but the sea, they said to Moses:

(We are overtaken for sure.”) Ash-Shu’ara, 61.

But Moses reassured them,

 (Moses said: Absolutely not! My Lord is certainly with me He will guide me.) Ash-Shu’ara 62.

Then Allah inspired Moses,

(Strike the sea with your staff, and the sea was split, each part was like a huge mountain.) Ash-Shu’ara, 63.

Moses stepped towards the crashing waves of the sea and hit it with his staff, then the sea split, and twelve dry roads appeared and the believers went through them rapidly. 

The Pharaoh and his soldiers tried to follow them through the dry roads and when Moses and all the believers crossed the roads and came out of it, and the Pharaoh and all his soldiers were just in the middle of the dry road in the sea, Allah ordered the sea to return to its normal state and drowned them all.

(And We saved Moses and those with him, all together. Then We drowned the others) Ash-Shu’ara 65, 66.


Why do we observe fasting on the day of Ashura?

Ibn ‘Abbas said:

When the Prophet – peace and blessings be upon him – came to Medina, he found the Jews observing fast on the day of ‘Ashurah; so they were asked about it (by the Prophet). They said: This is a day on which Allah gave Moses domination over Pharaoh. We fast on it out of reverence to him. The Messenger of Allah – peace and blessings be upon him – said: “We have a closer connection with Moses than you have. He then gave orders that it should be observed” [Sahih Al-Albani]


The virtue of fasting on the day of Ashura:

The Messenger of Allah – peace and blessings be upon him –  was asked about observing As-Saum (the fast) on the tenth day of Muharram, and he replied, “It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year.”[Muslim].

May Allah bless you all and accept our good deeds!

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