Day of Ashura

Day of Ashura

What is Ashura?

Certain days in the year hold more significance than others, and one of these days is the 10th of Muharram, also referred to as the Day of Ashura.

The term Ashura originates from the Arabic word “Asharah,” which signifies the number ten. The Day of Ashura falls on the tenth day of the month of Muharram.

When is Ashura 2023?

The Day of Ashura falls on the 10th day of Muharram, and in the year 2023, it will be observed on the 28th of July.

On this fortunate day, it is advised to donate Sadaqah or Zakat.

Giving charity to Muslims in need is considered a highly honorable act of worship on Ashura. Support organizations like Islamic Relief to contribute your Sadaqah or Zakat towards helping our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters who are facing hardships worldwide.

What is the historical background and importance of Ashura?

The Battle of Karbala

The Battle of Karbala was the most important event that happened in the month of Muharram. It occurred in Iraq during Muharram 61 AH.

The battle took place between a small military group made up of the relatives and supporters of Imam Hussain (AS), who was the grandson of the Prophet (PBUH), and a significantly larger army that was dispatched by Yazid ibn Muawiyah, the ruling Umayyad Caliph during that period.


The reason for the battle occurring was that Imam Hussain (AS) declined to show loyalty to Yazid ibn Muawiyah, who was oppressive and had self-appointed himself as the leader of the Muslims following his father’s passing.

Imam Hussain (AS) was ruthlessly killed on the 10th Muharram, known as the Day of Ashura, by the opposing group. This is an important event in Islamic history where Imam Hussain (AS) and 72 others, primarily male members of the Prophet’s (PBUH) family, courageously gave up their lives in a brave fight against oppression and to protect Islam.

Imam Hussain (AS) held a special place in the heart of the Holy Prophet (SAW), being very dear and valued by him. When he was a child, he would climb onto the Prophet’s (SAW) back without any hesitation during prayers, highlighting the deep bond they shared. Sadly, Imam Hussain met a brutal end during the Battle of Karbala, marking one of the most sorrowful incidents in Islamic History.

The day Allah freed Musa

During Prophet Musa’s (AS) era, on the Day of Ashura, Allah protected the Prophet and the Bani Israel from the oppressive Pharaoh and his army.

In his reign, the Pharaoh was ruthless and dishonest, promoting heresy by proclaiming his own divinity. However, Prophet Musa (AS) declined to submit to the Pharaoh and instead called upon him to worship Allah. Unwilling to acknowledge any authority beyond his own, the Pharaoh dispatched a mighty army to annihilate the Prophet and his adherents.

During the Day of Ashura, Prophet Musa (AS) and his companions were being pursued by the army, yet they remained solely reliant on Allah for their protection.

The story of Ashura and other Prophets

The Day of Ashura had significance during the times of various prophets. In the era of prophet Nuh (AS), it is believed that on Ashura, Allah brought his ark back to dry land after the flood. This day brought relief and joy for the Prophet and his devoted followers. Additionally, it is said that Ashura was the day when Prophet Adam (AS) repented and sought forgiveness from Allah after consuming the forbidden fruit, and also the day when Prophet Yunus (AS) was freed from the belly of the whale and Allah forgave his people.

Commemorating the Day of Ashura

Besides fasting on Ashura, which is considered a highly virtuous act, there are other beneficial actions that can be performed to earn great rewards on this blessed day. These include giving charity and helping those in need, as well as spending money on one’s family. The Prophet Muhammed (SAW) said that whoever generously spends on their family on Ashura will receive generosity from Allah throughout the year. It is also important to increase acts of worship on Ashura, such as reading more Qur’an, sending blessings to the Prophet (PBUH), and offering optional prayers. This day is also a good opportunity to reflect on the significant events of Ashura and draw important life lessons from them, such as relying on Allah’s power during times of need.

Ziyarat Ashura and other duaas

The Ziyarat Ashura is a respectful prayer offered by the Shi’a Muslim community to Imam Hussain (AS) and the martyrs of the battle of Karbala.

Do Muslims observe Ashura differently?

Shi’a Muslims commemorate the day of Ashura by mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS) in the Battle of Karbala. For Sunni Muslims, Ashura is a time to mourn Imam Hussain and also celebrate the liberation of Prophet Musa and the Children of Israeel from Pharaoh and his army.

Fasting on the Day of Ashura

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) encourages Muslims to observe fasting on the Day of Ashura.

Day of Ashura2

What was the reason for the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) observing fasting on Ashura?

Fasting the 9th of Muharram

The Islamic scholars believe that it is commendable to observe a fast on both the 9th and 10th day of Muharram, known as Ashura. This recommendation is based on the Hadith.

When the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) observed a fast on the day of ‘Ashura and encouraged others to do the same, some people expressed concern as it was a day respected by Jews and Christians. The Prophet reassured them that the following year, if it was Allah’s will, they would fast on the ninth day instead. However, the Prophet passed away before the following year arrived. (Muslim)

In order to distinguish himself from the People of the Book, the Prophet (peace be upon him) intended to observe a fast on the 9th.

Fasting the 11th of Muharram?

There are some scholars who believe that it is recommended to fast on the 11th of Muharram. This may be if one is unable to fast on the 9th, or to ensure that one observes the fast on the 10th of Muharram. As a result, fasting on the 11th is considered virtuous.

  • Just fasting on the day of Ashura
  • or choosing to fast on the 9th and 10th day.
  • or to fast the 10th and 11th.
  • Certain researchers go to the extent of observing a fast on the 9th, 10th, and 11th days of Muharram.

Any one of these options is recommended.

Virtues of Ashura

Presented below are a few suggested practices or traditions (known as Sunnah) for Ashura.

Rapid: Observe a fast either on the 9th and 10th Muharram, also known as the day of Ashura, or on the 10th and 11th Muharram. Fasting helps to cleanse and remove sins.

Read the Qur’an: If fasting is not possible, find solace in reading the Qur’an or engaging in Dhikr to experience the blessings of Muharram. Keep in mind that any gathering dedicated to Allah SWT will also be enriched with blessings and the presence of angels.

Contribute Sadaqah: Providing assistance to those who are in need globally is considered as one of the most honorable actions. By doing so on this special day, one can receive significant blessings. Additionally, it is a traditional practice (Sunnah) to spend money on one’s family on the day of Ashura.

According to the statement of Prophet Muhammed (SAW), if someone graciously provides for their family on the day of Ashura, Allah (SWT) will graciously bless them for the entire year. This hadith is mentioned in Baihaqi’s collection.

Muharram signifies the start of the Islamic New Year, presenting an opportune moment to create goals and establish positive routines such as consistent charitable giving. This allows the accumulation of blessings throughout the entire year.


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