When is Ashura 2024?

Fasting is an important aspect of Ashura

In the Islamic (Hijri) Calendar, certain days are more virtuous than others. One such day is the 10th of Muharram, the Day of Ashura, which falls in the first month of the Hijri year.

This year, the Day of Ashura is expected to fall on July 16, 2024. This is subject to change depending on the sighting of the moon.

What is the Day of Ashura? 

“Ashura” comes from the word “Asharah”, which means ten in Arabic. Fittingly, it falls on the 10th of Muharram.  

The Day of Ashura commemorates various significant historical events. This includes the day when Allah (SWT) saved Prophet Musa (AS) and his people from the tyranny of Pharaoh (Fir’aun) in Egypt. 

Ashura is also a solemn occasion. It marks the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (AS) (also referred to as Imam Hussein ibn Ali), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), along with his family members and companions, in the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE. 

The Historical Significance of the Day of Ashura 

The Battle of Karbala 

The Battle of Karbala took place in Iraq in Muharram, 61 AH.  It was fought between a small army consisting of the family and companions of Imam Husayn (AS) and a much larger army sent by Yazid ibn Muawiyah, the Umayyad Caliph at that time. 

The battle took place because Imam Husayn (AS) refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid ibn Muawiyah. Yazid was tyrannical and had taken it upon himself to assume the Muslim leadership after the death of his father.  

On the 10th of Muharram, Imam Husayn (AS) and 72 of his companions were brutally martyred by the enemy camp. Imam Husayn (AS) was brutally decapitated, and many of the others lost were male relatives of the Prophet (ﷺ). They nobly sacrificed their lives as a stand against oppression and to preserve Islam.  

As one of his beloved grandsons, Imam Husayn (AS) was very close to the Prophet (ﷺ). He would climb on his back during prayer as a child. His significant position in Islam is highlighted in the following Hadith: 

“Husayn is from me, and I am from Husayn. Allah loves whoever loves Husayn.”

Tirmidhi 

The Story of Musa 

On the Day of Ashura in the time of Prophet Musa (AS), Allah saved the Prophet and his people (Bani Isra’il) from the tyrannical Pharaoh (Fir’aun) and his army.  

The Pharaoh was extremely violent and corrupt in his rule. He spread blasphemy as he declared himself as God. The Prophet Musa (AS) refused to follow the Pharaoh and tried to encourage him to worship Allah (SWT). However, the Pharaoh would not accept that there was a power higher than himself. Fuelled by rage and arrogance, he sent a large army to destroy the Prophet and his followers.  

As the army chased Prophet Musa (AS) and his followers, he made the following famous Dua, as mentioned in Surah Ash-Shu’ara:

“Truly my Lord is with me, He will guide me through.” 

Quran 26:62

As a result of his patience and firm faith, Allah (SWT) parted the Red Sea so that Prophet Musa (AS) and his followers could reach safety. He then sent a punishment to the Pharaoh and his army, allowing the waves to crash upon them and submerge them into the sea. 

As Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:

Then We inspired to Moses, “Strike with your staff the sea,” and it parted, and each portion was like a great towering mountain. And We drew forward the others [i.e., the pursuers]. And We saved Moses and those with him, all together. Then We drowned the others. Indeed in that is a sign, but most of them were not to be believers. And indeed, your Lord – He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful. 

Quran 26:63-68

The Story of Ashura and Other Prophets (AS) 

The Day of Ashura was also significant in the time of other prophets. For example, in the time of prophet Nuh (AS), some narrations say that on the day of Ashura, Allah (SWT) returned his arc to dry land after the flooding stopped. It was a day of relief and celebration for the Prophet and his devoted companions.  

Some narrations also say that Ashura was the day that Prophet Adam (AS) repented and was forgiven by Allah (SWT) after eating the forbidden fruit. Others say it was the day Prophet Yunus (AS) was released from the belly of the whale and Allah (SWT) forgave his people.  

Virtues of Ashura 

Ashura is a virtuous day when the rewards of good deeds are multiplied. Some recommended actions include reading the Qur’an, doing nafl (voluntary) prayers, and making Dhikr.  

Two deeds, in particular, are mentioned in ahadith to especially perform on Ashura. These are fasting and giving charity. 

Fasting on the Day of Ashura  

The tradition of fasting on the Day of Ashura began when Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) observed the Jewish people fasting on this day to commemorate their deliverance.  

He (ﷺ) said: “We are closer to Musa than you are,” referring to the Jewish people, and advised Muslims to fast on ‘Ashura’. (Sahih Al-Bukhari) 

The Prophet (ﷺ) also made fasting on Ashura a priority. As mentioned in this Hadith, where one of his companions, Ibn ‘Abbas, said, 

I never saw the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of ‘Ashura’, and this month, meaning Ramadan. 

Sahih al-Bukhari 

Fasting also on Ashura is also an opportunity to earn more rewards from Allah (SWT). When asked about fasting on this day, the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “It expiates [wipes out the minor sins of] the past year.” (Sahih Muslim)  

Prophet (ﷺ) on fasting the day before Ashura 

Scholars recommended to fast on the 9th of Muharram along with the 10th of Muharram (‘Ashura). This is due to the Hadith: 

When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) fasted on the day of ‘Ashura and told the people to fast, they said, “O Messenger of Allah, this is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.” The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Next year, if Allah wills, we will fast on the ninth day.” But by the time the following year came, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had passed away.

Sahih Muslim

The Prophet (ﷺ) wanted to fast on the 9th, to differ from the People of the Book. If one misses the 9th, some scholars also recommend fasting on the 11th of Muharram. Fasting on the day after Ashura could also be done to ensure one catches the 10th of Muharram, as it depends on the moon sighting.  

Therefore, it is virtuous to fast:  

  • Just the Day of Ashura 
  • or to fast the 9th and 10th, 
  • or to fast the 10th and 11th. 
  • Some scholars would even fast the 9th, 10th and 11th of Muharram. 

 

Any one of these options is recommended. 

Giving Charity on the Day of Ashura 

As well as fasting on the Day of Ashura, giving charity is another beneficial deed you can do to earn great rewards on the blessed day.  Prophet Muhammed (ﷺ) said,

‘One who generously spends on his family on the Day of Ashura, Allah (SWT) will be generous on him for the entire year.

Baihaqi

They are many ways to give charity, including paying Zakat if you haven’t done so this (hawl) year. You can give Sadaqah to help those in need across the world, as well as spend money on your family.  

You can also give Zakat or Sadaqah through organisations such as Islamic Relief. These funds then gets distributed to our Muslim brothers and sisters suffering across the world, helping them work towards a brighter future.

All in all, it’s important to make the most the Day of Ashura. As a blessed time with great opportunities for rewards from Allah (SWT), take this day to engage in more acts of worship and reflect on the significant events that took place on the day.

Make the most of Muharram

Give and change the lives of the most needy and vulnerable of our Ummah on one of the most blessed of months.

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