Muharram (1st Month of Islamic Calendar)

Virtues of Ashura: 10th of Muharram | Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf

Muḥarram and ʿĀshūrāʾ

What is the sig­nif­i­cance of Muḥar­ram and ʿĀshūrāʾ? Also should we not treat this as a sad
day and there­fore lament and mourn the loss of the grand­son of the Prophet? Fat­wa No: 1441/1

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Muharram: Beginning of a new Year

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Muharram Contemporary Q&A Hadith Booklet

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Muharram, the Hijrah, and the Muslim calendar

Shaykh Mohammed Amin Kholwadia

The Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muham­mad (upon him be bless­ings and peace) over a span of twen­ty-three years. The Prophet recit­ed each verse accord­ing to its pre-ordained order in the Lawh Mah­fuz, or Pro­tect­ed Tablet. After the Prophet (upon him be bless­ings and peace) left this world, his Com­pan­ions com­piled, and thus pre­served, the Qur’an in the very order it was recit­ed dur­ing his life. Mus­lims have always held the view that this order of recita­tion was also divine­ly inspired and that the Com­pan­ions pre­served the pre-ordained order of recita­tion. The sci­ence that inevitably emerged from this is that of under­stand­ing the nazm, or lit­er­ary arrange­ment, of the Qur’an. In his bril­liant exe­ge­sis of the Qur’an, Tafsir Azizi, Shah Abdul Aziz, the eru­dite pro­tégé and son of Shah Wal­i­ul­lah of Del­hi, notes the genius of the Com­pan­ions vis-à-vis their under­stand­ing the nazm of the Qur’an and hence their dex­ter­i­ty in fath­om­ing the mean­ing of the Qur’an itself.

We must under­stand some his­tor­i­cal facts about the pre-Islam­ic cal­en­dar. The year in which the Prophet Muham­mad (upon him bless­ings and peace) was born was known as the Year of the Ele­phant. The Year of the Ele­phant was the year in which Abra­hah came to Makkah with the intent to destroy the Ka‘bah. He failed mis­er­ably, as the Qur’an notes in Surat al-Fil (105). The Arabs used that year as a point of ref­er­ence to num­ber their years. But they did not agree to any stan­dard when it came to num­ber­ing their months, even though their cal­en­dar was lunar. Even the peri­od of the Hajj was not spec­i­fied and, con­se­quent­ly, the sacred month of Muhar­ram was also shift­ed every year. This meant that some years had thir­teen months instead of twelve.

The respon­si­bil­i­ty for announc­ing the date of the Hajj was entrust­ed to a man from Banu Kinanah named Hud­hay­fah bin ‘Abd Fuqaym (bet­ter known as al-Qalam­mas). He would announce on the occa­sion of the Hajj when the next pil­grim­age was to be per­formed, and which month the thir­teenth month was to fol­low. The first Qalam­mas was an indi­vid­ual, but then the name became a title spe­cif­ic to the announcer.

The Arabs regard­ed the months of Rajab, Dhul-Qa‘dah, Dhul-Hij­jah, and Muhar­ram as months of peace and sanc­ti­ty. But, with this cal­en­dar, these months also began to under­go changes, and it was one of the respon­si­bil­i­ties of the Qalam­mas to announce what months would be the sacred months in the fol­low­ing year. When it suit­ed the pur­pos­es of the war­ring tribes, the announc­er would declare that their idols had pro­hib­it­ed fight­ing that year in the month of Muhur­ram; and the fol­low­ing year he would announce that the idols had now allowed fight­ing in the month of Muhar­ram. So the month of Safar (which was not a sacred month) was either post­poned or kept on its reg­u­lar time accord­ing to the procla­ma­tion of the Qalam­mas. This was the prac­tice known as al-nasi’ (post­pon­ing or trans­pos­ing) in Ara­bic; the Qur’an address­es it in Surat al-Taw­bah (9:36–37):

The num­ber of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year)—so ordained by Him the day He cre­at­ed the heav­ens and the earth; of them four are sacred: that is the straight ordi­nance. So wrong not your­selves there­in, and fight the pagans all togeth­er as they fight you all togeth­er. But know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.

Ver­i­ly the trans­pos­ing (of a pro­hib­it­ed month) is an addi­tion to dis­be­lief. The dis­be­liev­ers are led to wrong there­by. For they make it law­ful one year, and for­bid­den anoth­er year, in order to adjust the num­ber of months for­bid­den by Allah and make such for­bid­den ones law­ful. The evil of their course seems pleas­ing to them. But Allah does not guide those who reject Faith.”

The Prophet, in his address at the Farewell Hajj, announced the abro­ga­tion of med­dling with the months:

O peo­ple! Time after under­go­ing a full rev­o­lu­tion has returned to its orig­i­nal state,1 the day Allah cre­at­ed the heav­ens and the earth. The year is twelve months; four of them are sacred. Three run consecutively—Dhul Qa‘dah, Dhul Hij­jah, and Muharram—and the oth­er is the Rajab of Mudar, which comes between Jamadul ‘Aakhir and Sha‘ban.”

So the twelve lunar months were ordained. Muhar­ram was left as the first month of the Mus­lim cal­en­dar year. But the deter­mi­na­tion of the first year of the Mus­lim cal­en­dar did not come about until lat­er. ‘Allamah Sakhawi gives the fol­low­ing details about the ori­gin of the Islam­ic cal­en­dar:2

A report on the author­i­ty of Ibn ‘Abbas states that there exist­ed no era in Mad­i­nah when the Prophet arrived there. Peo­ple came to use an era a month or two after his arrival. This con­tin­ued until Muhammad’s (upon him be bless­ings and peace) death. Then the use of an era was dis­con­tin­ued, and there was none dur­ing the caliphate of Abu Bakr and the first four years of the caliphate of ‘Umar. Then the (Mus­lim) era was estab­lished. ‘Umar is report­ed to have said to the assem­bled dig­ni­taries among the men around Muham­mad, “The income is con­sid­er­able. What we have dis­trib­uted has been with­out fixed dates. How can we rem­e­dy that?” One answer came from al-Hur­muzan. He had been king of al-Ahwaz. After his cap­ture dur­ing the con­quest of Per­sia, he had been brought to ‘Umar and accept­ed Islam. He said, “The Per­sians have a (method of) cal­cu­la­tion which they call mahroz and ascribe to their Sas­sanid rulers. The word mahrozwas Ara­bized as mu’arrakh, and the infini­tive ta’rikh was formed from it.”

Ahmad ibn Han­bal and Bukhari report through May­mun ibn Mihran that “an IOU payable in Sha‘ban was pre­sent­ed to ‘Umar. There­upon ‘Umar asked, ‘Which Sha‘ban? The last one, the present one, or the com­ing one? Give the peo­ple some­thing that they can under­stand.’” He then issued a reg­u­lar direc­tive and found­ed the present-day cal­en­dar in 16 AH, from which time the prac­tice has been fol­lowed.3

Suyu­ti writes, with ref­er­ence to Bukari’s Tarikh, that Umar asked Allah for Divine Prov­i­dence (istikharah) for a month. There­after he con­sult­ed ‘Ali ibn Abi Tal­ib and had the Hijrah dates insert­ed in all admin­is­tra­tive direc­tives two and a half years after assum­ing the Caliphate, and this became the prac­tice from 16 AH onward.

That ‘Umar delib­er­at­ed for a whole month and asked for Divine Prov­i­dence is proof that he attached great impor­tance to mak­ing the right choice for the Mus­lim Ummah. That he con­sult­ed his advi­sors, espe­cial­ly Ali, proves that he had utmost con­fi­dence in the assem­bly with him and refused to act with­out their unequiv­o­cal sup­port. The words of the Prophet (upon him bless­ings and peace) come to mind: “He who seeks Divine Prov­i­dence [istikhara] will not be dis­ap­point­ed; he who seeks advice [istashara] will not regret.”

There was no doubt that the begin­ning of the months was to be deter­mined by the cres­cent. Both the Qur’an, in Surat al-Baqarah (2: 189)4 and the prac­tice of the Prophet (upon him bless­ings and peace) con­firm this beyond dis­pute. But ‘Umar was espe­cial­ly aware of how seri­ous the mat­ter was, since the Qur’an explic­it­ly for­bids believ­ers from manip­u­lat­ing time. He want­ed to make sure that the both the year he chose and the con­fer­ence he enact­ed would stand the test of time—literally.

All nations and civ­i­liza­tions wish to remain con­stant and con­sis­tent in every the­o­ry they expound. If a civ­i­liza­tion were to choose an incon­sis­tent con­fer­ence for mea­sur­ing time itself, it would inevitably suc­cumb to the pres­sures of time and seek mod­i­fi­ca­tion and reform. Such was and still is the fate of what is now the “main­stream” Gre­go­ri­an cal­en­dar now in use. The prob­lem with the Gre­go­ri­an cal­en­dar, as one author notes is the following:

After every four hun­dred years sea­son­al changes occur and prob­a­bly because of this fact the solar cal­en­dar requires con­stant mod­i­fi­ca­tion. It is just not pos­si­ble to remove this discrepancy.

The League of Nations had set up a Spe­cial Com­mit­tee at Gene­va in 1923 charged with the for­mu­la­tion of a cal­en­dar that would be uni­ver­sal­ly accept­able and would be rec­on­cil­able with sea­son­al changes. One of the rec­om­men­da­tions of this Com­mit­tee was that the year was to be divid­ed into 13 months.5How­ev­er, such a cal­en­dar would not be devised as the sea­sons in the hemi­spheres dif­fer in their peri­od­ic occur­rence. The prox­im­i­ty and the dis­tance of the sun in the East and the West nat­u­ral­ly give rise to sub­stan­tial dif­fer­ences. Because of this inher­ent dis­crep­an­cy, it was not pos­si­ble for the solar cal­en­dar to gain uni­ver­sal accep­tance.”6

Hav­ing already accept­ed the lunar cycles as a con­fer­ence to deter­mine the months, ‘Umar did not imme­di­ate­ly find any spe­cif­ic man­date regard­ing fix­ing a year from which to chron­i­cle Mus­lim his­to­ry. Along with the oth­er Com­pan­ions, he looked to the life of the Prophet (upon him bless­ings and peace). They want­ed to give Islam its true place in his­to­ry and that was not pos­si­ble with­out rever­ing the Prophet him­self. It was their insa­tiable love for their leader that shook off any and every con­sid­er­a­tion that was not exclu­sive to him. They con­sid­ered the year he was born and the year he died. They could not set­tle on those years, as the birth of a prophet was not exclu­sive to the Prophet Muham­mad (upon him bless­ings and peace). Oth­er prophets were born and they all passed away, save one, ‘Isa, who will also pass away after return. They con­sid­ered the year when the Qur’an was first revealed. They did not choose that con­fer­ence either, since rev­e­la­tion came to oth­er prophets and was thus not exclu­sive to our Prophet. After a month of tremen­dous exer­tion (ijti­had) and through istikhara and istishara, ‘Umar was guid­ed by the nazm, or order, of the Qur’an’s vers­es to a unique solution.

The vers­es in Surat al-Taw­bah that speak of the year’s con­sist­ing of twelve months are fol­lowed by a didac­tic call toward sac­ri­fice in the path of Allah.

If you do not help (your leader), (it is no mat­ter), for Allah did indeed help him, when the dis­be­liev­ers drove him out. He had no more than one com­pan­ion; they two were in the cave, and he said to his com­pan­ion, ‘Do not grieve, for indeed Allah is with us.’ Then Allah sent down His peace upon him, and strength­ened him with forces which you did not see, and hum­bled to the depths the word of the dis­be­liev­ers. But the word of Allah is exalt­ed to the heights. For Allah is Exalt­ed in might, Wise.” (Surat al-Taw­bah, 9:40)

Umar real­ized that there was a link between the sto­ry behind this verse and the pre­vi­ous vers­es that spoke of the twelve months. He saw the pre-ordained order of recita­tion as giv­ing him an ordi­nance for his case. Time for Mus­lims had to be reg­u­lat­ed by an acquired act of a human that tran­scend­ed time itself. The rev­e­la­tion of the Qur’an to the Prophet was not an acquired act. Human beings are not capa­ble of fol­low­ing the act of rev­e­la­tion. Like­wise, birth and death are divine­ly reg­u­lat­ed and human beings can­not deter­mine each other’s day of birth or death. Sim­i­lar­ly, the Night of Isra and Mi‘raj (Ascen­sion) was not some­thing the Ummah could copy. Being the role mod­el for Mus­lims in their affairs, the Prophet (upon him bless­ings and peace) showed the com­mu­ni­ty that if they fol­lowed his foot­steps in mat­ters relat­ed to time, they would be uni­ver­sal­ly accept­ed. ‘Umar thus con­clud­ed that the Hijrah of the Prophet, the sto­ry of the Prophet’s flight and migra­tion from Makkah to Mad­i­nah, was an act that could be and should be com­mem­o­rat­ed every year. It was a jour­ney into the unknown; it was rid­dled with so many intan­gi­bles that they were almost uncount­able. The Mes­sen­ger of Allah (upon him bless­ings and peace) threw him­self into the infi­nite mer­cy of the Unseen and vol­un­tar­i­ly left all tan­gi­ble con­se­quences to the Cre­ator of time (al-Dahr).

Being severe­ly com­pro­mised by his own peo­ple in Makkah, Muham­mad (upon him be bless­ings and peace), through Divine Prov­i­dence, instruct­ed his fol­low­ers to migrate to Yathrib, a small town north of Makkah that lat­er became known as Mad­i­nah. Mus­lims oblig­ed, leav­ing their rel­a­tives and belong­ings in Makkah and seek­ing refuge in the unknown dimen­sions of Yathrib. The Prophet (upon him bless­ings and peace) and his best com­pan­ion, Abu Bakr, were among the last to leave Makkah. Their strat­e­gy was to hide in a cave south of Makkah called Thawr in the hope that the Makkans, if they launched a search for him, would veer north­ward. They did not. The Makkans found out that they had head­ed south and fol­lowed their trail all the way up to the mouth of the cave. There was noth­ing shield­ing the entrance of the cave except a flim­sy spider’s web7that could have been bro­ken by a mere sneeze. The defense­less com­pan­ions of the cave were iron­i­cal­ly guard­ed by some­thing that can­not pro­tect itself. “If they had entered,” said the Makkans, “they would have bro­ken the web.” But it was their web that was broken.

These moments of extreme expo­sure had count­less con­se­quences for the two com­pan­ions of the cave. His­to­ry stood still, but time was re-ener­gized by the words of the Prophet to the con­cerned Abu Bakr: “Do not grieve, for indeed Allah is with us.” Abu Bakr’s expe­dit­ed and pre­car­i­ous grief was that if they were caught, his­to­ry indeed would stand still, as Islam would def­i­nite­ly per­ish with­out Muham­mad (upon him bless­ings and peace). The Prophet’s time­less faith in Allah embod­ied Divine Ordi­nance and Prov­i­dence that still relent­less­ly with­stands the test of mod­ern times.

Umar saw this event as the axis about which Mus­lim time would revolve. He read the verse “If you do not help (your leader), it is no mat­ter…” as push­ing him to appre­ci­ate Allah’s assis­tance in time over time. From the out­side look­ing in, a neu­tral observ­er would have called the end of Islam in the cave of Thawr. From a uni­ver­sal stand­point, ‘Umar observed the infi­nite pow­ers of the Unseen deliv­er­ing the liv­ing from immi­nent death in the cave. Islam’s appar­ent and immi­nent death was replaced by Islam’s sure birth and unchecked growth. The Qur’an repeat­ed­ly reminds us of this phe­nom­e­non: “He [Allah] extracts the liv­ing from the dead.” The Hijrah of the Prophet (upon him bless­ings and peace) and, by asso­ci­a­tion, of Abu Bakr reju­ve­nate believ­ers every time they pass by that time of the year.

The sto­ry of the Hijrah is pre­ced­ed by an ordi­nance not to med­dle with time. It would nec­es­sar­i­ly fol­low that the Hijrah was already ordained by Allah to be the con­fer­ence upon which Mus­lims were to set their cal­en­dar. So by read­ing into the pre-ordained order of the vers­es of the Qur’an, ‘Umar and the Com­pan­ions of the Prophet (upon him bless­ings and peace) found order in their world. By under­stand­ing the recit­ed order of the Qur’an’s vers­es, ‘Umar and the Com­pan­ions wrote their names in the annals of his­to­ry and time.


1 This prophet­ic rev­e­la­tion that time (zaman) itself was in its own orbit (istadarah) is an abstract for those who wish to study the Islam­ic the­o­ry of time.

2 Hakim Muhammed Said, Ham­dard Islam­i­cus, 1981.

3 Ibid.

4 “They ask you con­cern­ing the new moons. Say: They are but signs to mark fixed peri­ods of time in (the affairs of) men, and for Pilgrimage.”

5 The resur­gence of the prac­tice of al-nasi, or inter­ca­la­tion, in mod­ern times?

6 Hakim Muhammed Said, Ham­dard Islam­i­cus, 1981.

7 The Qur’an itself states in the Chap­ter of the Spi­der: “Tru­ly the flim­si­est of hous­es is the spider’s house” (Surah al-Ank­abut, 41: 29).


Mufti Muḥammad Taqi ‘Us̱mānī (DB)

Muhar­ram is the month with which the Mus­lims begin their lunar Hijrah Cal­en­dar. It is one of the four sanc­ti­fied months about which the Holy Quran says, “The num­ber of the months accord­ing to Allah is twelve (men­tioned) in the Book of Allah on the day He cre­at­ed heav­ens and the earth. Among these (twelve months) there are four sanctified.”

These four months, accord­ing to the authen­tic tra­di­tions, are Dhul-Qa’­dah, Dhul-Hij­jah, Muhar­ram and Rajab. All the com­men­ta­tors of the Holy Quran are unan­i­mous on this point, because the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, in his ser­mon on the occa­sion of his last Hajj, declared: “One year con­sists of twelve months, of which four are sanc­ti­fied months, three of them are in sequence; Dhul-Qa’­dah, Dhul-Hij­jah, Muhar­ram, and the fourth is Rajab.”

The spe­cif­ic men­tion of these four months does not mean that any oth­er month has no sanc­ti­ty, because the month of Ramadan is admit­ted­ly the most sanc­ti­fied month in the year. But these four months were specif­i­cal­ly termed as sanc­ti­fied months for the sim­ple rea­son that their sanc­ti­ty was accept­ed even by the pagans of Makkah.

In fact, every month, out of the twelve, is orig­i­nal­ly equal to the oth­er, and there is no inher­ent sanc­ti­ty that may be attrib­uted to one of them in com­par­i­son to the oth­er months. When Allah Almighty choos­es a par­tic­u­lar time for His spe­cial bless­ings, the same acquires sanc­ti­ty out of His grace.

Thus, the sanc­ti­ty of these four months was rec­og­nized right from the days of Sayyid­i­na Ibrahim, alay­hi salam. Since the Pagans of Makkah attrib­uted them­selves to Sayyid­i­na Ibrahim, alay­hi salam, they observed the sanc­ti­ty of these four months and despite their fre­quent trib­al bat­tles, they held it unlaw­ful to fight in these months.

In the Shari­ah of our Noble Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, the sanc­ti­ty of these months was upheld and the Holy Quran referred to them as the “sanc­ti­fied months”.

Muhar­ram has cer­tain oth­er char­ac­ter­is­tics spe­cial to it, which are spec­i­fied below.

Fasting During the Month

The Noble Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, has said: ‘The best fasts after the fasts of Ramadan are those of the month of Muharram.”

Although the fasts of the month of Muhar­ram are not oblig­a­tory, yet one who fasts in these days out of his own will is enti­tled to a great reward by Allah Almighty. The Hadith cit­ed above sig­ni­fies that the fasts of the month of Muhar­ram are most reward­able ones among the Nafl or vol­un­tary fasts.

The Hadith does not mean that the award promised for fasts of Muhar­ram can be achieved only by fast­ing for the whole month. On the con­trary, each fast dur­ing this month has mer­it. There­fore, one should avail of this oppor­tu­ni­ty as much as he can.

The Day of ‘Ashurah’

Although Muhar­ram is a sanc­ti­fied month as a whole, yet, the 10th day of Muhar­ram is the most sacred among all its days. The day is named ‘Ashu­rah’. Accord­ing to the Holy Com­pan­ion Ibn ‘Abbas, Radi-Allahu anhu. The Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, when migrat­ed to Mad­i­nah, found that the Jews of Mad­i­nah used to fast on the 10th day of Muhar­ram. They said that it was the day on which the Holy Prophet Musa (Moses), alay­his salam, and his fol­low­ers crossed the Red Sea mirac­u­lous­ly and the Pharaoh was drowned in its waters. On hear­ing this from the Jews, the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, said, “We are more close­ly rotat­ed to Musa, alay­hi salam, than you,” and direct­ed the Mus­lims to fast on the day of ‘Ashu­ra’. (Abu Dawood)

It is also report­ed in a num­ber of authen­tic tra­di­tions that in the begin­ning, fast­ing on the day of ‘Ashu­ra’ was oblig­a­tory for the Mus­lims. It was lat­er that the fasts of Ramadan were made oblig­a­tory and the fast on the day of ‘Ashu­ra’ was made option­al. Sayyid­i­na ‘Aisha, Radi-Allahu anha, has said:

When the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, came to Mad­i­nah, he fast­ed on the day of ‘Ashu­ra’ and direct­ed the peo­ple to fast. But when the fasts of Ramadan were made oblig­a­tory, the oblig­a­tion of fast­ing was con­fined to Ramadan and the oblig­a­tory nature of the fast of ‘Ashu­ra’ was aban­doned. Who­ev­er so desires should fast on it and any oth­er who so likes can avoid fast­ing on it.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)

How­ev­er, the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, used to fast on the day of ‘Ashu­ra’ even after the fast­ing in Ramadan was made oblig­a­tory. Abdul­lah ibn Musa, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports that the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, pre­ferred the fast of ‘Ashu­ra’ on the fasts of oth­er days and pre­ferred the fasts of Ramad­haan on the fast of ‘Ashu­ra’. (Bukhari and Muslim)

In short, it is estab­lished through a num­ber of authen­tic aha­dith that fast­ing on the day of ‘Ashu­ra’ is Sun­nah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, and makes one enti­tled to a great reward.

Accord­ing to anoth­er Hadith, it is more advis­able that the fast of ‘Ashu­ra’ should either be pre­ced­ed or fol­lowed by anoth­er fast. It means that one should fast two days: the 9th and 10th of Muhar­ram or the 10th and 11th. The rea­son of this addi­tion­al fast as men­tioned by the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, is that the Jews used to fast on the day of’Ashu­ra alone, and the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, want­ed to dis­tin­guish the Mus­lim way of fast­ing from that of Jews. There­fore, he advised the Mus­lims to add anoth­er fast to that of ‘Ashu­ra’.

Some tra­di­tions sig­ni­fy anoth­er fea­ture of the day of ‘Ashu­ra. Accord­ing to these tra­di­tions, one should be more gen­er­ous to his fam­i­ly by pro­vid­ing more food to them on this day as com­pared to oth­er days. These tra­di­tions are not very authen­tic accord­ing to the sci­ence of Hadith. Yet, some Schol­ars like Bai­haqi and Ibn Hib­ban have accept­ed them as reliable.

What is men­tioned above is all that is sup­port­ed through authen­tic sources about Ashura.

Misconceptions and Baseless Traditions

How­ev­er, there are some leg­ends and mis­con­cep­tions with regard to ‘Ashu­ra’ that have man­aged to find their way into the minds of the igno­rant, but have no sup­port of authen­tic Islam­ic sources, some very com­mon of them are these: This is the day on which Adam, alay­hi salam, was cre­at­ed. This is the day when Ibrahim, alay­hi salam, was born. This is the day when Allah accept­ed the repen­tance of Sayyid­i­na Adam, alay­hi salam. This is the day when Qiyaamah (dooms­day) will take place. Who­ev­er takes bath on the day of ‘Ashu­ra’ will nev­er get ill.

All these and oth­er sim­i­lar whims and fan­cies are total­ly base­less and the tra­di­tions referred to in this respect are not wor­thy of any credit.

Some peo­ple take it as Sun­nah to pre­pare a par­tic­u­lar type of meal on the day of ‘Ashu­ra’. This prac­tice, too, has no basis in the authen­tic Islam­ic sources.

Some oth­er peo­ple attribute the sanc­ti­ty of ‘Ashu­ra’ to the mar­tyr­dom of Sayyid­na Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, dur­ing his bat­tle with the Syr­i­an army. No doubt, the mar­tyr­dom of Sayyid­i­na Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, is one of the most trag­ic episodes of our his­to­ry. Yet, the sanc­ti­ty of ‘Ashu­ra’ can­not be ascribed to this event for the sim­ple rea­son that the sanc­ti­ty of ‘Ashu­ra’ was estab­lished dur­ing the days of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, much ear­li­er than the birth of Sayyid­na Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu.

On the con­trary, it is one of the mer­its of Sayyid­na Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, that his mar­tyr­dom took place on the day of ‘Ashu­ra’.

Anoth­er mis­con­cep­tion about the month of Muhar­ram is that it is an evil or unlucky month, for Sayyid­na Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, was killed in it. It is for this mis­con­cep­tion that peo­ple avoid hold­ing mar­riage cer­e­monies in the month of Muhar­ram. This is again a base­less con­cept, which is con­trary to the express teach­ings of the Holy Quran and the Sun­nah. If the death of an emi­nent per­son on a par­tic­u­lar day ren­ders that day unlucky for all times to come, one can hard­ly find a day of the year free from this bad luck because every day is asso­ci­at­ed with the demise of some emi­nent per­son. The Holy Quran and the Sun­nah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, have lib­er­at­ed us from such super­sti­tious beliefs.

Lamentations and Mourning

Anoth­er wrong prac­tice relat­ed to this month is to hold the lamen­ta­tion and moum­ing cer­e­monies in the mem­o­ry of mar­tyr­dom of Sayyid­na Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu. As men­tioned ear­li­er, the event of Kar­bala is one of the most trag­ic events of our his­to­ry, but the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, has for­bid­den us from hold­ing the mourn­ing cer­e­monies on the death of any per­son. The peo­ple of jahiliyyah (igno­rance) used to mourn over their deceased through loud lamen­ta­tions, by tear­ing their clothes and by beat­ing their cheeks and chests. The Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, stopped the Mus­lims from doing all this and direct­ed them to observe patience by say­ing “Innaa lil­laahi wa innaa ilay­hi raa­ji’oon”. A num­ber of authen­tic Ahaa­dith are avail­able on the sub­ject. To quote only one of them:

He is not from our group who slaps his checks, tears his clothes and cries in the man­ner of the peo­ple of jahiliyyah.” (Sahih Bukhari)

All the authen­tic jurists are unan­i­mous on the point that the mourn­ing of this type is imper­mis­si­ble. Even Sayyid­na Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, short­ly before his demise, had advised his beloved sis­ter Sayyi­dah Zainab, Radi-Allahu anha, at not to mourn over his death in this man­ner. He said, “My dear sis­ter! I swear upon you that in case I die you shall not tear your clothes, nor scratch your face, nor curse any­one for me or pray for your death.” (Al-Kamil, ibn al-Athir vol. 4 pg. 24)

It is evi­dent from this advice of Sayyid­na Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu, that this type of mourn­ing is con­demned even by the blessed per­son for the mem­o­ry of whom these mourn­ing cer­e­monies are held. Every Mus­lim should avoid this prac­tice and abide by the teach­ings of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alay­hi wa sal­lam, and his beloved grand child Sayyid­na Husain, Radi-Allahu anhu.

Why is Muharram called the month of Allah?


What is meant by ‘The month of Allah Muhar­ram’? Why is it called the month of Allah?


The com­men­ta­tors of Hadith explain that Muhar­ram is attrib­uted to Allah to enhance the great­ness of this month and to show the virtue of this month.

Allamah Suyu­ti (rahimahul­lah) fur­ther explains, The name Muhar­ram is an Islam­ic name, con­trary to the oth­er months as their names remained as they were in the days of Jahiliyyah (Pre-Islam­ic era). Muhar­ram was referred to as ‘Safar Al Aww­al’. Allah changed the name to Muhar­ram once Islam had come. There­fore this month is referred to as the month of Allah.

(Refer: Ad Dibaj ‘Ala Sahih Mus­lim ibn Al Haj­jaj of ‘Allamah Suyu­ti, Hadith: 2747 and Tuh­fat­ul Ahwad­hi, Hadith: 740)

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.

Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala

Approved by: Moulana Muham­mad Abasoomar

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar

Du’a when the new year begins


I have heard that the Sahabah (radiyal­lahu ‘anhum) would recite a du’a for the new year. What is this du’a?


Sayyiduna ‘Abdul­lah ibn Hisham (radiyal­lahu ‘anhu) reports that the Sahabah (radiyal­lahu ‘anhum) would learn the fol­low­ing du’a for when the new month or new year would begin:

اللهم أَدْخِلْهُ عَلينا بِالأمْنِ وَالإيمان وَالسَّلامَةِ وَالإسْلام وَرِضْوَانٍ مِّنَ الرَّحْمن وِجوارٍ مِّنَ الشَّيْطان

Allahum­ma adkhil­hu ‘alay­na bil amni wal iman, was sala­mati wal islam, wa rid­wan­im minar Rah­man, wa jiwarim minash shaytan


O Allah, bring this [month or year] upon us with secu­ri­ty, iman, safe­ty, Islam, your plea­sure and pro­tec­tion from shaytan.

(Al-Mu’jamul Awsat of Tabarani, Hadith: 6237)

Allamah Haytha­mi (rahimahul­lah) has ruled the chain as sound (hasan).

(Majma’uz Zawaid, vol. 10 pg. 139–140)

Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahul­lah) has grad­ed the chain that was quot­ed by ‘Allamah Baghawi for this nar­ra­tion as authen­tic (sahih).

(Al-Isabah, no. 5007)

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

Answered by: Moulana Muham­mad Abasoomar

Spending on the family on ʿĀshūrā


What is the sta­tus of the nar­ra­tion that sug­gests that a per­son should gen­er­ous­ly spend on the fam­i­ly on ʿĀshūrā? Please clar­i­fy because peo­ple who do not believe in this are crit­i­cised whilst peo­ple who believe in this are accused of innovation.

Read the answer below or click on the fol­low­ing link for a PDF ver­sion: spend­ing-on-the-fam­i­ly-on-ashu­ra-10-muhar­ram

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


The Prophet ﷺ is report­ed to have said:

من وسع على عياله يوم عاشوراء وسع الله عليه سائر سنته

Who­ev­er expands (his expen­di­ture) on his fam­i­ly on the day of ʿĀshūrā (10th Muḥar­ram), Allah will expand (his sus­te­nance and mer­cy) on him for his entire year”.

This nar­ra­tion has been trans­mit­ted via five com­pan­ions with these or sim­i­lar words: ʿAbd Allah ibn Masʿūd, Abū Hurayrah, Abū Saʿīd al-Khu­drī, Jābir ibn ʿAbd Allāh and ʿAbd Allāḥ ibn ʿUmar (May Allah be pleased with them all).[1]

The schol­ars have four views regard­ing the sta­tus of this narration:

  • The nar­ra­tion is ṣaḥīḥ (sound) – This is the view of Ḥāfiẓ Abū al-Faḍl ibn Nāṣir (d. 550 H.)[2], Ḥāfiẓ Suyuṭī (d. 911 H.)[3], ʿAl­lāmah Ḥaṣkafī (d. 1088 H.)[4] and Allāmah Ṭaḥṭāwī (d. 1231 H.)[5].
  • The nar­ra­tion is ḥasan (agree­able) – This is the view of Ḥāfiẓ ʿIrāqī (d. 806 H.) who authored a trea­tise on this sub­ject and con­clud­ed that the Ḥadīth of Jābir (May Allah be pleased with him) is at least ḥasan (agree­able).[6] His analy­sis has been relied upon and endorsed by lat­er schol­ars includ­ing: Ḥāfiẓ Sakhāwī (d. 902 H.)[7], ʿAl­lāmah Qasṭalānī (d. 923 H.)[8], ʿAl­lāmah Ibn ʿIrāq (d. 963 H.)[9], ʿAl­lāmah Ibn Ḥajar al-Makkī (d. 974 H.)[10], ʿAl­lāmah Ṭāhir Pat­tanī (d. 986 H.)[11], ʿAl­lāmah Sirāj al-Dīn ibn Nujaym (d. 1005 H.)[12], Mul­lā ʿAlī al-Qārī (d. 1014 H.)[13], ʿAl­lāmah Munāwī (d. 1031 H.)[14], ʿAl­lāmah Nūr al-Dīn al-Ḥal­abī (d. 1044 H.)[15], Shaykh ʿAbd al-Ḥaq Muḥad­dith Dehlawī (d. 1052 H.)[16], ʿAl­lāmah Zurqānī (d. 1122 H.)[17], ʿAl­lāmah ʿAjlūnī (d. 1162 H.)[18], ʿAl­lāmah Ibn ʿĀbidīn (d. 1252 H.)[19], ʿAl­lāmah Shar­wānī (d. 1301 H.)[20] and ʿAl­lāmah ʿAbd al-Ḥayy Lak­nawī (d. 1304 H.)[21].
  • The nar­ra­tion is weak – Our respect­ed teacher Muḥad­dith al-ʿAṣr Shaykh Muḥam­mad Yūnus Jown­pūrī was request­ed by his teacher Shaykh al-Ḥadīth al-Mujad­did Mawlānā Muḥam­mad Zakariyyā Kand­hel­wī (d. 1402 H.) to research this nar­ra­tion. Shaykh Muḥam­mad Yūnus con­cludes, “The truth accord­ing to me is that the nar­ra­tion is Maʿlūl (defec­tive) with all its chains. And the chain that ʿIrāqī claimed is in accor­dance with the con­di­tion of (Imām) Mus­lim and he was fol­lowed in this view by Sakhāwī, Suyūṭī and al-Qārī is defec­tive. Ibn Ḥajar has explic­it­ly men­tioned it is Munkar (unknown) in Lisān al-Mīzān.[22] The bet­ter chain accord­ing to me is what Bay­haqī has trans­mit­ted via Isḥāq ibn Rāh­wayh through his chain from Abū Saʿīd al-Khu­drī (May Allah be pleased with him). How­ev­er, that is also Maʿlūl (defec­tive) due to the uniden­ti­fied per­son (in the chain). Thus, the high­est con­di­tion of this nar­ra­tion is that it is weak”.[23]

Imām Bay­haqī (d. 458 H.) writes that the chains of this nar­ra­tion are all weak but when com­bined they pro­vide some strength[24], a view that is shared by Ḥāfiẓ Mund­hirī (d. 656 H.)[25] and Qāḍī Shawkānī (d. 1250 H.)[26]. Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar (d. 852 H.) is also of the view that the Ḥadīth is not fab­ri­cat­ed.[27] ʿAl­lāmah Haythamī (d. 807 H.) appears to be of the view that the nar­ra­tion is extreme­ly weak.[28]

  • The nar­ra­tion is base­less and fab­ri­cat­ed – This is the view of Imām Aḥmad ibn Ḥan­bal (d. 241 H.)[29], Imām Muḥam­mad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Ḥakam (d. 286 H.)[30], ʿAl­lāmah ʿUqaylī (d. 322 H.)[31], Ḥāfiẓ Abū al-Faḍl ibn Ṭāhir al-Maqdisī (d. 507 H.)[32], ʿAl­lāmah Ibn al-Jawzī (d. 597 H.)[33], Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (d. 728 H.)[34], Ḥāfiẓ Ibn al-Qayy­im (d. 751 H.)[35], ʿAl­lāmah Ibn (Abī) al-ʿIzz (d. 792 H.?)[36], Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Rajab (d. 795 H.)[37], ʿAl­lāmah Majd al-Dīn al-Fīrozābādī (d. 817 H.)[38] and Muftī Rashīd Aḥmad Ludyān­wī (d. 1422 H.)[39].

Thus, there is a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion among schol­ars regard­ing the sta­tus of this nar­ra­tion. The pre­ferred view is that of our teacher Muḥad­dith al-ʿAṣr Shaykh Muḥam­mad Yūnus Jown­pūrī that the nar­ra­tion is weak. How­ev­er, it is per­mis­si­ble to act upon weak nar­ra­tions sub­ject to cer­tain con­di­tions with­out overem­pha­sis­ing it.[40]

Schol­ars who have rec­om­mend­ed the prac­tice of increas­ing expen­di­ture on the fam­i­ly on ʿĀshūrā include: Ibn Ḥabīb Mālikī (d. 238/9 H.)[41], ʿAl­lāmah Qarāfī Mālikī (d. 684 H.)[42], ʿAl­lāmah Ibn al-Ḥāj Mālikī (d. 737 H.)[43], ʿAl­lāmah Burhān ibn Mufliḥ Ḥan­balī (d. 884 H.)[44], ʿAl­lāmah Ḥaṭṭāb Mālikī (d. 954 H.)[45], ʿAl­lāmah Sirāj al-Dīn ibn Nujaym Ḥanafī (d. 1005 H.)[46], ʿAl­lāmah Munāwī Shā­fiʿī (d. 1031 H.)[47], ʿAl­lāmah Bahūtī Ḥan­balī (d. 1051 H.)[48], ʿAl­lāmah Ḥaṣkafī Ḥanafī (d. 1088 H.)[49], ʿAl­lāmah Kha­rashī Mālikī (d. 1101 H.)[50], Shaykh Dard­īr Mālikī (d. 1201 H.)[51], Imam Ṣāwī Mālikī (d. 1241 H.)[52], Imam Shar­wānī Shā­fiʿī (d. 1301 H.) [53], Shaykh Ashraf ʿAlī Thanawī (d. 1362 H.)[54], Shaykh Muḥam­mad Zakariyyā Kand­hel­wī (d. 1402 H.), Mufti Maḥmūd Ḥasan Gan­go­hī (d. 1417 H.)[55], Mufti ʿAbd al-Raḥīm Lājpūrī (d. 1422 H.)[56] and oth­ers. There are also nar­ra­tions from ear­li­er schol­ars who are report­ed to have act­ed upon this nar­ra­tion. Exam­ples include Muḥam­mad ibn al-Muntashir (n.d.), Ibrāhīm ibn Muḥam­mad ibn al-Muntashir (d. ca. 150 H.)[57], Shuʿbah ibn al-Ḥajjāj (d. 160 H.) and Sufyān ibn ʿUyay­nah (d. 198 H.).[58]

How­ev­er, one should avoid overem­pha­sis­ing this prac­tice and regard­ing it nec­es­sary, as men­tioned by the Mālikī schol­ars Imām Ibn al-Ḥāj (d. 737 H.), Imām Shāṭibī (d. 790 H.), Imām Ḥaṭṭāb (d. 954 H.), Imām Kha­rashī (d. 1101 H.) and oth­ers. Imām Ibn al-Ḥāj states that gen­eros­i­ty on the fam­i­ly, rel­a­tives, orphans, poor and increas­ing expen­di­ture and char­i­ty on ʿĀshūrā is rec­om­mend­ed pro­vid­ed there is no Takalluf (pre­ten­tious­ness) and it does not become a prac­tice that is regard­ed as nec­es­sary, oth­er­wise it will be dis­liked.[59]

Thus, one should not crit­i­cise those who do not act upon this nar­ra­tion or do not believe in its authen­tic­i­ty. Sim­i­lar­ly, those who believe in the valid­i­ty of the nar­ra­tion and act upon it should not be crit­i­cised. It is nec­es­sary to main­tain appro­pri­ate eti­quette because both views are held by great schol­ars and lumi­nar­ies, to whom we shall remain indebt­ed forever.

Allah knows best

Yusuf Shab­bir, Black­burn, UK

9 Dhū al-Ḥij­jah 1437 H. – 11 Sep­tem­ber 2016

Approved by: Mufti Shab­bir Ahmad Sahib


[1] For a detailed analy­sis of these nar­ra­tions and their sources, refer to al-Yawāqīt al-Ghāliyah (1: 326), also avail­able on the fol­low­ing link:

[2] Al-Tawsiʿah ʿAlā al-ʿIyāl (8); al-Laāli al-Maṣnūʿah (2: 95).

[3] Al-Laāli al-Maṣnūʿah (2: 95); al-Durar al-Muntatharah (p. 186).

[4] Al-Durr al-Mukhtār (2: 419).

[5] Ḥāshiyah al-Ṭaḥṭāwī ʿAlā Marāqī al-Falāḥ (p. 681).

[6] Al-Tawsiʿah ʿAlā al-ʿIyāl (2).

[7] Al-Maqāṣid al-Ḥasanah (p. 674).

[8] Al-Mawāhib al-Ladun­niyyah (11: 280).

[9] Tanzīh al-Sharīʿah (2: 157).

[10] Ashraf al-Wasā’il (p. 439); al-Ṣawāʿiq al-Muḥriqah (2: 536).

[11] Tadhki­rah al-Mawḍūʿāt (p. 118).

[12] Al-Nahr al-Fā’iq (2: 26).

[13] Jamʿ al-Wasā’il (2: 106); Mirqāt al-Mafātīḥ (4: 1349); al-Asrār al-Mar­fūʿah (p. 360).

[14] Fayḍ al-Qadīr (6: 235).

[15] Sharḥ Sifr al-Saʿā­dah (p. 543).

[16] Al-Sīrah al-Ḥal­abiyyah (2: 185).

[17] Sharḥ al-Zurqānī ʿAlā al-Mawāhib al-Ladun­niyyah (11: 280).

[18] Kashf al-Khafā (2: 284).

[19] Radd al-Muḥtār (6: 430; also see 2: 418).

[20] Ḥāshiyah al-Shar­wānī ʿAlā Tuḥ­fah al-Muḥtāj (3: 455).

[21] Al-Āthār al-Mar­fūʿah (p. 97).

[22] Lisān al-Mīzān (6: 336).

[23] Al-Yawāqīt al-Ghāliyah (1: 333).

[24] Shuʿab al-Īmān (5: 333). ʿAl­lāmah Ibn Ḥajar al-Makkī sug­gests in al-Ṣawāʿiq al-Muḥriqah (2: 536) that the state­ment of Imām Bay­haqī sug­gests that the nar­ra­tion is Ḥasan (agree­able) accord­ing to him.

[25] Al-Targhīb Wa al-Tarhīb (2: 71).

[26] Al-Fawā’id al-Majmūʿah (p. 98).

[27] Al-Maqāṣid al-Ḥasanah (p. 674).

[28] Maj­maʿ al-Zawā’id (3: 189).

[29] Min­hāj al-Sun­nah (7: 39); Laṭā’if al-Maʿārif (p. 54); al-Manār al-Munīf (p. 111). It is worth not­ing that Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fat­tāh Abū Ghud­dah (d. 1417 H.) has refut­ed those who sug­gest that the term “Lā Yaṣiḥḥ” (It is not ṣaḥīḥ) indi­cates that accord­ing to Imām Aḥmad the nar­ra­tion is weak. This is incor­rect because this term refers to fab­ri­cat­ed nar­ra­tions when cit­ed in books that spe­cialise in fab­ri­cat­ed and weak nar­ra­tions. For fur­ther details, refer to Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāh’s foot­notes of al-Manār al-Mūnīf (p. 112) and his intro­duc­tion to Mul­lā ʿAlī al-Qārī’s al-Maṣnūʿ Fī Maʿri­fah al-Ḥadīth al-Mawḍūʿ (p. 27) where he has dis­cussed this issue in detail. Our teacher Shaykh Muḥam­mad Yūnus Jown­pūrī con­curs and adds that Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyah has attrib­uted the words “Lā Aṣla Lahū” (it has no basis) to Imām Aḥmad. Thus, there is no doubt that accord­ing to Imām Aḥmad, this nar­ra­tion is fabricated.

[30] Laṭā’if al-Maʿārif (p. 54).

[31] Al-Ḍuʿafā al-Kabīr (3: 252).

[32] Tadhki­rah al-Mawḍūʿāt (p. 97). Also see Aṭrāf Aḥādīth Kitāb al-Majrūḥīn (p. 362).

[33] Al-ʿIlal al-Mutanāhiyah (2: 62).

[34] Min­hāj al-Sun­nah (7: 39); Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā (25: 312).

[35] Al-Manār al-Munīf (p. 111).

[36] Al-Nahr al-Fā’iq (2: 26); Radd al-Muḥtār (2: 418).

[37] Laṭā’if al-Maʿārif (p. 54).

[38] Sifr al-Saʿā­dah (p. 144).

[39] Munkarāt Muḥar­ram (p. 15).

[40] See al-Iṣābah (5: 690); al-Qawl al-Badīʿ (p.195); al-Ajwibah al-Fāḍi­lah (p.55); al-Yawāqīt al-Ghāliyah (2: 296).

[41] Mawāhib al-Jalīl (2: 403); Fayḍ al-Qadīr (6: 235).

[42] Al-Dhakhīrah (2: 529).

[43] Al-Mad­khal (1: 289).

[44] Al-Mub­diʿ (3: 49).

[45] Mawāhib al-Jalīl (2: 403).

[46] Al-Nahr al-Fā’iq (2: 26).

[47] Fayḍ al-Qadīr (6: 235).

[48] Al-Rawḍ al-Mur­biʿ (p. 239); Kashshāf al-Qināʿ (2: 329).

[49] Al-Durr al-Mukhtār (2: 418).

[50] Sharḥ Mukhtaṣar Khalīl Li al-Kha­rashī (2: 241).

[51] Al-Sharḥ al-Kabīr (1: 516).

[52] Bul­ghah al-Sālik (1: 691).

[53] Ḥāshiyah al-Shar­wānī ʿAlā Tuḥ­fah al-Muḥtāj (3: 455).

[54] Imdād al-Fatāwā (5: 289).

[55] Fatāwā Maḥmūdiyyah (5: 487).

[56] Fatāwā Raḥīmiyyah (2: 112).

[57] Al-Wāfī Bi al-Wafayāt (6: 68).

[58] Al-Tawsiʿah ʿAlā al-ʿIyāl. Also see Shuʿāb al-Imān (5: 334); Laṭā’if al-Maʿārif (p. 54).

[59] Al-Mad­khal (1: 289). Also see Mawāhib al-Jalīl (2: 403) and Sharḥ Mukhtaṣar Khalīl Li al-Kha­rashī (2: 241). Imām Shāṭibī (d. 790 H.) writes in al-Iʿtiṣām (1: 450): “Saʿīd ibn Ḥassān said: “I was read­ing to Ibn Nāfiʿ, and when I passed the nar­ra­tion of expand­ing (wealth on ʿĀshūrā), he said to me: Burn it. I asked, why O Abū Muḥam­mad? He said: In fear of it being adopt­ed as a Sun­nah”. Imām Shāṭibī writes, “So these mat­ters are per­mis­si­ble or rec­om­mend­ed. How­ev­er, they dis­liked prac­tis­ing it for fear of inno­va­tion, because adopt­ing it as a Sun­nah is through peo­ple prac­tis­ing it con­stant­ly and empha­sis­ing it.”

Fasting exclusively on 10th Muḥarram


I under­stand that it is prefer­able to avoid fast­ing exclu­sive­ly on 10th Muḥar­ram. How­ev­er, I have heard that accord­ing to the Ḥanafī school of thought, it is Makrūh to fast exclu­sive­ly on 10th Muḥar­ram. Please can you clar­i­fy the matter.


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

There are two opin­ions with­in the Ḥanafī school of thought regard­ing this.

(1) The first opin­ion is that it is Makrūh (dis­liked) to fast exclu­sive­ly on 10th Muḥar­ram. This is because the Prophet of Allah ﷺ expressed his firm inten­tion to also fast on 9th Muḥar­ram if he were to remain alive. The Prophet ﷺ said:

لئن بقيت إلى قابل لأصومن التاسع‏

If I remain until the next year, I shall (also) fast the ninth (of Muḥar­ram)”.[1]

Accord­ing­ly, ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAb­bās (May Allah be pleased with him) is report­ed to have said:

صوموا التاسع والعاشر وخالفوا الیھود‏

Fast on the ninth and tenth and oppose the Jews”.[2]

Thus, it is Makrūh (dis­liked) to fast only on 10th Muḥar­ram accord­ing to many Ḥanafī schol­ars includ­ing ʿAl­lāmah Zayn al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 666 H.)[3], ʿAl­lāmah Badr al-Dīn al-ʿAynī (d. 855 H.)[4], ʿAl­lāmah Ibn al-Humām (d. 861 H.)[5], ʿAl­lāmah Shi­hāb al-Dīn al-Shilbī (d. 947 H.)[6], ʿAl­lāmah Ibn Nujaym (d. 970 H.)[7], ʿAl­lāmah Sirāj al-Dīn ibn Nujaym (d. 1005 H.)[8], ʿAl­lāmah Shu­run­bulālī (d. 1069 H.)[9], Shaykh ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Shaykhīzā­dah (d. 1078 H.)[10], ʿAl­lāmah Ḥaṣkafī (d. 1088 H.)[11] and ʿAl­lāmah Ibn ʿĀbidīn (d. 1252 H.)[12]. This is also the view adopt­ed in al-Fatāwā al-Hindiyyah[13] and is the posi­tion of Mawlānā Ashraf ʿAlī Thanawī (d. 1362 H.)[14], Mufti Maḥmūd Ḥasan Gan­go­hī (d. 1417 H.)[15], Mufti Niẓām al-Dīn al-Aʿẓamī (d. 1420 H.)[16], Mufti ʿAbd al-Raḥīm Lājpūrī (d. 1422 H.)[17] and Mufti Raḍa al-Ḥaq (b. 1369 H.? / 1950 CE -)[18]. It is how­ev­er worth not­ing that this Karāhah is Tanzīhī, as men­tioned by ʿAl­lāmah Ibn al-Humām[19], ʿAl­lāmah Ibn Nujaym[20], ʿAl­lāmah Ḥaṣkafī[21], ʿAl­lāmah Shu­run­bulālī[22] and ʿAl­lāmah Shilbī[23]. This means that a per­son is not sin­ful for the action but it is dis­liked. Nev­er­the­less, if some­one decides to fast exclu­sive­ly on 10th Muḥar­ram will he be reward­ed or not accord­ing to this opin­ion? I have not seen this explic­it­ly in the ear­li­er books. How­ev­er, Mufti Maḥmūd Ḥasan Gan­go­hī[24], Mufti Nizām al-Dīn al-Aʿẓamī[25] and Mufti Raḍa al-Ḥaq[26] affirm that despite it being dis­liked, a per­son will be rewarded.

(2) The sec­ond opin­ion with­in the Ḥanafī School is that it is not Makrūh (dis­liked) to fast exclu­sive­ly on 10th Muḥar­ram. ʿAl­lāmah ʿAlā al-Dīn al-Kāsānī (d. 587 H.) writes, “Some of them (schol­ars) have dis­liked the sole fast of ʿĀshūrā because of imi­tat­ing the Jews. How­ev­er, the gen­er­al schol­ars have not dis­liked it because it is from the vir­tu­ous days. Thus, it is Mus­taḥab (desir­able) to attain its virtue.”[27] This view is shared by ʿAl­lāmah Anwar Shāh Kash­mīrī (d. 1353 H.)[28] as well as his stu­dent Shaykh Muḥam­mad Yūsuf Binorī (d. 1397 H.)[29]. Oth­er Ḥanafī Schol­ars who appear to be inclined to this view include Shaykh ʿAbd al-Ḥaq Muḥad­dith Dehlawī (d. 1052 H.)[30], ʿAl­lāmah Shab­bīr Aḥmad ʿUth­mānī (d. 1369 H.)[31], Shaykh Ẓafar Aḥmad ʿUth­mānī (d. 1394 H.)[32] and Mawlānā Khālid Sayf Allāh (b. 1376 H. -)[33]. The prin­ci­pal evi­dence of these schol­ars is that the Prophet ﷺ suf­ficed with the fast of 10th Muḥar­ram through­out his time in Madī­nah and out­lined the virtues of fast­ing on this day. ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAb­bās (May Allah be pleased with them) said: “The Prophet ﷺ came to Mad­i­nah and saw the Jews fast­ing on the day of ʿĀshūrā. He said, “What is this?” They said: “This is a right­eous day, a day when Allah saved the Chil­dren of Israel from their ene­mies, so Musā fast­ed on this day.” He said, “We have more right to Musā than you,” so he fast­ed on that day and com­mand­ed (the Mus­lims) to fast”.[34] Sim­i­lar­ly, ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAb­bās (May Allah be pleased with them) said: “I nev­er saw the Prophet ﷺ seek­ing to fast on a day, giv­ing it pref­er­ence over oth­ers, except for this day the day of ʿĀshūrā, and this month, refer­ring to the month of Ramadan”.[35] The Prophet ﷺ said:

وصيام يوم عاشوراء أحتسب على الله أن يكفر السنة التي قبله

And fast­ing the day of ʿĀshūrā, I hope from Allah that it will expi­ate for the pre­vi­ous year”.[36]

Thus, accord­ing to the sec­ond opin­ion, fast­ing only on 10th Muḥar­ram can­not be deemed as Makrūh (dis­liked) because the Prophet ﷺ only fast­ed on this day. This notwith­stand­ing his desire and inten­tion to also fast on 9th Muḥar­ram the fol­low­ing year.

In con­clu­sion, both views exist with­in the Ḥanafī school of thought and both opin­ions are sub­stan­ti­at­ed with evi­dences. A per­son should there­fore attempt to fast on 9th and 10th Muḥar­ram. If, how­ev­er, a per­son is unable to do so, then it is rec­om­mend­ed that he fasts on the 10th and he will be rewarded.

Note 1

Ḥafiẓ Ibn al-Qayy­im (d. 751 H.)[37], Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar (d. 852 H.)[38], ʿAl­lāmah Qasṭalānī (d. 923 H.)[39], Shaykh ʿAbd al-Ḥaq Muḥad­dith Dehlawī (d. 1052 H.)[40], ʿAl­lāmah Shawkānī (d. 1250 H.)[41] and oth­ers have out­lined three lev­els of fast­ing for ʿĀshūrā in the fol­low­ing order:

  • 9th, 10th and 11th.
  • 9th and 10th as men­tioned in most narrations.
  • Only 10th.

Some schol­ars have also men­tioned 10th and 11th as an option which is bet­ter than the third option.[42]

Note 2

It is desir­able to fast as many days as pos­si­ble in the month of Muḥar­ram. The Mes­sen­ger of Allah ﷺ said: “The best fasts after Ramadan is Allah’s month of Muḥar­ram”.[43]

Allah knows best

Yusuf Shab­bir, Black­burn, UK

7 Dhū al-Ḥij­jah 1437 H. – 9 Sep­tem­ber 2016

Approved by: Mufti Shab­bir Ahmad Sahib


[1] Ṣaḥīḥ Mus­lim (1134).

[2] Muṣan­naf ‘Abd al-Raz­zāq (7839); Sunan al-Tir­mid­hī (755); Sharḥ Maʿānī al-Āthār (3302); al-Sunan al-Kubrā (8404).

[3] Tuḥ­fah al-Mulūk (p. 150).

[4] Minḥah al-Sulūk (p. 187). In ʿUm­dah al-Qārī (11: 117), ʿAl­lāmah ʿAynī has men­tioned both views with­out indi­cat­ing his preference.

[5] Fatḥ al-Qadīr (2: 303; 2: 350).

[6] Ḥāshiyah al-Shilbī ʿAlā Tabyīn al-Ḥaqā’iq (1: 332).

[7] Al-Baḥr al-Rā’iq (2: 277).

[8] Al-Nahr al-Fā’iq (2: 5).

[9] Marāqī al-Falāḥ (p. 236); Ḥāshiyah Shu­run­būlālī ʿAlā Durar al-Ḥukkām (1: 197).

[10] Maj­maʿ al-Anhur (1: 232).

[11] Radd al-Muḥtār (2: 375).

[12] Ibid.

[13] (1: 202).

[14] Behishtī Zey­war (p. 142); Imdād al-Fatāwā (2: 118). It is worth not­ing that this is his final stance on this issue as he was of the view ini­tial­ly that it is not Makrūh.

[15] Fatāwā Maḥmūdiyyah (15: 224).

[16] Ibid.

[17] Fatāwā Raḥīmiyyah (2: 112).

[18] Fatāwā Dār al-ʿUlūm Zakariyyā (3: 319).

[19] Fatḥ al-Qadīr (2: 303).

[20] Al-Baḥr al-Rāiq (2: 277).

[21] Radd al-Muḥtār (2: 375).

[22] Marāqī al-Falāḥ (p. 236).

[23] Ḥāshiyah al-Shilbī ʿAlā Tabyīn al-Ḥaqā’iq (1: 313).

[24] Fatāwā Maḥmūdiyyah (15: 224).

[25] Ibid.

[26] Fatāwā Dār al-ʿUlūm Zakariyyā (3: 319).

[27] Badā’iʿ al-Ṣanā’iʿ (2: 79).

[28] Al-ʿArf al-Shad­hī (2: 177).

[29] Maʿārif al-Sunan (5: 434).

[30] Lamaʿāt al-Tan­qīḥ (4: 472).

[31] Fatḥ al-Mul­him (5: 257).

[32] Iʿlā al-Sunan (9: 179).

[33] Kitāb al-Fatāwā (3: 446).

[34] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (2004).

[35] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (2006).

[36] Ṣaḥīḥ Mus­lim (1162).

[37] Zād al-Maʿād (2: 72).

[38] Fatḥ al-Bārī (4: 246).

[39] Al-Mawāhib al-Ladun­niyyah (11: 277).

[40] Lamaʿāt al-Tan­qīḥ (4: 472).

[41] Nayl al-Awṭār (4: 290).

[42] Nukhab al-Afkār (8: 422); Mirqāt al-Mafātīḥ (4: 1412); al-ʿArf al-Shad­hī (2: 177); Imdād al-Fatāwā (2: 118).

[43] Ṣaḥīḥ Mus­lim (1163).

Applying Kohl (Surma) on 10th Muḥarram

Is Kohl (Sur­ma) a Sun­nah of 10th of Muḥarram?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


Some Ḥanafī and Mālikī schol­ars have sug­gest­ed it is desir­able to use Kohl on ʿĀshūrā (10th Muḥar­ram) and sug­gest the nar­ra­tion in this regard is weak and not fab­ri­cat­ed.[1]

How­ev­er, the major­i­ty of schol­ars regard all the nar­ra­tions regard­ing Kohl on ʿĀshūrā as fab­ri­cat­ed.[2] This is the cor­rect posi­tion. Imām al-Ḥākim (d. 405 H.) explains that there is no (authen­tic) nar­ra­tion regard­ing this and it is an inno­va­tion start­ed by the mur­der­ers of Ḥusayn (May Allah be pleased with him).[3] There­fore, it is not a Sunnah.

Some Ḥanafī schol­ars have fur­ther stat­ed that it is nec­es­sary to avoid Kohl because it has become a hall­mark of those who bear hatred and enmi­ty against the Ahl al-Bayt (the fam­i­ly of the Prophet (the fam­i­ly of the Prophet, may Allāh send bless­ings and send peace greet­ings upon them con­tin­u­al­ly).[4]

Allah knows best

Yusuf Shab­bir, Black­burn, UK

9 Dhū al-Ḥij­jah 1437 H. – 11 Sep­tem­ber 2016

Approved by: Mufti Shab­bir Ahmad Sahib


[1] Hidāyah (Fatḥ al-Qadīr, 2: 346); al-ʿInāyah (2: 331); al-Baḥr al-Rā’iq (2: 302); al-Nahr al-Fā’iq (2: 26); al-Asrār al-Mar­fūʿah (p. 474); Jamʿ al-Wasā’il (2: 106); Sharḥ Mukhtaṣar Khalīl Li al-Kha­rashī (2: 241); Minaḥ al-Jalīl (2: 119).

[2] Al-Fatāwā al-Kubrā (1: 203); Min­hāj al-Sun­nah (4: 555, 8: 151); al-Manār al-Munīf (p. 111); al-Iʿtiṣām (1: 287); Laṭāif al-Maʿārif (p. 54); ʿUm­dah al-Qārī (11: 118); al-Bināyah (4: 42); al-Maqāṣid al-Ḥasanah (p. 632); Tanzīh al-Sharīʿah (2: 157); al-Ṣawāʿiq al-Muḥriqah (2: 536); al-Iqnāʿ Fī Fiqh al-Imām Aḥmad (1: 318); Ḥāshiyah al-Shar­wānī (3: 455); Mirqāt al-Mafātīḥ (4: 1349); Fayḍ al-Qadīr (6: 82); Kashf al-Khafā’ (2: 234); Radd al-Muḥtār (2: 418); al-Āthār al-Mar­fūʿah (p. 97); Imdād al-Fatāwā (5: 289); Fatāwā Maḥmūdiyyah (5: 487); Fatāwā Raḥīmiyyah (2: 112).

[3] Al-Mawḍūʿāt (2: 204); Tanzīh al-Sharīʿah (2: 157).

[4] Tanzīh al-Sharīʿah (2: 157); Fayḍ al-Qadīr (6: 235).