Fasting on the day of ‘Ashuraa is encouraged in the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), and it is the tenth day of the month of Muharram, there is a great reward for the one who fasts on this day.
عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَدِمَ الْمَدِينَةِ فَوَجَدَ الْيَهُودَ صِيَامًا يَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ فَقَالَ لَهُمْ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «مَا هَذَا الْيَوْمُ الَّذِي تَصُومُونَهُ؟» فَقَالُوا: هَذَا يَوْمٌ عَظِيمٌ: أَنْجَى اللَّهُ فِيهِ مُوسَى وَقَوْمَهُ وَغَرَّقَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَقَوْمَهُ فَصَامَهُ مُوسَى شُكْرًا فَنَحْنُ نَصُومُهُ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «فَنَحْنُ أَحَقُّ وَأَوْلَى بِمُوسَى مِنْكُمْ» فَصَامَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَأَمَرَ بصيامه
On the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas (radhiyallaahu ‘anhumaa) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) came to Al-Madeenah, so he found the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashuraa, so he said: ((What is this day that you observe fast upon?)) They said: “This is a great day in which Allaah delivered Moosaa and his people, and in it He destroyed Pharaoh and his people, so Moosaa observed the fasting of it out of thankfulness, thus we fast within it.” So the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: ((We have more right and are more entitled to Moosaa than you.)) So the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) observed the fast on it and commanded with the observance of fasting it.
Shaikh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez bin Baaz (rahimahullaah) said:
“It has indeed been established from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) that he would fast on the day of ‘Ashuraa, and would encourage the people to fast during it, because it was the day in which Allaah saved Moosaa (Moses) and his people, and in it He destroyed Fir’awn (Pharaoh) and his people. Therefore it is recommended for every Muslim – male and female to fast on this day out of thankfulness to Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic, and it is on the tenth day of (the month of) Muharram.
It is likewise recommended to fast a day before it or a day after it – in order to differ from the Jews in that, and if one were to fast the three days altogether – the ninth and the tenth and the eleventh then there is no objection, since it has been reported from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) that he said:
خالفوا اليهود صوموا يوما قبله ويوما بعده
((Differ from the Jews, fast a day before it and a day after it))
In another narration:
صوموا يومًا قبله أو يومًا بعده
((Fast a day before it or a day after it.))”
The Excellence of Fasting on the Day of ‘Ashuraa and its Merit
On the authority of Anas (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) who said: the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
صِيَامُ يَوْمِ عَاشُورَاءَ، أَحْتَسِبُ عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُكَفِّرَ السَّنَةَ الَّتِي قَبْلَه
((The fast of the day of ‘Ashuraa, I hope [in anticipation of reward] from Allaah that it expiates [the sins of] the year which preceded it.))
From Ibn ‘Abbaas (radhiyallaahu anhumaa) who said:
مَا رَأَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَتَحَرَّى صِيَامَ يَوْمٍ فَضَّلَهُ عَلَى غَيْرِهِ إِلَّا هَذَا اليَوْمَ، يَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ، وَهَذَا الشَّهْرَ يَعْنِي شَهْرَ رَمَضَانَ
“I did not see the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) pursue fasting on a day considering it more excellent over other than it except this day; the day of ‘Ashuraa and this month; meaning the month of Ramadhaan.”
The Wisdom in the Recommendation of Fasting on the Ninth Along With the Tenth
Imaam An-Nawawee (rahimahullaah) stated: “The scholars from our associates and other than them have mentioned that in the wisdom of the recommendation of fasting the ninth, there are the following aspects:
The first of them: is that what is intended by it is to differ from the Jews in their limitation to the tenth day.
The second: is that what is intended by it is to make an attachment of the day of ‘Ashuraa with that of another fast, just as it has been prohibited to fast on a Friday by itself, Al-Khattaabi and others have mentioned these two.
The third: exercising cautiousness in fasting the tenth, for fear of the loss of visibility of the crescent and the occurrence of error, so the ninth in the total amount could in actuality be the tenth.”