In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds; Most Gracious, Most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgment. Thee alone do we worship, and Thine aid we seek. Guide us in the right path. The path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, Not the path of those who have gone astray (Qur’an 1: 1 – 7). The Almighty Allah says in Holy Qur’an, Asr 103:1-3, “By (the Token of) Time (through the Ages), Verily Man is in loss, except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) In the mutual teaching Of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy”.
In the aftermath of Holy Flight of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) from Makkah to Madinah (Hijrah) in 622 A.D., which marks the end of period of thirteen years persecution, humiliation, and attempted murder by idolaters for preaching the worship of One true Allah; and transition to a recognized faith community in Madinah, this marks the threshold of the Islamic New Year in Islam.
However, we have the Ashura Day (Night of Blessings) on the 10th of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. For Sunnis, Ashura commemorates the exodus of Moses from Egypt with the Israelis, and is usually observed by completing an optional fast as practiced by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). This day also marks the anniversary of the tragic death of the Prophet’s grandson, Husain at the hands of the Umayyad ruler Yazid. Husayn (ra) was martyred on Friday 10th Muharram AH (10th October 680), at aged 56. He was martyred in Karbala, with sixteen people from his family (rh), as well as seventy-two of his followers (rh). This is according to the histories of Tabari and Suyuti. Before being martyred, Husayn (RA), his family and his followers were tested for many days. They went without food and water in the scorching open fields of Karbala, in addition to enduring the grief and pain of being tortured in this way by the army of Yazid, led by Ibn Sa’d.
On 10th Muharram, Allah took Husayn (RA) back to Him. The details of how he and his family were killed are painful to recount. Like Allah’s Prophets (AS), they were tested with immense hardship on ’Ashura and in the days leading up to it. We pray Allah rewards them immensely and with the highest status possible, and we pray He grants us even a fraction of their devotion and patience, ameen. For Shi’as the day is marked with mourning and often with enactments of the tragic event.
Also, the Muharram in the New Islamic Year, is one of the four sacred months when wars, battles, and all forms of hostilities and wrangling are strictly forbidden (Qur’an 9:36). It is the Blessed month of Istijabah in which we have the Blessed Night of Ashura (10th Day of Muharram) when prayers of Prophets, great Sheikhs, and Ulamas were answered and granted Divine powers.
Thus, when Prophet Muhammad (SAW) arrived in Madinah after Hijrah, he met the Jews observing fast to commemorate the exodus of Moses with the Israelis from the tyranny of King Pharaoh in Egypt, he asked Muslims to be observing the fast, because Moses is closer to the Muslims than the Jews, as Moses is a Muslim. The Almighty Allah attests in the Holy Qur’an, A’raf, 7:136-141, “So We exacted retribution from them (Pharaoh and his People): We drowned them in the sea because they rejected Our signs and failed to take warning from them. And We made a people considered weak (and of no account) inheritors of lands in both east and west lands whereon We sent down our blessings. The fair promise of the Lord was fulfilled for the children of Israel because they had patience and constancy and We levelled to the ground the great works and fine buildings which Pharaoh and his people erected (with such pride). We took the children of Israel (with safety) across the sea. They came upon a people devoted entirely to some idols they had. They said: “O Moses! fashion for us a god like unto the gods they have.” He said: “surely ye are a people without knowledge. “As to these folks the cult they are in is (but) a fragment of a ruin and vain is the (worship) which they practice.” He said: “Shall I seek for you a god other than the (true) God when it is God who hath endowed you with gifts above the nations?” And remember We rescued you from Pharaoh’s people who afflicted you with the worst of penalties who slew your male children and saved alive your females: in that was a momentous trial from your Lord”.
Also, Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an 14:5, “And We certainly sent Musa with Our signs, [saying], “Bring out your people from layers of darkness into the light and remind them of the days of Allah”. ‘Then We inspired to Musa (AS), “Strike with your staff the sea”, and it parted, and each portion was like a great towering mountain. And We advanced thereto the pursuers. And We saved Musa (AS) and those with him, all together. Then We drowned the others” [Qur’an, 26:63-66].
A Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) attests to the fasting on Ashura Day thus, Aishah (RA) said, ’The people used to fast on ’Ashura before the fasting of Ramadan was made obligatory. And on that day the Ka‘bah used to be covered with a cover” [Sahih Bukhari]. Besides, Ibn Abbas (RA) said, ’The Prophet (SAW) came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ’Ashura. He said, “What is this?” They said, “This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Musa (AS) fasted on this day”. He said, “We have more right to Musa (AS) than you”, so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day’ [Bukhari].
May Almighty Allah accept our fasting and prayers on Ashura Day i.e., 10th of Muharram as act of worship and thanksgiving for His Favors, Ameen.
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