The Fast of 'Ashura' Tradition - Forged !

Video 2 Reason Why we DONT fast on Ashura Ammar Naqshwani 1       2        3

Article by:Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi

Some traditions are found in Sunni books to the effect that the Prophet (s.a.w.) on migrating to Medina found the Jews fasting on the 10th of Muharram. He asked them why, and was told: “It is an auspicious day; it is the day when God delivered the children of Israel from their enemy (i.e. Pharaoh); and, therefore, Moses fasted on that day.”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “I am worthier of Moses than you are.” Thereupon, he fasted on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to fast.

1. al-Sahih of al-Bukhari, Vol.3; Egypt ed.; p.54

2. Mishkatul-Masabih; Delhi ed.; 1307 A.H.; p.l72

It is noted by the commentator of Mishkatul-Masabih that “it was in the second year, because in the first year the Prophet had arrived at Medina after 'Ashura, in Rabi'ul-awwal.”

How much importance was this fast supposed to have may be judged from another tradition narrated in al-Sahih of al-Bukhari: “The Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered a man from the (tribe of) Aslam: Announce to the people that whoever has eaten should fast the rest of the day, and whoever has not eaten should fast (the whole day), because today is the 'Ashura (10th day of Muharram).”

That very year the fast of Ramadan was ordained and the obligation to fast on 'Ashura was abrogated, as has been claimed in other traditions narrated in the same book. Still, reportedly, it carries much importance as a voluntary fast.

Now let us look closely at these traditions:

First: The Jews had their own calendar and months. There is no logic in saying that they fasted on the 10th of Muharram - unless it could be proved that this date always coincided with a Jewish day of fast.

It was mentioned in my article, “Martyrdom of Imam Husayn and the Muslim and the Jewish Calendars” (Al-Serat, Vol. VI, No's 3 & 4; Muharram 1401 Nov. 1980) that the first month of the Jews (Abib, later named Nisan) coincided with Rajab of the Arabs. W.O.E. Oesterley and Theodore H. Robinson have written that in Arabia “the most important of all the new-moon festivals was that which fell in the month of Rajab (sic), equivalent to the Hebrew month 'Abib, for this was the time when the ancient Arabs celebrated the Spring festival.” (Hebrew Religion; S.P.C.K., London; 1955; p.128)

Probably, in ancient times the two branches of Abraham's house followed the same system of intercalating an additional month 7 times in a cycle of 19 years. And in this way the 7th Jewish month, Tishri I, coincided with Muharram.

And the 'Ashura of Muharram synchronized with 10th of Tishri I, the Jewish Day of Atonement - a day of fast. In that article, it was observed that the two calendars lost their synchronization when Islam, in the 9th year of hijra, disallowed intercalation.

But on deeper consideration it transpired that that parity was lost long before the advent of Islam, because the Arabs did not follow any mathematical calculation in their intercalation. That was why the Muharram of the 2nd year of Hijra began on 5th July, 623 C.E. (Al-Munjid, 21st ed.), months before Tishri I (which always coincides with September-October).

Clearly, 'Ashura of Muharram in that year (or, for that matter, during the Prophet's whole life at Medina) had no significance whatsoever for the Jews.

The question is: Why did they fast on that day?

Second: The Jewish Midrashic literature relates the 10th day of the 7th month (Yom Hakippurim - Day of Atonement) to the event of bringing the tablets of the Covenant from Mount Sinai, as Dr. Mishael Maswari-Caspi has written in his letter, quoted in my previous article, mentioned above.

The question is: If the Jews had wanted to keep the long-lost synchronization of Tishri I and Muharram in view, how was it that they forgot to narrate this tradition to the Prophet?

Third: The month in which God delivered the Israelites from Pharaoh was Abib (i.e. Rajab), as the Bible clearly says: “Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the Lord thy God: for in the month of Abib the Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.” (Deut., 16:1)

The question is: How could the Jews transfer an event of Abib (originally coinciding with Rajab) to Muharram, in open defiance of their Torah?

And lastly here is a point to ponder for the Muslims: The Prophet (s.a.w.) was sent with a religion to abrogate all previous religions and shari'ah. How was it that he deigned to imitate the custom of the Jews?

It is clear from above-mentioned facts that the Jews had no reason at all to fast on 'Ashura of Muharram at that period; and this story, built on that premise, is just that - a fiction. Obviously, it was invented by a narrator who only knew that once upon a time Muharram coincided with the Jews' Tishri I; but was totally unaware of contemporary Jewish religion and culture.

One feels constrained to mention here that this and other such traditions were forged by camp-followers of the Umayyads, after the martyrdom of Imam Husayn, as a part of their campaign to turn the 10th of Muharram into a day of rejoicing.

These traditions are of the same genre as those which say that it was on the 10th of Muharram that Noah's ark rested on Mount Arafat, the fire became cool and safe for Abraham, and Jesus ascended to the heaven. In the same category came the traditions exhorting the Muslims to treat 'Ashura as a festival of joy, and to store one's food-grain on this very day as it would increase one's sustenance and bring the blessings of Allah to the household.

Extract From Mafatih Ul Jinan

The adherents (Sh¢`ah) of Imam al-°usayn (`a) should confer the martyrdom of their Imam and should weep for him. It is narrated that when Prophet Moses (`a) was ordered to meet the Scholar, namely al-Kha¤ir (`a),([1]) the first matter they discussed was the misfortune that the Household of Prophet Mu¦ammad (`a) would face. They therefore wept heavily for these misfortunes.

Ibn `Abb¡s is reported to have said, “When I accompanied Imam `Al¢ (`a) in Dh¢-Q¡r, he took out a paper comprising the dictations of the Holy Prophet (¥) and handwritten by Imam `Al¢ (`a) himself. He read some segments of that paper and I heard. It contained the story of Imam al-°usayn’s martyrdom with full details of the way he would be killed, the person who would kill him, those who would support him, and those who would be martyred with him. Imam `Al¢ (`a) then wept heavily and caused me to weep.”

There is not enough space in this book to mention a part of the story of Imam al-°usayn’s martyrdom; therefore, the complete story can be seen in the books specified for this respect. These books are called al-maqtal.

At any rate, if one offers water to people on this day at the holy tomb of Imam al-°usayn (`a), his reward will be similar to the reward of one who offered water to the companions of Imam al-°usayn (`a) at Karbal¡'. A great reward is also recorded for one who repeats S£rah al-Taw¦¢d one thousand times on this day. It is narrated that Almighty Allah shall have a merciful look at one who repeats this S£rah one thousand times on this day.

The adherents of Imam al-°usayn (`a) are required not to eat or drink anything on this day, but not in the intention of ritual fasting, and to break this abstention from food and drink with a meal that is usually offered to the unfortunate people, such as yoghurt, milk, or the like meals; and that should be at the last hour of this day after the afternoon time. In other words, they should avoid having rich or delicious meals on this day, for it is a day of misfortune. They are also required to put on clean dresses and to unfasten the buttons and raise their sleeves just like the unfortunate people.

Forgeries of the enemies of Imam al-°usayn

In Z¡d al-Ma`¡d, `All¡mah al-Majlis¢ says that it is preferable not to observe fasting on the ninth and tenth of Mu¦arram because the Umayyads used to observe fasting on these two days in order to express delight for and to gloat over the martyrdom of Imam al-°usayn (`a). Having seen a good omen in the killing of Imam al-°usayn (`a), the Umayyads and their fans fabricated many lies against the Holy Prophet (¥) and falsely ascribed to him that he mentioned many merits to be the reward of those who would observe fasting on these two days. On the other hand, the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (`a) are reported to have warned against observing fasting on these two days in general and on the tenth of Mu¦ammad, the Day of `ªsh£r¡’, in particular.

The Umayyads—may Allah curse them—used to store up their annual nutriment in their houses on the tenth of Mu¦arram; accordingly, Imam al-Ri¤¡ (`a) is reported to have said, “If one refrains from arranging for any worldly benefit on the tenth of Mu¦arram, Almighty Allah will grant him all his needs for this world and the world to come. If one considers the tenth of Mu¦arram to be the day of his misfortune, sadness, and weeping, Almighty Allah will make the Resurrection Day the day of his delight and happiness; and he will be delighted by us in Paradise. If one considers the tenth of Mu¦arram to be a blessed day and he thus stores up any annual nutriment on that day, Almighty Allah will not bless that which he stored up and will add him to the gang of Yaz¢d, `Ubaydull¡h ibn Ziy¡d, and `Umar ibn Sa`d—may Allah curse them all.”

In conclusion, it is required to suspend any worldly activity on this day and to devote oneself to weeping, mourning the martyrdom of Imam al-°usayn (`a), recalling his misfortunes, and ordering one’s family members to hold a consolation ceremony in the same way as one may hold for his dearest people. It is also required to abstain from eating and drinking up to the last hour of the day at which one may break the abstention with a drink of water at least, without intending ritual fasting, since to observe fasting on this day is discommended except in cases of obligatory fasting, such as vow fasting and the like. It is also required not to store up anything in the houses, not to laugh, not to entertain oneself, and not to play. It is recommended, on this day, to invoke Almighty Allah to lay curse on the slayers of Imam al-°usayn (`a) one thousand times by saying following statement:

O Allah, (please do) curse the slayers of al-°usayn, peace be upon him.

all¡humma il`an qatalata al¦usayni `alayhi alssal¡mu

اللَّهُمَّ ٱلْعَنْ قَتَلَةَ ٱلْحُسَيْنِ عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلاَمُ

The summary of the aforementioned worthy essay of `All¡mah al-Majlis¢ is that the reports that are ascribed to the Holy Prophet (¥) concerning the merits of the tenth of Mu¦arram, the Day of `ªsh£r¡’, are all in all fabricated. This topic has been discussed at length by the author of Shif¡’ al-¯ud£r([2]) at explaining the famous Ziy¡rat `ªsh£r¡’ and, precisely, the statement that reads, “O Allah, verily, the descendants of Umayyah saw a good omen in this day... etc.”

The summary of the author’s explanation is as follows: The Umayyads used to regard this day as good omen and they thus used to do many things on it.

(1) They betook as custom on this day storing up the annual nutriment considering such to achieve happiness, good livelihood, and luxury up to the next year. In order to deny this bad habit, the Holy Imams (`a) warned against it in many narrations.

(2) They considered the tenth of Mu¦arram a feast day on which they would commit to the manners of celebration, such as conferring upon the family members with whatever they need, procuring new clothes, having one’s mustache cut, trimming the nails, and shaking hands with each other as well as other norms.

(3) They and their fans have been observing fasting on the tenth of Mu¦arram after they have fabricated numerous traditions entailing the significance of observing fasting on this day.

(4) They and their fans have declared that it is recommended to supplicate Almighty Allah on this day. In order to confirm this forgery, they have invented many merits for this day, included them with fabricated supplications, and taught them to the miscreants of the nation so that they would confuse people and make the matter ambiguous for them. The pro-Umayyad orators used to declare before people that a good event occurred to each Prophet on this day, such as that the fire that Nimrod the tyrannical ruler provoked in order to throw Prophet Abraham (`a) there was extinguished on the tenth of Mu¦arram! Pharaoh who chased Prophet Moses (`a) was drowned on the tenth of Mu¦arram! Prophet Jesus was saved from crucifixion on the tenth of Mu¦arram!([3])

Supporting this, Shaykh al-¯ad£q has reported that Jibillah al-Makkiyyah said that she heard Maytham al-Tamm¡r—may Allah sanctify his soul—saying, “By Allah I swear, this nation will kill the grandson of their Prophet on the tenth of Mu¦arram. The enemies of Allah will betake that day as blessed day. This shall inevitably take place, because it has been already cited in the eternal knowledge of Almighty Allah. I knew these facts from my master and the commander of the believers (namely, Imam `Al¢ ibn Ab¢-±¡lib) (`a).”

Jibillah (the reporter) then said that she asked Maytham, “How come that the people will betake the day on which al-°usayn (`a) will be slain as blessed day?”

As he wept, Maytham answered, “They will fabricate traditions and will falsely claim that Almighty Allah accepted the repentance of Prophet Adam on the tenth of Mu¦arram. The truth about this is that Almighty Allah accepted the repentance of Prophet Adam (`a) in Dhi’l-°ijjah. They will falsely claim that Almighty Allah saved Prophet Jonah from the fish that had swallowed him on the tenth of Mu¦arram. The truth about this is that the event was in Dhi’l-Qa`dah. They will falsely claim that the Ark of Prophet Noah rested on Mount Judi on the tenth of Mu¦arram. The truth about this is that the Ark rested on the tenth of Dhi’l-°ijjah. They will falsely claim that Almighty Allah split the river for Prophet Moses to cross on the tenth of Mu¦arram. The truth about this is that the event occurred in Rab¢` al-Awwal... etc.”

This narration of Maytham al-Tamm¡r has, openly and plainly, confirmed that such traditions were invented and fabricated against the Holy Infallibles (`a). It is also one of the signs indicating the true Prophethood of the Holy Prophet Mu¦ammad (`a) and the true Divinely commissioned leadership of the Holy Imams (`a). Finally, it acts as one of the proofs on the veracity and honesty of Sh¢`ism. In this narration, Imam `Al¢ (`a) undoubtedly predicted that which we have been experiencing and witnessing, which is the fabrications and the forgery of lies against the Holy Infallibles (`a).

Despite all that, the most surprising thing is to notice that some people contrive a supplicatory prayer comprising the aforementioned lies and some unskilled and inexpert writers add such a fabricated supplication to their books that take their way to the publics who will then recite it, although it is surely forbidden to believe in such a false supplication, because it is fabricated. Beginning with statements of praise and glorification of Almighty Allah, this false supplication comprises statements such as “O He Who accepted the repentance of Adam on the Day of `ªsh£r¡’! O He Who raised Idr¢s to the heavens on the Day of `ªsh£r¡’! O He Who made the Ark of Noah rest on Mount Judi on the Day of `ªsh£r¡’! O He Who saved Abraham from fire on the Day of `ªsh£r¡'... etc.”

Undoubtedly, this supplication was invented by the N¡¥ib¢s (or Naw¡¥ib)([4]) of al-Mad¢nah, the Khaw¡rij or their likes who imitated the Umayyads in their wrongdoings against the Household of the Holy Prophet.

([1]) This is an indication of the famous story of Prophet Moses with al-Kha¤ir that is mentioned in the Holy Qur'¡n, S£rah al-Kahf No. 18, Verses 60-82.

([2]) The author of Shif¡’ al-¯ud£r is Ayatollah M¢rz¡ Abu’l-Fa¤l al-±ahr¡n¢.

([3]) All these are fabrications that were invented by the Umayyads and their fans in order to cover their crime of slaying Imam al-°usayn (`a) and in order to make people forget this astounding event.

([4]) Na¥ib¢s (or Naw¡¥ib) are those who openly declare enmity towards the Ahl al-Bayt and their adherents. Addressing to the Sh¢`ah, Im¡m al-¯¡diq defines a N¡¥ib¢ as the one who shows enmity to the followers of the Holy Imams.


ARTICLE  on ASHURA FAST TRADITION FABRICATION   (link reproduced w/o responsibility on accuracy of contents)

By all standards, the day Imam Hussain, the grandson of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (s), was killed was a great tragedy. Indeed, it was the greatest tragedy. He was martyred, along with his family members, simply because he stood against injustice. The family of Yazeed (the Banu Umayyah) and the family of Ziyad rejoiced the day he was killed. Not only did they celebrate the day of Ashura, but they turned it into a tradition for subsequent years. They would gather their family and friends and rejoice at the martyrdom of Imam Hussain.
While fasting is a great form of worship, we the Shia have valid reservations regarding the fast of Ashura. It is always recommended to fast, anytime throughout the year (except Eid), but the problem is that there is a history of politics behind the fast of Ashura.

Killing the very grandson of the Prophet (s) was a major crime, so Banu Umayya attempted to shift the focus of the people for the day of Ashura. Possessing power and money, they spread to the Muslims that Ashura is a blessed day. They did so by indoctrinating their people that on Ashura God saved Prophet Musa and his people from the pharaoh. He saved Prophet Ibrahim from the fire of Namrud, and so on. To thank God for that blessed day, they encouraged the people to fast on Ashura.

Here are several points that demonstrate how the hadeeths which speak of the fast of Ashura are fabricated. The Prophet (s) probably never said them, but they were forged after him.

First: There are several hadeeths in Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, and Tirmidhi which tell us when the Prophet(s) arrived Medina, he saw the Jews fasting, Upon knowing the reason why they were fasting, he said we the Muslims are closer to Musa, so we should also fast. If you analyze these hadeeths, you will realize that they all go back to these four narrators who supposedly narrated them directly from the Prophet:
1- Ibn Abbas  
2- Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari
3- Abu Huraira
4- Mu’awiya

The Prophet (s) came to Medina the first year of the Hijra. As for Ibn Abbas, he was born three years before Hijra, which makes him four years old when the Prophet (s) supposedly said this Hadith. In the Science of Hadith, the narration of a four-year-old boy is generally not accepted.

As for Abu Musa, he came from the tribe of Banu Ash’ar in Yemen. He became Muslim before the Hijra, but he was not seen in Medina till the battle of Khaybar in the seventh year after Hijra. The Prophet had sent him to Yemen to preach to his tribe. Hence, Abu Musa was not in Medina in the first year of Hijra, so how could he possibly narrate this hadith?

As for Abu Huraira, he also was not seen in Medina until after the battle of Khaybar in the seventh year of Hijra. He also came from Yemen.

As for Muawiya, the son of Abu Sufyan, he became Muslim in the eighth year of Hijra, so how could he narrate a hadith from the Prophet seven or eight years before he became Muslim?

Some of the hadeeth go back to Ibn Zubayr, who was also a young boy when the Prophet entered Medina.

Therefore, it is quite clear that all the narrators of this hadith were either not in Medina at the time, or they were young boys, so how can we possibly accept such a hadith? It is pretty convincing that the hadith was forged later on by Bani Umayya.

Second: Let’s look at the word “Ashura” which is mentioned in the hadith. According to Ibn Al-Atheer, there are two meanings to Ashura: an old meaning and a new meaning. The old meaning, which was during the Arab’s time and the Prophet’s time, meant the tenth day of any month. The new meaning surfaced after Imam Hussain was killed on the tenth of Muharram. After that, Ashura came to be known as the tenth of Muharram, but before that it was simply the tenth day of any month. So when the Prophet supposedly said this hadith, he just said Ashura, and he didn’t say the tenth day of which month. This demonstrates that the hadith was forged after the day of Ashura, and it slipped from the mind of the ones who forged it that before Ashura, the word had a different, more general meaning.

Third: Today, go to any Jew, even their scholars, and ask them: Do you have a fast on the day which God saved Moses, or a day which corresponds to the tenth of Muharram? They don’t, and they will tell you that even in the past they didn’t have such a fast. They fast on Yum Kippur, the day when Moses returned from Mt. Sinai and realized that his people were worshipping the calf. To expiate for their sin, they fasted, but they have no fast they day God saved them from the pharaoh. But the hadith in the books of Saheeh tells us that it was a tradition of the Jews, and they would all fast that day.

If you even look at the day the Jews fast, it never corresponded with the tenth of Muharram when the Prophet (s) came to Medina. It corresponded with Muharram on the 28th year after Hijra.

Fourth: It seems the one who forged the hadith was not aware of how the Islamic Calendar originated. During the time of Umar, since Muslims wanted a set date to refer to, he created the Hijri calendar by seeking the advice of Imam Ali. So they decided to make the starting point the migration of the Prophet, and they made the first month Muharram. However, the Prophet entered Medina in Rabi-ul-Awwal, not in Muharram, and so the one who probably forged the hadith assumed that the Prophet entered Medina in Muharram because that is when the calendar starts. So the hadith tells us the Prophet when he first entered Medina he saw the Jews fasting on Ashura, but the Prophet didn’t enter Medina in Muharram, he did so in Rabu-ul-Awwal, ten months before Muharram! There’s a clear discrepancy here.

Fifth: The prophet (s) knows more about the Shariah of previous Prophets such as Prophet Musa, and he doesn’t need the Jews to teach him that. The Prophet (s) is also higher than copying what the Jews would do.

Sixth: How come there is so much emphasis on the fast of Ashura around the world? Thousands of speeches are dedicated to it, millions of pamphlets are distributed encouraging people to fast on Ashura, and so on. There are many other days throughout the year which are highly recommended to fast, such as the 27th of Rajab, but how come you don’t see a single pamphlet or speech encouraging it? This shows that this is a political thing, originally designed to focus the attention away from the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain, and to consider it a blessed day. I don’t know how anyone can stand on the Day of Judgment before Prophet Muhammad and consider the very day his grandson was slaughtered a blessed day.

Banu Umayya were behind it, and considering it a blessed day is not an offence to us the Shia, but an offence to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his family.

I got this all off a website..pretty interesting though!

All this is a shia authenticity of ahadith needs to be validated since a lot of em were fabricated after the Prophet's death

The propaganda and media machinery indoctrinate the population by emphasizing that the prophet entered Medina in the month of Muharram and thus he met the Jews on the 10th of Muharram. Let’s assume that this is valid as we analyze the Jewish and Islamic calendar.

Hence, for an assumption: Ashura= 10th of Muharram in 1st year of Hijra.

The Hadith relating to the fast of Ashura claims that the Jews fast on the day of the savior of prophet Moses and the children of Israel on the 10th of Tishri (Jewish calendar) and this corresponds to the 10th of Muharram (Islamic calendar). The hadith also claims that when the prophet (pbuh) acknowledged that the Jews were fasting on Ashura, he commanded the Muslims to fast on the 9th and 10th of Muharram.
Consequently, the existence of Judaism today further assists the recovery of truth. Ask the Jews whether they fast on the day that prophet Moses (pbuh) and the children of Israel were saved by the Almighty Allah. Ask them whether the day in which they fast corresponds to the 10th of Muharram. The answer is simply NO. The Jews have no such fast and it NEVER corresponded to the 10th of Muharram in the first year of Hijra. The only time the 10th of Tishri corresponded to the 10th of Muharram was in the 29th year after Hijra. Yet, the hadith claims that the prophet met the Jews in the first year of Hijra!

Moreover, the 10th of Tishri is not related to the savior of Moses and the children of Israel but rather the 10th of Tishri is the day the children of Israel paid atonement for worshipping the calf when Prophet Moses and some companions went to Mount Sinai. As a result of this incident, the Jews fast on the 10t of Tishri. However, the hadith relating to the fast of Ashura claims that the Jews were fasting on the 10th of Tishri due to the savior of Moses and the children of Israel! Rather, the savior of the children of Israel occurred on the 15th of Nissan in the Jewish calendar and the 15th of Nissan in the 1st year of Hijra correspponded to the 23rd of Ramadan. Hence, if there should be a fast which is recommended then it should have nothing to do with the 10th of Muharram but rather the 23rd of Ramadan.

When narrating the hadith relating to the fast of Ashura, were did this massive mistakes come from?

The mistake was as a result of the naivety of the hadith writer. Since the Islamic calendar begins with Muharram, the hadith writer wrote the hadith on the basis that the prophet entered Medina in Muharram. It is well known that the prophet reached Medina in Rabi al awal. This big mistake is due to a hadith writer that didn’t understand how the Islamic, Jewish and Arabic calendars work. The prophet entered Medina in Rabi al awal but the Islamic calendar began with Muharram due to the suggestion of Ali Ibn Abi Taleb (pbuh):

“The Islamic calendar will start just like the lunar calendar begins. It will start from the year of Hijra but the month of Muharram.”

When the prophet entered Medina, the hadith claims that he exclaimed: “I have a greater right on Moses than what they do. Therefore, my people will fast on Ashura in the same way they are fasting on Ashura”. But we now ask, O messenger of Allah! You entered Medina in Rabi Al Awal and not in Muharram. So, how were the Jews fasting? Instead Faq'aa is recommended.

I don't want to take much of your time dear Muslims, but atleast one answer from any of you will be very MUCH appreciated. JazakAllah khayrun