There are certain days in the year which are more virtuous than others, one such day is the 10th of Muharram which is known as the Day of Ashura.
The word Ashura is derived from the word ‘Asharah‘, which means ten in Arabic. The Day of Ashura is the 10th day of Muharram.
On this day, Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) and the Children of Israeel were saved from Pharaoh and his pursuing army.
“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.” (Qur’an 26:63-68)
The Day of Ashura is the 10th day of Muharram. In 2021, the Day of Ashura will be on 18th August.
There are multiple hadith which mention the significance and great reward for fasting on the day of Ashura. We should try to fast on the 10th of Muharram, and on the 9th or 11th of Muharram too.
Ibn ‘Abbas (ra) narrated that: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of ‘Ashura’, and this month, meaning Ramadhan.” (Bukhari)
Fasting for the sake of Allah SWT expiates sin. Whilst fasting in Muharram, we should take this opportunity to make dua and renew our intentions for the year ahead.
“On the authority of Abu Qatadah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw), was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’, and he said, “It expiates [wipes out the minor sins of] the past year.” (Muslim)
The Ziyarat Ashura is a salutatory prayer to Hussain (RA) and the martyrs of the battle of Karbala, performed by the Shi‘a Muslim community.
For Shi‘a Muslims observing the day of Ashura, the period is marked by mourning, due to the anniversary of the martyring of Hussain (RA), in the Battle of Karbala.
For Sunni Muslims observing the day of Ashura, the day commemorates when the Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) and the Children of Israeel were freed from Pharaoh and his pursuing army by Allah (SWT).