The Day of Ashura

The Day of Ashura

The Day of Ashura, observed on the 10th of Muharram in the Islamic calendar, holds profound significance for us Muslims around the world. The day is marked by fasting, reflection, and remembrance, rooted in both prophetic tradition and historical events.


Historical Context

The Day of Ashura has been a significant date in Islamic history even before the advent of Islam. According to Islamic tradition, Ashura was the day when several pivotal events occurred in the lives of the prophets:
Prophet Musa (AS) (Moses):
Ashura commemorates the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from Pharaoh by parting the Red Sea. It is narrated in Sahih Bukhari that when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) arrived in Medina, he found the Jews fasting on this day in remembrance of Musa’s deliverance. In response, the Prophet stated that Muslims have more right to Musa and thus encouraged fasting on Ashura.
Prophet Nuh (AS) (Noah):
Another tradition holds that Ashura is the day when the Ark of Noah came to rest on Mount Ararat after the flood waters receded. This event is seen as a sign of divine mercy and salvation.

Fasting on Ashura

Fasting on the Day of Ashura is a well-established Sunnah for us as Muslims. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have fasted on this day and recommended others to do the same. The fast of Ashura is seen as an act of gratitude to Allah for His mercies and favours. It is narrated in Sahih Muslim that fasting on this day expiates the sins of the previous year.
To distinguish the Muslim practice from that of the Jews, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) suggested fasting an additional day either before or after Ashura, making it a two-day fast. This practice further emphasises the intention of creating a distinct Islamic identity while honouring the shared heritage with the People of the Book.


The Spiritual Dimensions

Ashura is a day of reflection and spiritual rejuvenation. It serves as a reminder of the enduring struggle between truth and falsehood, justice and oppression, and the ultimate triumph of divine will. While the day is observed with fasting and prayer, it is also a time for us to reinforce our commitment to Allah SWT.


Lessons and Reflections

Faith in Adversity:
The stories of Musa (AS) and Nuh (AS) exemplify unwavering faith in the face of immense trials. These narratives inspire Muslims to remain steadfast and hopeful in Allah’s mercy during their own difficulties.
Gratitude and Humility:
Fasting on Ashura is an expression of gratitude for Allah’s past mercies and a reminder of the need for humility and constant supplication.
Unity and Compassion: While Ashura is a day marked by fasting and solemn remembrance, it also underscores the importance of unity and empathy within the Muslim community. The collective act of fasting fosters a sense of solidarity and shared purpose.

Prophet Muhammed (ﷺ) said, ‘’One who generously spends on his family on the day of Ashura, Allah (SWT) will be generous on him for the entire year (Baihaqi)



The Day of Ashura holds a unique and multifaceted place in the hearts of Muslims worldwide. While its observance includes fasting and prayer, its significance extends far beyond ritual practice. It is a day to remember the profound historical events that shape Islamic identity and to draw inspiration from the steadfast faith and perseverance of the prophets.