Aashura: What you ought to know
The 10th of Muharram is known as the Yaum-e-Aashura(The Day of Aashura). That it is a Sacred Day in The Shariah is indisputable.
Islam, being an all-encompassing religion, taught us how to conduct ourselves on every occasion. Islam means to subject oneself to Allah’s Will and to leave aside one’s own personal fancies and whims. A Muslim submits willingly and complies happily with the Commands of Allah Most High.
There are two Commands which are established from The Shariah with regards to the Sacred Day of Aashura.
The History of fasting on the 10th Muharram is as follows:
Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
"The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 (alaihi salaam) fasted on this day.'
Nabi Sallallahu alayhi Wasallam said, 'We have more right to Musa than you,' so he fasted on that day and commanded the Muslims to fast on that day." [Bukhari, 1865]
Nabi Sallallahu alayhi wasallam also said: "Observe the fast of Aashura and oppose the Yahood. Fast a day before it or a day after."(Baihaqi)
Thus it is important to either fast on the ninth and the tenth or the tenth and the eleventh of Muharram. To fast only on the day of Aashura is Makrooh(undesirable).
The second command of The Shariah is that one should be generous on one's family and spend more on them than what is normally spent.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) said: "One who generously spends on his family on the day of Aashura, Allah will increase (his provision) for the whole year." (Baihaqi)
Spending on one’s family means that one should prepare more food for one’s family than what one normally does. It certainly does not mean to have parties and barbeques and extending special invitations to others to attend functions in restaurants etc.
GIFTS: A BID’AH OR A SUNNAH?
Of late, certain people have introduced the concept of exchanging gifts on the tenth Muharram and branded this as a Sunnah. The Shariah has generally encouraged Muslims to exchange gifts throughout the year. But to specify the 10th Muharram for exchanging gifts is to introduce a new concept in Islam. This, in Shar’i terminology is termed as Bid’ah. It is a very heinous sin.
Bid’ah is more evil than sin. Sufyan At-Thawri said: Bid’ah is more beloved to Iblees than sin. Sins are repented from and Bid’ah isn’t.”
Then there are others who cite as evidence the act of a pious person who presented a gift to someone on the 10th Muharram. They have erred.
The definition of what constitutes a “Sunnah” is very clear in The Shariah. It most certainly does not apply to the deed, action, instructions, silence or habit of any pious person who is also prone to error.
The Constitution of Islam is very clear: Only the deeds, actions, instructions, silence and habits of Nabi Sallallahu alayhi wasallam constitute a Sunnah. Everything else is an innovation. (Bid’ah)
Don’t become a Bid’ati!
Moulana Thanvi Rahmatullahi alayh said that just as one act of Kufr results in a person being a Kaafir, so too does one act of Bid’ah result in a person being a Bid’ati.
Nabi Sallallahu alayhi wasallam warned the Ummah against Bid’ah. Thus he said:
“And every Bid’ati is astray and every Bid’ati is in Jahnnam”
Bid’ah is not confined only to the worshipping of graves and making Sujood etc. to peer sahebs.
What a severe warning!
Radio stations and businesses etc. that advertise “Muharram gifts” should take special note of the Hadith mentioned above. The propagation of a sin in itself is a sin. They will carry the burden of their own sins as well as those whom they misled. How heavy a burden will it not be! How terrible a burden will it not be!
Hadhrat Abdullâh bin Umar (Radiallahu anhu) reported on the authority of his father:
“I heard Allâh’s Messenger (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) saying, “...And, he who introduced an innovation (Bid’ah) that Allah and His Messenger had not sanctioned, would incur (a sin) like the sin of one of the people who acted upon it without any diminution in people’s sins.” (Ibn Majah 1/210)
If exchanging gifts on the 10th Muharram was indeed a Sunnah then Nabi Sallallahu alayhi wasallam would have exchanged gifts with his family and companions. Nothing to this effect has been reported in any sahih hadith from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or from his Companions. None of the Imams of the Muslims encouraged or recommended such things, neither the four Imams, nor any others. No reliable scholars have narrated anything like this, nor the Sahabah, nor the Tabi'in; neither in any sahih report or in a da'if (weak) report. No hadith of this nature was known during the past fourteen centuries.
None of our Akaabireen such as Hadhrat Moulana Zakariya, Mufti Mahmood and Moulana Maseehullah, Moulana Thanvi, Moulana Ganghohi and Moulana Qasim Nanotwi etc. (Rahmatullahi alayhim) considered the exchanging of gifts to be a Sunnah.
To the contrary, exchanging gifts specifically on a sacred day, is Tashabbuh bil Kufr (Imitating the Kuffaar). It is the habit and the culture of the Christians celebrating their holy and sacred days by exchanging gifts. They are the ones who are experts at commercializing their Deen.
Think about it again!
Nabi Sallallahu alayhi wasallam instructed the UMMAH TO OPPOSE the Yahood and not to imitate them by fasting only on the 10th Muharram.
Would Nabi Sallallahu alayhi wasallam be pleased if the Ummah imitated the Christians by exchanging gifts with one another and portray it to be his Sunnah? Would he be pleased with this commercialisation of Islam? Would he be pleased with everyone shopping around for Muharram gifts and exchanging gifts, just as the Christians do on Christmas Day?
What does your Imaan say?