Ashura or Hari Asyura (in Malay) is the tenth day of Muharram and an observed Islamic holiday. Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar and coincides with 10 September 2019 this year. Different sects of Islam commemorate this significant day differently. In Middle Eastern countries like Iran and Iraq, Ashura is a national holiday which various ethnic and religious communities engage in.
What is the significance of Ashura?
To Muslims, Ashura observes the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram. For Sunni Muslims, Ashura marks two momentous events in Islamic history – the day Allah SWT saved Prophet Musa from the Egyptians and the day Prophet Nuh left the ark.
Shia Muslims commemorate the death of Husayn Ibn Ali who is the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Husayn Ibn Ali had passed away at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram and is the notable figure in Islam as he was the third Shia Imam. Some even embark on pilgrimages on Ashura to the Mashhad al-Husayn, a shrine in Karbala, Iraq where Husayn’s tomb is.
How do Muslims commemorate Ashura?
Shia Muslims aren’t encouraged to plan any celebrations such as weddings on this date. It is considered a time of mourning, allowing individuals to reflect and respect how Husayn and his family were martyred. They would also typically dressed in more sombre outfits.
“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.” – Al-Bukhari, 1867
Sunni Muslims are recommended to fast during Ashura. Prophet Muhammad would fast on Ashura and it was initially obligatory for Muslims to fast. However, when fasting during Ramadan became obligatory, fasting on Ashura was made non-compulsory.
May you reap the rewards of this special day and may your fasts be accepted by The Almighty, Inshaa Allah.