The ruling on seeking the Night of 'Ashura

The ruling on seeking the Night of 'Ashura'

Question :

Many of the Muslims fast the day of 'Ashura' and they place much imporance in fasting it due to what they hear from the Islamic propagators of stressing and encoura- ging it. So, why are the people not directed to seek the new moon of Muharram so that the Muslims will know that along with its announcement or publicizing in the media?


Fasting the day of Ashura' is Sunnah and it is recom- mended to fast it. The Prophet fasted it, the Companions fasted it and Musa (Moses) fasted it before that as thanks to Allâh, the Mighty and Majestic. This is also because it is the day in which Allâh saved Musa and his people, and He destroyed Fir'awn (Pharaoh) and his people. Therefore, Musa and the Children of Israel fasted it as thanks to Allâh, the Mighty and Majestic. Then, the Prophet fasted it as thanks to Allâh, the Mighty and Majestic, and following the Prophet of Allâh, Musa. The people of the days of pre-Islamic ignorance used to fast it also, and the Prophet stressed it upon the Ummah. Then, when Allâh made Ramadhan obligatory, he (the Prophet) said:
"Whoever wishes, he may fast it; and whoever wishes, he may leave it."

He also informed that due to a person's fasting it, Allâh will expiate (his sins during) the year before it. It is better that a day be fasted before it or after it, in order to contradict the Jews. This is due to the Prophet's statement:
"Fast a day before it or a day after it."
In another wording he said :
"Fast a day before it and a day after it."

So, if the person fasts a day before it or a day after it, or he fasts the day before it and the day after it, meaning he fasts 3 days, then all of that is good. It also contains an opposition to the enemies of Allâh, the Jews.

In reference to seeking the night of Ashura', this is a matter that is not necessary, because it is voluntary and not obligatory. Therefore, it is not necessary to make a call to seek the new moon, because even if the believer errors concerning it and he fasts a day after it and a day before it, that does not harm him, and he will receive a great reward. For this reason, it is not obligatory to place great concern on the entry of the month for this purpose, because it is only voluntary.

Ash-Shaykh Ibn Baz
Fatawa Islamiyah, Vol. 3 Pages 342-343-344

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