The Day of Asyura and Its Lessons
I would like to call upon myself and my dear brothers, to instill in us taqwa to Allah s.w.t, by abiding all the He has commanded, by following Islam truthfully, and avoiding all that Allah has forbidden. And by doing all that, we pray to Allah that our taqwa will increase and be strengthened further, amen.
This Monday, the Day of Asyura will dawn upon us. Do we know what is the Day of Asyura? It is the tenth day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar.
The Day of Asyura is a day of historical significance. Many important events occurred on this day.
It was reported that Prophet Noahâ??s ark came ashore on Mount Judiy on the the Day of Asyura. It was reported also that Prophet Musa a.s was saved by Allah from Pharaoh on this day. And to remind them of this significant event and to glorify the Day of Asyura, the Jews fast on that day.
This tradition of glorifying the Day of Asyura was not limited among the Jews themselves. The Arabs before our Prophetâ??s time also glorified the Day of Asyura.
The Arabs used to change the Kaabahâ??s curtain on this day. They also fasted on the Day of Asyura. In a hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim, Rasulullah s.a.w wife, â??Aisyah r.a said:
Which means: The Arabs used to fast on the Day of Asyura before the command to fast during Ramadan was revealed. They also will clothed the Kaabah on this day.
Is it proper for us to celebrate and glorify the Day of Asyura? To answer it, we must refer to Al-Quran and Sunnah.
Allah s.w.t says in surah At-Taubah, verse 36:
Which means: Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein, and fight against the idolaters collectively , as they fight against you collectively. But know that Allah is with those who are pious.
It is forbidden to go to war on these four sacred months. It is also encouraged for us to fast many days on these months. The Prophet s.a.w said in a hadith narrated by Ibn Majah:
Which means: Fast in those sacred months.
The four sacred months are Rejab, Zulkaedah, Zulhijjah dan Muharram. And the Day of Asyura occurs on the 10th day of Muharram.
With regards to the virtues of fasting on Day of Asyura, the Prophet s.a.w said in a hadith sahih narrated by Imam Muslim:
Which means: I hope that by fasting on the Day of Asyura, Allah will forgive last yearâ??s sins.
This is reward that awaits those who fast with sincerity on the Day of Asyura. And it was reported in a hadith that before the fast in Ramadan was made obligatory, Rasulullah s.a.w told Muslims to fast on the Day of Asyura.
But fasting is encouraged not just on the Day of Asyura per se. In fact, it is also encouraged to fast on the first 10 days of Muharram, and on the 13, 14 dan 15 days Muharram. Allah s.w.t says in surah Al-Fajr, ayat 2:
Which means: And by the ten nights.
Some scholars of tafsir said that those 10 days belong to the first 10 days of Muharram.
Let us grasp this golden opportunity. We star the new year by showing servitude to Allah. And we hope by doing that, the rest of this year will see us getting closer to Allah.
The command to fast in the month of Ramadan was revealed by Allah on the second year of Hijrah. In the first year, the Prophet s.a.w command Muslims to fast on the Day of Asyura. This is supported be the following hadith narrated Bukhari and Muslim from Ibnu â??Abbas r.a:
Which means: When the Prophet s.a.w reached Medina, he found that the Jews were fasted on the Day of Asyura. He asked them: What is the significance of this day that you all fast in it? They answered: â??This is the day which Allah s.w.t saved Prophet Musa a.s and his people, and the day Allah drowned the Pharaoh and his army. So Prophet Musa a.s fasted on this day as a sign of gratefulness to Allah.â? The Prophet s.a.w said again: â??We have more rights on Prophet Musa a.s then you allâ?. So he fasted on the day of Asyura, and he commanded Muslims to do likewise.
In the hadith that I recited just now, it is clear that Rasulullah s.a.w did not feel shy to ask from other people about certain matter, event from the Jews. And the Prophet s.a.w did not shy from incorporating what is good in other community to Islam. There are two lessons that can be learned from.
First: We must push aside any feelings of embarrassment and shyness when we are studying and gleaning knowledge from other communities, regardless of race and religion.
Allah s.w.t gives knowledge to whomever He wishes, regardless of race and religion. So one community cannot look down on others. Each community has its own strength and weaknesses. WE learn from strength of other communities to lessen the weaknesses in our community. And if we do this, the racial gap can be minimized.
The second lesson is that we cannot be stingy from sharing knowledge to others, even though they are not of the same race or religion. The Jews themselves did not withhold information from our Prophet s.a.w on their reason for fasting on the Day of Asyura.
Thus, we are required to share with others, especially the non-Muslims, the beauty, purity and simplicity of Islam. This exchange of information will give rise to a worthwhile conclusion. The person either embraces Islam, or they will understand our religion, like we with theirs.
In the end, the community will live together harmoniously because the understanding between the different religions already existed.
These are the two lessons that can be learnt from the story on the Day of Asyura. We cannot shy away from asking for knowledge, and we must not refrain from sharing with others about Islam.
May Allah s.w.t accept our fast on the Day of Asyura, amen.