Friday, December 25, 2009

The fasting of Ashoura

Ashoura or Ashura, is a day of remembrance, is the 10th of the month of Muharram. The 10th of this islamic month has been known to have witnessed many important events in the arab world. Also, This day is celebrated by Shia people all over the world. The historical facts behind this special day are as follows:

The last prophet of Islam, Muhammad (p.b.u.h) was on a visit to Madina (fr : Medine) where one of his companions there told him that a Jew was fasting. Muhammad (p.b.u.h) also fasted that same day. He went to meet that Jew and asked him why he was fasting that day.
The jew replied that Moses delivered the jews from pharaon (Ramses 2) on that day and they fast that day as Moses fasted to thank God for this favor on his people. Since then, the jews fasted on that day.
Muhammad (p.b.u.h), told the jew that he and his people were closer to Moses than the jew was. Muhammad thus decided to fast the 9th and 10th of Muharram the next year. Some scholars say the 10th and 11th of Muharram. And some recommend to fast the 3 days.

 The Uranah Valley of Mount Arafat where the prophet delivered his farewell sermon.


Shi'a and the Battle of Karbala
The Shi'a celebrate that day as a day of mourning. In some countries, like Mauritius, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, India and some others, they perform rituals which include flagellations. Some of those rituals include carrying caravans to a place they call Karbala.


The Imam Husayn Ibn Ali, The grandson of the prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h), and son of Ali, who married the daughter of the prophet, died in the battle of Karbala. Karbala is nowadays found in Iraq.
The small group accompanying Husayn, around 100 persons, were attacked by the army of Yazid which counted more than 100,000 persons. All the companions of Husayn were killed and the dead bodies were mutilated after their death. The women and children were taken to Yazid in Syria where they were imprisoned. This ends the historical facts about the battle of Karbala.


Is it part of Islam?
On the Farewell (Last) Sermon of Muhammad (p.b.u.h), he said "This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." (Surah Al-Ma'idah 5 / verse 3)
Muhammad (p.b.u.h), was also the "seal of the prophets", meaning the last one as the quran states it, " Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of ALLAH, and the Seal of the Prophets: and ALLAH has full knowledge of all things." (Surah Al-Ahzab 33 / verse 40)


 The prophet Muhammad died and his grandson Husayn died 60 years later. The religion Islam, as said by the last prophet, God had completed the religion on his people. Thus, 60 years later, the grandson of the prophet dies, he simply is not part of the religion Islam and any rituals, mournings and others cannot be associated to Islam. Mourning is not admitted and ALL DAYS are normal days where weddings can be celebrated which is not the case for Shi'a people who do not accept to make celebrations on those days.


The fasting of Ashura is for the 9th and 10th or 10th and 11th or 9th,10th and 11th of muharram, which is in Mauritius on Saturday the 26th, the 9th of Muharram. This fasting is not obligatory. 
The prophet said that the fasting of Muharram cleans the bad deeds of the year passed.

*p.b.u.h - peace be upon him
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