Is There Any Merriment on ‘Aashooraa [10th of Muharram]?

Undoubtedly, the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) fasted on the 10th day of Muharram, ‘Aashooraa, in the early days of his call in Makkah. Likewise after the Hijrah to Madeenah, he verified that ‘Aashooraa was the day Allah destroyed Fir’awn and his hosts and saved Nabiyy Moosa – alayhis-salam – and his people; and he – sallallahu alayhi wasallam – fasted on that day and obligated the Muslims to do same. He – sallallahu alayhi wasallam – averred that the reward for the ‘Aashooraa fast is expiation of the sins of the past year. Later on when fasting the month of Ramadan became obligatory, the ‘Aashooraa fast dropped to a recommended act, and in order to further differ from the Jews and Christians who would fast on the 10th day alone, Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) approved fasting the 9th day, Taasoo’aa, together with ‘Aashooraa.

However, it is common to find people specially spending lavishly on their families on these days, thinking that it is from the Sunnahs of ‘Aashooraa to do so. Generally referred to as kayo-kayo in Yoruba and chika-chiki in Hausa - both meaning “eating to full” -, this practice is encouraged by some of the people from the hadeeth ascribed to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) that he said, “Whoever lavishes upon his family on the day of ‘Aashooraa, Allah will bestow favors on him throughout the year.” Collected by al-Bayhaqee and others, and is said to be reported from the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) by Abu Hurayrah, Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree, Abdullah bin Mas’ood and Jabir bin Abdullah al-Ansaaree – radiya Allahu anhum.

After a detailed analysis of the chains of the reports attributed to each companion which shows that these reports have been transmitted generation after generation by Fabricators, Liars and Weak reporters, Imam Muhammad Naasiruddeen al-Albaanee – rahimahullah – said, “Despite the utter weakness of its chains, acting upon such (narration) was not known among the pious predecessors. No one among the leading scholars of jurisprudence ever mentioned it or encouraged such lavish mentioned in the hadeeth.” Silsilat ad-Da’eefah no. 6824.

In his checking and editing of the book, al-I’tisaam by Imam ash-Shaatibee (rahimahullah), al-‘Allaamah Mashhoor Hasan Aal-Salmaan (hafidhahullah) said, “It has many chains which are not safe from serious weakness or discontinuity.” He continued, “The truth is that the weakness in the hadeeth is severe; it should not be relied on as evidence and the various chains cannot gain strength in order to be graded Sound.” Al-I’tisaam 2/238.

Before them both, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullah) gave an extensive discussion on the issue which includes, “And it is reported in a Fabricated hadeeth and lie ascribed to the Prophet – sallallahu alayhi wasallam – that ‘Whoever lavishes upon his family on the day of ‘Aashooraa, Allah will shower favors on him throughout the year’. Ascribing all these to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is false…” Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (25/300).

In addition, ostentatious spending on the family specially on ‘Aashooraa would resemble what the Jews used to do on that day which the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) asked us to contradict. In the report of Abu Moosa al-Ash’aree it says that the people said to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam): “The people of Khaybar (i.e., the Jews) would fast on ‘Aashooraa and celebrate on it; they would make their women wear ornaments and their beautiful clothes.” Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) then said, “You should rather fast on it.” Saheeh Muslim no. 2661.

Therefore, spending lavishly on food, dress etc. on the day of ‘Aashooraa is wrong. Despite the fact that the reports conveying such lavish are weak, such practices are from the ways of the Jews and we have been ordered to act differently. And as Shaykh al-Islam ath-Thaanee, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah – rahimahullah - affirmed, “The people of Sunnah will follow what the Prophet – sallallahu alayhi wasallam – ordered and avoid the Innovation the Shaytaan has ordered.”

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