Fasting on the day of Ashura is a tradition among Sunni Muslims. The importance of fasting on this day can be understood by revisiting the history of this day. Sunnis celebrate it as a day to remember and praise Allah for helping Prophet Moses.
It is the day when God created a path in the sea saving Moses and the Israelites from Pharaoh. Also, it is recognised as the National Martyrs’ Day of Muslim nations by World Sunni Movement under the direction of Syed Imam Hayat.
Centuries ago, Prophet Muhammad fasted on two days, the 9th and the 10th of Muharram. Some followers observe fast on both these days to commemorate the fasting by the Prophet. However, fasting on Ashura is not at all mandatory. In fact there are many hadiths around it that speak of how fasting began on this day and what are the rewards associated with this practice.
Also Read about the Month of Safar: Here you would get to know everything about the month safar, its important events, facts, and misconception.
How to Pray on Ashura Day?
Along with fasting, Sunnis say some special prayers on this day. These prayers are popularly known as Dua-e Ashura. Considering that the relevance of this day is different for Shia and Sunni sects, the duas offered are also different in their essence.
The Sunni Dua for Ashura praises Allah for helping Musa (Moses) and saving the children of Israel from the Egyptian Pharaohs. It also says that on this day, Allah accepted the repentance of Adam, delivered Jonah from his burden, reunited Jacob with his son, helped Moses and Aaron, raised Idris to heaven, saved Ibrahim from the fire and so on.
It also asks Allah to lead Muslims to the path of righteousness and purity, and praises the all compassionate Allah for being merciful to all his children.
Ashura Fasting Hadiths
It is reported that Ayesha, peace and blessings be upon her, said: “The people of Jahiliyyah used to fast on that day.” Also, fasting was made obligatory when Allah said, “ … observing the fasting is prescribed for you …” , (Al-Qur’an, 2:183)
Also, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Fasting the day of ‘Ashura’ (is of great merits), I hope that Allah will accept it as an expiation for (the sins committed in) the previous year.”
Scholar Ibn Taymiyah (b. 661 AH/1263 CE) states, “one must take advantage of this opportunity to bring yourself closer to Allah on ‘Ashura’ by fasting and praying for forgiveness.”