By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL
GOLDEN MOSQUE, Manila: Once again Muslims both belonging to Sunni and Shia sects will commemorate Ashura nut in different manners.
Ashura is a holy day observed on the tenth of Muharram 1442 on the Islamic calendar corresponding to August 29, 2020.
Aleem Said Ahmad Basher, an alumnus of Al-Azhar University in Cairo Egypt and religious in-house adviser of the Philippine Muslim Today explained to the Metro Manila News Bureau that Ashura marks the end of the remembrance of Muharram and martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad at the Battle of Karbala in modern-day Iraq.
Hence, Shia Muslims observe Ashura in mourning while Sunni’s observe it as a fast day.
For Shia Muslims, Ashura is a solemn day of mourning the martyrdom of Hussein in 680 AD in the said Battle of Karbala in Iraq.
Aleem Basher said it is marked with mourning rituals and passion plays re-enacting the martyrdom. Shia men and women dressed in black also parade through the streets slapping their chests and chanting.
He said Ashura, also known as Yawm Ashura the tenth day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. Therefore it marks the day day of remembrance focused on Hussein’s death in that Battle of Karbala.
For Sunni Muslims, it marks the day Moses was saved from the Egyptians by God.
While, Ashura marks the death of Hussein ibn Ali — the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson — as well as the day Noah left the ark and Moses was saved from the Egyptians by God.
Fasting on the day of Ashura
Therefore, Sunni Muslim’s mark Ashura with a fast. While abstaining from food and drink, they reflect and seek forgiveness.
Shia’s do not fast, as for them Ashura is not a day in which God asks anything of his followers, but rather a day to commemorate a loss.
Aleem Basher said to perform fasting on the day of Ashura would mean Allah forgive one year sin of mankind.
“That is the significance of Ashura,” Aleem Basher emphasized.
He also said Muharram is not only the 1st month of Islamic Calendar but also called ‘The month of Allah’ and Optional (Nafil) fasting during this month are called the best fasting after the month of Ramadan. This is evident from the following Sahih Hadith: “The messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said: “The best fasting after the month of Ramadan is the month of Allah, Al-Muharram.” (An-Nasai: 1613)
Also Aleem Basher said, Muharram is one of the four sanctified months of the year. As Allah says in Qur’an:
“Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred.” (Surah At-Taubah: 9:36)
He said the four months mentioned in the Ayah are the months of Dhul-Qadah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab. This is evident from the words of Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) on the occasion of his last Hajj sermon:
“The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred: Three are in succession Dhul-Qa’ da, Dhul-Hijja and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab.” (Sahih Bukhari: 3197
This is the reason that Muharram is one of the sacred months and these words of our Prophet (S.A.W.) confirms its sanctity.
Conclusion on Sunni Muslims Observing Ashura:
In conclusion, for Sunni Muslims, it marks the day Moses was saved from the Egyptians by God.
It is observed as a day of atonement for Sunnis, allowing those participating to be forgiven for the sins they committed in the previous year. Thus for them, Ashura is observed as a fast day. JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL