Today (December 5, 2011) the Day of Ashura (meaning tenth in Arabic) – the most sacred day of the month of Muharram. The Encyclopaedia of Islam says, “When Muhammad came to Medina he adopted from the Jews amongst other days the Ashura. The name is obviously the Hebrew asor with the Aramaic determinative ending; in Leviticus 16:29 it is used of the great Day of Atonement” (Ph. Marcais, “Ashura”).
Many Sunni Muslims fast on Ashura.1 Shi’a Muslims use the day to commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, grandson of Muhammad, in 680 A.D.
Ashura in Afghanistan
Ashura in Iraq and Iran
Ashura and the Gospel of Jesus Christ
The true meaning of the Day of Atonement as found in Leviticus 16 was fulfilled by Jesus (Luke 4:14-21; Romans 3:23-26). The Good News of the Gospel is that God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to make atonement for our sins.
- Fasting on Ashura is based on the following hadith,
Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, came to Medina and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashura. He asked:”What is this?” They said: “This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Moses fasted on this day.” He said: “We have more right to Moses than you,” so he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day. [Reported by al-Bukhari] [↩]