I want to know if it is true that fasting is recommended by Sunni scholars on the day of Ashura. If so, are they following the Umayyads? Is it a celebration of the day Hussain a.s. the pious grandson of prophet and 3th Imam of Shia was killed?

What is the justification they use for recommending this fasting?

If they refer to Hadith, who are the chain of narrators of that Hadith? And is that Hadith authentic?

Also, it should be mentioned that, in Islam, fasting is a symbol of celebration and Shukr (appreciating God for his gifts)(because fasting at Eid Mabath and Eid Ghadeer is Mustahab and also Umayyads fast at their Celebration for Killing Hussain as at Ashura) . Fasting is Haraam in Eid Qurban and Fitr. But, it is Mustahab in Eid Mabath (start of prophet-hood of prophet) and also in Eid Ghadeer.

reference for fasting being symbol of celebration:

as evidence I found this Hadith from Imam Reza the 8th Imam of Shia:

سئل الامام الرضا (ع) عن صوم یوم عاشورا، قال: عن صوم ابن مرجانه تسالنی ذلک یوم صامه الادعیاء من آل زیاد لقتل الحسین (ع)

reference of Hadith: تهذیب، 4/301


Imam Reza a.s. was asked about sawm of Ashura. he said: you asked about sawm of Ibn Marjaneh (Muaviyeh). in that day Children of Ziyad took sawm for thir Eid (celebrationg) for killing Hussain s.a.

aslo Sahih Muslim in book of sawm narrated from Ibn Masud: when the sawm of Ramazan became obligatory the sawm of Ashura was left.

also shia Imams said the sawm of Ashura should be left because when sawm of Ramazan became obligatory it was left and backing to what was left by prophet is Bidat. and also Imams said who celebrate at Ashura Allah will place the Judgement day his sadness day.

only Umayyads continued sawm of Ashura and insisted on on it until it became a sunnah for sunni Muslims.

fasting is not generally symbol of celebration in Islam. but this is only for Umayyads. because they insisted fasting in this day that was left to keep their celebration day alive every year. and for this fasting and celebration at Ashura are related to each other by Umayyds. and not all Muslims or all sunni Muslims. and any one recommend fasting at Ashura has no base unless following Umayyads because Sahih Muslim says it was left by prophet when Ramazan sawm was obligatory and shia Imams said sawm at Ashura is Makruh.

  • 3
    There is a misconception that that Sunni Observe 10 of Muharram because of Hassan and Hussain (RA) but that is not true. 10th of Muharram had importance before the Karbala and even before the prophet(PBUH). It is those things that make 10th of Muharram auspicious, not necessirily martyrdom of Hussain. Also no where I have heard muslim celebrate. Not true. But then I am not wahabi. Good question to ask though.
    – muslim1
    Sep 3, 2012 at 14:56
  • 3
    Sunnis only observe two Eids. And I never heard, fasting is a symbol of celebration. You should back that point with good citation, I think. Because, it is not obvious.
    – Anwar
    Sep 3, 2012 at 15:36
  • This answer islam.stackexchange.com/a/35742/19726 shows that shi'a sources also quote the high recommendation of fasting 'ahsura'! So this accusation is simply wrong!
    – Jamila
    Sep 14, 2017 at 14:07

2 Answers 2


1) Fasting on the day of 'Ashura is recommended by Sunni scholars (not just some Sunnis, but all) due to the following hadith:

Narrated `Aisha: Allah's Apostle ordered (the Muslims) to fast on the day of 'Ashura', and when fasting in the month of Ramadan was prescribed, it became optional for one to fast on that day ('Ashura') or not. Link to hadith

The Umayyads did not celebrate the death of the grandson of the Prophet (saws). Bring your proof if you claim it.

2) The significance of the day of Ashura for Sunnis comes not from the killing of Husain (ra) but from various other historical events that took place on that day, e.g. the emancipation of Bani Israil from Egypt:

Narrated Abu Musa: When the Prophet arrived at Medina, he noticed that some people among the Jews used to respect Ashura' (i.e. 10th of Muharram) and fast on it. The Prophet then said, "We have more right to observe fast on this day." and ordered that fasting should be observed on it. Link to hadith

Both the above hadith are authentic, found in Sahih al-Bukhari, and come to us with sound chains. Click on the links above to view the chains of narration.

3) In Sunni Islam at least, fasting is not an act of celebration, and on Eids it is haram to fast:

Narrated Abu 'Ubaid: (the slave of Ibn Azhar) I witnessed the 'Id with 'Umar bin Al-Khattab who said, Allah's Apostle has forbidden people to fast on the day on which you break fasting (the fasts of Ramadan) and the day on which you eat the meat of your sacrifices (the first day of 'Id ul Fitr and 'Id ul-Adha).Link to hadith

Link to similar hadith

  • 2
    +1 In fact, the day before Ashura is also preferred for fasting because the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wassalam) wanted to differ from jews. The fasting has nothing to do with killing of Hussain (radiallahu anhu)
    – Abdullah
    Sep 3, 2012 at 7:12
  • @Ershad: Agreed, moreover, differing from Jews can be by fasting either 9th or 11th beside Ashura. Sep 3, 2012 at 7:38

First I will correct some notable mistakes in the question itself:

Also it should be mentioned in Islam fasting is a symbol of celebration

Not really, please cite this if you have any reference, fasting is either Fardh or Sunnah, and is a kind of worship, not celebration.

Fasting is Haraam in Eid Qurban and Fitr. But, it is Mustahab in Eid Mabath (start of prophet-hood of prophet) and also in Eid Ghadeer.

Eid Ghadeer is not recognized by Sunni muslims for reasons you know or might ask to know in another questions.

Also the "celebration" part of this sentence needs citation!

Umayyads who celebrated Ashura day the day Hussain a.s. the pious grandson of prophet and 3th Imam of shia was killed by Yazid the Umayyad Caliph

Now we come to fasting Ashura, which is a confirmed Sunnah, as comes in the following Hadith:

Narrated Ibn `Abbas: The Prophet came to Medina and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura. He asked them about that. They replied, "This is a good day, the day on which Allah rescued Bani Israel from their enemy. So, Moses fasted this day." The Prophet said, "We have more claim over Moses than you." So, the Prophet fasted on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to fast (on that day).

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو مَعْمَرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْوَارِثِ، حَدَّثَنَا أَيُّوبُ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ قَدِمَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم الْمَدِينَةَ، فَرَأَى الْيَهُودَ تَصُومُ يَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ، فَقَالَ ‏"‏ مَا هَذَا ‏"‏‏.‏ قَالُوا هَذَا يَوْمٌ صَالِحٌ، هَذَا يَوْمٌ نَجَّى اللَّهُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ مِنْ عَدُوِّهِمْ، فَصَامَهُ مُوسَى‏.‏ قَالَ ‏"‏ فَأَنَا أَحَقُّ بِمُوسَى مِنْكُمْ ‏"‏‏.‏ فَصَامَهُ وَأَمَرَ بِصِيَامِهِ‏.‏

[Sahih Bukhari]

Is it authentic? Of course, it's called "Sahih Bukhari" because he included in it only Hadiths he was certain of their authenticity.

It is obvious from the Hadith (and many other hadiths) that the prophet himself recommended fasting the day of Ashura because of the major event that happened in it, and that's why Sunni muslims in general recommend fasting Ashura.

It should be noted that Imam Hussein bin Ali (may Allah be please with both) is one of Sahabah and also one of Ahl Al-Bait (the family of the Prophet), He is the grandson of the Prophet (pbuh), that makes him a very great figure for Sunni Muslims, unlike what others think that they don't love him, which is utterly wrong!


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