Mahad’ad-Dawa Institute

On Ashura

Like other bodies in the region, the Islamic Vocational Academy took a day off for Ashura, the 10th of Muharram. But ask just about anybody – Shia or Sunni – the significance of the day and they will say it was the day when the grand-son of the Holy Prophet, Imam Hussain, was martyred on the field of Karbala. 
In fact, there is probably no other event in the Islamic calendar where observance has strayed so far from the spirit in which it was originally envisaged by the Holy Prophet, than Ashura – the 10th of Muharram.

There can be no denying the martyrdom of Imam Hussain was a tragic event in Islamic history. But this is not the reason the Holy Prophet stressed the importance of this day. The origin of the observance of the day of Ashura is derived from another source:

فعن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما «أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَدِمَ الْمَدِينَةَ فَوَجَدَ الْيَهُودَ صِيَامًا يَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ، فَقَالَ لَهُمْ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ : “مَا هَذَا الْيَوْمُ الَّذِى تَصُومُونَه؟” فَقَالُوا: هَذَا يَوْمٌ عَظِيمٌ أَنْجَى اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِيهِ مُوسَى وَقَوْمَهُ وَغَرَّقَ فِيهِ فِرْعَوْنَ وَقَوْمَهُ، فَصَامَهُ مُوسَى شُكْرًا فَنَحْنُ نَصُومُهُ. فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ : “فَنَحْنُ أَحَقُّ وَأَوْلَى بِمُوسَى مِنْكُمْ.” فَصَامَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَأَمَرَ بِصِيَامِه»
‫(متّفق عليه)‬

Ibn Abbas said that God’s messenger came to Medina and found the Jews observing the fast on the day of Ashura, so he asked them what was the significance of that day which they were observing and they replied, “It is a great day on which God delivered Moses and his people and drowned Pharoah and his people; so Moses observed it as a fast out of gratitude and we do so also.” He said, “We have more right, and we have a closer connection with Moses than you have,” so God’s messenger observed it as a fast himself and gave orders that it should be observed. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Another point which has been smothered in the great mourning surrounding the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, commemorated on the day of Ashura, is the alternative model which was established by the elder brother of Imam Hussain – Imam Hasan. It is a pity that people should forget about Imam Hasan, since it was Imam Hasan who was singled out by the Holy Prophet as destined to perform a great deed:

«إن ابني هذا لسيد. ولعلّ الله أن يصلح به بين فئتين من المسلمين»

Abu Bakra says how he saw God’s messenger on the pulpit with Hasan bin Ali at his side. He was looking towards the people at one moment, and towards him at another and saying, “This son of mine is a Sayyid, and perhaps Allah may reconcile two large parties of Muslims by means of him.” (Bukhari)

The Holy Prophet’s prophecy came to pass after the death of the fourth Caliph of Islam, Ali bin Abi Talib, in the year 40AH. This was a time when the enmity between the two great tribes of Mecca, the Bani Hashim and the Bani Umayyah, was at its peak. The Umayyads had never accepted the Caliphate of Hashimite Ali bin Abi Talib, insisting that he should avenge the death of Uthman before they would swear allegiance to him. By the time Ali bin Abi Talib was martyred, the Muslims had split into two camps: those who were loyal to the Umayyad Amir Muawiya, and those who were loyal to the Hashimite Imam Hasan. Khurasan and Iraq BlueHost优惠码 belonged to the Hashimite camp. The rest of the Muslim world – Hijaz, Syria, Yemen, Egypt – were under the control of Amir Muawiya and the Umayyad forces. There was no way the Umayyad camp would swear allegiance to Imam Hasan. Seeing this, Imam Hasan preferred to foreswear his right to the Caliphate, in favour of Amir Muawiya. He put peace, progress and Muslim unity before his own right to leadership of the Muslims, strong though this right was. He forewent his own ambition, in the interest of the Muslims as a whole. The result? This time of Umayyad rule (41-60AH) was a time of internal Muslim peace and unparalleled advance.

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In this way, the prophecy of God’s messenger, that by means of Imam Hasan “two large parties of Muslims” would be reconciled, came to pass. Not only had the Holy Prophet singled out Imam Hasan for accomplishing a great deed, the sacrifice of Imam Hasan was also completely in line with the advice of the Holy Prophet, as to how one should act at the times of commotion and tumult – what the Holy Prophet referred to as fitan – which would follow the death of the Holy Prophet:

عن حذيفة قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: يكون بعدي أئمة لا يهتدون بهديي ولا يستنون بسنتي، وسيقوم فيهم رجال قلوبهم قلوب الشياطين في جثمان إنس، قال: قلت كيف أصنع يا رسول الله إن أدركت ذلك؟ قال: تسمع وتطيع وإن ضرب ظهرك وأخذ مالك فاسمع وأطع (رواه مسلم)

Hudhaifa reported God’s messenger as saying: “After my death there will be leaders who follow my guidance nor my sunna, among whom will arise men whose hearts will be the hearts of devils in human bodies.” Hudaifa asked how he should act if he reached that time and he replied: “You must hear and obey the ruler, and if he beats your back and takes your property you must still hear and obey.” (Muslim)download full movie Schindler’s List

Seeing how in line the actions of Imam Hasan are with the advice of the Holy Prophet, and how the Holy Prophet praised his actions in advance, it would be good to see the great sacrifice of Imam Hasan – and its relevance for the times in which we live – also being commemorated among the Muslims.