Who fasts on the Day of Aashura?

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Aashura is the day when Imam Husain (a.s.) was martyred and the progeny of Holy Prophet (a.s.) was subjected to torture and grief. However, instead of observing this day as a day of mourning the opponents of Shias consider it to be a day of celebration and joy. Hence, they fast on the day of Aashura. Let us look at a tradition from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) about fasting on the day of Aashura and which kind of people fast on this day.

A narrator inquired about this from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) to which the Imam (a.s.) replied:

“Aashura is the day when Imam Husain (a.s.) was martyred. So, if you are pleased with his martyrdom then you can fast.”

It means according to this tradition of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) only those who are pleased with the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) will observe a fast on the day of Aashura. Hereafter, the Imam (a.s.) explains the reason for it as well.

Imam (a.s.) said: “The Umayyads had vowed that when Imam Husain (a.s.) would be killed they would consider that day as Eid, observe fast as a symbol of gratitude and delight their children. Hence, this became a practice (Sunnah) of the progeny of Abu Sufiyan and has continued till date. As a result, they fast on this day and make their families and children happy.”

Imam (a.s.) continued: “Fasting is not observed when a calamity befalls and it is not observed except in times of safety as a mark of expressing gratitude. Certainly, a grave calamity befell Imam Husain (a.s.) on the day of Aashura. So, if you are among those for whom Aashura is a day of calamity then do not fast. And if you are among those who feel elated due the survival and safety of the Umayyads, then you fast and express gratitude to Allah, the High.”

[Al-Amaali of Shaikh Tusi (a.r.), p. 667, H. 1397; Wasaael al-Shia, vol. 10, pp. 462-463, H. 13852]

O Allah! For the sake of the severe tragedy of Imam Husain (a.s.), do not include us among those for whom the day of Aashura symbolises Eid and celebration and those who fast on this day.

Aameen Ya Rabb al-Aalameen!

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