Urging to observe and fast Ashuraa'
By His Eminence Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Baz, may Allah have mercy on him.
All praise is due to Allah, and may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon His Messenger, his family, companions and followers [1].
Dear reader,
It has been historically proven that the Prophet peace and blessing be upon him used to fast Ashuraa' and urge people to follow suit since it marks a day in which Allah has saved Moses and his followers form Pharaoh and his follower who, in turn, where annihilated by Allah. Consequently, every Muslim, be they male or female, shall report to such call as a thank-offering to Allah, glorified be He. This day marks the tenth day of Muharram. It is even religiously advisable for one to fast a day before and another after that day to distinguish ourselves form the Jews. Should one fast the three days, the ninth, tenth and eleventh, there shall be no problem as the Prophet peace and blessing be upon him was reported to have said:
"Distinguish yourselves from the Jews by fasting a day before and another after it" [2]. Yet, in another narration the saying reads: "Do fast a day before and another after it" [3]. The Prophet peace and blessing be upon him was also authentically reported to have said about Ashuraa' fasting:
"Thereby Allah expiates sins committed over the year before" [4]. Prophetic sayings (Hadiths) on Ashuraa' fasting and urging thereto are myriad. Judging by calendar, and given that Monday, the 1st day of Muharram, 1419 A H is likely to be the first day of the month of Ashuraa' (Muharram), 1419 A H should Thulhijjah stops short of 30 days, it is better for believers in such cases to fast Wednesday, the tenth day of Muharram, along with Thursday. Alternatively, they may fast both Thursday and Friday since Wednesday may mark the tenth day of the month if Thulhijjah so passes. Yet, it may mark the ninth day if Thulhijjah makes a full moon. Hence, whoever fasts Wednesday or Thursday and Friday, or all of them combined, s/he shall prove compatible with the Sunnah (tradition) of the Prophet. This is because a faster thereby demonstrates due observance of the year, not to speak about fasting three days of each month is but a taken-for-granted tradition of the Prophet peace and blessing be upon him.
This article has been written to expound the above notion. I do implore Allah to aid us and all Muslims to perform what He satisfies with, and to help us all race to every good for He is generous and bountiful. May the blessings and peace of Allah be upon our Prophet Mohammed, his family and companions.
  [1] A speech delivered by his Eminence and published by Al-Jazeerah Journal, issue No. 9349.
[2] Reported by Ahmed in Musnad bani Hashim, the beginning of Musnad Abdullah bin Al-Abbad under number 2155. It was also reported by Al-Bayhaqiy in Asunan Al-Kubra, Fasting a Day before Ashuraa' section under number 4315.
[3] Reported by Muslim under Fasting, Advisability of Three-Day Fasting per Month section, under number 1162.
[4] Reported by Attermithy under Fasting, Narrations on Ashuraa' Fasting Encouragement section under number 752. It was also reported by Abu-Dawud under Fasting, Perpetual Voluntary Fasting section under number 2425, and by Ibn Majeh under Ashuraa' Fasting under number 1738.

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