Rafed English

The opinions of Sunni jurisprudents about the Fast of Ashura

Adapted from: "The Uprising of Ashura and Responses to Doubts" by: "‘Ali Asghar Ridwani"

1. Qadi ‘Ayni says, “They have differed about the judgement of fasting during the early days of Islam. Abu Hanifah has said that it was wajib to fast on the day of ‘Ashura in the past. Shafi‘i’s companions have given two opinions: the most famous opinion is that it was highly recommended [mustahabb-e mu’akkad] right from the beginning of Islam and Islamic law and never has it been wajib for the Islamic ummah.

After the revelation of the Qur’anic verse enacting the fast of Ramadan, it remained mustahabb, but lost the recommendation and emphasis it enjoyed before. The second opinion of Shafi‘i’s companions is similar to that of Abu Hanifah.

‘Ayad has said that some predecessors used to believe that this fast was wajib and remained wajib without any abrogation even after the verse enacting the fast of Ramadan, but supporters of this opinion have been weakened and vanquished and hence common consensus is that this fast is not wajib, and they maintain that it is mustahabb.”4

2. Ibn Qudamah says, “There are differing opinions about the fast of the day of ‘Ashura as to whether it was wajib or not. Qadi says that it was wajib and this is as a result of religious deduction and conclusion. He has deduced this using two rationales. It has also been quoted from Ahmad ibn Hanbal that the fast of the day of ‘Ashura was wajib.”5

3. Kasani writes, “The fast of the day of ‘Ashura was wajib during those days.”6

4. ‘Asqalani says, “It can be deduced from the total sum of reported hadiths that this fast was wajib.” After this, he has listed six reasons to support and prove his claim.7


4. ‘Umdah al-Qari, vol. 11, p. 118.

5. Al-Mughni, vol. 3, p. 174.

6. Bada’i‘ al-Sana’i‘, vol. 2, p. 262.

7. Fath al-Bari, vol. 4, p. 290.


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