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  5. The Importance of Karbala and Fasting on Ashura in Islam

The Importance of Karbala and Fasting on Ashura in Islam

Muharram ul Haram Written in the mid which is white in colour with black background.
It’s important to mention that while fasting on the day of Ashura is a recommended practice, it is not obligatory. This day encourages Muslims to fast with sincere intentions, seeking Allah’s forgiveness and blessings.

The Battle of Karbala & Ashura Significance in Islamic History that took place on October 10, 680 AD (10th of Muharram in the year 61 AH) in the city of Karbala, located in present-day Iraq. It is one of the most tragic and defining moments in the Islam. In this blog, we will talk about the fasting on Ashura.

The battle occurred between the forces of Yazid I, the Umayyad caliph, and a small group of followers of Imam Hussein(R.A) ibn Ali (R.A). The grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the son of Imam Ali (R.A) and Lady Fatimah (R.A) (the daughter of the Prophet). Imam Hussein’s group consisted of around 72 individuals, including some of his family members and loyal companions.

Imam Hussein’s (R.A) Stand for Justice

The conflict arose due to a dispute over the rightful succession to the leadership of the Muslim community. This dispute occurred after the death of the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan.

Imam Hussein (R.A) refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid. Believing him to be unjust and deviating from the true path of Islam. Instead, Hussein wanted to uphold justice, defend the principles of Islam, and oppose the oppressive rule of Yazid.

Imam Hussein (R.A), together with his family and a small group of loyal followers, decided to challenge Yazid’s authority and stand up for justice and the preservation of Islamic values. After receiving letters of support from some Kufans. He embarked on a journey from Mecca to Kufa (a city in present-day Iraq). The Kufans urged him to lead against Yazid’s oppressive rule.

Yazid’s forces intercepted Imam Hussein (R.A) and his followers in Karbala. Imam Hussein (R.A) and his companions valiantly held their ground, refusing to compromise their principles and values despite facing harsh conditions and a vast outnumbering. On the 10th of Muharram, known as Ashura, a bloody battle ensued, resulting in the martyrdom of Imam Hussein and most of his companions.

The Immense Importance of Karbala for Muslims

The Battle of Karbala holds immense importance for Muslims. who respect and honor the memory of Imam Hussein (R.A) and his companions. Various ways can understand the importance of Karbala.

Spiritual and Religious Significance

People consider the Battle of Karbala & Ashura’s Significance in Islamic History as a symbol of sacrifice, devotion, and steadfastness in the path of righteousness. Imam Hussein’s (R.A.) refusal to compromise on principles and his willingness to give his life for justice and the preservation of true Islamic values have become a central theme in Islamic spirituality. The event exemplifies the highest moral standards and serves as an inspiration for Muslims to uphold righteousness and resist oppression.

Identity and Unity

For Muslims, Karbala is a defining moment that solidifies their religious identity.

The mourning and commemoration of the tragedy of Karbala during Muharram serve as a powerful means to foster unity and solidarity within Muslim communities across the globe. This collective observance reinforces a shared sense of identity and empathy among Muslims worldwide. This shared observance helps strengthen bonds and understanding among Muslims across different regions. It strengthens the bond between believers and reinforces their commitment to the Ahl al-Bayt [the family of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him)]. There is a particular emphasis on the reverence for Imam Hussein.

Historical Lesson

Muslims perceive the events of Karbala and Ashura as significant lessons from Islamic history, offering insights to learn from. They emphasize the importance of avoiding past mistakes to shape a better future. Additionally, it highlights the perils of tyranny, corruption, and straying from the authentic teachings of Islam. Encouragers encourage Muslims to stand against injustice and oppression even in the face of adversity.

Remembrance and Reflection

The remembrance of Karbala during Muharram serves as a time of reflection and self-examination for Muslims. It is an opportunity to assess one’s own conduct, adherence to moral values, and dedication to the principles exemplified by Imam Hussein. The processions and rituals conducted during Muharram help Muslims reconnect with their faith and renew their commitment to spiritual growth.

Intercession and Supplication

For Muslims, the tragedy of Karbala has led to the belief in the intercessory power of Imam Hussein. His followers believe that he can intercede on their behalf before God. They seek forgiveness and blessings for those who sincerely remember and mourn his martyrdom.

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Social and Political Awareness

The message of Karbala extends beyond individual spirituality and emphasizes the importance of social and political awareness. Encouraging Muslims to be vigilant against unjust rulers and strive for a just society where they uphold the principles of Islam.

Cultural Expression

The commemoration of Karbala has given rise to various forms of cultural expression. These include mourning processions, elegies, and theatrical performances (ta’ziya) depicting the events of Karbala. These expressions help pass down the story and its significance to future generations and preserve the memory of Imam Hussein.

Fasting on the day of Ashura

Fasting on the day of Ashura, which falls on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram, holds great importance in Islamic tradition. It is a practice observed by Muslims, though the Karbala & Ashura Significance in Islamic History might differ slightly between the two sects.

Hadith Regarding Fasting on the Day of Ashura

Narrated by Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him)

The Muslims were commanded by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) to fast on the day of Ashura when he fasted on it. It was said to him, “O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.” The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) replied, “If the next year is seen, inshaAllah, we will fast on the 9th day as well.” But the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) passed away before the next year. (Muslim)

This Hadith shows that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) fasted on the day of Ashura and intended to fast on the 9th of Muharram as well. Possibly, this distinction aimed to differentiate the Muslim practice from that of the Jews and Christians, who also attached importance to Ashura.

However, the Prophet’s (SAW) passing before the following year’s Ashura prevented the implementation of fasting on the 9th.

It’s important to mention that while fasting on the day of Ashura is a recommended practice, it is not obligatory. This day encourages Muslims to fast with sincere intentions, seeking Allah’s forgiveness and blessings.

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