1- declaring the oneness of God, and that only God is to be worshipped (tahlil)
2- declaring God’s greatness (takbir)
3- praising God (tahmid )
It is recommended, in the Sunni and Zaydi Shi`i schools, to fast the day. There are numerous sahih hadiths about its fasting, some of them mentioning that it was an obligatory fast in the days before fasting Ramadan became obligatory.
وقال أحمد بن عيسى بن زيد بن علي (عليهم السلام) في أماليه: صوم الأيام البيض، ورجب وشعبان، والإثنين والخميس حسن جميل، وجاء فيه فضل كثير، وكذلك يوم عاشوراء
According to one sahih hadith, the Prophet Muhammad later expressed his wish to also fast on the 9th of Muharram (the day before Ashura), but he died before that could happen.
وعن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام عن أبيه، أن عليا عليه السلام قال: صوموا العاشوراء التاسع والعاشر، فإنه يكفر ذنوب سنة (وسائل الشيعة)
A hadith of disputed reliability says that the Prophet recommended, along with the fast of Ashura, fasting either the day before or the day after.
One version (with a weak isnad) indicates all three days.
The dominant view among Twelver Shi`ah is that it is not recommended to fast Ashura. One narration in the Twelver hadith books suggests that it is a fast that was abandoned after Ramadan became obligatory. Other narrations (in Twelver Shi`i books) condemn its continued fasting as a practice initiated by the killers of the Prophet’s grandson al-Husayn, their purpose being to give thanks for his death.
The killing of the Prophet’s grandson was a tragedy, and is a source of grief for Sunnis and Shi`ah. If you fast Ashura, it should definitely not be with the intention of celebrating Imam Husayn’s murder. I hope we can at least start understanding each other better, and realize what we have in common, even if we don’t end up agreeing on everything. And I am pretty sure the Sunnis and Zaydis who fast Ashura are not doing it to celebrate the killing of al-Husayn.
“And [on the Day of Judgment] when the baby girl who was buried alive shall be asked, for what sin was she killed?” (Quran, 81:8-9)
Throwing [the baby girl] into the grave dug for her is similar to the stars swooping down and falling (which is mentioned earlier in 81:2)….
﴿وَإِذَا ٱلۡمَوۡءُۥدَةُ سُىِٕلَتۡ بِأَیِّ ذَنۢبࣲ قُتِلَتۡ﴾ [القرآن، سورة التكوير 8 و 9] قال البقاعي: وإلْقاؤُها في البِئْر المَحْفُورِ لَها قَرِيبٌ مِن انْكِدارِ النُّجومِ وتَساقُطِها. ولمّا كانَ هذا أهْوَن القَتْلِ عندهم وكانوا يَظُنُّونَ أنَّهُ مِمّا لا عِبرَةَ بِهِ، بَيَّنَ أنَّهُ مُعْتَنًى بِهِ وأنَّهُ لا بُدَّ من بَعْثِها وجَعْلِها بِحَيْثُ تَعْقِلُ وتُجِيبُ وقال: فَما ظَنُّكَ بِمَن هو فَوْقَها وبِمَن هو جانٍ، وسُؤالُها هو عَلى وجْهِ التَّبْكِيتِ لِقاتِلِها، فَإنَّ العَرَبَ كانَتْ تَدْفِنُ البَناتَ أحْياءً مَخافَةَ الإمْلاقِ أوْ لُحُوقِ العارِ بِهِنَّ، ويَقُولُونَ: نَرُدُّها إلى اللَّهِ هو أوْلى بِها، وقال: وكانَ فِيهِمْ مَن يَتَكَرَّمُ عَنْ ذَلِكَ ومَن يَفْدِي المَوْءُوداتِ ويُرَبِّيهِنَّ
“[Pharaoh] said to the eminent ones around him, ‘This is indeed a learned magician.” 26:34
Ibn `Ashur (d. 1973CE) comments in his exegesis:
In this verse, these [words] are the statement of Pharoah to the eminent ones, but in the verse of al-A`raf (7:109) [we have]: “The eminent ones among the people of Pharoah said…” They can be pieced together by [saying] that Pharoah said it to those around him, and they repeated it in his [very] words, so as to completely agree with him, such that they did not suffice with [merely] saying, ‘Yes,’ but rather they repeated Pharoah’s words so that their words could be perfectly matching his.
قالَ لِلْمَلَإِ حَوْلَهُۥٓ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَسَـٰحِرٌ عَلِيمٌ
26:34قال ابن عاشور: وفي هَذِهِ الآيَةِ أنَّ هَذا قَوْلُ فِرْعَوْنَ لِلْمَلَأِ، وفي آيَةِ الأعْرافِ (﴿قالَ المَلَأُ مِن قَوْمِ فِرْعَوْنَ﴾ [الأعراف: ١٠٩]) والجَمْعُ بَيْنَهُما أنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ قالَهُ لِمَن حَوْلَهُ فَأعادُوهُ بِلَفْظِهِ لِلْمُوافَقَةِ التّامَّةِ بِحَيْثُ لَمْ يَكْتَفُوا بِقَوْلِ: نَعَمْ، بَلْ أعادُوا كَلامَ فِرْعَوْنَ لِيَكَونَ قَوْلُهم عَلى تَمامِ قَوْلِهِ.
هَتَفَ العِلمُ بالعمَلِ فَإنْ أجابَهُ وإلّا ارْتَحَلَ (رواه السيوطي في جياد المسلسلات بإسناد فيه رجال مجهولون)
‘Knowledge calls out to action. If it responds to it [then it stays], but otherwise it departs.” [ʿAli ibn Abi Talib, d. 661CE]
This is the last narration in Suyuti’s (d. 1505CE) compilation Jiyad al-Musalsalat. The musalsalat genre in hadith comprises narrations whose isnads (chains of narration) contain a pattern repeated at multiple generations in the chain, e.g. each narrator having the same name, or performing the same action while narrating the hadith.
The most common musalsal hadith is the ‘Hadith of Firstness,’ “The merciful ones will be treated mercifully by the Source of Mercy (God). Be merciful to those upon the earth, [that] [God] who is in (i.e. above) Heaven be merciful to you.” Since the time of Sufyan ibn ʿ Uyayna (d. 815CE / 198H), it has been a tradition that the “hadith of Firstness” be the first hadith that a student hears from his hadith teacher.
The above quote from ʿAli has 9 successive narrators each saying, “My father told me that ….” Most of these hadiths have weak chains of narration. The above quote from Ali contains a number of narrators about whom we do not know much (i.e. we don’t know how reliable they were). The most reliable (sahih) musalsal hadith is that it which each narrator recites Surat al-Saff after narrating the hadith.
Suyuti compiled 85 musalsal narrations in his book al-Musalsalat al-Kubra, and then selected 25 of the best of these for the compilation Jiyad al-Musalsalat. Note that ‘the best 25 of the 85’ does not necessarily mean that they are all reliable (sahih); some are, but others are merely stronger than the rest.
These musalsal hadiths continue to be transmitted to this day with the patterns replicated, and are a type of collector’s item for students of hadith. i.e. these hadiths are fun!
Suyuti probably chose to end the book with this quote from ʿAli in order to remind us that the main objective of acquiring Islamic knowledge is to act on it; to become a better person, to contribute positively to the world, and to grow in love for God. i.e. You can have fun (including dabbling in musalsal hadiths), but at the end of the end of the day, make sure you have done something you can be proud of when you face God.
PICTURE CREDIT: Hans Braxmeier, from https://pixabay.com/photos/chain-jewellery-gem-valuable-2119612/#
Wholesole, clean humor. Something we want and need for our children, especially, to enjoy. Please enjoy, and do your part to support.
I have been following IslamicComics.org, featuring the Ahmad Family, for a a number of years. They are funny, and humor is within Islamic theological guidelines; nothing blasphemous. This is as expected, for the author is a practicing Muslim serious about religion. Even for the drawings, he is following a more conservative view by not drawing eyes on the faces. I am generally wary about recommending or ‘liking’ anything, unless I know both the author and product well. Both of these conditions are satisfied with IslamicComics. Below is a sample (but please continue reading after the comic):
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“While cultivating sophisticated knowledge of the Arabic tongue, we-like other nonArab Muslim cultures before us-must embrace our indigenous tongue, the English language, and make it the primary vehicle of our culture. We must continue to develop humor and various literary and musical forms but also cultivate film-especially historical fiction-theater, and art, including interior decorating and fashion design. ”
Dr. Umar Faruq `Abd-Allah, Islam and the Cultural Imparative