Much confusion surrounds this day. Some Muslims treat this occasion as a day of celebration and joy, and a time where special dishes are prepared. Conversely, the Shi’ites spend the very same day, beating and injuring themselves, and marking it as a day of sadness and mourning.
On the 10th of Muḥarram (the day of `Āshūra), in the year 61 A.H. the Prophet’s (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) beloved grandson al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib (raḍī Allāhu anhumā) was martyred. Undoubtedly the murder of the grandson of the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was a sad day in Islamic history. However, he was not the first to be martyred; rather, he was preceded by many great companions who were also killed unjustly, including `Umar, Uthmān, al-Ḥusayn’s own father, `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib and his brother al-Hassan (raḍī Allāhu anhūma).After the death of Alī b. Abī Tālib (raḍī Allāhu anhū), some of the companions pledged allegiance to al-Ḥasan (raḍī Allāhu anhū), regarding whom the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “This son of mine is a chief, and Allāh will make peace between two large groups of Muslims through him.”21After a short period he was also martyred, and some tribes wrote to his brother al-Ḥusayn (raḍī Allāhu anhu) promising him support and allegiance if he was to come to them at Kūfa. Ibn `Abbās and Ibn `Umar (raḍī Allāhu anhumā) both advised al-Ḥusayn against accepting their invitation, as they felt that the people inviting him were treacherous and untrustworthy.Al-Ḥusayn (raḍī Allāhu anhū) relying on the words of the Kūfans set out for the city with his family and followers. On the way he was deserted by his followers and betrayed by the Kūfans. Consequently, he was left with a small band consisting of his family members and friends (a total of 72 people) in the middle of the sandy desert of Karbala fighting against the governor of Kūfa, `Ubayd Allāh b. Ziyād, and his troops of more than 4000 men. The entire group was massacred on the 10th of Muḥarram.It was after this incident that the Shi’ites, who considered Al-Ḥusayn (raḍī Allāhu anhū) as the third Imām and rightful successor of the Prophet, began to take this day as a day of grief and sadness, mourning the fact that they were not present at the battle to fight and save al-Ḥusayn and his family.Ibn Taymiyyah writes: “Satan took the opportunity with the death of al-Ḥusayn (raḍī Allāhu anhū) to introduce two innovations: the innovation of showing sadness and mourning on the day of `Āshūra by slapping, screaming, crying and lamenting, and (the innovation of) cursing the Ṣahābas (companions of the Prophet).”He then reminds the reader that wailing and excessive mourning over past calamities was clearly prohibited by Allāh and His Messenger.Allāh (ṣubhānahu wa ta’ālā) says in the Qur`ān:“We will try you with fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives, and fruits; but give glad tidings to those who are patient. Who, when a misfortune overtakes them, say: `To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.’ It is these on whom descend blessings and mercy from their Lord, and it is they who are rightly guided.”22
Imām Aḥmad was asked about the ḥadīth: “One should spend on his family on the day of `Āshūra” and regarded it as unauthentic.
In fact the best narration they have is what is reported from Ibrāhīm b. Muḥammad b. al-Muntashir from his father that he said: “It reached us that one who increases (his spending) on his family on [the day of] `Āshūra, Allāh will increase it for him throughout the year.” Sufyān b. ‘Uyaiynah said: “Ibrahīm b. Muḥammad was from Kūfa and he did not mention from whom he heard it or how it reached him. It is most likely that the one who related this [to him] was someone from the people of Bid`ah who hates the companions and wants to oppose the Rāfidhah with lies. So they oppose corruption with corruption and an innovation with an innovation.”27
To conclude, what is clearly established from the Sunnah is the fasting on the 9th and 10th of Muḥarram. As for mourning, displaying sadness, or celebrating by making special foods, wearing new clothes, etc. then it is all innovations.
Finally, I leave you with the statement of Imām Mālik: “He who introduces an innovation (Bid’ah) in Islam, regarding it as something good has claimed that Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has betrayed his trust to deliver the message. As Allāh says: ‘Today have I completed your Dīn (religion)’ Whatever was not part of the Dīn during the time of the Prophet cannot be considered as part of the Dīn today.”28
He also said: “Nothing will benefit the later ones from this Ummah, except that which benefited the earlier ones (i.e., the companions).”29
Allāh knows best.
May the Peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), his family, and his companions.Sources: www.islam21c.com
Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.  See Ibn al-Qayyim, Zād al-Ma`ād, Volume two, page 68, Mu`assasah al-Risālah, 1424 A  Agreed Upon  Agreed Upon  Agreed Upon  Agreed Upon  Imām Aḥmad reported a similar ḥadīth on the authority of Abū Hurayrah with the additional words: “On this day the ship [of Noah] settled on [Mount] al-Judī.” This is a weak narration due to the presence of `Abd aṣ-Ṣamad b. Ḥabīb, who is weak, and Ḥabīb b. `Abd Allāh, who is unknown. Ibn Kathīr in his Tafṣīr (2/448) stated that this was a strange report.  Agreed Upon  al-Bukhārī and Aḥmad  Agreed Upon  Muslim, Aḥmad, Abū Dāwūd and Ibn Khuzaymah  The predominant view among the scholars is that it expiates minor sins, as for major sins, repentance is required. This was explicitly expressed by an-Nawawī in al-Majmū` (6/382) and Ibn Taymiyyah in al-Fatāwā al-Kubrā (4/428)  Muslim, Aḥmad, Abū Dāwūd and Ibn Mājah  Imām an-Nawawī in his commentary to this ḥadīth writes: “This is a clear statement from Ibn `Abbās that according to him `Āshūra is on the ninth of Muḥarram…The majority of early and later scholars are of the opinion that `Āshūra is on the tenth of Muḥarram. From those who held this view are: Sa`īd b. al-Musayyib, al-Ḥassan al-Baṣrī, Mālik, Ishāq and others. This is the apparent meaning of the ḥadīth, and the proper understanding of the word.”
Ibn al-Qayyim was of the view that Ibn `Abbās did not differ on this issue and had only told the questioner to fast the ninth, since it was already assumed that he would be fasting the tenth. (Ẓād al-Ma`ād 2/75) Muslim  Aḥmad, Ibn Khuzaymah, al-Ḥumaydī, at-Tahāwī in Ma’ānī al-Āthār, al-Bazzār, Ibn `Adī in al-Kāmil, al-Bayhaqī in al-Kubra and ash-Shu`ab  This ḥadīth has been graded weak by numerous scholars. Ash-Shawkānī said: “This report in Aḥmad via Dāwūd b. `Alī from his father from his grandfather was narrated by Ibn Abī Laylā and therefore is weak and rejected (munkar).”
Muḥammad b. Abi Laylā is known to have an awful memory and was graded weak by Aḥmad, Ibn Ma`īn, and others. See: Tahdhīb al-Kamāl (25/622) and Miẓān al-I`tidāl (3/No. 7825). Likewise, Dāwūd b. `Alī, is also weak. Ad-Dhahabī writes in al-Mizān (2/13): “He is not an authority.”
Al-Bazzar writes: “The ḥadīth is reported from ibn `Abbās (raḍī Allāhu anhū) with different wordings. We do not know anyone narrating: “Fast a day before it or a day after it,” except Dāwūd b. `Alī from his father from Ibn Abbās from the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
`Atā and others reported from Ibn ‘Abbās as a saying of his (Mawquf) with a different wording.
On the authority of ibn Jurayj, who was informed by Atā from ibn Abbās who said: “Fast the ninth and the tenth and differ from the Jews.” (`Abd ar-Razzāk (7839), al-Bayhaqī (4/287) and aṭ-Ṭahāwī in Sharḥ Ma`ānī al-Āthār (2/78).
Ibn Rajab graded this narration authentic. (al-Laṭā’if, pg. 108)
Ibn Hajr, Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Mubārakpurī and others, who deemed the ḥadīth in Aḥmad as acceptable, mentioned three levels of fasting during these days:
- Fasting on the 9th/10th and 11th. (This being the best form)
- Fasting on the 9th and 10th.
- Fasting on the 10th only.
According to the Ḥanafī School fasting just on the tenth is disliked (makrūh) and this was also the opinion of Ibn `Abbās (raḍiyallāhu anhu) and Imām Aḥmad (Iqtiḍā’ aṣ-Ṣirāṭ al-Mustaqīm 1/420). Ibn Taymiyyah was of the view that it was not makrūh (al-Fatāwā al-Kubrā 4/461). aṭ-Ṭabrāni in as-Saghīr  There are several problems with this chain. Ad-Dhahabī accused al-Haytham b. Habīb, one of the narrators, of falsehood. As for Salām aṭ-Ṭawīl, he is well known among the hadith scholars for fabricating ahādith. Ibn Karrās said: “He is a liar.” Ibn Ḥibbān said: “He narrates fabrications from trustworthy people.” Al-Hākim said: “He narrates fabricated ahādith.” Additionally, Layth b. Abī Salīm, another narrator in the chain, is also weak. From a textual point of view there is another problem, one of the narrations mentioned by aṭ-Ṭabarānī in his al-Kabir, with the same chain, ends with “or every day he has thirty blessings.” instead of “thirty days”.  Al-Bayhaqī in ash-Shu`ab, al-Uqaylī in aḍ-Ḍu’afā, Ibn `Adī in al-Kāmil, Ibn al-Jawzī in al-Illal and others  Al-Bayhaqi argued that although the ḥadīth is weak it can be strengthened by supporting channels. This claim is true if all the channels are only slightly weak, but a study of the channels, demonstrate that they are extremely weak and cannot be strengthened by one another. All of the channels have individuals either accused of fabricating or known to be extremely weak. It is for this reason that, ad-Dāraqutnī, ad-Dhahabī, Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Haythamī and others regarded this ḥadīth as weak. Ibn al-Jawzi regarded it as a fabrication.  al-Bukhārī  Surah al-Baqarah: 155-157  al-Bukhārī  Muslim  Muslim  Abū Dāwūd, Aḥmad and at-Tirmidhī  Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmū`ah al-Fatawā, Volume 13, page 169, Dar al-Wafā, 1426 A.H.  al-I`tisām, ash-Shāṭibī  Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Qā’idah al-Jalīlah