The Attribution of Prophetic Events to the Day of ʿĀshūrā

[I found this somewhat unfinished research on my computer. Seeing as today is the 10th of Muḥarram, or ʿĀshūrā, I thought it would be useful to students of knowledge to post whatever research I had gathered to date on the authenticity of the attribution of certain  prophetic events to this day. Interestingly enough, the 10th of Muḥarram (or possibly the 11th) was the day I was reported to have been born.]


This last Friday, I heard many things about ʿĀshūrā that I’d never heard before. The khatib said that in addition to Mūsā and his people being saved on ʿĀshūrā that it was also the day that Yūnus was saved from the whale, Yūsuf was saved from the well, Nūḥ was saved from the flood, that Ibrāhīm was born on this day, and that Rasūl Allāh (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was granted special forgiveness, and some other things I don’t remember. I had never heard these things before, so I was wondering if they were true. Please respond at your convenience. (edited)


Many of the historical events that are attached to the 10th of Muḥarram are not substantiated by the prophetic tradition. Some have been transmitted in commentaries of hadith works but without a chain of narrators that can establish their reliability. Others are quoted through chains that end with Successors and are likely taken from Judeo-Christian traditions, sources that at best are potentially true but still not substantiated by historical sources that can establish the Sunnah. Below, I have attempted to shed some light on specific claims about the day of ʿĀshūrā in light of the research of expert traditionists.

Under the discussion of the origins of the word ʿĀshūrā, Imam Badr al-Dīn al-ʿAynī mentions that some people claim that the day of ʿĀshūrā is special because on it Allah honored ten (ʿasharah) prophets. However, here no reference is provided for this claim. (al-ʿAynī, ʿUmdat al-Qārī, 8:233)

Similarly, in his commentary on Imam Mālik’s al-Muwaṭṭā, Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Muḥammad Zakariyyā al-Kāndhalwī mentions that Ibn Raslān relates the same opinion from Imam al-Mundhirī, again without a source chain. (al-Kāndhalwī, Awjaz al-Masālik, 5:185) Al-ʿAynī provides additional details for this claim:

“It is said that [the reason the tenth day of Muḥarram is called ʿĀshūrāʾ] is because Allah the Exalted dignified ten prophets, upon them be peace, with ten karāmahs [on it]. The first is Mūsā, upon him be peace, who was given (divine) aid on this day. The sea was split for him and Firʿawn and his army were caused to drown. The second is Nūḥ, upon him be peace, whose ark settled upon the mount of Jūdī on this day. The third is Yūnus, upon him be peace, who was saved from the belly of the whale. The fourth is that Allah accepted the repentance of Ādam, upon him be peace, as ʿIkrimah states. The fifth is Yūsuf, upon him be peace, who was removed from the well on this day. The sixth is ʿĪsā, upon him be peace, who was born on this day and raised (to the Heavens) on it. The seventh is Dāwūd, upon him be peace, who Allah forgave on this day. The eight is Ibrāhīm, upon him be peace, who was born on it. The ninth is Yaʿqūb, upon him be peace, whose sight was returned to him on this day. The tenth is our prophet Muḥammad, upon him blessings and peace, who was forgiven everything that preceded and everything to follow on it.

As such they have mentioned ten of the prophets. I [‘Ayni] say, ‘Some have also mentioned amongst the ten Idrīs, upon him be peace, for he was raised to some place in the sky, and Ayyūb, upon him be peace, whose difficulty was lifted on this day, and Sulaymān, upon him be peace, who was given kingdom on it.’” (al-ʿAynī, ʿUmdat al-Qārī, 8:233)

Mawlānā Faḍl al-Raḥmān al-Aʿẓamī, a leading authority in hadith today, includes amongst “the famous virtues of the day of ʿĀshūrā that are all fabrications” the claims that the repentance of Ādam was accepted, or that the ark of Nūḥ settled on Mount Jūdī, or that Ibrāhīm was saved from the fire, or that Allāh sent the ram to be sacrificed in place of Ismāʿīl, or that Yūsuf was returned to his father Yaʿqūb (upon all of them be peace) all on this day.

Al-Aʿẓamī, whose thorough research on this issue has been published in the form of a booklet entitled Muharram and Ashura: Virtues and Laws, states:

“Shāh ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq al-Muḥaddith al-Dihlawī (may Allah have mercy on him) has quoted another narration [on the topic of ʿĀshūrā] which ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad al-ʿArrāq (may Allah have mercy on him) has classified as fabricated.

The fabricated narration states that the person who fasts on the day of ʿĀshūrā will receive the reward of fasting for sixty years and for standing in prayer for sixty years. In addition, he will receive the reward of ten thousand angels and the reward of a thousand people performing ḥajj and ʿumrah. He will also receive the reward of ten thousand martyrs together with all the rewards of the seven heavens.

This fabricated narration also states that the person who feeds a hungry person on the day of ʿĀshūrā will receive the reward of feeding every poor person from the ummah of Muḥammad (upon him blessings and peace) to his fill.

Furthermore, it states that the person who on this day places his hand on the head of an orphan will have his status in Jannah raised by a degree for every strand of the orphan’s hair that falls beneath his hand.

The other false impressions that the fabrication creates is that Allah brought creation into existence on the day of ʿĀshūrā, including the heavens, the earth, the Pen, the Protected Tablet, Jibrāʾīl, Mīkāʾīl, and Ādam (upon them be peace).

It also states that Ibrāhīm (upon him be peace) was born on this day, and that he was rescued from the fire on this day, that the ram was sent in place of Ismāʿīl on this day, that Firʿawn was drowned on this day, that Idrīs was raised to the heavens on this day, and that Ādam’s repentance was accepted on this day [Note that Ibn Rajab quotes statements of two Successors and Ibn ʿAbbās to support this point, which will be discussed later].

Moreover, it states that Dāwūd (upon him be peace) was forgiven on this day, that Allah focuses His attention to His Throne on this day, and that Qiyāmah shall take place on this day. ʿAllāmah Ibn al-Jawzī (may Allah have mercy on him) states that this hadith was forged by a person called Ḥabīb ibn Abī Ḥabīb and was attributed to ʿAbdullāh ibn ʿAbbās (may Allah be pleased with them).” (al-Dihlawī, Mā Thabata bi-l-Sunnah, from al-Aʿzamī, Muharram and Ashura: Virtues and Laws, p. 20)

Al-Aʿzamī further adds:

“After mentioning all of the above, Shāh ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq (may Allah have mercy on him) observes another fabrication. This fabrication states that on this day Yūsuf (upon him be peace) was freed from prison, Yaʿqūb’s (upon him be peace) eyesight was restored, Ayyūb (upon him be peace) was cured, and Yūnus (upon him be peace) was removed from the belly of the fish.

It also states that on this day the past and future mistakes of the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) were forgiven, the repentance of Yūnus’s (upon him be peace) nation was accepted and the first rains fell.

Moreover, the (fabricated) narration states that the person who fasts on this day will be rewarded like the one who fasts all the time, and the person who stands in worship during the night preceding the day of ʿĀshūrā will receive the reward of the worship of everything within the seven heavens.

Furthermore, it states that all the prophets fasted on this day and that fifty years of a person’s future sins and fifty years of his past sins will be forgiven if on this day he performs four rakaʿah of ṣalāt and recites Sūrat al-Fātiḥah once, followed by Sūrat al-Ikhlās fifty times in every rakaʿah. In addition, the narration states that such a person will have a thousand pulpits of celestial light (nūr) erected for him in the highest echelons of the heavens.

It also asserts that the person who gives a single sip to another to drink on this day, his status will be like one who has not disobeyed Allah for even a moment as brief as the blink of an eye. It states also that one who feeds a poor person to his fill on this day will cross the bridge of Ṣirāt at the speed of lightning.

Another concocted detail of this “hadith” includes that a person who gives charity on this day is like one who never refuses any beggar, and that someone who passes his hand over the head of an orphan will be rewarded like one who has behaved kindly to every orphan amongst mankind. In a similar fashion, the narration states that whoever visits a sick person on this day will be equal to one who has visited every sick person from amongst mankind.

ʿAllāmah Ibn al-Jawzī (may Allah have mercy on him) mentions that this narration has been fabricated without doubt, although its chain includes all reliable narrators. It is therefore obvious that whoever concocted this “hadith” attached a reliable chain of narrators to it.” (al-Dihlawī, Mā Thabata bi-l-Sunnah, 21, from al-Aʿzamī, Muharram, 21]

The Musnad of Imam Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal does contain a hadith of the Companion Abū Hurayrah that states, “It is the day that the ark settled on Jūdī, so Nūḥ fasted on it to show gratitude,” (Fatḥ al-Mulhim, al-ʿUthmānī 5:253) potentially indicative of the validity of the attribution of this particular event to the day of ʿĀshūrā. Similarly, it is mentioned in Ibn Rajab’s Laṭāʾif al-Maʿārif p. 103: “In the Musnad al-Imam Ahmad it is mentioned on the authority of Abu Jaʿfar that ʿAbd al-Ṣamad informed him from his father from Shubayl from Abū Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said, “The Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, once passed by a group of Jews who had fasted the day of ʿĀshūrā. He remarked, ‘What fast is this?’ They said, ‘This is the day that Allah saved Musa, upon him be peace, and Banū Isrāʾīl from drowning, and on it He drowned Firʿawn. This is also the day on which the ark settled on Jūdī. Therefore, Nūḥ and Mūsā, upon them be peace, fasted out of gratitude to Allah the Exalted and Honored. The Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, then stated, ‘I have more right to Mūsā and more right to the fast of this day.’ He thus commanded his Companions to fast.” (Aḥmad 14:334-335) Shu‘ayb al-Arnāʾūt, however, notes, that the chain of the narration is weak due to the weakness of ʿAbd al-Samad ibn Ḥabīb and the fact that his father is unknown. Further, the portion of the hadith that speaks of Nūḥ, upon him be peace, he claims, is nowhere corroborated. The portion of the hadith, therefore, that mentions that the day of ʿĀshūrā is the day that the ark of Nuh settled on Judi and that Nuh (upon him be peace) therefore fasted on the day out of gratitude is da‘if.

Lastly, a narration in Muṣannaf ʿAbd al-Razzāq (4:290-291, Al-Majlis al-ʿIlmī: Karachi) reads: “ʿAbd al-Razzāq informed us that Maʿmar reported from Qatādah that he said: ‘Nūḥ boarded the ark with ten days left in Rajab and descended from the ark on the day of ʿĀshūrā.’”  The editor of the Musannaf, ʿAllāmah Ḥabīb al-Raḥmān al-Aʿzamī, notes: “In a hadith of al-Ṭabarānī it is mentioned, ‘In Rajab, Allah carried Nūḥ in the ark…and so the ark sailed for seven months, the end of which was the day of ʿĀshūrā.’ Haythami remarks (on this hadith), ‘It contains ʿAbd al-Ghafūr, and he is matrūk (abandoned).’ (3:188)”


A Call to Muslims: A Transcript of a Speech to the Scholars by Mawlānā Ilyās al-Kāndhalwī

Nearly eight years ago, I came across a rare print of a speech delivered by Mawlānā Muḥammad Ilyās al-Kāndhalwī in a library. I asked a student to help me transcribe it so that it could be edited for language and style and posted online or published in the future. I came across my edit of the piece from years ago and decided to upload it here for general benefit, despite it being incomplete in regards to referencing the hadith and missing citations for certain quotes. I also didn’t cross-reference those quotes to check for accuracy. Lastly, I was unable to locate the name of the original translator. If anyone is able to help with the above tasks, it would be much appreciated.

A message by the late Mawlānā Muḥammad Ilyās al-Kāndhalwī to an All-India Conference of the ʿulamā and Muslim political leaders held at Delhi in April 1944.

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the All-Merciful. We praise Him, believe in Him, and place our trust in Him. We  additionally invoke His choicest blessings and peace for Muḥammad (a mercy, guide, bearer of glad tidings, and a warner for all times and all peoples), as do we invoke the same for all of his family, his companions, and his followers.

Scholars of Islam and its elite! Continue reading

Planning for Death: Essential Guidelines on Death and Inheritance

In the past few  years, I’ve been asked on numerous occasions to present a lecture on the essential Islamic rules and guidelines regarding death, dying, and inheritance. I’ve also been asked to provide the presentation slides to attendees after the seminar, due to which I am uploading them here. Please be aware that the presentation simply provides main bullet points and headings, not the actual detailed legal rulings and other essential content. It is thus not to be used as a reference source.

Planning for Death

Step-by-Step Description of the Ritual Ablution

Below is a simplified explanation of the method of performing the ritual ablution (wuḍūʿ) in the Ḥanafī madhhab, using brackets to demarcate its farḍ [f], wājib [w], sunnah [s], and mustaḥabb [m] elements. The explanation is part of a workbook I prepared for a short seminar entitled Perfecting Prayer that provided a step-by-step guide to wuḍūʿ and ṣalāt for young adults. Continue reading

Summer English Reading List 2016

My  English summer reading list is relatively shorter this year. I’ve been concentrating much of my time on Arabic hadith works and getting around to finishing some research assignments. However, in my free time, I’ve been perusing some of the following books with a hope to complete some, write a review of at least one, and at least skimming another.

The Accessible Conspectus by Shaykh Musa Furber

For centuries, Abu Shuja al-Asfahani’s legal primer Matn al-Ghayat wa-l-Taqrib (The Ultimate Conspectus) has been a standard text for introducing students of the Shafii school of Islamic law to the full range of basic legal issues. Students will often start their studies by reading it from a basic commentary with their instructor. Many students will read it again from more advanced commentaries as they progress in their mastery of the subject. This volume presents an amiable commentary that makes Abu Shuja’s primer accessible to new students. It uses contemporary language and examples to help readers build a sound foundation in Islamic law. The Accessible Conspectus is a perfect companion to The Ultimate Conspectus. Continue reading

Draft of the First Chapter of a Tashīl al-Naḥw Translation

The following is the first chapter of a translation taken from Qārī Siddīq Bāndwī’s Tashīl al-Naḥw that I was involved in through some editing and translating along with two former students. The project was put on hold in an attempt to first complete another work that was near the final draft stage. I have produced the draft here for general benefit.

Chapter 1


Naḥw (syntax) is a branch of Arabic grammar that studies how sentences are formulated through the combination of nouns (ism), verbs (fiʿl), and particles (ḥarf) and how such formulations determine the state of the end of words in the sentence.

In the science of naḥw, both the individual word كَلِمَةٌ (kalimah) and the combination of words كَلَامٌ (kalām) are studied. The benefit of studying the science is that it protects the one who learns and observes its rules from making grammatical mistakes in their speech and composition.  Continue reading

ʿAllāmah al-Kawtharī’s List of Ḥanafī Hadith Masters

The following list a selection from notes that were compiled for one of the appendices to the forthcoming (in shā Allāh) translation of Imam ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq al-Dihlawī’s Muqaddamah fī Uṣūl al-Ḥadīth. The list has had to be refined, edited, and truncated for publishing purposes. I thought the rough notes would still benefit certain interested readers, so I have produced a portion of them below. Readers should note that spellings, dates, etc… are being revised and are not yet reflected in this post:

Shāh ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq al-Dihlawī represents an important link in a long chain of Ḥanafī hadith scholars, one that begins with Imam Abū Ḥanīfah and his students and continues to this day. The last hundred plus years, however, has born witnes to an unfortunate confusion about the status of the scholars of the Ḥanafī school of law in relation to their knowledge and prowess in the field of hadith and hadith criticism. Nearly three to four generations of Indian hadith masters have since attempted to respond to these misconceptions in the form of biographies of Ḥanafī hadith masters, rebuttals of anti-Ḥanafī and anti-taqlīd literature, voluminous commentaries on the renowned hadith collections, etc…

The late Ottoman polymath, Imam Muḥammad Zāhid al-Kawtharī offered his own refutation of the misunderstandings about the Ḥanafī school in a now well-recognized treatise entitled Fiqh Ahl al-ʿIrāq wa Ḥadīthuhum, which concludes with a list of one hundred and ten hadith masters from amongst Abū Ḥanīfah’s students and adherents to his madhhab. The list was later extended by Imam Muḥammad Yūsuf al-Binnūrī who added 40 names to the list from amongst the Ḥanafī hadith scholars of the Indian subcontinent. We reproduce the first list below: Continue reading

Al-Biḍāʿat al-Muzjāt li man Yuṭāliʿu al-Mirqāt by Shaykh ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm al-Nuʿmānī

After a recent post in which I quoted from my ustādh’s work, I received a number of requests for the book and some feedback about its unavailability. Subsequently, I requested a colleague, Mawlana Kamil Uddin, to help me scan the 92 page work so that I could share it with others even though a new edition (likely with significant changes) is expected to be published sometime soon.

To my surprise, he not only took on the task but he completed it the same evening. May Allah reward Mawlana Kamil for his contribution and bless him in both worlds. For everyone’s benefit, below is linked Mawlana Nuʿmānī’s Al-Biḍāʿat al-Muzjāt:

Al-Biḍāʿat al-Muzjāt li man Yuṭāliʿu al-Mirqāt

Imam ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq al-Muḥaddith al-Dihlawī: A Concise Biography

ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq ibn Sayf al-Dīn ibn Saʿd Allāh ibn Fayrūz ibn Mūsā ibn Muʿizz al-Dīn ibn Muḥammad al-Turk al-Bukhārī al-Dihlawī al-Ḥanafī, more popularly known as ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq al-Muḥaddith al-Dihlawī, was born in the month of Muḥarram in the year 958AH/1551AD in the city of Delhi, India. Recognized also by the agnomen (kunyah) Abu ʾl-Majd and the takhalluṣ Ḥaqqī, his widespread acclaim in the field of ḥadīth earned him his most popular title “al-Muḥaddith al-Dihlawi”(the Delhian Ḥadīth Master). Continue reading

A Suggested Curriculum of Study for the Hanafi Student of Hadith

In our shaykh Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm al-Nuʿmānī’s invaluable foreword to Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī’s Mirqāt al-Mafātīḥ – modestly entitled al-Biḍāʿat al-Muzjāt li man Yuṭāliʿu al-Mirqāt (Scanty Merchandise for the One who Studies the Mirqāt) – the erudite hadith scholar Imam ʿAbd al-Bārī ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Anṣārī al-Laknawī is quoted from a passage of his prolegomena to his al-Taʿlīq al-Mukhtār ʿalā Kitāb al-Āthār. In the lengthy passage, al-Laknawī provides the following suggested curriculum of study for the “Ḥanafī muḥaddith”: Continue reading