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“Fasting the day of ‘Arafah I hope Allah will expiate thereby (sins) for the year before it and the year after it, and fasting the day of ‘Ashura’ I hope Allaah will expiate (sins) thereby for the year that came before it.” – Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Following the Prophetic tradition, MCC invites all East Bay residents to fast on the day of Ashura, which starts on evening of Monday, September 9 and during the day of Tuesday, Sept. 10.

We will have zikr, Qur’anic recitation with Qari Amar Bellaha and a dua 30 minutes before Maghrib & Iftar dinner (7:27 p.m.).

7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. | Tuesday, Sept. 10 | Free RSVP for Iftar at mcceastbay.org/ashura

Also, join us Saturday, Sept. 7 for a Muharram & Ashura talk with Shaykh Faraz Khan.

The Prophetic advice is to also fast the day before or after the day of Ashura (Monday, Sept. 9 or Wednesday, Sept. 11).

IMPORTANT: We make a special effort to find community sponsors so the community Iftars are always free and we take free RSVPs to manage the correct amount of food to order. By RSVPing, please take this trust seriously and cancel your RSVP when you are not able to attend. Here are instructions.

*Don’t forget to bring water bottles as part of MCC’s Green Deen Initiative.
Learn more about why the days we are in are important here.
What is the day ofʿĀshūrā’?
ʿĀshūrā’ is the 10th day in the month of Muḥarram, which is the first month in the Muslim lunar calendar. When the Prophet migrated to Madīnah he noticed that the Jews living there used to fast on this day and celebrate. Upon asking them why, they responded that this was the day when Allah saved Prophet Mūsā [Moses] and his followers from Firʿawn [the Pharaoh] by splitting the Red Sea for them and drowning the oppressive Egyptian army. They also noted that Prophet Mūsā himself fasted on this day as a sign of thanks to Allah. Upon hearing this, the Prophet Muhammad responded, “We are closer to Mūsā than you are”, indicating that Muslims should also be fasting on this day. The Prophet then ordered his followers to fast on the day of ʿĀshūrā’ as well.[1]
When the Prophet Muhammad first prescribed it, fasting on the 10th of Muḥarram was mandatory because Muslims did not fast in Ramadan at that time. Then, when the month of Ramadan was prescribed for fasting, the obligation for the day of ʿĀshūrā’ was reduced to a recommendation. [2]
Some Companions chose not to fast on this day since the Prophet had given them the choice, but he himself continued to every year. In fact, ʿAbdullah ibn ʿAbbās related that he had never seen the Prophet so keen on fasting any other day than the day of ʿĀshūrā’.[3]
The Messenger of Allah also emphasized fasting on this day to such an extent that he once said, “I hope that Allah would forgive the sins of the previous year for the one who fasts on the day of ʿĀshūrā’.”[4]
Near the end of the Prophet’s life, he wanted Muslims to differentiate themselves from other religions so he stated, “Fast the day of ʿĀshūrā’ but differentiate yourself from the Jews by fasting the day before or after it.”[5]
Whichever day a person chooses will have the reward for fasting on the day of ʿĀshūrā’. [6]
One of the misconceptions that have occurred in the minds of many Muslims is that the 10th of Muḥarram should be observed as a day of mourning because Husayn ibn ʿAlī, the righteous grandson of the Prophet, was killed on this day. It is true that the day he was killed was indeed sad and a great tragedy. However, many righteous people have been killed on other days, yet none of those dates has been taken as days of mourning. Ḥusayn’s own father, ʿAlī, was also killed unjustly in the month of Ramadan in the year 40 A.H. but no one has specified that day as a day of mourning to be observed by Muslims.
Furthermore, the Messenger of Allah witnessed the slaying of many of his family members who were very dear to him such as his uncle Ḥamza, his adopted son Zayd ibn Ḥārithah, and his cousin Jaʿfar [ʿAlī’s brother], yet he never appointed a day of mourning for them. Therefore, although it may be beneficial to reflect on the martyrdom of Ḥusayn and the historical lessons that can be derived from such an incident, there is no basis for singling out his death as a day of mourning.
References:
[1] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 3:43, #2004
[2] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 3:43, #2002
[3] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 3:43, #2006
[4] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2:818, #1162; Muslim scholars have explained that this refers to minor sins only.
[5] Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, Musnad, 4:52, #2154; Ibn Ḥajar and other scholars deemed this narration to be weak because the narrator Ibn Abī Laylā did not have a very strong memory but Aḥmad Shākir declared it to be sufficient [ḥasan] because there are several reports from other narrators to this effect which give it some strength.
[6] Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, Fatḥ al-Bārī Sharḥ Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 4:245

During the early years of Islam, the month of Muharram came to include three significant events.

 

The first is the Hijrah, the migration of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD. This birth of a pluralistic Muslim community marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar, and served as the key turning point for the first Muslims and the future of Islam. The Hijrah also marks the beginning of new chapter for humanity, where freedom of faith and justice for all became the cardinal principles of the newly founded society, and a model for us to aspire to.

 

The other two historic events took place on the 10th day of Muharram, called Ashura.

 

After completing the migration to Medina, the Prophet witnessed the Jews of Medina were fasting to celebrate the victory of Prophet Musa (pbuh) and his people over the Egyptian Pharaoh. Prophet Muhammad then asked his companions to join this fasting tradition to express their gratitude to Allah for saving Musa and his people.

 

On the same day just six decades later, the Prophet’s grandson Husayn ibn Ali was martyred in the Battle of Karbala. This was one of the saddest and heartbreaking events in the history of Islam, which we continue to mourn today.

 

As we commemorate Ashura, for Prophet Musa and Imam Husayn, we are called to re-commit to our struggle against all forms of tyranny and oppression, and to seek liberty and justice for all.