Ashura is the 10th day of Muharram, and holds immense importance in the Islamic calendar.

This sacred day, which falls on 10 Muharram 1446 (16 July 2024), commemorates significant historical events which serve as reminders to strengthen faith and devotion. These events exemplify the values of courage, devotion, and divine mercy.

Through fasting, prayer, and remembrance, Ashura is a time of spiritual renewal and commitment to the principles of justice and faith. As Muslims around the world observe this sacred day, they reflect on the lessons from the lives of Imam Hussain (رضي الله عنه), Prophet Musa (عليه السلام), and Prophet Nuh (عليه السلام). 

The Martyrdom of Imam Hussain (رضي الله عنه)

One of the most poignant events commemorated on Ashura is the martyrdom of Imam Hussain ibn Ali (رضي الله عنه), the beloved grandson of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. On this day, Muslims remember Imam Hussain’s heroic stand against the tyranny of Yazid during the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE. Imam Hussain (رضي الله عنه), along with his family and companions, was martyred while upholding justice and the true principles of Islam.

The sacrifice of Imam Hussain (رضي الله عنه) symbolises the ultimate stand for truth and righteousness in Islamic history. Ashura is a reminder of his unwavering commitment to justice, and refusal to bow to oppression. We can use the Islamic New Year as an opportunity to renew our intentions of courage, sacrifice, and steadfastness in the face of injustice.

The Deliverance of Musa (عليه السلام)

Another significant event commemorated on Ashura is the deliverance of Prophet Musa (Moses, عليه السلام) and the Israelites from the tyranny of Pharaoh. This event highlights Allah’s miraculous intervention when He parted the Red Sea, allowing Musa (عليه السلام) and his people to escape from Pharaoh’s pursuing army. The drowning of Pharaoh and his forces in the sea is a testament to Allah’s power and mercy.

The miraculous event is a pivotal moment in Islamic history, illustrating divine deliverance and the triumph of faith over oppression. Muslims reflect on this event during Ashura, recognising the importance of gratitude and trust in Allah’s plan.

Photo: Open Iftar 2024 x Young V&A by Acacia Diana for Ramadan Tent Project

The Devotion of Nuh (عليه السلام)

Ashura also commemorates the devotion of Prophet Nuh (Noah, عليه السلام) to Allah. On the 10th of Muharram, the ark of Nuh (عليه السلام) came to rest on Mount Judiyy, marking the end of the great flood. This event signifies the renewal of life on Earth and the mercy of Allah.

Prophet Nuh’s (عليه السلام) faith and dedication to spreading Allah’s message despite immense challenges serve as an inspiration to Muslims. These events emphasise the virtues of patience, perseverance, and reliance on Allah’s wisdom.

Fasting on the Day of Ashura

Fasting on the Day of Ashura is highly encouraged in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad said, “Fasting on the Day of Ashura, I hope that Allah will accept it as expiation for the previous year.” (Muslim). This act of worship is an opportunity for spiritual cleansing, understanding sacrifice, and increased empathy for those less fortunate.

Open Iftar 2024 x V&A Dundee by Lindsay Fraser for Ramadan Tent Project

Muslims are encouraged to fast on the 9th and 10th of Muharram. If that is not possible, fasting on the 10th and 11th of Muharram is also recommended. This year, the days surrounding Ashura are:

  • 9th of Muharram, Day Before Ashura: Monday 15 July 2024
  • 10th of Muharram, Day of Ashura: Tuesday 16 July 2024
  • 11th of Muharram, Day After Ashura: Wednesday 17 July 2024

Photo: Open Iftar 2024 x Shepherd’s Bush Market by Acacia Diana for Ramadan Tent Project

A Prayer for Ashura

May this Ashura bring peace, reflection, and blessings to all. As we observe Ashura, we seek Allah’s mercy and forgiveness. Here is a short dua for this blessed day:

O Allah, bless us with Your mercy and forgiveness on this blessed day of Ashura. Grant us strength to follow the path of righteousness, and to stand for truth and justice; fill our hearts with gratitude for Your countless blessings. Ameen.

Photo: Open Iftar Arafah 2024 at Tavistock Square Gardens by Acacia Diana for Ramadan Tent Project