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Adornment and Use of Kohl on Ashura: Permitted?

07 August, 2022
Q Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. Are there any recommended deeds to be done on the day of `Ashura’ along with fasting such as adorning oneself, applying kohl, and making children happy? And what is the ruling of fasting on that day? Jazakum Allah khayran.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

  • Regarding making children happy and spending on them generously on the day of Ashura, there were some controversial reports recommending it.
  • Applying kohl and adorning oneself on this day is not established through any authentic Hadith.

In his response to your question, Dr. Rif`at Fawzi, former professor of Shari`ah at Cairo Univ., states:

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Significance of the Day of Ashura

The day of Ashura is a blessed day. It witnessed victories of truth over falsehood and belief over polytheism and on it Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy (in Egypt).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura. He asked them about that, and they replied, “This is a good day, the day on which Allah rescued the Children of Israel from their enemy. So, Musa fasted this day.” The Prophet said, “We have more claim to Moses than you.” The Prophet fasted on that day and ordered the Muslims to fast on that day also. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The day of Ashura has many virtues. In this regard Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: “I never saw Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of Ashura, and this month, meaning Ramadan.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that when he was asked about the day of Ashura, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied that it expiates the sins of the previous year.

Abu Said Al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever offers fast on the day of Arafah, shall have all his evil deeds of the previous year and the following one pardoned. And whoever fasts on the day of `Ashura’ shall have his deeds pardoned for a year.” (Muslim)

Spending generously on children on the day of Ashura

There are many Hadiths regarding spending generously on children on this day. For instance, there are some Hadiths reported by Abu Said Al-Khudri, Abu Hurairah, and Ibn Masud with weak chains of transmission. Nevertheless, if the narrations of the aforementioned figures are combined, the Hadiths will become sounder.

This Hadith was reported on the authority of Jabir said that whoever spends on his children generously on that day, Allah will increase his provision throughout the year.

At the same time, there are no authentic Hadiths regarding applying kohl and similar practices.

Ibn Abd Al-Barr said: “Muslim scholars agreed that offering the fast on the day of Ashura is not obligatory, rather it is mustahab (recommendable).”

Levels of fasting Ashura

It is important to note that Muslim scholars have stated that there are three levels of fasting on the day of Ashura:

  • Fasting for three days, i.e., on the 9th, 10th, and 11th of Muharram,
  • Fasting on the 9th and 10th of Muharram, and
  • Fasting only the 10th of Muharram.

The Prophet (PBUH) said after ordering the fast of the tenth of Muharram: “If I live until the following year, I shall (also) fast on the 9th day.” (Muslim) But the Prophet passed away before the following year.

Imam Ahmad reported that the Prophet (PBUH)
said: “Observe fast on the day of Ashura, but do not follow the Jews in their way of fasting; fast one day before it and one day after it.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Based on the above, we can conclude that there are no authentic Hadiths regarding adornment and applying kohl on the day of Ashura. The Prophet observed fast on that day and urged Muslims to fast due to its great significance.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.