Ashura among Sonnet Muslims:
Sonnet Muslims fast the day of Ashura, following an apostolic tradition, stating Muhammad (pbuh) once moved to Medina, found the Jews there celebrating that day, the 10th of Muharram, asking them about the related ceremony, they replied “it is a glorious day, when God released Moses and the Israelites from slavery in Egypt”, then Apostle of God replied “We care about Moses even more than you, and we will fast it.” Sonnet references state it was a mandated fast before Ramadan, then became voluntarily after Ramadan was mandated. Moreover, some heritage books listed other occasions to be commemorated in 10th of Muharram, these are,
- God had mercy on Adam
- The deliverance of Noah from the flood
- Abraham was saved from Nimrod's fire
- Jacob's blindness was healed after Joseph's shirt was brought to him on this day
- Job was healed from his illness
- The Israelites were saved from Pharaoh's army
While we cannot track back the first 5 occasions, except from Torah that is not historically solid itself, we better focus on the latest, Moses exodus, following this line, we shall find some surprises, these are;
- Israelites by time of Moses must have followed one of two calendars, the Egyptian or the Hebrew. Both were lunisolar, inserting some intercalation days to adjust the calendar to solar agricultural seasons. While Islamic calendar as we know today, is a lunar calendar following moon phases only. Accordingly, to whatever date corresponded the 10th of Muharram in the year 631 AD, it is never the same in 2008. Islamic year is 11 days shorted than both Egyptian and Hebrew years.
- Judaic fasts have always been limited to a couple of major fasts, “Tisha B'Av”, commemorating destruction of Solomon Temple, and “Yom Kippur” commemorating descent of 10 commandments in Sinai. Plus 4 minor fasts were practiced, these are “Fast of Gedalia” commemorating assassination of the righteous governor of Judah, “Tenth of Tevet” commemorating the Babylonian siege, “Seventeenth of Tammuz” commemorating Jews exile from Jerusalem, and finally “Fast of Esther” commemorating Babylonian captivity. They never fast in the “Passover” day that commemorates Exodus of Moses from Egypt.
- Passover is a feast related to the rank “10th” as well, but not the tenth of Muharram, it commemorates when God passed-over the Jews houses, in the “10th” wave of plague he cursed Egyptians with. Can this be the drive of the term “Ashura’a” meaning 10th in Arabic? Is it possible that Jews in Medina used to fast it unlike other Jews? Difficult to answer
Ashura among Shiite Muslims:
Shiites do not credit the above mentioned hadieth advising a fast on the 10th of Muharram, they claim it to be an Umayyad conspiracy, faking this hadieth to let people celebrate at the very same day commemorated Hussein bin AliAli”, 2 sons of his cousin “Ja’afar” and 6 sons of a third cousin, “Aquil”. It was the sad eradication day of Muhammad’s male kinship from earth, while they were trying to rectify the Caliphate to be righteous one again after the Umayyad “Yazid” turned it into a devilish Empire. martyrdom in Karbala’a, together with 6 direct descendants of Muhammad (pbuh), 6 sons of his cousin “
However, and apart from the dark memory of Karbala, Shiites practices mourning this day, the bloody rituals they used to follow, has always represented a mischievous practice, which is hard to justify. It might only look sane to the fanatic Catholics in sects like “Opus Dei”, as they share the same body mutilation rituals, trying to feel the agony of Jesus on cross. However, it cannot look as sane to any modest or secular mind.
Ashura among Egyptians:
Ashura has a special relevance among Egyptians, who hold a very special history in matter of Islamic streams, Egyptians used to be Sonnets until Fatimids dominated Egypt and founded Cairo city in 969 AD, following their Caliph, Egyptians converted to Shiite around this time in 10th century. They used to celebrate Karbala, yet in a festival form that fitted with Fatimid life loving style, and to celebrate Apostle Birthday, with a sugar-made dolls resembling “Fatima Zahraa” as a bride with 3 halos of holiness around her, and “Hussein” as a knight over his horseback. Upon fall of the Fatimid dynasty to be succeeded by Ayyobids, Saladin, who was a Sonnet on the Shafi’i juridical school, he converted the Shiite clergy school, Al-Azhar, to be a Sonnet one, and ordered Ashura, the nuts’ pudding to be distributed in the 10th of Muharram, as a celebration opposing the Shiites mourning. Later, Egyptians did not mind much to follow the stream of their new Sultan, they only kept the habits of Shiites, represented today in many celebrations and religious festivals. Most prominently, Sonnet Egyptians use Shiite icons today, in the form of the sugar bride and knight, only without knowing it is a part of Shiite symbology!
What a rich day with mythology, confusions, memories and sweets!