Translated for www.islamqa.com

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All Praise is for Allah.

It is narrated in Musnad Ahmad (2155) from Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Fast on the day of ‘Ashura (10th Muharram), and oppose the Jews in it. Fast a day before it, or a day after it.” The scholars differed about the authenticity of this hadith. Shaykh Ahmad Shakir thought it is sound (hassan), while the scholars researching Musnad Ahmad thought it was weak. Ibn Khuzaymah (2095) narrated the same words, about which Al-Albani said: “It’s chain of narrators is weak, due to the bad memory of Ibn Abi Laila. ‘Ata and other narrators reported different to his (Ibn Abi Laila’s) version in which they narrated the words from Ibn ‘Abbas (not the Prophet). The chain of narrators of this latter version by Al-Tahawi and Al-Baihaqi is authentic.”

If the hadith is sound (hassan), then this is good enough, but if it is weak, then scholars are lenient about this since the weakness is not too much. Plus, it is a hadith which exhorts doing things already proven in Islam (about which one school of thought among the scholars of hadith are rather lenient: translator), since the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that the best of fasts after Ramadhan is Muharram. (Muslim, 1163)

Al-Baihaqi reported the hadith in Al-Sunan Al-Kubra with the words: “Fast on the day of ‘Ashura (10th Muharram), and oppose the Jews in it. Fast a day before it, and a day after it.” Notice that here the “or” is replaced by “and” in the last sentence.

Ibn Hajar quoted this hadith in “Ittihaf Al-Muhrah” (2225) with the words “Fast a day before it, and a day after it.” Ibn Hajar commented, “Ahmad and Al-Baihaqi narrated it with a weak chain, due to the weakness of Muhammad Bin Abi Laila. However he (Ibn Abi Laila) was not alone in narrating these words, as Salih Bin Abi Salih Bin Hai also narrated the same words.”

Hence, this narration proves that it is recommended to fast on the 9th, 10th and 11th of Muharram.

Allah knows best.

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