Bidahs common on ‘Aashooraa’
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about the things that people do on ‘Aashooraa’, such as wearing kohl, taking a bath (ghusl), wearing henna, shaking hands with one another, cooking grains (huboob), showing happiness and so on. Was any of this reported from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in a saheeh hadeeth, or not? If nothing to that effect was reported in a saheeh hadeeth, is doing these things bid’ah, or not? Is there any basis for what the other group do, such as grieving and mourning, going without anything to drink, eulogizing and wailing, reciting in a crazy manner, and rending their garments?
His reply was:
Nothing to that effect has been reported in any saheeh hadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from his Companions. None of the imaams of the Muslims encouraged or recommended such things, neither the four imaams, nor any others. No reliable scholars have narrated anything like this, neither from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), nor from the Sahaabah, nor from the Taabi’een; neither in any saheeh report or in a da’eef (weak) report; neither in the books of Saheeh, nor in al-Sunan, nor in the Musnads. No hadeeth of this nature was known during the best centuries, but some of the later narrators reported ahaadeeth like the one which says, “Whoever puts kohl in his eyes on the day of ‘Aashooraa’ will not suffer from eye disease in that year, and whoever takes a bath (does ghusl) on the day of ‘Aashooraa’ will not get sick in that year,” and so on. They also reported a fabricated hadeeth that is falsely attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), which says, “Whoever is generous to his family on the day of ‘Aashooraa’, Allaah will be generous to him for the rest of the year.” Reporting all of this from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is tantamount to lying.’
Then he [Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him)] discussed in brief the tribulations that had occurred in the early days of this ummah and the killing of al-Husayn (may Allaah be pleased with him), and what the various sects had done because of this. Then he said:
Aashoora : Day of Eid or Day of Sorrow ?
‘An ignorant, wrongful group – who were either heretics and hypocrites, or misguided and misled – made a show of allegiance to him and the members of his household, so they took the day of ‘Aashooraa’ as a day of mourning and wailing, in which they openly displayed the rituals of jaahiliyyah such as slapping their cheeks and rending their garments, grieving in the manner of the jaahiliyyah… The Shaytaan made this attractive to those who are misled, so they took the day of ‘Aashooraa’ as an occasion of mourning, when they grieve and wail, recite poems of grief and tell stories filled with lies. Whatever truth there may be in these stories serves no purpose other than the renewal of their grief and sectarian feeling, and the stirring up of hatred and hostility among the Muslims, which they do by cursing those who came before them… The evil and harm that they do to the Muslims cannot be enumerated by any man, no matter how eloquent he is. Some others – either Naasibis who oppose and have enmity towards al-Husayn and his family or ignorant people who try to fight evil with evil, corruption with corruption, lies with lies and bid’ah with bid’ah – opposed them by fabricating reports in favour of making the day of ‘Aashooraa’ a day of celebration, by wearing kohl and henna, spending money on one’s children, cooking special dishes and other things that are done on Eids and special occasions. These people took the day of ‘Aashooraa’ as a festival like Eid, whereas the others took it as a day of mourning. Both are wrong, and both go against the Sunnah, even though the other group (those who take it as a day of mourning) are worse in intention and more ignorant and more plainly wrong… Neither the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) nor his successors (the khulafa’ al-raashidoon) did any of these things on the day of ‘Aashooraa’, they neither made it a day of mourning nor a day of celebration…
As for the other things, such as cooking special dishes with or without grains, or wearing new clothes, or spending money on one’s family, or buying the year’s supplies on that day, or doing special acts of worship such as special prayers or deliberately slaughtering an animal on that day, or saving some of the meat of the sacrifice to cook with grains, or wearing kohl and henna, or taking a bath (ghusl), or shaking hands with one another, or visiting one another, or visiting the mosques and mashhads (shrines) and so on… all of this is reprehensible bid’ah and is wrong. None of it has anything to do with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or the way of the Khulafa’ al-Raashidoon. It was not approved of by any of the imaams of the Muslims, not Maalik, not al-Thawri, not al-Layth ibn Sa’d, not Abu Haneefah, not al-Oozaa’i, not al-Shaafa’i, not Ahmad ibn Hanbal, not Ishaaq ibn Raahwayh, not any of the imaams and scholars of the Muslims.’(al-Fataawa al-Kubra by Ibn Taymiyah)
Ibn al-Haaj (may Allaah have mercy on him) mentioned that one of the bid’ahs on ‘Aashooraa’ was deliberately paying zakaat on this day, late or early, or slaughtering a chicken just for this occasion, or – in the case of women – using henna.
(al-Madkhal, part 1, Yawm ‘Aashooraa’)
The ruling on wearing one’s adornment on the Day of Aashooraa
It is not permissible for you to wear fancy clothes or anything else on Aashooraa because that may make ignorant people or those with ulterior motives think that the Sunnis are happy about the killing of al-Husayn ibn Ali (may Allaah be pleased with them both).
Because of the killing of al-Husayn, the Shaytaan started to spread two kinds of bidah (innovation) amongst the people: the bidah of grieving and wailing on the Day of Aashooraa, striking the cheeks, screaming, weeping and reciting eulogies ; and the bidah of expressing happiness and joy. So some express grief and others express joy, so they started to like the idea of wearing kohl, taking a bath, spending on their families and preparing special kinds of food on the day of Aashooraa and every bidah is a going astray; none of the four imams of the Muslims or others approved of either of these things (either expressing grief or expressing joy)
It is reported in al-Saheeh that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “he is not one of us who strikes his cheeks, rends his garments and prays with the prayer of Jaahiliyyah.” And he said: “I have nothing to do with those who strike [their cheeks], shave [their heads] and rend [their garments].” And he said: “If the woman who wails does not repent before she dies, she will be raised up on the Day of Resurrection wearing trousers made of tar and a shirt of scabs.”
Our Lord! grant us good in this world
and good in the hereafter,
and save us from the chastisement of the fire