What the Shi'a do on 'Aashoora (10th Muharram) is an InnovationWhat the Shi’a do on ‘Aashoora’ of beating their chests, slapping their cheeks, striking their shoulders with chains and cutting their heads with swords to let the blood flow are all innovations that have no basis in Islam. These things are evils that were forbidden by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who did not prescribe for his ummah to do any of these things or anything similar to them to mark the death of a leader or the loss of a martyr, no matter what his status. During his lifetime (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) a number of senior Sahaabah were martyred and he mourned their loss, such as Hamzah ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, Zayd ibn Haarithah, Ja’far ibn Abi Taalib and ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Rawaahah, but he did not do any of the things that these people do. If it was good, he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would have done it before us.
Ya’qoob (peace be upon him) did not strike his chest or scratch his face, or shed blood or take the day of the loss of Yoosuf as a festival or day of mourning. Rather he remembered his missing loved one and felt sad and distressed because of that. This is something no one can be blamed for. What is forbidden is these actions that have been inherited from the Jaahiliyyah, and which Islam forbids.
Al-Bukhaari (1294) and Muslim (103) narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “He is not one of us who strikes his cheeks, rends his garment, or cries with the cry of the Jaahiliyyah.”
These reprehensible actions that the Shi’a do on the day of ‘Aashoora’ have no basis in Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do them, nor did any of his companions. None of his companions did them when he or anyone else died, although the loss of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was greater than the death of al-Husayn (may Allaah be pleased with him).
Al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Every Muslim should mourn the killing of al-Husayn (may Allaah be pleased with him), for he is one of the leaders of the Muslims, one of the scholars of the Sahaabah, and the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who was the best of his daughters. He was a devoted worshipper, and a courageous and generous man. But there is nothing good in what the Shi’a do of expressing distress and grief, most of which may be done in order to show off. His father was better than him and he was killed, but they do not take his death as an anniversary as they do with the death of al-Husayn. His father was killed on a Friday as he was leaving the mosque after Fajr prayer, on the seventeenth of Ramadaan in 40 AH. ‘Uthmaan was better than ‘Ali according to Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, and he was killed when he was besieged in his house during the days of al-Tashreeq in Dhu’l-Hijjah of 36 AH, with his throat cut from one jugular vein to the other, but the people did not take his death as an anniversary. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab was better than ‘Ali and ‘Uthmaan, and he was killed as he was standing in the mihraab, praying Fajr and reciting Qur’aan, but the people did not take his death as an anniversary. Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq was better than him but the people did not take his death as an anniversary. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is the leader of the sons of Adam in this world and the Hereafter, and Allaah took him to Him as the Prophets died before him, but no one took the dates of their deaths as anniversaries on which they do what these ignorant Raafidis do on the day that al-Husayn was killed. … The best that can be said when remembering these and similar calamities is that which ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn narrated from his grandfather the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who said: “There is no Muslim who is afflicted by a calamity and when he remembers it, even if it was in the dim and distant past, he says Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon (verily to Allaah we belong and unto Him is our return), but Allaah will give him a reward like that of the day when it befell him.”Narrated by Imam Ahmad and Ibn Majaah, end quote from al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah (8/221).
And he said (8/220): The Raafidis went to extremes in the state of Bani Buwayh in the year 400 and thereabouts. The drums were beaten in Baghdad and other cities on the day of ‘Aashoora’, and sand and straw was strewn in the streets and marketplaces, and sackcloth was hung on the shops, and the people expressed grief and wept. Many of them did not drink water that night, in sympathy with al-Husayn, because he was killed when he was thirsty. Then the women went out barefaced, wailing and slapping their faces and chests, walking barefoot in the marketplaces, and other reprehensible innovations… What they intended by these and similar actions is to impugn the state of Banu Umayyah (the Umayyads), because he was killed during their era.
On the day of ‘Aashoora, the Naasibis of Syria do the opposite of what the Raafidis and Shi’a do. They used to cook grains on the day of ‘Aashoora and do ghusl and perfume themselves, and wear their finest garments, and they took that day as an Eid for which they made all kinds of food, and expressed happiness and joy, intending thereby to annoy the Raafidis and be different from them.
Celebrating that day is an innovation (bid’a), and making it an anniversary for mourning is also an innovation. Hence Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Because of the killing of al-Husayn (may Allaah be pleased with him), Shaytaan caused the people to introduce two innovations: the innovation of mourning and wailing on the day of ‘Aashoora’, by slapping the cheeks, weeping, and reciting eulogies. … and the innovation of rejoicing and celebrating. … So some introduced mourning and others introduced celebration, so they regarded the day of ‘Aashoora’ as a day for wearing kohl, doing ghusl, spending on the family and making special foods. … And every innovation is a going astray. None of the four imams of the Muslims or any other (scholars) regarded either of these things as mustahabb.End quote from Minhaaj al-Sunnah (4/554).