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Dear sisters and brothers of the Muslim community,

'As-Salamu 'Aalaikum.

According to the moon sighting process for North America, the first day of Muharram was January 10th. This means that the 10th day of Muharram, or the day of 'Aashoura, is January 19th, 2008. 

Let me just ask The Almighty God to bless all of us during those days of 'Aashoura.

It would be recommended to fast Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday, if you are able to. Please see the detailed description of what this occasion is about: 

What is 'Aashoura?
'Aashoura was preserved through time by the Arabian Jews as Yom Kippur (10 Tishrei) as a day of expiation from sin. At the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Jews still observed a modified lunar calendar consisting of 10 months with leap months every few years. The 10th of Muharram and the 10th of Tishrei overlapped, and Muslims were enjoined to continue the practice.

Ibn Abbas reported: "The Prophet came to Madinah and found the Jews fasting the day of 'Aashoura. He asked them: "Why are you fasting this day?" They said: "This is a great day. God saved Musa (Moses) and the tribes of Israel from their enemies on this day and therefore Musa fasted on it. "The Prophet said: "We have as much of a right to Moses as you do. So, it is our duty to also celebrate him" In other words, we Muslims have to celebrate the freedom of Moses and the Israelites. So Muhammad, Upon him be peace, fasted on that day also and ordered the Muslims to fast on that day." [al-Bukhari].

Why fast 'Aashoura +1 day?
Abd-Allaah ibn 'Abbaas said: "When the Messenger of God, peace be upon him, fasted on 'Aashoura' and commanded the Muslims to fast as well, they said, 'O Messenger of God, it is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.' So, Prophet Muhammad out of happiness said, 'If I live to see the next year, with God's will, we will fast on the ninth day too.' But it so happened that the prophet passed away before the next year came." (Reported by Imam Muslim). 

Imam Al-Shafi and his companions, Ahmad, Ishaaq and others said: "It is preferred to fast on both the ninth and tenth days, because the Prophet fasted on the tenth, and intended to fast on the ninth." 

Furthermore, the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace, said: "For fasting the day of 'Aashoura', I hope that the Almighty will accept our repentance and will forgive us for the sins of the most recent year." (Reported by Imam Muslim, 1976). 

Imagine how much love prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace had and imagine how much inclusive he was. He was indeed a mercy unto mankind. Our Muslim love of our Jewish sisters and brothers stems from the actions and the words of our prophet Muhammad. Hence we the Muslim ummah must use this opportunity to reach out to our Jewish neighbors to join hands with them in the pursuit of justice, freedom and peace for all God's people.

I hope that the Almighty one delivers the Israelis and the Palestinians from the slavery of the 60 years conflict and to liberate us all from hate and wars.

May God guide us with His light and Hikmah, wisdom.

Imam Yahya Hendi

January 17, 2008


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