There are several legitimate practices in Islam that have been wrongfully deemed as incorrect. In an era of religious melt-down, we cannot afford such incorrect assertions One such practice is: Spending on one’s family on the day of ‘Ashura (The 10th of Muharram)
Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) is reported to have said:
“Whoever expands his expenditure on his family on the day of ‘Aashura, Allah Ta’ala will inflate his sustenance for the rest of that year”
Source and Authenticity of this narration
This Hadith has been reported by several Sahabah (radiyallahu ’anhum), among them are the following:
1) Sayyiduna Jabir (radiyallahu ’anhuma)
(Al-Istidhkar of Ibn ‘Abdil Bar,vol.10, pg. 140)
Hafiz Al-‘Iraqi (rahimahullah) has declared this chain as the most authentic one that exists for this narration. He has also confirmed it to be par in authenticity with the standards of Imam Muslim (rahimahullah) (Al-Maqasidul Hasanah, Hadith: 1193)
2) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ’anhu)
(Shu’abul Iman, Hadith: 3515, Al-Targheeb, vol.2 pg. 115-116))
Classified as Saheeh (Authentic) by: Hafiz Ibn Nasir (rahimahullah) (Al-Maqasidul Hasanah, Hadith: 1193)
3) Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudry (radiyallahu ’anhu)
(Shu’abul Imaan, Hadith: 3514)
4) Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radiyallahu ’anhu)
(Shu’abul Iman, Hadith: 3513)
After recording the above Ahadith, Imam Al-Baihaqi (rahimahullah) comments as follows:
“When all the chains of these narrations are gathered, they assume (sufficient) strength”
This statement of Imam Baihaqi (rahimahullah) has been quoted with acceptance by several expert Muhaddithun, like: Imam Mundhiri (rahimahullah), Hafidh Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah), ‘Allamah Sakhawi (rahimahullah) and ‘Allamah Suyuti (rahimahullah). (see: Targheeb, vol.2 pg. 116, Al-Amalil Mutlaqah, pg.30, Al-Maqasidul Hasanah, #1193 & Al-La-alil Masnu’ah, vol.2 pg. 95)
5) Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radiyallahu ’anhuma)
(Al-Afrad of Daraqutni, Tanzihu Shari’ah, vol.2, pg. 158)
This has also been reported with a good chain as the statement of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ’anhu)
(Al-Afrad of Daraqutni, see Al-Maqasidul Hasanah, Hadith: 1193 and Tanzihu Shari’ah, vol.2, pg.158)
Furthermore, several narrators of this Hadith have been reported to have echoed the following testimony:
“We have tried this, and have found it to be accurate”
(Al-Istidhkar, vol.10 pg. 140)
This further strengthens the credibility of the narration.
In fact, one narrator of this Hadith, a great Muhaddith and faqih, Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah (rahimahullah) said:
“I have been doing this for fifty to sixty years and have always seen its benefit”
(Lataiful Ma’arif, pg. 113)
Imam Al- Bajuri (rahimahullah) has written: When the chains of this narration are all gathered, they acquire credibility. (Al-Mawahibul Ladunniyyah, pg.492)
‘Allamah Al-‘Iraqi (rahimahullah) has authored a detailed treatise on this Hadith in which he has proven its acceptability beyond a shadow of doubt. He has also vehemently rebutted the assumption of Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) that this Hadith has no basis. Al-‘Iraqi (rahimahullah) – like many others- has expressed his amazement at such an irrational assertion! (see: Tanzihu Shari’ah, vol.2, pg.158 & Shawahidul Haq of Nabahani, pg.192-195)
I have quoted the authenticity of this narration above from ten Muhaddithun. This is sufficient for anyone to be convinced.
Lastly, this Hadith provides an ideal solution during these times of global financial constraint. This is not restricted to food only. One can spend in the form that is deemed most appropriate. (Al-Hadiyyatul ‘Alaiyyah, pg.311)
The extent of expansion in expenditure will naturally depend on one’s means. However, one should be careful not to exaggerate in this regard, or emulate the non believers in their manner of “gifting”.
Note: The Hadith in question only encourages spending on one’s family. The Arabic word used is: عياله which translates as: “one’s dependants”.
And Allah Ta’ala knows best.
N.B. Imam Al-Baihaqi (rahimahullah) and others have written that the practice of applying surma on ‘Ashura has been reported in an extremely weak narration. (Shu’abul Iman, vol.5 pg.334 and Maqasidul Hasanah, Hadith: 1085)
Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) and ‘Allamah Sakhawi (rahimahullah) have in fact classified this as a fabrication. (Lataiful Ma’arif, pg. 112 & Al-Maqasidul Hasanah, Hadith: 1085)
The ‘Ulama have therefore ruled it as a bid’ah (innovation) (ibid)