Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: "He who expands on his family in the matter of nafqah (house expenses) on the day of Aashuraa', Allah will expand on him throughout the remaining part of the year."
Aashuraa' is the 10th of Muharram. In the aforementioned Hadith the term 'was-sa-ah' derived from the root word tausee', has been translated as 'expand'. The words 'lavish' and 'generous' do not convey appropriately its meaning. In the context of this Hadith, the term means: spending more than usual. In other words, a bit lavishly, with greater generosity but without waste.
The authorities of the Shariah, (the Akaabir Ulama) have restricted the lavish expenditure of this day to food. We are required to spend a bit more on food and provide delicious dishes for the family on this day. The issue of providing more delicious food or spending more than usual on food on this day, has different meanings for different communities and for even different families in the same community. Most nations have what is called a staple food which they consume throughout the year. The overwhelming majority of people live in poverty and cannot afford sumptuous dishes. For such people the meaning of the Hadith is quite simple and clear. The man in the house should endeavour to bring more than the usual staple diet. Poor people who perhaps eat meat a couple of times a year, will truly appreciate and relish the sumptuous meal. As far as the vast majority of the Ummah is concerned, the Hadith is fully relevant. The father/husband should endeavour to bring extra food home for the Day of Aashuraa'. However, in the context of an affluent society which daily enjoys Bid meals and sumptuous food, the question of bringing in extra food and more delicious food does not apply. Every day we eat the best of food. Delicious food has become such a norm on a daily basis in our affluent society that there is a dilemma on the day of Eid -- what should be prepared on Eid days? Since we eat lavishly and luxuriously and gluttonous every day of the year, the question of 'expanding' in the matter of food or serving lavishly or having more sumptuous dishes does not relate to us whether on Aashuraa' day or on Bid days.
It is on account of the inability to become 'lavish' in the matter of food on the Day of Aashuraa' that shallow-minded learned men and learned men with pecuniary and commercial interests have taken advantage of the ignorance and gullibility of the public. Their worldly and nafsaani interests and motives have constrained them to invent a new bid'ah. They have now introduced the bid' ah of buying and exchanging gifts for the family on Aashuraa' day. This is a new custom which people have introduced in emulation of kuffaar practices. And, they have done so solely for worldly motives. The kuffaar serve their pecuniary and worldly interests by the introduction of practices which they hoist on gullible consumer4ndoctrinated public. People have become the slaves of their nafs. Mass advertising has taken a disastrous toll on the brains of ignorant and unwary people driven like dumb animals by the nafs. In this regard the kuffaar started off with birthdays and gradually progressed to mother's day, father's day, this day and that day. All these days are commercial days to strip stupid people of their money. Following this kuffaar trend, radio molvis of baatil are now advertising 'Aashuraa' Day' as a day of gifts like Christmas day, Valentine's day, Mother's day, Father's day, Uncle's day and Shaitaan's day. After all, what better can be expected of shaitaan's radio appendages?
Muslims should understand that this bid'ah of Aashuraa' being a day to buy gifts is a haraam custom executed in emulation of the kuffaar. It is not permissible to indulge in these un-Islamic practices. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that Muslims will emulate the kuffaar so thoroughly that if they (the kuffaar) had to creep into a lizard's hole, Muslims too will follow them into the hole thinking that it is an act of honour, This is precisely what is happening in this age. Every baseless and nafsaani custom of the kuffaar is imitated. An Islamic hue is given to the kuffaar practice to hoodwink the masses into acceptance Muslims who due to their affluence are unable to increase the lavishness of their food, should think of their poor and less fortunate brothers and sisters in other parts of the world or in their own towns and cities. Spend on them lavishly on the Day of Aashuraa' and gain their heartfelt dua as well as the thawaab of Sadqah. But to indulge in the haraam and wasteful gift custom is a deception of shaitaan and a new bid'ah. At least all adult Muslims will understand that a couple of years ago there never existed this confounded 'gift-custom' on 10thMuharram. The senior Ulama had never propagated this custom Worldly molvis who are destroying the morals of the community are the originators of this custom of giving and exchanging gifts on the Day of Aashuraa'. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: "Whoever clings to my Sunnah at the time of the corruption of my Ummah will obtain the reward of a hundred martyrs (shuhada)."
Issued By: Mujlisul Ulama of South Africa PO Box 3393, Port Elizabeth, 6056 Rep. of South Africa
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