What was Sayyiduna Mu’awiyah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) referring to when he said ‘Ayna ‘Ulamaukum‘? Sahih Muslim, Kitabus Sawm.
The full Hadith is as follows:
Humayd ibn ‘Abdir Rahman narrates that he heard Mu’awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (radiyallahu ‘anhu) say on the mimbar on the day of ‘Aashura’ in the year he went on hajj, ‘O people of Madinah! Where are your men of knowledge [‘Ulama]? I heard Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say, ‘This is the day of ‘Aashura, Allah has not made fasting compulsory, but I am fasting. Whoever wishes can fast and whoever wishes need not fast.'”
(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 2003, Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1129)
Sayyiduna Mu’awiyah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) asked ‘Where are your scholars’, implying that they ought to be informing and rectifying you.
‘Allamah Nawawi (rahimahullah) explains, ‘It seems that Sayyiduna Mu’awiyah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) heard some people regarding fasting on ‘Aashura wajib, haram or disliked. He therefore clarified the issue, that it it is not wajib or haram, rather it is Sunnah.’
(Al Minhaj, Hadith: 2648)
Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) says, ‘The context of the narration seems to indicate that Sayyiduna Mu’awiyah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) felt that the people were not showing this fast due importance. He therefore inquired as to where were the scholars? [They should be encouraging to you fast.]
(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 2003)
It is possible these particular people in Madinah were not fully informed of the matter.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar