We Muslims who live in non-Muslim countries, have so many opportunities before us to form ties between our neighbors to earn their love and respect, to bring an end to their misconceptions about our deen, and teach them the truth about Islam.
One of these opportunities that knocks on our door is the day of Ashura.
Sharing this unheard and maybe strange mixture of savory and colorful dessert might be a perfect tool to build bridges between perspectives, cultures, and religions.
With this in mind please take advantage of this beautiful occasion to print the information below, attach it to your delicious bowl of Ashura, and share it with your neighbors and friends.
We hope that this will be your chance to make a difference toward something good and meaningful.
Please accept this little cup of dessert to help us celebrate our cultural and religious tradition on this 10th of Muharram (the first month of the Islamic Calendar).
This dessert is called Ashura (literally means the 10th in Arabic), may be, the least known in the Western World compared to other Muslim Holidays such as Ramadan, Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha.
What is Ashura:
Ashura is a religious observance marked every year by Muslims. The word “ashura” literally means “10th”, as it is on the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic year. Ashura is an ancient observance that is now recognized for different reasons and in different ways among Muslims. It is marked by Muslims as a voluntary day of fasting which commemorates many historical events. Ashura is commemorated for the following occasions which Muslims believe happened on the 10th day of the Muharram:
- The deliverance of Noah from the flood,
- Abraham was saved from Nimrod’s fire,
- Jacob’s blindness was healed and he was brought to Joseph on this day,
- Job (Ayyub) was healed from his illness,
- Moses was saved from the impeding Pharaoh’s army,
- Jesus was born, was brought up to heaven after attempts by the Romans to capture and crucify him failed,
- God had mercy on Prophet Adam,
- God had mercy on Prophet David,
- Prophet Jonah was saved from the tummy of a whale.
How we celebrate or commemorate Ashura:
One of the ways we commemorate this day is to fast, not only on the 10th but also on the 9th and 11th. Kids visit the elderly and their neighbors, men do shopping, particularly buy the basic food ingredients such as grains, beans, etc. while a special dessert known as Ashura or Noah’s Pudding is cooked at home by ladies and distributed to relatives, neighbors and guests. Ashura is one of the oldest and most traditional desserts of the Turkish cuisine..
The legend regarding the origins of Ashura, the dessert, goes as follows :
“When the Flood finally subsided and the Noah’s Arc settled on Mount Ararat in Agri in Turkey, those on the vessel wanted to hold a celebration as an expression of the gratitude to the God. But alas, the food storage of the ship was practically empty and so they made a soup with all the remaining ingredients they could find and thus ended up with the ashura, the dessert you have in this little cup.
Following the legend, ashura is today prepared by cooking together 15 or more ingredients. Rice can also be substituted for wheat or it can be used in combination with it. The pudding can be enriched with almonds, hazelnuts and currants. In addition to dried white beans and chickpeas, dried broad beans and dried black-eyed beans can also be added. In some regions molasses replaces sugar. In other regions raisin gum is added. If a pressure cooker is to be used, the chick peas, beans and the wheat can be cooked together. In normal, non-pressure pots the cooking time can vary between 1 or 2 hours depending on the type and quality of the ingredients used. Due to the difference in cooking times and ways of the ingredients, cooking them separately would be more appropriate.
Click to go recipe for Ashura (Noah’s Pudding) in case you would like to try it on your own.