ISTANBUL: Boiled beans, chickpeas, wheat and nuts, boil them in a saucepan with sugar water. Would you not find that attractive? Across Turkey, almost every household has been enjoying this dessert, and you may be wondering why, so let’s dive into the history of Islam to find out
If I were to give a short tip for those foreign to the subject it would be that people mostly eat ashura dessert in a certain month of the year. Now, if I have piqued your interest, let’s start with some basics, like the name “ashura.”
The name of the dessert, “ashura,” comes from the meaning of the Arabic words “ashare” and “ashir.” In Arabic, “ashare” means 10, and “ashir” means 10th. The dessert is made on the 10th day of the month of Muharram according to the Hijri calendar, in honor of its name. However, it is not exclusive to that day – which is known as Ashura Day – and can also be made during the whole month of Muharram.
Every year, the 10th day of Muharram is celebrated as the day of Ashura and ashura is boiled in homes. This ashura is also distributed to neighbors, spouses and friends. The day of Ashura changes every year according to the Hijri calendar, this year it was celebrated on Aug. 8. Muharram, which started on Saturday, July 30, will end on Saturday, Aug. 27. So, ashura can be made and distributed until almost the end of August.
In the Gregorian calendar, the year begins in January, but the starting month of the Hijri calendar is Muharram. The beginning of the Prophet Muhammad’s migration from Mecca to Medina was accepted as the first day of Muharram, that is, the beginning of the Hijri calendar.
Therefore, the first day of Muharram is actually the Hijri New Year.
This is the month in which fighting is considered haram, or forbidden, in Islam. This month, which is observed with fasting worship and ashura treats, is very important in Islam.
In Islam, it is believed that fasting during this month is the most virtuous fast second only to fasting during the month of Ramadan.
According to some sources, one of the reasons for the name given to Ashura Day is that on the 10th day of Muharram, Allah gave 10 different treats to 10 prophets.
There have been important and positive events in the lives of many prophets on this day.
According to some Islamic sources, the acceptance of the Prophet Adam’s repentance, the date when Prophet Noah’s ship survived the flood, the birth of the Prophet Moses and the Prophet Jesus, and the salvation of the Prophet Moses and his people from the persecution of the Pharaoh, all these events happened in the month of Muharram. In fact, for this reason, the month of Muharram and Ashura is not only important for Islam but also for other religions.
One of the events that have been foretold to take place in this month is the great flood and the survival of the Prophet Noah’s ark. This event is said to be connected with the emergence of the Ashura tradition.
People did not believe in the prophethood of Noah, including his own son, and they persecuted and ridiculed him despite him relaying Allah’s orders. In the end, Prophet Noah voiced his complaint about his people to Allah. In order to punish unbelieving human beings, Allah said that he would destroy them with a flood and ordered Prophet Noah to build a very large ark. The Prophet Noah built the ark and put all those who believed him on the ark. He also put one couple of animals of each breed on board.
He loaded whatever was edible onto the ship. Allah caused a great flood, and the ship moved during this time, only the good souls in it were saved. The ship stayed in the water for months, while those on the ship fed on the food they had with them. However, after a while, the food ran out. In order to meet their nutritional needs, they cooked a dish called ashura by throwing all the remaining legumes and dried fruits into a cauldron. This food, which was cooked at that time, has survived to the present day as the ashura dessert.
That is the religious history of ashura. So, after talking so much, shall we not give the dessert recipe for those who are wondering?
Even if you think that boiling the ingredients I mentioned at the beginning of the article with sugar water and eating it doesn’t sound good at first, you need to rethink. Because when these ingredients come together, it becomes a delicious dessert that you would never imagine. I really look forward to this time of year so that I can eat more of this dessert.
Without further ado, let me explain.
In fact, there are seven basic ingredients in ashura. Wheat, chickpeas, dried beans, dried apricots, raisins, granulated sugar and water. However, it is up to you to diversify these materials.
We boil wheat, dried beans and chickpeas. To make it softer, you can put it in water the night before and let it sit. After making sure that it is well softened, we add water to cover all of them and continue mixing. After a little cooking, we add currants, raisins, dried apricots, dried figs and hazelnuts and mix and cook again. Finally, we add sugar. The reason we add sugar last is actually a trick. Sugar should be added last so that the ashura does not become watery. We turn off the fire when the consistency of the ashura, which we left to cook on medium heat, thickens.
Another trick is to add milk to make the color of the ashura clear. It may be one of your preferences to add rose water to the ashura. Recently, people have been experimenting with different fruits upon request. Fruits such as orange peel, cloves, apples and quince add a distinct flavor to ashura.
We put our cooked ashura in bowls.
Now it’s time to make our ashuras even more appetizing. You can add both visuality and flavor to your dessert by sprinkling it with powdered pistachios or cinnamon and decorating it with pomegranate and walnuts.
Don’t forget to share the ashura dessert with your loved ones after you make it because ashura is a symbol of togetherness, love and sharing, as well as a symbol of abundance and fertility.
The post History from surah to surah, the pure allure of ashura appeared first on The Frontier Post.