How Many Consecutive Days to Fast in Muharram?

Question and answer details
As-salam `alaykum Shaykh. I know it's to fast on 10th of Muharram with another day in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). However, I am confused as how many days we can fast; is it three or two consecutive days? Jazaka Allah Khayr.
Ahmad Kutty

Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother, thank you for your question.

Read Also:

Fasting on the 10th of Muharram is highly recommended by the Sunnah. One is also encouraged to fast the 9th or the 11th of Muharram with the day of `Ashoura’.

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states,

The month of Muharram is one of the most sacred months; the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) referred to it as shahr Allah al-muharram (Allah's sacred month), which clearly shows the sanctity of this month. There are a number of traditions, which indicate that the Prophet considered it as the most important month, second only to Ramadan for fasting and good deeds. One is encouraged to engage in righteous works such as fasting, voluntary Prayers, and all kinds of and refrain from all actions that are considered offensive in the sight of Allah as He Almighty tells us, {Never oppress yourselves (your own selves or others) in these months.} (At-Tawbah 9: 36)

As for the fasting, it is highly recommended to fast the 9th and 10th; if, however, one could not fast on the 9th, he may fast the 11th as well, besides the 10th.

Here are some well-attested traditions on the fasting of Muharram:

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked about fasting the tenth of Muharram, and he said, "It will wipe the sins committed in the previous year." (Reported by Muslim on the authority of  Abu Qatadah) It is important to know that the reference, here, is to minor sins, as for the major ones, one ought to repent and ask forgiveness.

Al-Bukhari and Muslim report on the authority of Ibn `Abbas: He was asked about fasting the tenth of Muharram, he said, "I never saw the Prophet fasting more fervently seeking rewards as he did in Muharram, besides Ramadan."

Muslim reports on the authority of Jabir Ibn Samurah, "The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to order us and exhort us to fast the day of `Ashura' (i.e., the tenth of Muharram)."

If someone could not fast the ninth he may fast the eleventh instead, for there is a report, attributed to the Prophet, "Fast a day before (i.e., the tenth) or a day after."

I pray to Allah to inspire us to seize the blessings of this sacred month in order to draw near to Him, ameen.

Allah Almighty knows best.