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Concerning Fasting
  Voluntary Fasting in Islaam
Author: Abdul Kader at-Tayebi
Article ID : IBD090001  [50867]  
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5- Fasting Tasu'a and `Aashuraa':

Tasu`aa' and `Aashuraa' are respectively the ninth and the tenth day of the month of Muharram.

Ibn Abbas reported: "The Prophet came to Madinah and found the Jews fasting the day of Ashura. He asked them: "Why are you fasting this day?" They said: "This is a great day. Allah saved Mousa (Moses) and the tribes of Israel from their enemies on this day and therefore Mousa fasted on it. "The Prophet said: "We have more of a right to Mousa than you." So he fasted on that day also and ordered the people to fast on that day." [al-Bukhari and Muslim].

When the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa salam, fasted the day of Ashura, the people told him that this day is a day that Jews and Christians honor. The Prophet said: "When the following year comes, Allah willing, we shall fast both the ninth and the tenth day of Muharram (that is to be different from the Jews and the Christians.)" The Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa salam, died before the following year."[Muslim].

6- Fasting during the month of Muharram:

Muharram is the first month of the Islamic year

The month of Muharram is the first month of the lunar year. Abu Hurairah reported: "I asked the Prophet: "Which prayer is best after the obligatory prayers?" He said: "Prayer during the middle of the night." I asked: "Which fast is best after the fast of Ramadhan?" He said: "Fasting during the month of Muharram." [Muslim].

7-Fasting during the month of Sha`baan

Sha`baan is the month before Ramadan Sha`baan `Aa'isha said: "I have never seen the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa salam, completing the fast of a month as he did for Ramadhan, and I have never seen him fasting so much as he would in Sha`baan." [al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Fasting of a woman in her husband's presence.

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said : "A woman is not to fast [even] for one day while her husband is present except with his permission, unless it is during Ramadhaan." [al-Bukhari, Muslim and Ahmad]

Intention for voluntary fasting

As opposed to Ramadan, the intention does not have to be made before dawn. The person can intend fasting [and start fasting] after dawn any time [even after noon] given that he did not eat anything. `Aa'ishah said : The Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, came to us one day and said, "Do you have any [food]?" We said "No". He said: Therefore, I am Fasting". [Muslim and Abu Dawood]

Breaking the fast when fasting voluntarily and making up voluntary fasting

Ummu Hani reported that the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, entered her room during the day of the conquest of Makkah. He was offered something to drink and he drank from it. Then he offered it to me [Ummu Hani] and I said :" I am fasting". The Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said : The one who is fasting voluntarily is in charge of himself. If you wish you may fast and if you wish you may break your fast". [Ahmad, ad-Daraqutni, al-Baihaqi, al-Hakim and at-Tirmithi]. In another narration, Ummu Hani said I am fasting but I dislike to return your leftover. He said: If it [the day you are fasting] is a making up for a day of Ramadhan then make up another day for it, and if it is a voluntary fasting day, then if you wish make it up and if you wish not don't" [Ahmad and Abu Dawood]

`Aishah said : The Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, came to us one day and said, "Do you have any [food]?" We said "No". He said: Therefore, I am Fasting and then he came to me after that day and I was gifted some Hais [a kind of food], so I left it for him, and he used to like al-Hais. She said :" O Messenger of Allah! we were gifted some Hais and I left some for you. He said" Bring it closer to me, though I woke up with the intention of fasting, I will eat from it. Then he said: The example of the voluntary fasting is like the man who takes out money [to give] for charity, if he likes he give it and if he likes he keep it. [Ibn Majah; Hasan]


It is clear that voluntary fasting was something very common among the Sahaba and in the previous nations of believers and the Prophets Dawood and Mousa alaihim as-salaam are good examples. Indeed it is the way of the Believers that we should strive to follow.

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