As we are beginning our new year with the great
month of Muharram in which there is the great day of `Ashourah that the Muslims fast in
revival of the practice of the Prophet Mousa alaihi as-Salam, I thought sharing with my
dear brothers and sisters some important facts regarding voluntary fasting.
Fasting in general and voluntary fasting in
particular is a great worship of all time. Fasting is not restricted to Ramadhan, it is an
act of worship that can be [and should be in some cases] performed at any time and at any
place except when not recommended. Indeed, it is a worship that draws the believer closer
to Allah and closer to perfection.
In prayer most of us pray Sunna
[supererogatory/optional/voluntary] prayer before or after mandatory prayer, called
Rawatib, such as four Rak`at before and two after, two after Maghrib and `Isha and the two
rak`at of Fajr. These are prayers we pray before or after a mandatory prayer.
Similarly, there is a mandatory fasting and that is
in Ramadhan. Just as the one performs the Rawatib before and after the Fardh prayer one
should fast before and after Ramadhan, and just as the Rawatib were set by the Prophet
salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam the in some specific manner and amount, the Nafl [optional]
Fasting was also set by the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam. In this short article
we shall review the fasting of some days that were recommended by the Prophet salla Allahu
alaihi wa sallam.
1- Six days of the month of
Abu Ayyoub reported that the Messenger of Allah,
salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said "Whoever fasts the month of Ramadhan and then
follows it by fasting six days during the month of Shawwal will be rewarded as if he had
fasted the entire year. [Muslim, at-Tirmithi, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood and Ahmad by way of
These days can be anytime during the month of
Shawwal except the first day because it is unlawful to fast the day of Eid. These days do
not have to be at beginning of the month nor do they have to be consecutive. Hence,
Muslims should seize this opportunity and fast these six days to get Allah's reward.
Why the fasting of six days of Shawal after Ramadhan
equates that of the whole year? Some `Ulamaa' say that the good deed is rewarded ten
times. Thus fasting six days is like fasting 60 days, added to 30 days of Ramadhan times
10 (i.e. 300) it makes it a year.
2- The day of `Arafah: This
is for those who are not performing the Hajj (pilgrimage)
Abu Qatadah said : the Messenger of Allah, salla
Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said: "Fasting on the day of `Arafah is an expiation [of
sins] for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it and the fasting the
day of `Aashuraa' is an expiation for the year preceding it. [Muslim, an-Nasa'i, Ibn
Majah, Abu Dawood].
3- Fasting three days of every
`Amr Ibn Sharhabeel said : A man came to the
Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, and said : O Messenger of Allah! what
do you say in a man who fasts the whole year [time], on this the Messenger of Allah, salla
Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said : I wish he would not eat anything during the year, he said
what about two thirds of the year, he replied "more", he said what about half of
it, he said more and then said : Shall I not inform you of what takes away the whispers of
the chest, they said yes tell us, he said " fasting three days from every month.
Abu Tharr Al-Ghefari said: "The Messenger of
Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said "Whoever fasts from every month three
days, it is like fasting the whole year, then Allah revealed what backs this in His book
"Whoever comes with a good deed, he is rewarded ten folds", one day for ten.
[Ibn Majah and at-Tirmithi].
Abu Tharr Al-Ghefari said: "The Messenger of
Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said "O Abu Tharr! if you fast three days of
every month, then fast the 13th, the 14th and the 15th [these are call the al-ayaam
al-beedh, the white days]". [Ahmad, an-Nasaa'i and at-Tirmithi; Sahih]
4- Fasting Mondays and Thursdays:
`Aa'ishah said : The Messenger of Allah, salla
Allahu alaihi wa salam, used to fast Mondays and Thursdays". [an-Nasaa'i; Sahih]
Abu Hurairah reported that the most the Prophet,
salla Allahu alaihi wa salam, would fast would be Monday and Thursday. He was asked about
that and he said: "The deeds of people are presented to Allah on every Monday and
Thursday. Allah forgives every Muslim except for those who are deserting each other. He
says: "leave them for later." [Ahmad; Hasan]