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Voluntary Fast

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

'Abdur-Rahman ibn Fahd Al Wad'an Ad-Dusary

First, the legality of voluntary fasting and its wisdom:

Out of Allah's Mercy with His Servants is that He ordained for them a voluntary act along with every obligatory ones from the same kind to complete and perfect it if it is defected. Of these voluntary acts is fasting where Allah ordained different voluntary acts after ordaining it. Of the wise legality of voluntary acts also is that Allah (Glory be to Him) verifies the acts of worship to His Servants to facilitate for them and to make them seize the chance to draw nearer to Allah (Glory be to Him) in the way that suits them, and of these chances is the different types of fasting during the days of the year.

Second, types of voluntary fasting:

Voluntary fasting has many types, of which are:

First type: Fasting six days of Shawwal:

Fasting six days of Shawwal is a stressed Sunnah to which the Prophet (peace be upon him) exhorted and explained its virtue as was reported in the Hadith of Abu Ayyub Al Ansary (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "He who observes As-Saum (the fasts) in the month of Ramadan, and also observes As-Saum for six days in the month of Shawwal, it is as if he has observed As-Saum for the whole year." [Reported by Muslim][1]

Fasting Shawwal is as voluntary Salah a supplement to the fasting of Ramadan. So, we should be keen to fast it and exhort our wives, children, brothers, and companions to fast it to gain the reward of fasting the entire year. And Whoever keeps to it every year, it will be like fasting the entire lifetime out of Allah's Favor and Mercy with this Muslim nation where He has increased its reward even if the actions are few.

Issues pertaining to the fasting of Shawwal:

First, this virtue is only given to those who hasten to make up the missed days of Ramadan then fast six days of Shawwal. So, whoever breaks his fast during Ramadan by travel, sickness, or menstruation for women should make up the missed days first then fasts the six days of Shawwal.[2]

Second, some people believe that whoever fasts Shawwal should fast it every year, therefore they do not fast it so as not to be incumbent on him. This is nonsense and has no proof, but it is the view of the followers of Satan who spread it to ignorant people to block them from following that Sunnah.

Third, he who starts to fast one of the six days of Shawwal then breaks his fast for a reason, there is no harm to break the fast since the voluntary fast may be interrupted unlike the case of obligatory fast which cannot be interrupted except by a valid excuse such as travel and sickness.

Fourth, it is permissible to fast the six days of Shawwal with an intention from the beginning of the daytime not at night or before dawn since it is part of voluntary fasting; and it is not a condition to recall intention before dawn in voluntary fasting. Those who did not see any difference between the types of fasting have no proof from the Sunnah to depend on, and jurists who consider voluntary fasting with an intention from the beginning of the day do not differentiate between absolute voluntary fasting and the fixed fasting.

Fifth, the wordings of the Hadith indicate that you can choose any six days of Shawwal to fast whether separated or continuous, and from the beginning or the end, however, hastening to righteous deeds is always better. Therefore, many scholars desired hastening to fast from the beginning of Shawwal continuously to hasten to righteous actions and cut the way of excuses.

The second type: Fasting the day of 'Arafah which is the ninth days of Dhul-Hijjah which is desirable for non-pilgrims to fast due to the Hadith of Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him) who narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Fasting the day of 'Arafah may atone for the sins of the preceding and and the coming year. The fasting of 'Ashura' (the tenth day of Muharram), I seek the reward from Allah that Allah will expiate the sins of the previous year."
[Reported by Muslim][3]

The third type: Fasting the Day of 'Ashura' (10th of Muharram). The Sunnah is to fast is for the previous Hadith of Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him). It is part of the Sunnah that a person fasts the 9th day along with the 10th to be different from the People of the Scriptures and because the Prophet (peace be upon him ) intended to do so before his death . 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him )narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Next year - if Allah wills - we will fast on the ninth day." He said: 'But the next year the Messenger of Allah had passed away." [Reported by Muslim].[4]

In other wordings: "If I live to the next year, I shall fast the 9th."

However, if a person does not fast the 9th day along with the 10th, he may fast the 11th along with the 10th, and if he fasts the three days, it will be better; and Allah knows best !

The fourth type is: Fasting three days of every month . The proof to that is the Hadith of 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) who narrated: "Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was informed that I have said: "By Allah, I will fast all the days and pray all the nights as long as I live." On that, Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) asked me. "Are you the one who says: 'I will fast all the days and pray all the nights as long as I live?' " I said: "Yes, I have said it ." He said: "You cannot do that. So fast (sometimes) and do not fast (sometimes). Pray and sleep. Fast for three days a month, for the reward of a good deed is multiplied by ten time, and so the fasting of three days a month equals the fasting of a year." I said: "O Allah's Messenger! I can do (fast) more than this." He said: "Fast on every third day. I said: I can do (fast) more than that, He said: "Fast on alternate days and this was the fasting of David which is the most moderate sort of fasting." I said : "O Allah's Messenger! I can do (fast) more than that." He said: "There is nothing better than that."" [Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim].[5]

This number is the minimum number of fasting each month as reported in the famous Hadiths. [6]

Man may fast one or two days, for it is good in all cases, but it is better not to reduce the fast of three days of each month .

The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not specify in the Hadith of 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr the three days which are permissible to fast of every month, but he did not fix them . So, a Muslim may fast them continuously or separately, and it is better to fast them as follows :

First, fasting the 13th, the 14th, and the 15th of every lunar month, and this is the best form due to the frequent Hadiths reported in that .

Second, fasting the first Monday then Thursday then Monday or fasting the first Monday of every month and the next two Thurdays thereafter or fasting three Thurdays or three Mondays .

The fifth type: Fasting one day and breaking the fast two days as was reported in the previous Hadith of 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) which contained that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him: "Fast three days of the month," he said: I can bear more, O Messenger of Allah. So, he said: Then fast one day and break the fast two days . [Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim].[7]

Accordingly, he shall fast the third of the month: Ten days monthly.

The sixth type: Fasting one day and breaking the fast one day. The proof to that is the previous Hadith of 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr (may Allah be pleased with him). The Hadith contains that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him: Then fast one day and break the fast two days, he said: I can bear more. Then he said: Fast one day and break the fast one day and that is the fast of Prophet David which is the most moderate fasting [in another narration: It is the best type of fasting]. I said: I can bear more, O Messenger of Allah. He said: There is nothing better than this. [Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim].[8]

Accordingly, a person may fast half of the month: fifteen days monthly. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: This is the best type of fasting which is the fasting of David (peace be upon him). Third, rulings pertaining to voluntary fasting:

Of the rulings pertaining to voluntary fasting are the following:

First, it is permissible to fast voluntarily and recalling intention in the daytime, where a Muslim does not do anything to invalidate his fast since dawn until the time of recalling the intention of fasting. In this case, a Muslim may recall the intention of fasting at anytime even afternoon then continue his fasting until sunset.

Second, when a Muslim starts his voluntary fasting, it is better for him to continue his fasting, but if he breaks it for any reason, there is no harm, and if he fasts another day in replace of it, it will be better.

Third, anyone is required to compensate the missed days of Ramadan, it is better for him to compensate these days first before fasting voluntarily, but if someone fasts before making up for these days, his fasting will be valid according to the sound opinion of scholars since the time of compensating the missed days of Ramadan is limitless. So, it is permissible for him to fast voluntarily first except in the case of the six of Shawwal which he should advance the compensation of the missed days to them.

[1] Reported by Muslim in the book of fasting, chapter on desirability of fasting six days of Shawwal after Ramadan: 2 -822 (1164).
[2] See: Lata'if Al Ma'arif (p. 397).
[3] Reported by Muslim in the book of fasting, chapter on desirability of fasting three days of every month, and the fast of the Day of 'Arafah (9th of Dhul-Hijjah) and 'Ashura' (the tenth day of Muharram) 2: 818 (1162).
[4] Reported by Muslim in the book of fasting, chapter on which day should be fasted in 'Ashura' (the tenth day of Muharram) 2: 797 (1133).
[5] Reported by Al Bukhari in the book of Prophets, chapter on Allah's Saying: "And to Dâwűd (David) We gave the Zabűr (Psalms)." [Surat An-Nisa': 163]. (1256) (3236). Reported by Muslim in the book of fasting, chapter on forbidding the insult of time for the harmed or missed a right thereby 2: 812 (1159).
The addition between brackets belongs to Al Bukhari in the book of fasting, chapter on fasting the time 2: 697 (1875).
[6] As was reported in the famous narration from the Hadith of 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) and in many Hadiths that reach the degree of Tawatur. However, it was reported in the narration of Ibn 'Umar in Sahih Muslim 2: 817 (1159) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said to him: Fast one day and you shall get the reward of the remaining days.
He said: I can bear more than this. He said: Fast two days and you shall get the reward of the remaining days. Verify these words, and Allah knows best!
[7] Has been previously attributed to its sources.
[8] Has been previously attributed to its sources, and the referred to narration are of Al Bukhari in the book of fasting, chapter on fasting the time 2: 697 (1875) and Muslim in the previous position.

 

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