By: El-Bahay El-Kholi

The Fast of Ramadan
The Merit of Fasting
Things to Abstain from During the Fast
Exemptions from the Fast
Various Additional Regulations
The Night of Preciousness (Laylat al-Qadr)
Voluntary Fasting (al-Tatawwu')

Islambasics Library: Al-Siyam "Fasting"

Voluntary Fasting (al-Tatawwu')


1) The best fast, next to the obligatory fasting, is to fast every other day. No one may fast more.

Abdullah Ibn Amr once told the Prophet:"I have strength to fast". Ibe Porphet told him:
"Observe the fast of David, no more." " Abdullah asked : "What is it ?"

The Prophet answered: " Half the dahr."

In another version, according to al-Bukhari, the Prophet answered : "Fast one day and break the fast another." Abdullah observed "But I can do better."
The Prophet said : "There is nothing better."

2) Another good procedure in voluntary fasting is to fast three days every month.

Abdullah said that the Prophet once asked him "Abdullah, I was told that you spend the day in fasting and the night in prayer." Abdullah answered in the affirmative, whereupon the prophet commanded him "Do not do so. Fast one day and break it the next. Pray part of the night and sleep the rest. You have an obligation towards your body, your eyes and your wife. It is enough to fast three days every month. Your reward is tenfold."

3) It is recommended to fast on Mondays and Thursdays- provided the total fasting days do not exceed the half-dahr fast:

Hafsa said : "The Prophet used to fast Mondays and Thursdays."

4) It is also recommended to fast six days during the month of shawwal (the month following Ramadan).

The Prophet said : "Fasting in Ramadan and following it with six days in Shawwal is tan tamount to the dahr Siyam (all year round fast) whoever makes a good deed is repaid tenfold."

5) It is recommended to fast the Day of `Arafat (the days on which pilgrims stand at Mount `Arafa in Mecca).

The Prophet said: "The `Arafat fast redeems two years... one past and one future."

6) Among the days of voluntary fasting is the Day of Ashoura. Ibn `Abbas said : "I know of no other day than Ashoura, which the Prophet fasted in recognition of its merits over all other days".

7) The month of Muharram is good for voluntary fasting. The Prophet was asked about the best fast next to Ramadan. He said: "al-Muharram."

8) It is recommended to fast the greater part of Sha'ban. `Aisha said : "The Prophet used to fast for a complete month only in Ramadan. Next to that he fasted most often in Sha'ban."


Forbidden Fasting

1) Fasting is not permitted on the doubtful day.

2) The Day of `Id al-Fitr (the day following the end of Ramadan) as it has been previously explained.

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri said that the Prophet had forbidden fasting on two days, namely, the day of al-Fitr and the day of al-Nahr the day the pilgrims offer sacrifice).

3) The days of tashriq (the three days following the day of al-Nahr, that is, the 11th, 12th and 13th of the month of Dhu'l-Hijja.

Ka'b Ibn Malik reported that he and Aws Ibn al-Hadthan were ordered by the Prophet to announce to the people : "None but a believer enters paradise... the days of Mina (i.e. during the pilgrimage) are days for eating and drinking".

Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas said that the Prophet had ordered him to announce- to the people that there is no fast during the day of Mina. A group of 'ulama consider fasting during those days to be reprehensible.

4) Friday should not - he a fasting day. The Prophet said : "Do not devote Friday night for Qiyam (night-long prayer) or Friday for fasting".

5) The dahr fast (all the year round) is reprehensible. The Prophet said : "He who fasts the whole year does not fast. Who fasts the dahr finds himself in hell".

A woman shall not perform the voluntary fast without the permission of her husband. The Prophet said "No woman shall fast without her husband's permission except in Ramadan ."

Muslim (Hijra) calendar :

Muharram Safar Rabi' Awwal
Rabi' Thani Jumadal-ula Jumadal-Thaniya
Rajab Sha'ban Ramadan
Shawwal Dhul'Qa'da Dhul'l-Hijja

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