Nafl (Non Obligatory) Fasts

Talk on Nafl (Non Obligatory or Sunna) Fasts


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Special Sunna Fasts [Sawm] and their Virtues
By Muhammad Ameen al Qasmi, Mahe

Rewards of Fasting
Its mentioned in the Quran Allah Almighty says, “O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun. [Surah Al Baqarah 183 – Translation: Muhsin Khan,The Noble Quran] –

This is regarding Compulsory [Fard] fasting (in Ramadan). But its valid in case of voluntary [sunnah] fasts as it will increase God-consciousness [Taqwa].

Ahadith
Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah, the Mighty and Exalted said, ‘Every action of the son of Adam is for himself except for fasting. It is Mine and I repay it.’ Fasting is a shield. When someone is fasting, he should not have sexual relations nor quarrel. If someone fights him or insults him, he should say, ‘I am fasting’. By the One in whose hand the self of Muhammad is, the changed breath in the mouth of the faster is more fragrant to Allah than the scent of musk. The faster experiences two joys: when he breaks his fast he rejoices and when he meets his Lord he rejoices in his fasting.” [Agreed upon]

In one variant of al-Bukhari, “He has left his food and drink and appetites for My sake. Fasting is Mine and I repay it. Any other good deed I repay with ten like it.”

In a variant of Muslim, “Every action of the son of Adam is multiplied. A good action receives from ten to seven hundred times. Allah Almighty said, “Fasting is Mine and I repay it. He leaves his appetites and food for My sake. The faster experiences two joys: a joy when he breaks his fast and a joy when he meets his Lord. The changed breath in the mouth of the faster is more fragrant to Allah than the scent of musk.” (#1215 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)

Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The one who spends out two kinds of actions in the way of Allah will be summoned from the gates of the Garden and told, ‘O slave of Allah this is better.’ All the people who did the prayer will be called from the gate of the prayer. All the people who did jihad will be called from the gate of jihad. All the people who fasted will be called from the gate of Rayyan. All the people who gave sadaqa will be called from the gate of sadaqa.” Abu Bakr said, “May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, Messenger of Allah. No one called from those gates will feel distress. Will anyone be called from all those gates?” He said, “Yes, and I hope that you will be among them.” (#1216 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)

Sahl ibn Sa’d reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “There is a gate in the Garden called ar-Rayyan which those who fast will enter on the Day of Rising, and none but they will enter it.” It will be said, ‘Where are the fasters?’ They will stand up and none but they will enter it. When they have entered it, it will be closed and no one else will enter it.” [Agreed upon](#1217 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)

Excellence of fasting on Day of Arafat

Abu Qatada said “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked about fasting the Day of ‘Arafat. He said, ‘It expiates the past year and coming year.'” [Muslim] (#1250 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi).
This means for a single fast Allah will forgive sins of 2 years.
Excellence of fasting on Muharram 10 (Ashura)
Abu Qatada reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked about fasting the Day of ‘Ashura’ and said, “It expiates the past year.” [Muslim] (#1252 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)

Ibn ‘Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, fasted the Day of ‘Ashura’ and ordered it to be fasted. [Agreed upon] (#1251 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)
Fasting on Muharram 9
Ibn ‘Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “If I remain alive until next year, I will fast the ninth.” [Muslim, ibn Majah] (#1253 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)
In short Fasts of Muharram is a combination of Muharram 9 & 10.

Excellence of fasting Muharram and Sha’ban

Its always good to fast any day of any month. Allah’s apostle had promoted taking more voluntary fasts in Muharram and Shabaan

Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The best fast after Ramadan is the month of Allah, al-Muharram. The best prayer after the obligatory prayer is the night prayer.” [Muslim](#1246 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)

A’isha said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not fast in any month more than Sha’ban. He used to fast all of Sha’ban.” In one variant, “He used to fast Sha’ban except for a little.” [Agreed upon](#1247 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)

Narrated Sayyiduna Mu’aadh ibn Jabal (Radhiallaahu Anhu) that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Allah Ta’ala turns to his entire creation on the fifteenth night of Sha’baan and forgives all of them except one who ascribes partners to Him and one who harbours enmity in his heart.” (Tabrani, Bayhaqi)
Imaam ibn Hibbaan (RA) has classified this narration as Sahih (authentic) and has included it in his book al-Saheeh. (see Sahih ibn Hibbaan vol.12 pg.482; Hadith5665). Hafiz al-Haythami (RA) has mentioned that all the narrators of this Hadith are reliable. (Majma-uz-zawaaid vol.8 pg.65)

Excellence of fasting 3 days a month (especially on 13,14 & 15 of Hijra calender)
Abu Hurayra said, “My friend, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered me to do three things: to fast three days every month, to do the two rak’ats of Duha and to do the witr before sleeping.” [Agreed upon] (#1258 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)

Abu Dharr reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “If you fast three days of the month, then fast the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth.” [at-Tirmidhi](#1262 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)

Abu’d-Darda’ said, “My beloved, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, commanded me to do three things which I will not forego as long as I live: to fast three days of every month, to pray Duha, and not to sleep until after praying the witr.” [Muslim](#1259 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)

Ibn ‘Abbas said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not fail to fast the white days either when at home or on a journey.” [an-Nasa’i] (#1264 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)
Excellence of fasting in Shawwal
Abu Ayyub reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Anyone who fasts Ramadan and then follows it with six from Shawwal, it is as he had fasted the entire year.” [Muslim] (#1254 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)
Excellence of fasting on Mondays & Thursdays
Abu Qatada reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked about fasting Mondays and he said, “That is the day on which I was born and the day when I was sent – or when revelation descended on me.” [Muslim] (#1255 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)

Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Actions are presented on Mondays and Thursdays, so I like my actions to be presented while I am fasting.” [at-Tirmidhi, With minor variation in Ibn Majah] (#1256 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)

A’isha said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to take care to fast on Mondays and Thursdays.” [at-Tirmidhi] (#1257 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)

Excellence of fasting in Dul Hajj
Ibn ‘Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “No virtuous actions done during any ten days are better liked by Allah than the actions done on these days (the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijja).” They said, “Messenger of Allah, not even jihad in the way of Allah?” He said, “Not even jihad in the way of Allah, except for a man who goes out putting his life and property in danger and returns with nothing.” [al-Bukhari] (#1249 Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)

Here it is not explicitly mentioning Fast. Any Good deed will be rewarded more on these days. So it applies to Fast also. Sahabah and the Salafu swaliheen tried to fast on these days except on Eid.

One thing to mention here is that the Forgiveness of Sins is applicable only to Minor Sins. Major Sins will be forgiven only by thawbah

And Allah Knows Best

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