Observing Voluntary Fasts: When Still Owes Some Days From Ramadan?

Observing Voluntary Fasts: When Still Owes Some Days From Ramadan?

I did not fast some days in Ramadhan because of the period, and  have not made up the days I owe yet. Can I fast the first ten days of Zulhijjjah?.

All the Praise be to Allah.

The issue is known to the scholars as the issue of observing naafil fasts before making up missed Ramadan fasts. There is a difference of scholarly opinion concerning this issue. Some scholars views it is haram to observe naafil fasts before making up days that one owes, because it is a priority to observe  an obligatory action than a naafil one.

There are some of the scholars say that it is permissible, only in the case other than the the fast of six days of Syawwal.

Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Salih Al-‘Uthaymin (may Allah have mercy on him was asked about combining making up a missed obligation and doing something that is mustahabb naafil fast as follows: Is it permissible for a person to do the mustahabb naafil  and make up the obligatory action later on, or should he do the obligatory action first, such as fasting the day ‘Ashura’ which coincides with making up a missed Ramadhan fast?

With regard to obligatory and voluntary fasts, what is prescribed in shari’ah and it is to institute a priority with the obligatory fasts and then doing the naafil ones, because themissed  obligatory fast is a debt which must be paid, whereas the naafil fast is voluntary and is to be done if one can deal with it, otherwise therewould be no sin on one who owes it.

Based on this, we say to the one who owes a missed Ramadhan fast: make up what you owe before you observe a voluntary fast. If he observes a voluntary fast before making up what he owes then the correct view is that his voluntary fast is valid so long as there is still enough time to make up the missed fasts, because a person may make up missed Ramadhan fasts so long as there is still enough time for him to do so before the next Ramadhan comes. So long as there is still plenty of time, it is permissible for him to observe voluntary fasts.

This is similar to the case of obligatory prayers, such as if a person offers a naafil prayer before an obligatory prayer when there is still plenty of time, this is permissible.

Whoever fasts on The Day of ‘Arafah or ‘Ashura’, and still owes some days from Ramadhan, his fast is valid. But if he has the intention of fasting this day to make up for a missed Ramadhan fast, he will have two rewards – one for the day of ‘Arafah or ‘Ashura’ and another for making up the missed fast. This applies to all voluntary fasts that are not connected to Ramadhan.

With regard to fasting The Six Days Of Shawwal, these are inter connected to Ramadhan and can only be done after making up missed Ramadan fasts. If a person fasts these days before making up his missed Ramadhan fasts, he will not get the reward for them, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadhan then follows it with six days of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime.”[ Al-Bukhari]  It is known that the one who still has some days to make up is not regarded as having fasted Ramadan until he makes up those days. Some people think that if they fear Shawwal is going to end soon and they fast the six days even though they still owe some days from Ramadhan, considering that this is acceptable in syari’ah. This is definitely a mistake, because these six days cannot be fasted until a person has made up the days that he owes from Ramadhan.

[Majmu’ Fatawa Ibn ‘Uthaimin, 20/438].

Based on this, it is permissible for you to fast the first ten days of Zulhijjah as a naafil fast, but it is better to fast them with the intention of making up what you owe of Ramadhan, perhaps you will have two rewards from Allah the Exalted,insha Allah.

And Allah knows best.

[Exerpted from Islam Q&A]


About Md Radzi Ahmad
A retired Malaysian civil servant. Served the Malaysian government for thirty-one years. Posted to London, Rangoon, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bangkok. Born in Kampong Hutan Kandeh, Alor Star, Kedah. Educated at Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star and University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Currently resides in Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan,Malaysia.Blessed with three children, a son, two daughters, daughter in law and two grandaughters.

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