Categories Of Rulings On Fasting

What are the categories of rulings on fasting?  


In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.   


The categories of rulings are five: obligatory (wajib), forbidden (muharram), encouraged (mustahabb), disliked (makruh) and permissible (mubaah). These five rulings have been narrated with regard to fasting.   


1. Obligatory Fasts  


1.1.  The Ramadhan fast.


1.2.  Making up missed Ramadhan fasts.


1.3.  Expiatory fasts (expiation for accidental killing, expiation for zihaar (a form of jahili divorce), expiation for having intercourse during the day in Ramadhan, and expiation for breaking an oath).


1.4.  Fasting for the pilgrim who does tamattu’ in Hajj if he does not have a sacrificial animal.


“and whosoever performs the ‘Umrah in the months of Hajj, before (performing) the Hajj, (i.e. Hajj-at-Tamattu‘ and Al-Qiran), he must slaughter a Hady such as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it, he should observe Sawm (fasts) three days during the Hajj and seven days after his return (to his home)” [Al-Baqarah 2:196 ].


1.5.  Fasting in fulfilment of a vow [Nazar].


2. Mustahabb (Encouraged) Fasts.


1. Fasting alternate days [The Fast of Prophet David a.s] – which is the best of fasting.

2. Fasting on Mondays and Thursdays each week.

3. Fasting three days of each month [Aiyaam Al-Beed].

4. Fasting six days of Shawwal.

5. Fasting the day of ‘Ashura.’

6. Fasting the day of ‘Arafah.

7. Fasting most of the month of Sya’ban.

8. Fasting the month of Muharram.  


[All of these are proven in hasan and sahih ahadith]


3. Makruh (Disliked) Fasts.


1. Singling out Friday for fasting – because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do not fast on a Friday unless you fast a day before or a day afterwards.” [Uninamously agreed upon by the Scholars].


2. Singling out Saturday for fasting – because the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do not fast on Saturdays apart from days when you are obliged to fast, even if one of you cannot find anything other than grape stalks or the bark of a tree (to suck on, to make sure that he is not fasting).” [Narrated by Al-Tirmidzi, 744, who classified it as hasan. Also narrated by Abu Dawud, 2421; Ibn Majah, 1726; classified as sahih by Al-Albani in Irwa’ Al-Ghaleel, 960.]


At-Tirmidzi said: What is meant by its being makruh is that a man should not single out Saturday for fasting because the Jews venerate Saturday.  


4. Forbidden Fasts.


1. Fasting on Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and the days of Tashreeq, which are the three days after Eid al-Adha.


2. Fasting on the “day of doubt” – which is the thirtieth of Sha’ban, if the sky was cloudy and the new moon could not be sighted. But if the sky was clear there can be no doubt.


3. Fasts observed by women who are menstruating and bleeding following childbirth.


5. Permissible fasts .


1. These are fasts that do not come under any of the four headings mentioned above.


What is meant by permissible here is that there is no report enjoining or forbidding fasting on this day in particular, such as Tuesdays and Wednesdays, even though in principle, observing a voluntary fast is an act of worship that is encouraged.


[See Al-Mawsu’ah Al-Fiqhiyyah, 28/10-19; Al-Sharh Al-Mumti’, 6/457-483]


And Allah knows best.


 ©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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