Sunnah & Nafal Fasting

The second type of fasting is sunnah, nafal (optional) fasting; Which is not mandatory for a Muslim to observe. But if you observe it, you will be entitled to virtue and reward.

One of the wisdom and grace of Almighty Allah is that He has prescribed optional worship as well as obligatory worship. He has made the deed obligatory, similar to the deed optional for the servant. Errors in obligatory worship are compensated by Nafal worship. Likewise, on the other hand, through it, the goodness and reward of the doer increases. On the other hand, if it was not prescribed, its observance was considered a corrupt innovation. And it is said in the hadith that, Allah says, “Compensate the obligatory prayer by the optional prayer for My servant.”

Sunan i Abu Dawood 864

Intention for Nafal(Optional) Fasting

It is not necessary to intend to fast Optional before Fajr. Rather, fasting becomes pure only if you make intention before or after sunset during the day. Of course, it does not happen during obligatory fasting – as discussed earlier. However, in the case of Optional fasting, the condition is that no fast-breaking thing should be used after dawn before making intention. Needless to say, if it is consumed (drink or anything else) then it will not be fasting.

The proof of this is the hadith of Ayesha(R.A.); she said, “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came to me one day and said: Is there anything with you (to eat)? I said: No. Thereupon he said: I shall then be fasting.”

Muslim 1154

One : Six fasts of Shawwal

For a person who completes the fast of Ramadan, it is recommended to keep the 6 fasts of the month of Shawwal. And in that there is great reward for him.

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “He who observed the fast of Ramadan and then followed it with six (fasts) of Shawwal. it would be as if he fasted perpetually.”

Muslim 1164

Two : Fast on the Day of Arafah

The 9th of the month of Dhul-Hajj (in Saudi Arabia) is the day of Arafah. It is named because the pilgrims appear at Arafa Maidan on this day. When the Prophet (ﷺ) was asked about the importance of fasting on this day, he said, “It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year.”

Muslim 1162

This fast is prescribed for householders; It is not obligatory for the pilgrims staying at Arafat.Because it is described in a hadith, Narrated Um Al-Fadl(R.A.) “While the people were with me on the day of `Arafat they differed as to whether the Prophet (ﷺ) was fasting or not; some said that he was fasting while others said that he was not fasting. So, I sent to him a bowl full of milk while he was riding over his camel and he drank it.”

Bukhari 1988

Three : Fasting in the month of Muharram

Fasting in the month of Muharram (most days) is one of the Sunnah fasts. This fast is valid after Ramadan. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The best fast after Ramadan is the fast of Allah’s month of Muharram. And the best prayer after the obligatory prayer is the night (Tahajjud) prayer.”

Muslim 1163

Four : The fast of ‘Ashura

Among the fasts of the month of Muharram, the most recommended is the fast of Ashura on the 10th of that month.

Narrated Aisha(R.A.), Quraish used to fast on the day of ‘Ashura’ in the Pre-Islamic period, and Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) too, used to fast on that day. When he came to Medina, he fasted on that day and ordered others to fast, too. Later when the fasting of the month of Ramadan was prescribed, he gave up fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’ and it became optional for one to fast on it or not.

Bukhari 2002

The Prophet (ﷺ) came to Medina and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura. He asked them about that. They replied, “This is a good day, the day on which Allah rescued Bani Israel from their enemy. So, Moses fasted this day.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “We have more claim over Moses than you.” So, the Prophet fasted on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to fast (on that day).

Bukhari 2004

On the authority of Abu Qatadah (RA), he said, When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Ashura (10th of Muharram), whereupon be said: It expiates the sins of the preceding year.

Muslim 1162

Five : Fasting of the first nine days of Dhu al-Hijjah

It is recommended to fast the first nine days of the month of Dhul al-Hijjah. Because Allah has given the first ten days of Dhul al-Hijjah superiority and dignity over other days.The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhul al-Hijjah).” Then some companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Not even Jihad?” He replied, “Not even Jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s sake) and does not return with any of those things.”

Bukhari 969

Six : Fasting most of the days of the month of Sha’ban

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to fast most of the days of the month of Sha’ban.

Bukhari 1969

Usamah bin Zaid said:”I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as Shaban.’ He said: “That is a month to which people do not pay much attention, between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are taken up to the Lord of the worlds, and I like that my deeds be taken up when I am fasting.”

Sunan An Nasai 2357

Seven : Fasting on Monday and Thursday

It is Sunnah and recommended to fast on Monday and Thursday of every week. Since that was the time of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ). And in two days, the servant’s deeds are presented to Allah, the Sovereign. Ayesha (R.A.) said, “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) preferred fasting on Mondays and Thursdays.”

Sunan Ibn Majah 1739

Abu Huraira reported, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The deeds are presented on every Thursday and Monday and Allah, the Exalted and Glorious. grants pardon to every person who does not associate anything with Allah except the person in whose (heart) there is rancour against his brother. It would be said: Put both of them off until they are reconciled.”

Muslim 2565

Abu Katadah (R.A.) narrated, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was asked about fasting on Monday, whereupon he said: “It was the day on which I was born. on which I was commissioned with prophethood or revelation was sent to me.”

Muslim 1162

Eight : Al-ayyam Al- beed fasting

It is recommended to observe 3 fasts in every (lunar) month. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The fasting of three days (a month) will be equal to the fasting of the whole year.”

Bukhari 1979

Abu Dharr(R.A.) narrated that,the Messenger of Allah(ﷺ) said: “O Abu Dharr! When you fast three days out of a month, then fast the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth.”

Jami at’ Tirmidhi 761

Nine : The fast of Dawood

Fasting one day and not fasting the next day for one who can afford it; In other words, it is recommended to fast on alternate day.

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As:Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) told me, “The most beloved prayer to Allah is that of David and the most beloved fasts to Allah are those of David. He used to sleep for half of the night and then pray for one third of the night and again sleep for its sixth part and used to fast on alternate days.”

Bukhari 1131

Ten : Sexually-Victimized Youth Fast

A sexually abused youth who is afraid of committing adultery but is unable to marry due to his inability to afford maintenance, is required to fast for the youth.

Narrated ‘Alqama:While I was walking with `Abdullah he said, “We were in the company of the Prophet (ﷺ) and he said, ‘He who can afford to marry should marry, because it will help him refrain from looking at other women, and save his private parts from committing illegal sexual relation; and he who cannot afford to marry is advised to fast, as fasting will diminish his sexual power.”

Bukhari 1905

Incidentally, it should be noted that this is the unfailing treatment of the Prophet (ﷺ) for those sexually-afflicted unmarriageable youths. And that is fasting. So it is not permissible for them to use the occult practice of masturbation. Otherwise, they will be among those of whom it was said,

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ- إِلاَّ عَلَى أَزْوَاجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ- فَمَنِ ابْتَغَى وَرَاءَ ذَلِكَ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْعَادُونَ

“Those who restrain their private parts. But they will not be reprehensible if they do otherwise in the case of their own wives or entitled maidservants. And those who desire other than these are transgressors.”

Al Qur’an 23:5-7

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