Introduction

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is considered one of the pillars of Islam, and it is the only obligatory apart from the rest of the types of fasting. Fasting is one of the most important acts of worship and it is a great opportunity to get closer to Allah. The Muslim who fast will get multiple rewards from Allah Almighty. The Prophet, peace be upon him, would fast, not continuously, but periodically, throughout the year.

 It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said:

“There is no good deed that the son of Adam does, but between ten and seven hundred Hasanahs will be recorded for him. Allah, the mighty and sublime, said: ‘Except fasting, for it is for me and I shall reward for it. He gives up his desires and his food for my sake. Fasting is a shield, and the fasting person has two moments of joy. One when he breaks his fast and another when he meets his Lord. And the smell that comes from the mouth of the fasting person is better before Allah than the fragrance of musk.”

The three types of Fasting

1-Fard fasting:

Fard is obligatory. It is the kind of fast that is obliged by Allah almighty, leaving it is a sin and we will be held accountable for it. This includes fasting during the month of Ramadan.

2-Wajib (Penalty) fast:

The fast wasn’t mandatory, but the Muslim, or the one who performed it, made it mandatory and it is called Wajib (Penalty) fasting. It may become wajib upon someone as a result of a vow. When Muslim vows to Allah almighty that if Allah fulfills his/her certain desire he/she would observe fasts for so many days. When his/her wish is fulfilled, fasting becomes Wajib (obligatory) upon him/her.

3-Nafl fasting:

Nafl means extra, which is not obligatory. But it is voluntary or optional. Nafl is not required by Allah Almighty. Muslims are not sinful for neglecting Nafl, but they are rewarded for doing it. It is always compensating to fast any day of any month of the year except the prohibited days The Muslim may observe a voluntary fast on any day of the year that he wishes, except those which are known to be forbidden,such as the two Eid days, on which fasting is haraam, and Ayaam al-Tashreeq (the three days following Eid al-Adha), on which fasting is haraam except on Hajj for those who do not have a hadiy (animal for sacrifice). Also excluded is deliberately singling out Friday for fasting, because it was reported that this is not allowed. One of the best forms of voluntary fasting is to fast on alternate days for those who can do that,

As it says in the Hadeeth:

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said to me, “The most beloved fasting to Allah was the fasting of (the Prophet) David who used to fast on alternate days. And the most beloved prayer to Allah was the prayer of David who used to sleep for (the first) half of the night and pray for 1/3 of it and (again) sleep for a sixth of it.”

Different kinds of voluntary (Nafl) fasting

1-The 6 Days in Shawal

The month of Shawwal follows the month of Ramadan and offers a great opportunity to continue the good actions gained in Ramadan. It can be difficult to switch eating habits so quickly after Ramadan. Many find it fruitful to fast intermittent days after Ramadan and take advantage of the blessings.

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari, may Allah be pleased with him that he said: The Messenger of Allah said: “He who fasts Ramadan, followed by six days in Shawal, weigh (in reward fasting) the days of this lifetime.”

2- The 9th of Dhul-Hijjah concluded by Arafah day

Fasting the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah (the 10th being Eid Al-Adha) is recommended for those not performing Hajj. In particular, the Day of Arafah, being the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah, is highly recommended. It is narrated on the authority of Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them that he said:

The Prophet said: “There are no good deeds, dearest to Allah than those done on these days (He meant the first ten days of Thul-Hijjah).”, then some companions said: “And not even Jihad (fighting) in the Cause of Allah?” He replied: “Not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah, except that a man who sets out, endangering himself and his property (in Allah’s cause) and does not return with any of those things.”

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Qatadah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah was asked about fasting the day of ‘Arafah (for the non-pilgrim). He said: “It expiates (the sins of) both the preceding year and the year following it.”.

3- Fast three days every month

It’s preferably, The White Days (Ayam Al-Beedh) (13, 14,15 of the lunar calendar when the moon is full). It is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him that he said: “My friend (The Prophet) entrusted me with three things: To fast three days of every month, to offer the Duha two-rak‘ah prayer(Forenoon prayer), and to offer Witr (prayer) before I go to bed.”

4-Mondays and Thursdays

To fast every Monday and Thursday is not only Sunnah but also healthy for your body. It is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him that he said: The Messenger of Allah said: “The deeds (of mankind) are presented (to Allah) every Monday and Thursday, and I like that my deed is presented (to Allah) while I am fasting.”

5-Day of Ashura – 10th of Muharram

Ibn Abbas was asked about observing of fast on the Day of Ashura, whereupon he said: “I do not know Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him, singling out any day’s fast and considering it more excellent than another, except this day (the Day of Ashura) and this month, meaning the month of Ramadan”

Conclusion

May Allah accept from us the efforts and guide us to righteous deeds. Nafl fasting is one of the ways to incorporate the blessings of fasting. Fasting is a supreme act of worship make sure to adhere to it.

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