Reprehensible Fasting (Shafii)

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What is the reprehensible fasting?

  1. Sawm-i Wisal: It means fasting two or more days without breaking the fast. In other words, it is fasting one day without having the iftar meal in the evening and by attaching the fasting to the next day. This is reprehensible.
  2. Sawm-i Dahr: It means fasting every day of the year. It is reprehensible to fast every day consecutively or most of a year without giving a break when there is a possibility to harm the body or lose a right. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) expressed that the body also has a right on people as follows, “Your Lord has a right over you, yourself has a right over you, and your family has a right over you.”[1]

However, this type of fasting is not reprehensible for the person who does not fear to give harm to his body or lose a right.

  1. Those who are allowed to leave the fast for a valid excuse but still force themselves to fast: If the ill, the traveler, the pregnant woman and the nursing woman, and the old fear to harm their body, it becomes reprehensible for them to fast.
  2. Fasting in the Final Days of the Month of Shaban: It is reprehensible to fast in the final days of the month of Shaban in order to meet the month of Ramadan – unless it is part of another fasting. This is because entering the month of Ramadan more vigorously is more important. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) stated in one of his sayings, “When the middle of Sha’ban comes, do not fast. “[2]
  3. For the pilgrims who come from outside Mecca (Afaqis), Fasting on the Day of Arafa: It is Sunnah for the pilgrims, who are travelers and come from outside Mecca, not to fast a day before the Festival of Sacrifice or on the Day of Arafa when they are in the plain of Arafat for the ritual standing.
  4. Fasting only on the Day of Ashura: Fasting only on the 10th day of Muharram, the Day of Ashura, is reprehensible. In order to eliminate the reprehensibility, one should fast the day before (the 9th Day of Muharram) or after (the 11th day of Muharram) the Day of Ashura.
  5. Fasting only on Friday: If it does not coincide with days that one would have fasted anyway out of custom, it is reprehensible to fast only on Friday, which is the believers’ holiday. If one fasts on Thursday or on Saturday together with Friday, then the reprehensibility becomes eliminated. Fasting on the holidays of other religions is also considered reprehensible because such an act may mean excessive attention or disrespect to the adherents of those religions. Saturday is the sacred day of the Jews, while Sunday is the holiday of the Christians. It is not reprehensible to fast on national days such as Nawruz, mihrijan. (According to some other schools, fasting on such days is deemed reprehensible.)

Even if a supererogatory fasting on a day, which has already been designated, coincides with a reprehensible day, it does not become reprehensible to fast on that day. For example, if the Day of Arafa coincides with a Friday, one may fast on that day to gain the spiritual rewards for fasting on the Day of Arafa.

[1] Al-Bukhari, Faraid, 18

[2] Abu Dawud, Sawm,12; al-Tirmidhi, Sawm,38

Source: Fiqh1 (According To The Shafi’i School Of Islamic Law), Erkam Publications

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