Sawm: Sunnah

Sunnah, Tatawwa, Mustahabb, Nafl
(voluntary, supererogatory, recommended, optional, there is choice)


  • The Prophet ﷺ said: “One who observes fast during Ramadan and continues it through the first six days of Shawwal is as if he observes fast for the whole year.” [Muslim]


  • Áshura (عاشوراء) is the tenth day of Muharram, which is the first month of the Hijri year.
  • Fasting the day of Áshura does expiate for the past year, because the Prophet ﷺ said: “Fasting the day of Árafah, I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year before it and the year after it, and fasting the day of Áshura, I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year that came before it.” [Muslim]
  • Islamic scholars said that it is Mustahabb (recommended) to fast the ninth day Tasuá (تاسوعاء) with Áshura because the Prophet ﷺ fasted on the tenth, and intended to fast on the ninth. Abdullah Ibn Abbas (Radiyallahu Ánhu – may Allah be pleased with him) said: “When the Messenger of Allah fasted on Áshura and commanded the Muslims to fast as well, they said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that is venerated by the Jews and Christians.’ The Messenger of Allah said, “If I live to see the next year, in sha Allah, we will fast on the ninth day too.’ But it so happened that the Messenger of Allah  passed away before the next year came.” [Muslim]
  • Based on that, there are varying degrees of fasting Muharram:
  1. The least of which is to fast only the Áshura
  2. The better of which is to fast Tasuá with Áshura
  3. The best of which is to fast Tasuá, Áshura and more days in Muharram
  • The scholars mentioned several reasons why it is Mustahabb to fast on Tasuá:
  1. To be different from the Jews, who only venerate the tenth day (strongest reason)
  2. To add another day’s fast to Áshura (same as prohibiting fast on a Friday by itself)
  3. To be on the safe side and make sure that one fasts on the tenth, in case there is some error in sighting the crescent moon at the beginning of Muharram and the ninth is in fact the tenth.
  • Abu Hurayrah (Radiyallahu Anhu – may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “I asked the Prophet: ‘Which prayer is the best after the obligatory prayers?’ He said: ‘Prayer during the middle of the night.’ I asked: ‘Which fast is the best after the fast of Ramadan?’ He said, ‘The month of Allah that you call Muharram.’” [Related by Ahmad, Muslim, and Abu Dawud]


  • These are the best days of the year
  • “By the dawn; by the ten nights.” [Al-Fajr 89:1-2]
  • The Prophet ﷺ said: “There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of Tahlil, Takbir and Tahmid.” [Reported by Ahmad, 7/224; Ahmad Shakir stated that it is Sahih]


  • The Day of Arafah (Dhul Hijjah 9) is the best of the best days
  • Fasting the day of Arafah expiates the (minor) sins of two years: a past one and a coming one. And fasting the day of Ashura expiates the sins of the past year.” [Muslim]
  • “There is no day on which Allah frees people from the Fire as He does on the day of Arafah. He comes close (to those standing on Arafah) and then revels before His angels, saying: ‘What are these people seeking?'” [Muslim]


  • Preferred to fast a lot on the 4 sacred months: the 1st month, Muharram; the 7th Rajab; the 11th Dhul Qidah; and 12th Dhul Hijjah
  • During these months, fighting is forbidden. They ask you concerning fighting in the Sacred Months (i.e. 1st, 7th, 11th and 12th months of the Islamic calendar). Say, “Fighting therein is a great (transgression) but a greater (transgression) with Allah is to prevent mankind from following the Way of Allah, to disbelieve in Him, to prevent access to Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Makkah), and to drive out its inhabitants, and Al-Fitnah is worse than killing….” [Al-Baqarah 2:217]


  • Every 13th 14th and 15th every lunar month
  • Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari (Radiyallahu Anhu – may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Prophet ordered us to fast for three days of every month, i.e. on the days of the full moon. And he said: ‘It is like fasting the whole year.’” [Related by An-Nasa’i and by Ibn Hibban, who called it Sahih]
  • It is related that the Prophet ﷺ would fast on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of one month and on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the next month. He would also fast for three days at the beginning of the month, or on the first Thursday and the next two Mondays of the month


  • Abu Hurayrah (Radiyallahu Anhu – may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet ﷺ would fast most on Monday and Thursday. He was asked about that and he said: “The actions are presented on every Monday and Thursday. Allah forgives every Muslim or every believer, except for those who are boycotting each other. He says [about them]: ‘Leave them.’” [Related by Ahmad with a Sahih chain]
  • The Prophet ﷺ, when asked about fasting on Monday, said: “That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I received revelations.” [Sahih Muslim ]


  • Alternate days
  • Ahmad related from Abdullah Ibn Amr that the Prophet ﷺ said: “The fast most loved by Allah is the fast of David, and the most loved prayer is the prayer of David. He would sleep half the night, pray for a third of the night, and then sleep during the last sixth of the night. He would also fast one day and then eat on the next.”


  • The Prophet ﷺ would fast most of the month of Sha’ban
  • Aishah said: “I never saw the Prophet fast a complete month save for Ramadan, and I have never seen him fast more in a month than he did in Sha’ban.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
  • Usamah bin Zayd (Radiyallahu Anhu – may Allah be pleased with him) asked: “O Messenger of Allah, I never find you fasting in any month like you do during the month of Sha’ban.” The Prophet responded: “That is a month that people neglect. It comes between Rajab and Sha’ban. It is a month in which the deeds are raised to the Lord of the Worlds. I love that my deeds be raised while I am fasting.” [Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i & by Ibn Khuzaimah in his Sahih]

A man from Bahila came to the Prophet ﷺ and said: “O Messenger of Allah, I am the man who came to you during the first year.” The Prophet said: “What has changed you? You used to be much more handsome!” He answered: “I did not eat save during the night since I left you.” The Messenger of Allah asked: “Why did you punish yourself? Fast during the month of patience [that is, Ramadan] and then one day of every month.” The man said: “Add something to that for me, for I have more strength than that.” The Prophet responded: “Fast two days [a month].” The man said: “Add more for me.” The Prophet said 3 times: “Fast from the forbidden months, then leave fasting.” He pointed with 3 of his fingers by clenching them and releasing them. [Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and al-Baihaqi with a good chain]