Question # 20: Please advise on fasting the days of Dhul-Hijjah?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah then the ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, not even jihad. Hence, fasting nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah is mustahabb (recommended), while fasting on the day of Arafah (except for the one who is actually at ‘Arafah) is expiation for the preceding year and the following year.

Long Answer: Fasting nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah is mustahabb (recommended). This is indicated by the words of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), as narrated in the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbaas (رضي الله عنه): “There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah then these ten days (i.e., ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah).” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself with his wealth and does not come back with anything (i.e., he expends all his wealth and is martyred).” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari)

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to fast on the first nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah. It was narrated from Hunaydah ibn Khaalid from his wife that one of the wives of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to fast on the first nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah and the day of ‘Ashoora’, and three days each month, the first Monday of the month and two Thursdays. (Narrated by al-Nasaa’i and by Abu Dawood; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood)

Imam an-Nawawi said that fasting in these ten days is extremely recommended.

Abu Qatadah Al-Ansari (رضي الله عنه) narrated, ‘The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was asked about fasting on the day of Arafah (the 9th of the month of Dhul Hijjah). He replied, “Fasting on the day of Arafah is expiation for the preceding year and the following year.” (Muslim)

Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) stated: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade fasting on the day of ‘Arafah for one who is actually at ‘Arafah.” This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah. (‘Fiqh Us-Sunnah’ by As-Sayyid Sabiq)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam