Why you should fast on the Day of Arafah

Why you should fast on the Day of Arafah

The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are the best ten days of the year and the month of Hajj. The Prophet (peace be on him) highly recommended that we should fast during the first 9 days.

The 9th day is the Day of Arafah, and the Prophet (peace be on him) said:

There is no day on which Allah frees people from the Fire more so than on the day of ’Arafah. He comes close to those (people standing on ’Arafah), and then He boasts before His angels saying, ‘What are these people seeking. (Muslim)

Fasting on the day of Arafah deletes sins for two years

One of the companions Abu Qatada, also known as al Harith bin Ribi’i (may Allah be pleased with him) asked about fasting on the day of Arafah and the Prophet (peace be on him) said:

Fasting the day of ‘Arafah I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year before it and the year after it. (Muslim)

Fasting on Ashurah deletes sins of one year

On the day of ‘Ashura the tenth of Muharram he said fasting deletes the sins of the previous year:

He was asked about fasting on the day of ‘Ashura (10th of Muharram), whereupon be said: It expiates the sins of the preceding year

Fasting on Mondays

It is also recommended to fast on Mondays:

He was then asked about fasting on Monday, whereupon he said: It was the day on which I was born. on which I was commissioned with prophet-hood or revelation was sent to me. (Muslim)

Minor sins are deleted but not major sins

When the narrations say that sins are deleted, these are minor sins.

Major sins require tawbah (repentance) to be deleted, and require you to rectify your wrong. For instance, if you have taken something from someone, you have to return it to them. It is not enough to fast. If you failed to return a debt it is not expiated by fasting, you need to return the debt and if you have hurt someone who need to apologise to them. You have to reconcile with those with whom you have issues to clear your slate.

Who should not fast

Those who are performing Hajj should not fast on Arafah Day.

As the Prophet (peace be on him) used to fast during the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah, his companions were unsure if he was fasting on Arafah Day. Abu Qatada who has a biography as he was well known for his courage and love for the Prophet (peace be on him), asked the Prophet (peace be on him) about fasting. He was reflecting the concerns of the companions who were unsure whether they should fast or not fast and were unclear whether the Prophet (peace be on him) was fasting on the Day of Arafah.

Umm al Fadl bintu Harith, (the wife of Al Abbas (the Prophet’s uncle), the mother of Abdullah bin Abbas and the sister of Maymuna, the Prophet’s wife) who was a wise lady, cleared this confusion in a clever way, by sending the Prophet (peace be on him) some milk to drink, and he loved milk. He was performing his rituals on a camel so that everyone could see him. When he drank the milk it became obvious to them that he was not fasting.

Accordingly we make a distinction between those who are performing hajj and those who are not. The ones who are in Arafah performing Hajj are not allowed to fast, but those who are not performing Hajj have the opportunity to earn huge reward as their minor sins for two years are deleted.

It is forbidden to fast on Eid Day and the three days after

We do not fast on the tenth day, which is Eid and it is forbidden to fast on Eid and the three days following it.

Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be on him) forbade fasting on the day of al-Fitr and al-Nahr (the tenth day of Dhul Hijjah). (Bukhari)

The Prophet (peace be on him) also said:

The days of al-Tashreeq are days of eating, drinking and remembering Allah. (Muslim)

The days of al-Tashreeq which are the three days after Eid al-Adha (the 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhu’l-Hijjah).

May Allah enable us to please Him during these blessed days. Ameen

Delivered by Shaykh Haytham Tamim on 24th July 2020 as his Thought for the Week


Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.