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
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