Besides the fard (obligatory) fast of Ramadan, there are various Nafl (optional) fasts that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) kept throughout the year. We too can make an intention of following in His foot steps this year Insha Allah.

The Sahabah (radiyallahu ‘anhum) mention that, at times, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) would fast so much that we thought he would not stop and at times he (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) did vice versa.

(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 1141, 1972)

The Fuqaha (jurists) have classified these fasts into 2 types;

a) Sunnah and

b) Mustahabb (preferable).

The fast of the 9th and 10th or 10th and 11th of Muharram has been classified as a Sunnah fast.

(Durrul Mukhtar vol.2 pg.374; Maraqiul Falah pg.350).

By fasting on the 10th, one year’s minor sins are forgiven.

(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 2000-2007; Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2838)


The following fasts are classified as Mustahabb (meritorious):

1. Every Monday and Thursday.

(Maraqiul Falah pg.350; Alamgiri vol.1 pg.201).

Virtue: Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) chose to fast these days because the deeds of the Ummah are presented to Allah Ta’ala on these 2 days.

(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2742; Sahih ibn Khuzaymah, Hadith: 2116-2120)

2. The 13th, 14th and 15th of every month which are known as Ayyamul beedh. (Maraqiul Falah pg.350; Durrul Mukhtar vol.2 pg.375; Alamgiri vol.1 pg.201).

Virtue: One who observes these fasts every month will be rewarded as if he fasted his entire lifetime.

(Sahih ibn Khuzaymah, Hadith: 2128; Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Hadith: 762; Musnad Ahmad vol.5 pg.140, 252;).

However, the 13th of the month of Dhul-Hijjah is excluded. (Imdadul Fatawa)

3. Any three days of each month.

(Shami vol.2 pg.375; Tahtawi ala Maraqil falah pg.350; Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 1981; Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2736, 2739).

Virtue: The reward of this fast is same as the previous. In fact this one could be incorporated in the Ayyaamul beedh. (Shami; Sahih ibn Khuzaymah vol.3 pg.303)

4. The 9th of Dhul-Hijjah which is the day of Arafah. However, the Haji who is in Arafah is excluded, because he may be weakened through the fast. If this is not the case, then the Haji may also keep this fast. (Durrul Mukhtar vol.2 pg.375).

Some ‘Ulama have classified this as a Sunnah fast just like the 10th of Muharram. (Shami vol.2 pg.375).

Virtue: By fasting on this day, two years minor sins will be forgiven.

(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 1988; Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2738-2739)

5. Any six days of Shawwal (month after Ramadan) besides the first of Shawwal; Eid day. (Maraqiul falah pg.350; Alamgiri vol.1 pg.201).

Virtue: The one who observes these fasts after observing the fast of Ramadan, will receive the reward of fasting for the entire year. (Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2750; Sahih ibn Hibban, Hadith: 3634; Sahih ibn Khuzaymah, Hadith: 2114)

6. On Fridays. (Shami vol.2 pg.375; Maraqiul falah pg.350; Alamgiri vol.1 pg.201). However, it is better to fast a day before it or after it as well. (Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2678; Sahih ibn Khuzaymah, Hadith: 1229;)

7. Saturday and Sunday (together). (Shami vol.2 pg.375-376 refer Sahih ibn Khuzaymah vol.3 pg.318 Hadith: 2167; Sahih ibn Hibban, Hadith: 3616; Mustadrak al-Hakim;)

8. As much as possible in the first half of the month of Sha’ban with no specification on condition that one is confident that this will not weaken him for the fast of Ramadan. (Alamgiri vol.1 pg.201 refer Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 1969; Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 175, 176, 1156)

9. Any or all of the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah. (Alamgiri vol.1 pg.201).

Virtue: The fast of each of these days is equal to the fast of one year. (Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 758, Shu’abul Iman, Hadith: 3758)

10. As much as possible, in the month of Muharram.

Virtue: The best fast after Ramadan is the fast of Muharram (Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2748)

For each fast one will receive the reward of fasting for 30 days. (Tabarani; Targheeb vol.2 pg.114)

These are most of the fasts that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), either observed himself or encouraged others to observe.

Since fasting is an act of worship in itself, the Fuqaha have stated that it is virtuous for one to fast as much as possible (if he has the strength to do so).


Most Beloved Fast in the sight of Allah

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is reported to have said that the most beloved fasts to Allah is the fast of Dawud (‘alayhis salam); he would fast every alternate day. (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 1131; Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2731-2732).


Note: it is forbidden to fast on the days of both Eids as well as the 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah. (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 1990; Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2666-2672; Sahih ibn Khuzaymah, Hadith: 2100; Shami vol.2 pg.375)

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best