By: Ustādh Rasheed Haashim, Ibadan
Asalam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh Ustādh. Is it true that we cannot fast on Arafat day this 1443 as if falls on Friday except we fast on Thursday since fasting on Friday has been prohibited by the Noble Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Similar questions were asked by different brothers and sisters in Islamic Discussion WhatsApp Groups and other WhatsApp groups I belong. I deemed it fit to provide brief answer to the question.
*Answered by Ustādh Rasheed Haashim, Ibadan on Monday, 4th July, 2022 (05-12-1443)*
Wa Alaikum Salam Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh
Fasting on the day of Arafat has been authentically established in the sunnah of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). It is highly rewarding as it cancels sins of two years: previous and subsequent one. Abu Qatadah (RadiyaLlahu Anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafat. He replied: *“It expiates for the sins of the previous year and the coming year.”*
(Transmitted by Muslim)
The prohibition or discouragement of fasting on Friday ALONE has been established in authentic traditions of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as well. Few of those traditions are stated below:
Juwairiyah bint Al-Harith (RadiyaLlahu Anha) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) entered upon her on a Friday and while she was fasting. And he asked her: “Did you fast yesterday (i.e Thursday)?” She said, “No.” He asked further: “Do you wish to fast tomorrow (i.e Saturday)?” She said, “No.” He then said, “Then break your fast.” (Transmitted by Bukhari)
عَنْ جُوَيْرِيَةَ بِنْتِ الْحَارِثِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا يَوْمَ الْجُمُعَةِ وَهِيَ صَائِمَةٌ فَقَالَ أَصُمْتِ أَمْسِ قَالَتْ لا قَالَ تُرِيدِينَ أَنْ تَصُومِي غَدًا قَالَتْ لا قَالَ فَأَفْطِرِي.
Abu Hurairah (RadiyaLlahu Anhu) narrated that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying: None of you should fast on Friday, unless he fasts (a day) before it or after it.” (Transmitted by Bukhari and Muslim)
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ : “لا يَصُومَنَّ أَحَدُكُمْ يَوْمَ الْجُمُعَةِ إِلا يَوْمًا قَبْلَهُ أَوْ بَعْدَهُ.” (رواه البخاري ومسلم)
Muhammad bin Abbad bin Ja’far said: I asked Jabir (RadiyaLlahu Anhu) “Did the Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibit fasting on Friday?” He replied: “Yes.” (Transmitted by Bukhari and Muslim) Imam Muslim added in his own version: “I swear with the Lord of this House (Ka’bah).
عن محمَّد بنِ عبَّاد بنِ جعفرٍ قال: سَأَلْتُ جَابِرًا رضي الله عنه: «نَهَى النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَنْ صَوْمِ يَوْمِ الجُمُعَةِ؟» قَالَ: «نَعَمْ»، وزاد مسلمٌ: «وَرَبِّ هَذَا الْبَيْتِ»(٥)
The above quoted ahadith and similar others not quoted should be properly understood and not misconceived. The Hadith that encourages people to fast on Arafat day and the ones that discourage people from fasting on Fridays alone are not contradictory. They should be correctly understood. They are focusing on different aspects as will be clarified soon.
The Hadith on prohibition of fasting on Fridays alone focus on singling out Fridays alone for fasting or making it a habit. If one deliberately does single out Fridays alone for fasting, that is discouraged except if the person fasted on Thursday that preceded it or intends to fast on Saturday that follows it. There is no issue on this Bi IdhniLlahi Ta’ala. That has been the explanation of overwhelming majority of ebullient past and present scholars like Imam Ibnu Qudamah, Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani, Al-‘Allamah Ibn Uthaimin, Shaykh AbdulMuhsin Al-‘Abbad among other numerous scholars.
As for special sunnah-recommended fasting through other authentic ahadith such as: Arafat fasting, Ashurah fasting (fasting on tenth day of Muharram), someone embarking on Prophet Dawud fasting which is to fast in alternate days etc., the prohibition does not extend to them in the most convincing and correct view upheld by overwhelming majority of the past and present scholars. It is a recommended fasting that only coincides with Friday. It may fall in other days of the week too. Any Muslim who fasts in such situation has not fallen into the Prophet’s prohibition of fasting on Fridays alone.
To drive home our point, it is authentically reported on the authority of Abdullah bin ‘Amr (RadiyaLlahu Anhu) who narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “The most beloved fasting to Allah was the fasting of Prophet Dawud who used to fast on alternate days. (Transmitted by Bukhari and Muslim)
عَنْ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عَمْرٍو، قَالَ قَالَ لِي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ أَحَبُّ الصِّيَامِ إِلَى اللَّهِ صِيَامُ دَاوُدَ، كَانَ يَصُومُ يَوْمًا وَيُفْطِرُ يَوْمًا… ” رواه البخاري ومسلم)
Scholars have used this Hadith to establish that there is no way fasting will not fall on Fridays in some weeks. The same ruling is applicable to Arafat day fasting as it will fall on Fridays in some years. This is clear to those who can ponder over it.
Hadith of Abu Hurairah (RadiyaLlahu Anhu) has given exception to prohibition of fasting on Friday. Let us peruse the Hadith:
Abu Hurairah (RadiyaLlahu Anhu) narrated: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Do not single out Friday night among all other nights for standing in tahajjud prayer and do not single out Friday among days for fasting EXCEPT *if it is a fasting that anyone among you is accustomed to* (on dates) which coincide with this.” (Transmitted by Muslim)
عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه عن النَّبِيِّ صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم قَالَ: «لَا تَخْتَصُّوا لَيْلَةَ الْجُمُعَةِ بِقِيَامٍ مِنْ بَيْنِ اللَّيَالِي، وَلَا تَخُصُّوا يَوْمَ الْجُمُعَةِ بِصِيَامٍ مِنْ بَيْنِ الْأَيَّامِ، إِلَّا أَنْ يَكُونَ فِي صَوْمٍ يَصُومُهُ أَحَدُكُمْ» (رواه مسلمٌ)
This Hadith is explicit enough that one can fast on Friday if it coincides with a day one is accustomed to.
It is however, meritorious to fast on Thursday that preceded Arafat day to maximise one’s reward not that fasting Arafat day on Friday is forbidden as explained above.
Dear beloved brethren, as 1443 Arafat day fasting falls on Friday, 8th July, 2022, you are urged to fast and encourage your family members and friends to do so. It cancels sins of of two years as contained in the hadith of Abu Qatadah (RadiyaLlahu anhu) cited above. You are permitted in Islamic jurisprudence to fast on Friday alone with intention of fasting on Arafat day while it is better to add Thursday to it to maximise your reward.
May Allah accept it from us all as an act of worship. May we have prosperous 1443 Idul-Adha.
*Jazakumullahu khairan Wa Barakallahu fikum*