Bulugh al-Maram, Book of Fasting: Hadith 1 & 2 [Fasting A Day Or Two Before Ramadhān Begins]

The following brief notes* are based on a classes delivered by Abu Khadeejah [May Allāh pardon him and his parents] on the topic of Ramadaan, its virtues and rulings.

Hadīth 1 [# 528 in the English text]

Narrated Abu Hurairah [May Allāh be pleased with him] that Allāhs Messenger Sallallāhu alaihi Wasallam said:

Do not fast a day or two before Ramadhān except for the one who is in a habit of observing a particular fast; so let this man fast

[Agreed Upon]

Explanation

🔹So in this Hadīth there is a forbiddance to fast before Ramadhān actually begins. A person may hope for more reward by fasting a day early, however this would become a Bid’ah [Innovation in the religion].

🔹The one who may fast is the one that fasts as a habit from the known methods:

  • The white days [Ayyam al-Bīd] – 13th, 14th, 15th of each month

Jarīr Bin Abdullāh [May Allāh be pleased with him] narrated that the Prophet Sallallāhu alaihi Wasallam said:

“Fasting three days of each month is fasting for a lifetime, and ayyam al-bīd are the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth.” 

[Narrated in Sunan al-Nasā’i. Graded Sahīh by al-Albanī]

  • Mondays and Thursdays

This was the practice of the Prophet Sallallāhu alaihi Wasallam. Our mother Aisha [May Allāh be pleased with her] said:

The Prophet Sallallāhu alaihi Wasallam was keen to fast on Mondays and Thursdays.

[Narrated by al-Tirmidhī, Ibn Majah and al-Nasā’i. Graded Sahīh by al-Albanī]

  • The fast of Dawūd [May Peace be upon him]

Abdullāh Bin ‘Amr [May Allāh be pleased with him] said that the Prophet Sallallāhu alaihi Wasallam said:

The best fasting is the fast of Dawūd: he used to fast one day and not the next.

[Agreed Upon]

  • Making up missed fast from the previous Ramadhān 

Whoever has fasts to make up from the previous Ramadhān is permitted to fast a day or two before Ramadhān begins.

  • Fulfilling a Vow

Whoever has made a vow to keep a fast has to keep that fast before Ramadhān  begins. Some people make an oath in a manner that was disliked by the Salaf which is to vow to carry out a certain act if Allāh grants them something they request. Such a vow was disliked by the Salaf. We should strive to do righteous acts regardless of a need being fulfilled or not. Look at the companions of the cave. When they wanted the rock that was blocking the way out to move, they didn’t make a vow to do good if Allāh gave them a way out, they called upon Allāh through the actions that they have already carried out [Tawassul through ones righteous deeds]

🔹Those that use any of the above methods of fasting do not intend to start Ramadhān early therefore the above hadith of Abū Hurairah does not apply. However, any other reason would most likely be considered a Bid’ah. Therefore one cannot start Ramadhān a day or two early hoping for reward just like one cannot increase the Rakatain of Fajr to three. The Qur’ān states:

If you love Allāh, then follow me and Allāh will love you” [Sūral al-Imrān 3:32]

🔹Finally, Ramadhān begins with either the sighting of the Moon or the completion  of the thirty days of Sha’bān.

🔹A Hadīth that is ‘agreed upon’ is one that is reported by both Imām al-Bukhārī and Imām Muslim.

 

Hadīth 2 [# 529 in the english text]

Narrated Ammār Bin Yāsir [May Allāh be pleased with him]:

“He who fasts on a day in which there is doubt [Shakk] has disobeyed Abul-Qāsim”

[al-Bukhārī narrated this in a Mu’allaq [disconnected] form. al-Khamsa in Mawsūl [connected]. Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Hibbān graded this narration Sahīh]

Explanation:

🔹If the moon is not sighted on the 29th of Sha’bān, we must complete the thirty days.

🔹The day of doubt is the 30th of Sha’bān. If the Moon is sighted on the 29th night of Sha’bān, Ramadhān would begin the next day [Sha’bān in this case would be a 29 day month].  It is important to know that in the West we consider a certain night to be the same as the day i.e 29th day would also be 29th night. However in Hadīth, the night precedes the day therefore the 29th night of Sha’ban in the UK would be the 30th night of Sha’ban in reality.

🔹Since the Lunar month can be 29 or 30 days, one may say he will fast due to the possibility that Ramadhān could have begun and he doesn’t wish to miss a day. This would be fasting based on a doubt. The Solar cycle has set calenders and days of each month however in the Lunar calender, the month can be 29 or thirty days.

🔹The word ‘Shakk’ means: to switch between two affairs without being fixed on one. If one is given preference then this would be speculation [Dhann].

🔹The vast Majority [Jamhūr] of scholars held this opinion. The Hanābilah however, differed.  The Hanābilah use the Hadīth “A month is 29 days” as a proof that you can fast on the day of doubt and this opinion is mentioned in the known works of the Hanbalī Mathab such as al-Insāf and Za’d al-Mustaqni.So they say if there is a cloud dust etc then the fast is obligated. The Majority of Ulamah however do not follow this opinion. It is important to remember that in issues of Aqīdah and Usūl, the Ulamah are united but in issues of Furu’ and Fiqh, they differ at times.

🔹Shaikh Sālih al-Fawzān specialises in the Hanbalī Madhab and is a known scholar of our time. He however does not follow the opinion of the Hanbalīs in this issue which demonstrates that he is not a Muqallid [Blind-Follower] of the Madhab and follows that which is conclusive. He states that opinion of the majority in this case outweighs the rest.

🔹 Qāsim was the eldest son of the Prophet. Khadījah [May Allāh be pleased with her] gave birth to him. He died in Makkah at a young age.

🔹The Prophet was known as Abul-Qāsim out of respect and nobility. And we should refer to each other with respect due to the saying of Allah:

And do not insult each other by nicknames” [Sūrah al-Hujurāt 49:22]

🔹Because the Prophet was known as Abul-Qāsim, we see that a Kunya is highly recommended whether we have children or not. Aisha [May Allāh be pleased with her] was known as Umm Abdillāh even though she had no children. Her Kunya was based on her nephew Abdullāh Bin Zubayr. His mother was Asmā Bint Abi Bakr [May Allāh be pleased with her and her father]. Imām al-Nawawī [May Allāh have mercy upon him] was known as Abu Zakeriyya even though he never married.

🔹This Hadīth is Marfu [raised]. This means that even though it is the statement of Ammār Bin Yāsir, the fact that it mentions “disobeyed Abul Qāsim” means one can consider it a commandment of the Prophet Sallallāhu alaihi Wasallam.

🔹A Hadīth that is Mu’allaq is one that has one or more narrators missing from the Isnād [chain of narration] and are usually rejected. Imām Ibn Hajr has a work entitled: ‘Tablīq al-Ta’līq’ in which he provides isnāds for the Ahadīth in this form in Sahīh al-Bukhārī.

* These notes were compiled by Faisal Ibn Saifallah (may Allaah reward him).

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