Is It Lawful to Fast Every Day in the Shafi’i School?

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Shaykh Arsalan Haque

Question: Asalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah, 

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbid the sahaba from certain extreme acts of devotion, such as when one sahaba said I will not marry any woman , the other said I will pray all the night, and another said I will fast everyday, etc . But we know that Imam Nawawi (Allah’s mercy be upon him) fasted all his life but he was not married.

As Imam Nawawi, I’m not married yet and I fast to preserve myself as rasulullah advised us. According Shafi’i fiqh , is it lawful to fast everyday? What are the major rules of days that we cannot fast? What other advice can you give me to protect my self when I don’t fast? 

Answer: Assalamu alaykum,

According to the Shafi’i school, it is not only lawful [mubah] but recommended [mustahabb] to fast every day, as long as the following conditions are met:

a. one does not fear harm for oneself;
b. it does not lead one to neglect the rights of others; and
c. one does not fast on the days of Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, and the three days after Eid al-Adha (i.e. the Days of Tashriq).

If any of the above conditions are not met, the fast becomes offensive [makruh]. Otherwise, it is recommended [mustahabb] to fast every day.

Textual Evidence for the Permissibility of Fasting the Entire Year

The Mother of the Believers, A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated that Hamza b. Amr al-Aslami, may Allah be pleased with him, asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “O Messenger of Allah, I am a man who fasts perpetually. Should I fast while traveling?” He replied, “You may fast if you wish, and you may break your fast if you wish.” (Sahih Muslim)

Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Hell becomes constricted for the one who fasts the entire year, like this …” And he made a gesture with his hand. (Bayhaqi). Imam al-Nawawi commented, “This means that such a person will not enter the Fire, or that there will be no space for him therein.”

Umm Kulthum reported that the Mother of the Believers, A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, was asked, “You fast the entire year, even though the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade fasting the entire year?” She replied, “Yes, I did hear the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbid fasting the entire year. However, someone who does not fast on the Days of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha has not fasted the entire year.” (Kanz al-Ummal, with a sound chain according to Najib al-Muti’i)

Abdullah b. Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, was asked about fasting the entire year. He said, “We would consider such people among us to be from the forerunners.” (Bayhaqi)

Abu Malik al-Ash’ari, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “There is a room in Paradise whose inside is visible from the outside, and the outside is visible from the inside. Allah, Most High, has prepared it for the one who is gentle in speech, feeds others, fasts perpetually, and prays at night while others are asleep.” (Bayhaqi, with a fair chain according to Najib al-Muti’i)

Urwa b. Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with them, reported that the Mother of the Believers, A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, used to fast the entire year, while traveling or stationed. (Bayhaqi, with a sound chain according to Nawawi)

Anas b. Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Abu Talha would not fast during the life of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, due to warfare. However, after the demise of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, I never saw him skip a fast except on the Days of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. (Sahih al-Bukhari)

Imam al-Nawawi mentions in Sharh al-Muhadhdhab that among the Companions who were known to fast the entire year were Umar b. al-Khattab, Abdullah b. Umar, Abu Talha al-Ansari, Abu Umama, his wife, and A’isha, may Allah be pleased with all of them.

And Allah most certainly knows best.

(al-Majmu’, Minhaj al-Talibin)

Arsalan



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