How many days should we fast in the month of Muharram and how? Some people fast for fifteen days without drinking water?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The Prophet (pbuh) defined the month of Muharram as ”the month of Allah” and stated that the most virtuous fasting after Ramadan was fasting performed in this month. (Muslim, Siyam, 202-203; Nasai, Qiyamul-Layl, 6) 

The tenth day of the month of Muharram is called “ashura”. Arabs of Jahiliyya also performed fasting on the day of Ashura, which has a special place in Semitic religions. 

The Prophet (pbuh) performed fasting before he became a prophet and after he migrated to Madinah for a few times and ordered the Muslims to fast but after the fasting of Ramadan was rendered fard, he left them free to fast or not to fast. 

The Prophet advised Muslims to fast not only on the tenth day but also on the ninth and eleventh days of Muharram. (Bukhari, Sawm, 69) 

It is regarded sunnah to fast on the tenth day together with the ninth day or the eleventh day in Hanafi and Maliki madhhabs.

Shafiis regard fasting on the ninth and tenth days of Muharram mustahab

According to Hanafi madhhab, it is makruh to perform fasting only on the tenth day of Muharram since it can mean imitating Jews.

Fasting performed in the month of Muharram starts at the time of imsak and ends in the evening just like Ramadan fasting.

It is bid’ah and does not exist in the sunnah to wait for days without drinking water.

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