Is it makruh to fast one day before Ramadan?

The Details of the Question

- Does welcoming Ramadan or bidding farewell to it exist in Islam?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Performing fasting with the intention of welcoming Ramadan or bidding farewell to it has no religious basis.

However, the Prophet performed fasting a lot in the month of Shaban and six days in the month of Shawwal.

It is makruh to perform fasting one or two days before Ramadan thinking that Ramadan may have started. However, if a person performs fasting on certain days and if that day coincides with one or two days before Ramadan, it is permissible for him to fast on those days.  

As a matter of fact, the Prophet states the following:

 “None of you should fast a day or two before the month of Ramadan unless he has the habit of fasting. If his habitual fasting coincides with those days, he can fast those days.” (Bukhari, Sawm: 14; Muslim, Siyam: 21)

As for fasting after Ramadan, it is not permissible to perform fasting with the intention of “bidding farewell” to Ramadan. There is no such fasting.

“If a person performs fasting in the whole Ramadan and performs fasting 6 days in Shawwal after it, he will be regarded as if he has fasted for the whole year.” (Ibn Majah, Siyam: 33)

However, acting upon the hadith above, some mujtahids regard it mustahab to perform fasting in the month of Shawwal beginning from the second day of eid al-fitr. That is nafilah fasting. However, some scholars including Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik and Abu Yusuf regard it more appropriate not to fast in the month of Shawwal fearing that "people will think it is wajib fasting". No scholars among Salaf performed fasting in Shawwal.

However, it is permissible to perform fasting in Shawwal to gain thawabs. Nevertheless, it is necessary to know that it is nafilah fasting, not wajib.

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