Is it necessary to perform fasting on the day of arafah in the fasting of the first ten days of “Dhul-Hijjah”?

Details of the Question

- I intended to perform Dhul-Hijjah fasting and fasted last Thursday as the first day. How many more days should I perform fasting? 

- I am advised to break fasting by eating the liver of the animal that I sacrifice on the first day of eid. Will you also mention the importance of Dhul- Hijjah?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

What is meant by the verse “and by the Ten Nights” in the chapter of al-Fajr is the last ten days of the month of Ramadan or the first ten days of Muharram according to some resources, but the general opinion is that it refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

Dhul-Hijjah, which is the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is the month in which the worship of hajj, one of the five principles of Islam, is fulfilled. The period of time between the first and tenth day of that holy month is called “layal ashara”, that is, ten holy nights. The tenth day is the first day of the eid al-adha. The Prophet (pbuh) expresses the value of those days as follows

"There are no days in this world during which worship is more beloved to Allah, than the first ten days of Dhul- Hijjah. Fasting one of these days is equivalent to fasting for one year, and performing prayers on one night of them is equal to Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Power)." (see Tirmidhi, Sawm, 52; Ibn Majah, Siyam, 39)

Hafsa (r.a), one of the wives of the Prophet (pbuh), says,

"The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) did not abandon four things: Fasting on the day of Ashura, fasting ten days in Dhul-Hijjah, fasting three days every month and the two-rak'ah sunnah of the morning prayer. (see Musnad, 45/375; Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Zadul-Maad 2/62)

Abud-Darda (r.a) expresses the importance of the month of Dhul-Hijjah as follows:

"It is necessary to perform fasting on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, give sadaqah a lot, pray and ask for forgiveness. For, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"Woe on the people who are deprived of the goodness and abundance of these ten days!"

"If a person performs fasting on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, his life will be full of abundance, his property will increase, his children will be saved from misfortunes, his sins will be forgiven, his good deeds will be rewarded many times, he will surrender his spirit easily at the time of death and his grave will be enlightened; his rewards will outweigh his sins in Mizan (the Scales) and he will attain high levels in Paradise." (Sayyid Ali Zada, Shir'atul-Islam)

"There are no better days to worship Allah than the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Say tasbih (Subhanallah), tahmid (Alhamdulillah), tahlil (La ilaha illallah) and takbir (Allahu akbar) a lot on these days!" (Abd b. Humayd, Musnad, 1/257)

The Prophet (pbuh) gives the glad tiding that the good deeds performed on the first ten nights of Dhul-Hijjah, which Allah rendered blessed and which are vowed in the Quran, will be rewarded seven hundred times. These days are days on which we are given the opportunity to repent and to obtain a lot of rewards in very short periods of time. We should follow the Prophet, perform fasting during these days, give sadaqah and mention Allah.

As for the issue of performing fasting on eid days:

Fasting starts with imsak time and ends when the time period for the evening prayer starts. Accordingly, waiting until the time of noon without eating is not regarded as fasting. Besides, it is makruh tahrimi to perform fasting on that day. It is not necessary to start eating with a piece of meat from the sacrificed animal.

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