When is it appropriate to perform fasting about holy nights; on the day before the night or after the night?

Details of the Question

When is it appropriate to perform fasting about holy nights; on the day before the night or after the night?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

A holy night starts after the evening (maghrib) prayer and continues up to the morning (fajr) prayer. It is the best to perform fasting before and after that night. However, if a person wants to perform fasting one day, it is better to fast on the day after it.

From the religious viewpoint, the previous day ends when the sun sets and a new day starts. The night comes before the day. (Qurtubi, al-Jami’ li Ahkami’l-Qur’an, Riyad 2003, XIV, 15)

As a matter of fact, the month of Ramadan starts when the sun sets on the last day of the month of Shaban; therefore, tarawih prayer is performed that night; When the sun sets on the last day of the month of Ramadan, the month of Shawwal starts; therefore, tarawih prayer is not performed that night.

Friday starts when the sun sets on Thursday and continues up to the time when the sun sets on Friday. For instance, when “the first Friday night of the month of Rajab” is mentioned, the first night that connects Thursday to Friday is understood. Similarly, the 15th night of the night of Shaban is the night that connects the 14th day to the 15th night; the night of eid is the night that connects the day of arafah to the first day of eid.

For instance, if the Night of Ascension (Laylatul-Miraj) is on the night that connects Friday to Saturday, a person can perform fasting on Friday and Saturday. It is better to fast on Saturday.

Since the Night of Raghaib is on the night that connects Thursday to Friday, it is better to fast on Friday but it is possible to fast on Thursday too.

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