When was fasting ordered first? Are there any times when fasting should not be performed?

The Details of the Question

In what months and on what days apart from Ramadan should we perform fasting; in what months and on what days should we not perform fasting? Will you explain with their causes?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Fasting existed in the shari'ahs of the previous prophets including Hz. Adam. It was ordered to Hz. Adam first.

The following is stated in the Quran:

"O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that ye may (learn) self-restraint." (al-Baqara, 2/183)

It is unanimously agreed that fasting was rendered fard after the Migration.. According to the sound narration, it was rendered fard a short while after the Battle of Badr. According to a narration from Hz. Aisha, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) performed "Ashura fasting" first and advised the Companions to fast too. According to a narration from Muadh b. Jabal (ra), he fasted three days every month in Madinah.

Makruh Fasting:

Makruh fasting is divided into two: fasting that is makruh tanzihi and fasting that is makruh tahrimi.

It is makruh tanzihi to perform fasting only on the tenth day of the month of Muharram or on Nawruz day (the beginning of spring) or on Mahrijan day (the beginning of fall). It is also makruh tanzihi to perform fasting only on Friday. The reason why fasting is not performed on Friday is because it is a kind of feast day. It is stated in a hadith that Friday is a day of eating, drinking and dhikr.

It is also regarded makruh tanzihi to perform fasting only on Saturday.

It is makruh tahrimi to perform fasting on the first day of eid al-fitr and all four days of eid al-adha. There are some scholars who regard fasting on these days haram. Therefore, they can also be called haram fasting. God Almighty declared these days eid (feast) days for His slaves. It is necessary to eat the boons of Allah and thank Him. To fast on these days means to turn one's face away from Allah's boons and feast; therefore, fasting on these days is regarded as haram or makruh tahrimi.

It is also makruh to perform fasting two or three days on end without eating anything in the evening (which is called sawm al-wisal). Sawm al-wisal was permissible for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). It is not permissible for his ummah since it is hard.

It is also makruh to perform fasting during the whole year including feast (eid) days. It is called sawm ad-dahr. It is permissible to perform fasting during the whole year if feast (eid) days are excluded.

It is makruh for a woman to perform nafilah fasting without the permission of her husband. If her husband wishes, he can make her break her fasting.

A worker or servant who works based on a salary or wages can perform nafilah fasting if they do not harm their work and service. If fasting hinders his work, it is necessary to get permission from the employer. If the employer permits, he can perform nafilah fasting; if not, he cannot fast.

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