Will you give information about fasting in order to welcome Ramadan or to bid farewell to Ramadan, and the number of days in the month of Ramadan?

The Details of the Question

- This year Ramadan fasting will last twenty-nine days. Some people will start on Saturday (one day earlier) in order to make it thirty. Is it really necessary to do so?

- Is it permissible to perform nafilah fasting on yawm ash-shakk (day of doubt)?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

There is a day called “yawm ash-shakk”, that is, day of doubt, before Ramadan. It is the day about which people doubt whether it is the last day of the month of Shaban or the first day of the month of Ramadan. It is makruh to perform fasting on a day that is regarded as doubtful. However, if there is definite information that it is not day of doubt, one can fast. It is also possible to start fasting two or three days before Ramadan starts because it is nafilah fasting performed in the month of Shaban. It gains man thawabs.

Today, the determination of Ramadan crescent and the beginning of Ramadan is made through astronomical calculations and calendars; therefore, it is permissible to perform fasting one day before Ramadan. The reason why it is called “Welcoming Ramadan” might be as follows:

The Prophet (pbuh) advised his ummah to perform fasting in the month of Shaban due to respect for Ramadan. According to a narration of Anas bin Malik, the Companions asked the Prophet,

“O Messenger of Allah! What is the most virtuous fasting except Ramadan?”

The Prophet gave the following answer:

“Fasting performed in the month of Shaban to show respect to Ramadan.” (Tirmidhi, Zakah: 28)

It is permissible and virtuous to perform fasting in the month of Shaban a few days before Ramadan.

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.

For more information, please click on the link given below;

How many days does Ramadan fasting last?

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