By HARUN RAZAQ
The Prophet is reported to have said: “iman increases and decreases…” it increases as a result of good deeds and decreases as a result of evil deeds. One of the ways to increase our iman after Ramadan is embarking on Sunnah fasting. The recommended fasting after Ramadan are as follow:
•Fasting of six days of Shawwal as narrated by Abu Ayyub (RA) that Allah’s Messenger, (SAW), said: “He who fasts Ramadan, and six days of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted a whole year.”
It is a misconception that these six days of fasting must be undertaken on consecutive days, as there is no hadith that stipulate so. These six days of fasting after Ramadan fasts, are equivalent to fasting “perpetually”, according to Sahih Muslim.
•Fasting on Mondays and Thursdays (i) it was narrated from Abu Qataadah al-Ansaari that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) was asked about fasting on Mondays. He said: “On that day I was born, and on it the revelation came to me.” (Narrated by Muslim,1162).
(ii) The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Deeds are shown (to Allah) on Mondays and Thursdays, and I like my deeds to be shown when I am fasting.”
•Fasting for three days in every month: (i) it was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (RA) said: “My close friend- the Prophet (s.a.w) advised me to do three things which I will not give up until I die: fasting three days of each month, praying Duha, and sleeping after Witr. It was narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Fasting three days of every month is like fasting for a lifetime, and ayaam al-beed are the 13th, 14th and 15th.”
•The Day of ‘Arafat (the days on which pilgrims stand at Mount ‘Arafa for people at home: The Prophet said: “The ‘Arafat fast redeems two years… one past and one future.”
•The Day of Ashura: Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) said: “I know of no other day than Ashura, which the Prophet fasted in recognition of its merits over all other days”.
The month of Muharram: The Prophet (s.a.w) was asked about the best fast next to Ramadan. He said: “al-Muharram.”
•The month of Sha’ban: ‘Aisha (r.t.a) said: “The Prophet (s.a.w) used to fast for a complete month only in Ramadan. Next to that he fasted most often in Sha’ban.”
However, fasting is fobidden on the doubtful day, the day of ‘Eid-l-Fitr, the day the pilgrims offer sacrifice, the days of tashriq (11th, 12th and 13th of Dhu’l-Hijjah.