WORSHIP \ Fasting \ The fast of other than Ramadhaan \
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In the Name of Allaah, All Compassionate, All Merciful
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Fasting on a Saturday
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Indeed all praise is due to Allah,we praise him, we seek his aid and his forgiveness, whom so ever Allah guides non can misguide and whom so ever he misguides non can guide, I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah the most high and I bear witness that Mohammad is his slave and messenger, may Allah’s peace and prayers be upon him. To proceed

With regards to the fast of A'ashuraa, if it coincides with a day on which fasting is prohibited, whether the day of A'ashuraa falls on a Friday, where there is a prohibition to fast on its own, without fasting a day before or a day after or whether the day of A'ashuraa coincides with saturday, where the prohibition on fasting is an absolute prohibition (Mutlaqan), except for what Allah the Mighty and Majestic has made obligatory.

So what comes to my mind, is the following hadeeth and its explanation. The hadeeth narrated by Imaam Muslim in his saheeh, from the hadeeth of Abee Qataadah Al-Ansaaree radiallahu anhu:

"That the Messenger of Allah was asked about the fast of A'ashuraa,so he said: that is the day that is an expiation for the previous year, so he was asked about the fast of the day of A'rafah,so he said: that is the day that is an expiation for the previous year and the following year. So it was said to him, what do you say about the fast on a Monday, so he said: that is the day that I was born and the day that I was sent by Allah." and in another wording:"the quraan was revealed upon me on this day."

So this hadeeth brings together and specifies the excellence of fasting on these three days. What now comes to mind and that which requires attention and caution is when these days of virtue and excellence coincide with a day that the wise legislation has prohibited fasting. Where the affair is one of apparent contradiction, do we submit and fast on these days of virtue or do we leave them, if the days conflict with a prohibition?

The problem is resolved, with regards to this kind of situation, where the day of A'ashuraa falls on a Saturday. The Saturday of which the Messenger of Allah has said in an authentic hadeeth:

"Do not fast on the day of Saturday except that which has been made obligated upon you,and if one of you does not find except a bark of a tree then let him chew it." In another wording:"let him swallow it."[1]

The point of evidence being that the Messenger of Allah prohibited fasting on a Saturday-an absolute prohibition- except what is obligated, like the fast of Ramadaan or for the fulfilment of a vow, if one vowed to fast a complete month or a week.

As for what is not obligated, like the fast of A'ashuraa or the fast of A'rafah, where they may coincide with a Saturday. Does one fast? No, one does not fast, as the authentic hadeeth mentions: "except that which is obligated upon you."

Likewise Monday, if it coincides with Eid,like the previous Eid coincided with a Thursday and Thursday is also a virtuous day to fast. So if Eid falls on a Monday or a Thursday, then do we place the virtue over and above the prohibition of fasting on an Eid or do we place the prohibition over and above the virtue?

The problem is resolved by applying a fundamental principle of fiqh,that is: "If a prohibition is in opposition to an allowance, the prohibition takes precedence over the allowance." (tuqaddamul-haadir a'lal-mubeeh)

So if the day of A'ashuraa falls on a Saturday we do not fast, similarly if Eid falls on a Monday or a thursday,we do not fast, because the excellence of fasting on these days is in contradiction with a prohibition, so the prohibition takes precedence and we place it over and above the virtue.

As for what we are asked by many of the people, about the one who fasts the fast of Dawood-upon him be peace-to fast a day and to miss a day and perhaps one of the days falls on a Saturday, then we say he should not fast; why? because it is not from the obligated fasts. Likewise,if one was to fast the fasting of "Beyd" the 13th,14th and 15th of each month and they were to fall on a Saturday, one does not fast. so with this, one takes the principle and is at ease: "A prohibition takes precedence over a virtuous action (Al-Fadl)."

So I end this sitting and I say what he, may Allah’s peace and prayers be upon said:

"Whoever leaves a thing for the sake of Allah, Allah will replace it with what is better than it."[2]

So if a Muslim leaves off fasting in obedience to the Messenger of Allah, he has therefore left it for the sake of Allah and Allah will replace it with what is better.

So if one who is in opposition to this says; how have you left the fast of A'ashuraa, which is an expiation for the previous year and the fast of A'rafah, which is an expiation for two years, based upon a hadeeth that is "Ghareeb" (strange) and "Shaadh" (contradictory)? We say, the hadeeth is indeed authentic, whoever makes it weak, does so without knowledge.

This is what I intended to remind you of, Wa subhanakallahuma wa bihamdikah ashaduan laa ilaahaa ila anta astaghfirukah wa atoobu iliak."

Shaykh Muhammad Naasiruddeen al-Albaanee
Audio recording entitled "Humul-Ghurabaah"

Footnotes:
1) Refer to saheeh Abi Dawood, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah;
2) Refer to Kashful-Khafaa of Ajaloonee and Ad-durur Al-Muntathirah fil-Ahadeeth Al-mushtahirah of As-Sayootee.