Ep. 48 The Forties – A Fast That Equals One’s Entire Life

Al-Salam ‘Alaykum, this is Syed Ali Imran – and you are listening to the Forties podcast, brought to you by Mizan Institute.

This is episode 48 – A Fast That Equals One’s Entire Life

قَالَ أَمِيرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ع‏ صِيَامُ شَهْرِ الصَّبْرِ وَ ثَلَاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ فِي كُلِّ شَهْرٍ يَذْهَبْنَ بِبَلَابِلِ الصُّدُورِ وَ صِيَامُ ثَلَاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ فِي كُلِّ شَهْرٍ صِيَامُ الدَّهْرِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ يَقُولُ فِي كِتَابِهِ- مَنْ جاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثالِها

In Hadith #7 Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a) narrates that Imam ‘Alī (a) said, “The fasts of the month of Patience (Ramadan) and three fasts of a month keep the evil-thoughts away from one’s heart. The three fasts of a month are equal to the fasts of an age for Allah says in His book, “Whoever brings a good deed, he shall have ten like it.”

What the Imam (a) means is that for each fast a person keeps, they will be given a ten-fold reward for it because that is what the verse of the Qurān says. This means, if a person fasts for three days in a month, that means they will be rewarded for it as if they had fasted for the whole month. If a person keeps a fast for three days in every month like this for their whole life, it will be as if they fasted for their entire life. The Imam refers to this as the “fast of an age”, meaning it was as if they were in a state of fasting their entire life.

As for the month of patience, we already know this refers to the month of Ramaḍān as per ḥadīth #5 which we have already discussed.  Regarding the three fasts that should be kept in the remaining months, this narration does not say whether these are the middle days of the month, or specific days of the week, rather the narration leaves that vague, and it implies that you can keep three fasts at any time during the month. This can be at the beginning of the month, middle of the month, or the end of the month, it doesn’t matter. In fact, it does not even matter if the fasts are connected or disconnected, whether you fast 3 days in a row, or break them apart on different times of the same month.

However, if a person wants to even do these three fasts in the best of manners, then there are narrations that tell us how we can perform these three recommended fasts during the other months. In the next episode, we’ll read one narration from Imam Sadiq (a) in which he explains one of the best times to keep these three fasts in every month.

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