Ep. 49 The Forties – The Sunnah for Recommended Fasts

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 49 – The Sunnah for Recommended Fasts


زُرَارَةَ قَالَ: قُلْتُ لِأَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع بِمَا جَرَتِ السُّنَّةُ مِنَ الصَّوْمِ فَقَالَ ثَلَاثَةُ أَيَّامٍ فِي كُلِّ شَهْرٍ الْخَمِيسُ فِي الْعَشْرِ الْأَوَّلِ وَ الْأَرْبِعَاءُ فِي الْعَشْرِ الثَّانِي وَ الْخَمِيسُ فِي الْعَشْرِ الْآخِرِ قَالَ قُلْتُ هَذَا جَمِيعُ مَا جَرَتْ بِهِ السُّنَّةُ فِي الصَّوْمِ قَالَ نَعَمْ.

In Hadith #8 we read that Zurārah a companion of Imam Sadiq (a) asks the Imam: “What is the established sunnah for recommended fast?” The Imam (a) replied, “Fasting on three days every month, Thursday in the first 10 days, Wednesday in the second 10 days, and Thursday in the last 10 days” Zurārah asked, “Is this the established sunnah with regards to the recommended fasts?” The Imam (a) replied, “Yes.”

At first it seems that this narration is saying that the only recommended fasts during the year are these three days, and that it is not really sunnah or desired to fast on any other days. However, this is not the case, we know that it is desired to fast on any day during the year except the handful of exceptions where the fast is haram like the day of Eid. So what this narration is really referring to is in fact a very specific and special type of practice of the Prophet (p), perhaps a practice that he would always be seen observing, very regularly, as opposed to the Prophet (p) fasting all the time during the month.

Of course, during some days of the months, certain days also gain significance if you fast on them, for example the day of Ghadīr, or the day of Mab’ath or many other days for which there are recommended fasts prescribed. But putting those days aside, this narration is saying that if you fast on these three specific days every month, these are specifically significant because it was these days that the Prophet (p) insisting on fasting so regularly that it was known to be an established sunnah, an established practice of his.

Over the last few episodes, we got acquainted with some of the merits of fasting in the months of Rajab and Sha’ban, as well as the fasts of the month of Ramadan, the way the Prophet (p) encourages us to worship in Ramadhan so that we don’t miss out on the night of Qadr and the blessings of the month, and we ended with a discussion on what is the best way to perform the recommended fasts in every month.

In the next two episodes we’ll be going over a few merits of the Qurān and its recitation. In the next episode specifically, we’ll read a tradition from Imam Ali (a) where he speaks about the blessings a house receives merely by the Qurān being recited in it.

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