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The Excellence of Observing Saum (Fasting) in the months of Muharram and Sha’ban and the Sacred Months (Rajab, Dhul-Qa’dah, and Dhul-Hijjah)

September 4, 2014
Imam Al-Nawawi’s Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 225
The Excellence of Observing Saum (Fasting) in the months of Muharram and Sha’ban
and the Sacred Months

1246. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “The best month for observing Saum (fasting) next after Ramadan is the month of Allah, the Muharram; and the best Salat (prayer) next after the prescribed Salat is Salat at night (Tahajjud prayers).”
[Muslim].

1247. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) did not observe voluntary Saum (fasting) so frequently during any other month as he did during Sha`ban. He observed Saum throughout the month of Sha`ban.

    Another narration is: He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) observed Saum during the whole month of Sha`ban except a few days.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

1248.  Reported Mujibah Al-Bahiliyah on the authority of her father or uncle that he visited the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) once and then went to see him again after a year. His appearance had totally changed. He asked the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) if he had recognized him. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) asked, “Who are you?” He replied: “I am Al-Bahili who visited you last year.” The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “You were quite handsome, what has changed your appearance so much?” He replied, “Since my departure from here, I have not eaten anything except at night.” The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) remarked, “You have put yourself to torture. Observe Saum (fasting) during the Month of Patience (i.e., Ramadan) and fast one day from each month.” He submitted, “Permit me to observe more voluntary fasts because I have capacity to do so.” The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Then observe fasts for two days in every month.” He said, “Permit me to observe more.” The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Observe fasts on three days in every month.” He requested that he should be allowed to observe more fasts. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Fast three days during the sacred months and omit fasting for three days alternately.” He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) joined his three fingers together and left them apart while repeating this sentence thrice.
[Abu Dawud].

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