In today’s article, we will discover when can we combine intention for fasting and when we can’t, and what actions invalidate it.
Can you combine the intention of fasting in Islam?
There are two different forms of fasting, obligatory fasting and Nafl fasting, during Ramadan, you can’t combine fasting or have double intentions, fasting is only exclusive to it because it is obligatory fasting.
Imam Al-Sarkhasi says: “When the Sharia designated the obligatory fasting of Ramadan, it negated all other forms of fasting during it (referring to Ramadan).” Imam Zufar said about combining intentions in Ramadan: “What is permitted during Ramadan is only one type of fasting [that is the obligatory fasting].”
While for Nafl and voluntary fasting, some scholars say that it is okay to combine intention for fasting and some say that it’s not allowed.
What actions invalidate a fast?
Here are the actions that you can’t do during fasting:
1- Don’t eat or drink during fasting.
Allah says in the holy Quran: “And eat and drink until the white of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then resume the fast till nightfall.”
2- Sexual intercourse.
Sexual intercourse is not allowed during fasting, and it invalidates it.
3- Deliberate vomiting.
Intentionally throwing up invalidates once fasting, but if it was unintentional, then continue your fasting.
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said: “Whoever throws up unintentionally need not compensate for his fast, but the one who throws up deliberately must repeat his fast.”
4- Having the intention to break the fast.
If you have the intention to break your fast it will break your fast, because it is all about your intention, even if you continued your fasting, it will not be valid.
What to do before fasting?
Here is the sunnah of the prophet.
1- Have Suhuur before dawn, and it would be better if you do so just before dawn.
2- Break your fast by eating an odd number of dates, or a glass of water if you don’t have dates.
3- Clean your teeth with Miswaak instead of toothpaste.
4- Remember Allah and read Quran.
Nafl fasting days
The nafl fasting days include:
1- 6 Days in Shawal
Shawal is the month that comes right after the month of Ramadan. Some people find it hard to change their way of eating after Ramada, so they tend to fast some days of Shawal until they get used to it, and at the same time get rewarded.
Abu Ayyoob narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days of Shawal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime”.
Intention for Shawwal fasting.
There’s no specific dua to say, just make your intention for fasting before Fajr.
2- Fasting on Mondays and Thursdays of each week.
It is a sunnah from the prophet to fast on Monday and Thursday, Aishah narrated: “The Prophet used to try to fast on Mondays and Thursdays”
Fasting is healthy for the body as it helps it cleanse itself and enhance the metabolic rate and burn calories.
3- The White Days (13,14,15 of each Islamic month).
Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Aas said: The prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said to me: “It is sufficient for you to fast three days every month because, for every good deed, you will have (the reward of) ten like it, so that will be like fasting for a lifetime”.
Fasting the white day increases or rewards, and it is a Sunnah.
4- Day of Ashura (10th of Muharram).
“The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: ‘The best of fasting after Ramadan is fasting Allah’s month of Muharram.'” (Muslim) The Prophet (saw) encourages us to take up a fast-during Muharram, on the 9th and 10th (or 10th and 11th) days of the month. It is the day when Allah saved the prophet Musa and his followers from the phorone.
When Ibn Abbas was asked about fasting on the Day of Ashura, he said: “I do not know Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him, singling out any day’s fast and considering it more excellent than another, except this day (the Day of Ashura) and this month, meaning the month of Ramadan” [Muslim].
Intention for Ashura fasting.
There is no specific Dua to say, what is important is to make your intention for fasting.
How many days do you fast for Ashura? It is a sunnah to fast on the 9th and 10th days of Muharram. The prophet used to fast on the Day of Ashura, but one day he said: “If I live till next year, I will fast on the 9th of Muharram.”
Therefore we should fast on the 9th and 10th days of Muharram.
5- Fasting the day of Arafah (9th of Dhul-Hijjah)
During the month of Dhul-Hijjah, any capable person performs Hajj, but the people who are not capable of going can compensate for that by fasting the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah. And the day of Arafah is the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah and it is recommended to fast it.
Abu Qatadah narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) was asked about the observance of fasting on the day of Arafah. He said, “It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year and the current year”.
Here’s another hadith on fasting Dhul-Hijjah, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said: “The Prophet (PBUH) used to fast on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, on the day of `Ashurah, on three days of each month, and on the first two Mondays and Thursdays of each month.”
Why do we fast on Shaban? The prophet loved Fasting during Shaban to gain more rewards, and we should do like the prophet and worship Allah more during this month. We can do that by reading Quran, remembering Allah, and fasting like the prophet used to do.
It was narrated that Aishah reported that “the Prophet liked the month of Shaban more than any other month as far as supplementary fasting is concerned”.
Nafl fasting Niyat
There is no specific Dua to say, what is important is to make your intention to fast before.
Nafl fasting without Sehri
Fasting without Sehri doesn’t invalidate the fast, but it is a sunnah from the prophet (peace and blessing be upon him).
Shaykh Ibn Baz said: “Suhur is not a condition for fasting to be valid, rather it is mustahabb (recommended) because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Have suhur, for in suhur there is a blessing.”
Voluntary Fasting in Islam
Voluntary fasting refers to the sunnah or optional fasting, that we perform to come closer to Allah and to ask for his forgiveness.
We get many rewards when we fast voluntarily, Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said: “Indeed every righteous deed by the son of Adam is rewarded from ten to seven hundred times, but Allah Almighty says: ‘Fasting is an exception. This is because it is for Me and I shall reward (the one who fasts) accordingly.’”
Here are the voluntary days that are allowed to fast:
1- Six days of Shawwal
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said “Whosoever fasts the month of Ramadan and thereafter follows it up with six days of fasting in Shawwal, it will be recorded (altogether) for him as a complete year of fasting.”
You can fast for six days continuously or separation between them, both are allowed.
2- First nine days of Dhul Hijjah
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said: “There is no other day in which good deeds performed are so pleasing to Allah than these days (i.e. the first ten days of the twelfth month). The companions inquired: “What about jihad (fighting) in the cause of Allah?” The Prophet said: “Not even jihad in the cause of Allah (is up to its rewards), except for a man who went out in the cause of Allah with his life and wealth and did not return with anything of either (of them).”
The most important day to fast is the day of Arafah if you’re not capable of fasting the whole nine days. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said: “As for fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, I expect Allah Almighty will reward that by forgiving the sins of a year gone and a coming year.”
3- Fasting on Ashura (10th day of Muharram)
The Prophet said: “And as for fasting on the day of ‘Ashura, I expect that Allah Almighty shall forgive the sins of the year prior to it.”
Abdullah ibn Abbas said: “When the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) arrived at Madinah, he found the Jews fasting on ‘Ashura. Then he inquired why (do they fast on that day)? They answered, ‘This a good day, the day Allah Almighty saved the children of Israel from their enemy, and as such Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) fasted thereafter (on that day).’ Then the Prophet said: ‘I have more right to Musa than you.’ Then he fasted and ordered the Muslims to fast on that day.”
4- The white days
The 13th, 14th, and 15th days of every Islamic month. The prophet said about fasting the three white days: “It is [equivalent] to fasting the entire month.”
5- Fasting on Monday and Thursday of every week
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said: “Deeds are reported to Allah Almighty every Monday and Thursday, and I like that my deeds are reported while I am fasting.”
6- Fasting in Muharram.
the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said: “The best form of fasting besides Ramadan is in the month of Allah, Al-Muharram.”
7- Fasting in Sha’ban.
“O Prophet of Allah! I have not seen you fast in any month as you do in Sha’ban.” The Prophet replied: “That is the month, between Rajab and Ramadan, about which many people are not conscious, and deeds are returned to the Lord of the worlds (during it). Thus, I love that my deeds are returned to Allah Almighty while I am fasting.”
Forbidden days too fast.
1- It is forbidden to fast on the days of Eid, Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) forbade fasting on two days: the Day of Adha and the Day of Fitr.
2- Don’t fast on the day of doubt, which refers to not knowing whether it is the last day of Sha’ban or the first of Ramadhan. Ammar said: “Whoever fasts the day of doubt has disobeyed Abul Qasim (the prophet, peace, and blessing be upon him).”
3- Fridays, you can’t fast on Friday alone, if you want to fast on Friday then you should fast the day before it too or the day after it.
Abu Huraira Narrated: “I heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, say: “None of you should fast on Friday unless he fasts a day before or after it”
Know more about the forbidden times of prayer!
Regarding the nafl fast-breaking, there are two opinions.
1- The Shafi and Hanbal schools say that it is okay to break the nafl fasting, and they came up with that opinion from the following hadiths.
It was narrated that Aaishah said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) entered upon me one day and said: ‘Do you have anything (to eat)?’ We said: ‘No.’ he said: ‘Then I am fasting.’ Then he came to us another day and we said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, we have been given some hays (a kind of meal),’ and he said, ‘Show it to me, for I started the day fasting.’ Then he ate.”
Abu Juhayfah said: “… Abu’l-Darda’ came and he made some food for him – i.e., for Salmaan. He said: ‘Eat, for I am fasting.’ Salmaan said: ‘I will not eat until you eat.’ So he ate… and Salmaan said to him: ‘Your Lord has rights over you, your soul has rights over you, and your family has rights over you, so give each of them their rights.’ Then he came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and told him about that, and the Prophet said: ‘Salmaan is right.’”
In another hadith, Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said: “I made some food for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), and when it was served a man said: ‘I am fasting.’ The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Your brother has invited you (to eat) and has gone to some effort for your sake, so break your fast and fast another day in its stead if you wish.’”
2- The second opinion is Hanafi’s opinion, he says that you can’t break the nafl fast, but if you do then you need to compensate for it. And he concluded his view from the following hadiths.
Aaishah said: “Hafsah and I were given a gift of food and we were fasting, so we broke our fast. Then the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) entered and we said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allah, we were given this gift and we wanted to eat so we broke our fast.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘It doesn’t matter; fast another day in its stead.’
This is the only hadith regarding the second view and scholars say that it’s a weak hadith, therefore the first view is more likely to be the right one. Another hadith was narrated that Umm Haani said: “O Messenger of Allaah, I broke my fast and I was fasting.” He said to her: “Were you making up a day you had missed?” She said: “No.” He said: “Then it does not matter if it was a voluntary fast.”
Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen said: “If a person is observing a nafl fast and something happens that means he has to break his fast, then he should break his fast. This is what was narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings \ be upon him), that he came to the Mother of the Believers ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) and said: “Do you have anything to eat?’ She said: “We have been given some hays (a kind of meal). He said: “Show it to me, for I started the day fasting.” Then he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ate some of it. This has to do with nafl fasts, not those that are obligatory.
Intention for fasting outside of Ramadan.
You can combine your intention when fasting as long as it is outside Ramadan. However, you should keep in mind that you must make your intention before Fajr azan, otherwise your fasting will not count.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not intend to fast before dawn, his fast does not count.” (Narrated by at-Tirmidhi, 730; classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih at-Tirmidhi)
At-Tirmidhi said about the above hadith: “What is meant, according to the scholars, is that the fast does not count for the one who did not form the intention to fast before dawn broke in Ramadan or when making up a missed Ramadan fast or when fasting in fulfillment of a vow. If he did not form the intention to fast from the night before, then it does not count. As for voluntary fasts, it is permissible for him to form the intention after dawn breaks. This is the view of ash-Shafi`i, Ahmad, and Ishaq.”
An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “A Ramadan fast or making up a fast or an expiatory fast or a fast offered as fidyat al-Hajj (compensation for mistakes in Hajj) or other obligatory fasts are not valid if the intention is made during the day. There is no difference of opinion on this matter.” (Al-Majmu‘, 6/289) (See: al-Mughni by Ibn Qudamah, 3/26)
Can you offer a voluntary fast before making up missed fasts?
Yes, you can offer a voluntary fast before making up missed fasts as long as you have time to make up for your missed fast before the next Ramadan comes.
Can you fast Arafat if you have days to make up?
Yes, you can fast Arafat if you have days to make up and you can even combine your intention to fast Arafat and to make up for the days.
When Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih al-‘Uthaymin (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about combining fasts and if it is valid to fast Arafat and Ashura while you still have days to make up his answer was as follows:
“With regard to obligatory and voluntary fasts, what is prescribed in the Shari`ah and what makes sense is to start with the obligatory fasts and then do the nafl ones, because the obligatory fast is a debt which must be paid, whereas the nafl fast is voluntary and is to be done if one can manage it, otherwise there is no sin on one.
Based on this, we say to the one who owes a missed Ramadan fast: make up what you owe before you observe a voluntary fast. If he observes a voluntary fast before making up what he owes then the correct view is that his voluntary fast is valid so long as there is still enough time to make up the missed fasts, because a person may make up missed Ramadan fasts so long as there is still enough time for him to do so before the next Ramadan comes. So long as there is still plenty of time, it is permissible for him to observe voluntary fasts.
This is similar to the case of obligatory prayers, such as if a person offers a nafl prayer before an obligatory prayer when there is still plenty of time, this is permissible. Whoever fasts on the day of `Arafah or `Ashura, and still owes some days from Ramadan, his fast is valid. But if he has the intention of fasting this day to make up for a missed Ramadan fast, he will have two rewards – one for the day of `Arafah or `Ashura and another for making up the missed fast.
This applies to all voluntary fasts that are not connected to Ramadan. With regard to fasting the six days of Shawwal, these are connected to Ramadan and can only be done after making up missed Ramadan fasts. If a person fasts these days before making up his missed Ramadan fasts, he will not get the reward for them, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadan then follows it with six days of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime.” It is known that the one who still has some days to make up is not regarded as having fasted Ramadan until he makes up those days.
Some people think that if they fear Shawwal is going to end soon and they fast the six days even though they still owe some days from Ramadan, this is acceptable. This is a mistake because these six days cannot be fasted until a person has made up the days that he owes from Ramadan.” (Majmu’ Fatawa Ibn ‘Uthaymin, 20/438)
Combining missed fasts with shawwal.
Is it permissible to combine the missed fast with the six days of Shawwaal? There are different opinions regarding the matter Some Scholars agree that you can’t combine the intention when fasting the six days of Shawwaal, and they agree that you can’t fast the days of Shawwaal if you haven’t made up for the days you didn’t fast in Ramadan. While others agree that it is permissible.
Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr said the following about the matter: “A person who has missed days of fasting in Ramadan may fast the optional six days of Shawwal with the intention of both making up for these missed days and observing the optional fasting of six days of Shawwal. He or she will then get double benefit simultaneously; that is, making up for the missed days and getting the reward of fasting the six days of Shawwal, for it is established in Islam that one’s acts are judged by one’s intentions.”
Intention for fasting.
There is no specific Dua to say, what is essential is to make your intention for fasting the next day before Fajr.