Alhamdulillah was-Salaatu was-Salaamu ‘alaa Rasoolil-llah,
Perhaps it worth starting this article with the most straightforward matter which is fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, day nine of Thul-Hijjah.
The Prophet peace is upon him said: “I anticipate from Allah that fasting on the day of ‘Arafah will forgive the sins of the previous year and coming year” Sahih Muslim 1162.
Notice: fasting on the day of ‘Arafah is permissible for he who is not preforming Hajj.
Now, coming to the remaining eight days. Is it Sunnah or recommended to fast them?
The noble Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-’Uthaimeen rahimahul-llah was asked:
Fasting on the ten days of Thul-Hijjah was mentioned in hadeeth and some people say they are not to be fasted. What is your statement?
He rahimahul-llah replied:
Fasting the ten days of Thul-Hijjah is without a doubt from righteous deeds. And the Prophet peace is upon him said: “No days are more beloved to Allah to preform the righteous deed in them other than these ten [of thul-hijjah]. They said: O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihaad in the path of Allah? He replied: Not even Jihaad in the path of Allah. Except a man who went out carrying his wealth and his soul and none of that returned” Sahihul-Bukhaaree no 969. So fasting is included in the generality of this hadeeth. However, a hadeeth that some graded as sound was narrated in the Sunan that the Prophet peace is upon him used to fast these days except the day of Eid. Imam Ahmad adopted this hadeeth and the plausible is fasting these days is a Sunnah.
The Shaykh was asked in another question:
There is a hadeeth that the Prophet peace is upon him did not fast these days, so could that be answered?
He rahimahul-llah replied:
That is conveying news from ‘Aai’shah-Allah is pleased with her- about what she knew. And the statement of the Prophet peace is upon him precedes something the narrator did not know. Imam Ahmad rahimahul-llah saw it plausible that the Prophet peace is upon him fasted these days, so if this hadeeth [adopted by Imam Ahmad] is confirmed there is no problem. And if it was not confirmed fasting these days goes under the righteous deeds which the Prophet peace is upon said about: “No days are more beloved to Allah to preform the righteous deed in them other than these ten” And fasting is a righteous deed.
Source: collection of Fatwas, volume 20, pages 44-45.
Imam Abdul-Aziz bin Abdil-llah bin Baaz rahimahul-llah was asked if he knows a good combining between the hadeeth of Hafsah-Allah is pleased with her- that says “the Prophet never abandoned fasting the ten” and the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah-Allah is pleased with her- that says “she never saw the Prophet peace is upon him fasting the ten”.
I have reviewed the two hadeeths, and it is apparent to me that the hadeeth of Hafsah is mudh-dharib (not confirmed) and the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah is more authentic. The combining of Ash-Shawkaanee is a subject to investigation, it is inconceivable that the Prophet peace is upon him would fast the ten days without ‘Aa’ishah being aware of it because he used to spend two days and two nights at her out of every nine nights. However, him not fasting does not mean there is no virtue in fasting them because he may have to deal with matters that prevent him from fasting. The virtue of the righteous deed in the ten days is proven in the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas which is Sahihul-Bukhaaree, and fasting them is from the righteous deed and hence it becomes clear that fasting them is recommended. And the way to combine those two hadeeths- assuming that the hadeeth of Hafsah is authentic- is to say the Prophet peace is upon him used to fast them sometimes and Hafsah witnessed that and memorized it while ‘Aa’ishah did not witness that or she witnessed it but she forgotten it.
He was also asked:
What do you say about he who says fasting on Thul-Hijjah is an innovation?
That person is ignorant and he should be taught. The Messenger peace is upon him encouraged the righteous deed in them and fasting is a righteous deed. And assuming the Prophet peace is upon him did not fast these days, it has been narrated that he fasted them and it and it has been narrated that he did not fast them. However, the point is in the speech, the speech is greater than the act. If the Prophet peace is upon him said something or preformed an act or approved something it is all Sunnah, however the greatest of them is the speech, then comes the act then comes the approval. And the Prophet peace is upon him said: “No days are more beloved to Allah to preform the righteous deed other than these ten” So if someone fasted these ten days he is upon a great goodness.
Source: collection of fatwas, volume 15, pages 417-420.
From that we conclude that fasting on the first nine days of Thul-Hijjah is a recommended righteous deed. So do not miss a chance you are not guaranteed witnessing again!
And Allah knows best.
Compiled by: أبوبكر بن أحمد بن محمود الظِّبيانِي الإسْحاقِي