Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
1) When observing the fast of Daud AS, is it permissible or recommended to keep the extra fasts such as the three lunar days, fasting ten days of dhul hijja, etc? What extra fasts can be kept that is, what is the optimal recommended number of fasts throughout the year and what days?
2) I have read that people recite the Quran all day, even during sleep. Can you offer a practical step-wise approach to get to this state?
I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.
It is permissible to fast more than the Fast of Prophet Dawud (peace be upon him)—which is to fast one day and to break fast another day—even though this is the best of fasts. The Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him) referred to this fast as “the best of fasts.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
The Disliked Fasts: Continual or Harmful
What is sinfully disliked is to either (a) fast continually without interruption (sawm al-dahr); or (b) fasting in a manner that harms one or results in non-fulfillment of rights. [Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah; Muhammad Hashim al-Tatawi, Madhhar al-Anwar]
Thus, if one has a habit of fasting the Fast of Dawud, one can add other fasts to it, without dislike—if it wouldn’t overwhelm one.
Note that the Fast of Dawud doesn’t have to be through fasting exactly one day and then not fasting another. One can also fulfill it in batches—enabling one to fast the virtuous days as part of it.
Beware of Excessiveness
Keep in mind, however, that the Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him) said, “Truly this religion is deep—so enter its depths gradually and gently.” [Ahmad, and others]
While we should aspire for excellence and completeness in following the sunna, one should do so with
(2) setting sustainable habits
(3) increasing gradually
(4) and not taking on more than one can manage.
The Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him) said, “Take from religious works only what you can sustain—for Allah does not tire, but rather it is you who tire.” [Muslim]
Three Keys To This
Three keys to this are:
(1) Learning beneficial knowledge under qualified teachers
(2) Building one’s religious routines gradually—with a focus on consistency and on sincerity, purpose, and excellence in anything one does; and
(3) Consulting scholars before setting any major routines—as consulting (shura) is from the sunna of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
Reciting the Quran All Day
The same advice would apply to reciting abundant Quran. This is a very noble intention. May Allah reward you abundantly for it.
However, build your religious practice gradually and sustainably, as above.
An Excellent Work: Imam Ghazali’s Beginning of Guidance
An excellent work outlining a clear roadmap for building one’s religious routines in accordance with the sunna of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is Imam Ghazali’s Beginning of Guidance (Bidayat al-Hidaya).
This book is a key part of Level One of the Seekers Islamic Studies curriculum, and is masterfully taught by Shaykh Yahya Rhodus:
- ISBGG10A- Essentials of Islamic Spirituality: Ghazali’s Beginning of Guidance Explained (Part One): How to Use Your Time to Prepare for Your Afterlife
- ISBGG10B- Essentials of Islamic Spirituality: Ghazali’s Beginning of Guidance Explained (Part Two): How to Avoid Sins and Acquire Good Character
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A Complete Guide To Fasting (Hanafi)
A Complete Guide To Fasting (Shafii)
And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.