What Is the Benefit of Fasting for 40 Days?

Years of Missed Fasts and Expiation (Kaffara)

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: I have several years in which I did not fast Ramadan. I also have some years in which I did fast but I didn’t make up the days I did not fast because of menstruation. Should I make up the fasts from my menstruation first and then perform the 60-day kaffara for all the previous years of not fasting? I feel overwhelmed by the amount of fasting I have to do. Can you give me a prayer?

Answer: The first thing to realize is why we are doing all this in the first place. Our worship should be a statement of our love for Allah and our thankfulness for the countless blessings that He showers upon us at every instant. Thus, we should hasten to fulfill the command of Allah as the lover hastens to fulfill their beloved’s request, out of the joy of love and the yearnings of passion.

This is why Allah Most High said, “And those who believe are greater in their love of Allah.”(Qur’an, 2: 165)

1. Making up past fasts

2. Fasts missed due to menstruation

3. Kaffara

It is obligatory to make up every single missed fast, whether it was left legitimately (such as those due to menstruation, or serious sickness) or illegitimately.

The necessary expiation (kaffara) is best performed after having made up all missed fasts. [Shaykh Zada, Majma` al-Anhur] This is because making up missed fasts is more important.

Calculate how many missed fasts you have in your dues, and then take on a steady but manageable schedule to make them up.

Depending on your circumstances, fasting twice a week (such as on Mondays and Thursdays, in line with the example of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)) may be an option; or once a week… You may want to fast the ‘white days’ when the moon is full in the middle of the lunar month (13th, 14th, and 15th days of the lunar calendar), as this too is from the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

To motivate yourself, remember the tremendous merit and reward in fasting. Allah Most High told us, on the tongue of His Beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that, “Fasting is for Me, and I shall reward for it.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

4. Du`a

There is no specific supplication for this, but it would be good to recite Surat al-Fatiha whenever you feel weak or disheartened. It is good to get a book of Prophetic supplications—available at any good Islamic online bookstore—and learn some of these beautiful expressions of slavehood, love, and thankfulness to Allah.

Faraz Rabban