What Is the Benefit of Fasting for 40 Days?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

What is the benefit of fasting for 40 days?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayr for your question.

I am not aware of the basis for specifically fasting 40 days. It is usually recommended to follow the sunna fasts that have been narrated in the Prophetic Traditions.

The Benefits of 40 days

Though there may not be any authenticated textual basis for fasting for 40 days, 40 days as a period for spiritual and physical discipline, especially breaking unwanted habits, has generally been experienced by spiritual figures, and even many medical professionals, as being a beneficial time frame for long lasting change and personal benefit.

An example of 40 days mentioned in a sound hadith is that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘Whoever prays for forty days with the congregation, always being present for the first takbir, it will be written that he will be safe from two things: he will be safe from the Fire and safe from hypocrisy.’ [al Tirmidhi]

Fasting for 40 days

One should be clear why they are doing an act, such as fasting for 40 days, and what they hope to gain from it. The month of Ramadan provides us with the benefits of extended fasting in the year.

For the rest of the year we have the sunna fasts of the Prophet ﷺ who fasted Mondays and Thursdays, and recent research has shown that fasting two days a week has considerable health benefits (see Michael Moseley’s ‘The Fast Diet’), alongside the spiritual benefits and reward we gain from following the sunna of the Prophet ﷺ.

Other sunna fasts once can do are the monthly fasts known as the white days and the black days. The white days are when the moon is at its brightest and these fall on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of each lunar month, while the black days, which are the days when the moon is not visible, are on the 28th, 29th, 30th of each lunar month, or the 1st of the next month if the lunar month is only 29 days. [Bushra al Karim]

Following these weekly and monthly fasts would be a more appropriate and beneficial course of fasting, with the added reward of following the sunna of the beloved Prophet ﷺ.

Health considerations

If for some reason one does choose to fast for long periods of time at a go, then one should only do so if they are physically and mentally able, and there is no fear of consecutive fasting harming them. If they suffer from any serious medical condition, they should consult their medical doctor. Also, they should be sensible in eating and drinking before and after fasting.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Should I Stop Praying 40 Days After Eating Something Haram?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

Should I stop praying 40 days after eating something Haram? I think there is a hadith about this!

Answer: Wa alaykum salam

The Prophetic traditions regarding the non-acceptance of the worship of an individual who consumes haram, drinks wine, visits soothsayers, the run away slave or disobedient wife etc, in NO way suggests that the person should leave worship altogether.

In his Mirqat, Mula Ali Qari quoted Imam al-Nawawi saying, “every act of worship has two considerations. The first is the execution of the divine request and the other is the attainment of reward. He [the Prophet (Blessings and peace be upon him)] referred to the non-attainment of reward when he said that their prayers will not be accepted.”

Ibn Rajab and similarly ibn al-Qayyim divided acceptance into three categories. The highest category being (1) the acceptance of pleasure and love. This is when Allah boasts to His angels about the good deeds of His servants. The second category is (2) the acceptance of reward and recompense, while the third category is (3) the acceptance that only saves the individual from punishment. This third category means that while the individual may have executed his duty and saved himself from punishment, he does not necessarily earn reward or pleasure from Allah. The one who is guilty of the above mentioned crimes, falls into this category.

Thus it becomes clear, that the one who has consumed haram, must continue praying. In addition, he should feel remorse for his disobedience to Allah and return to Him in repentance. The doors of repentance are open to all. In Surah al-Nisa, Allah Most High said, “Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills.

And Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

Is It Permissible to Complete the Qur’an Forty Days After Someone’s Death?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Is it permissible to complete a reading of the Qur’an forty days after someone’s death?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Merciful.

It is permitted to gather for the recitation of the Qur’an. In fact, this is a praiseworthy sunna of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him).

However, there is no specific proof for holding a gathering to complete the Qur’an on a specific day–and deeming that such specification is religiously binding or necessary would be a reprehensible innovation.

Thus, the ulema mention that it is best to hold such gatherings, with proper observation of Islamic propriety, on other than the 40th day after someone’s death.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

When to Resume Prayers After Having a Child

Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool

Question: Asalam Alakium,

What is the ruling on when a woman is able to pray again after delivering a child. Besides having up to 40 days, when can the mother begin her prayers again?

Answer: Wa’ailukum assalaam warahmatu Allah,

As soon as a woman stops seeing blood, be it menstrual or post-natal bleeding, she is obligated to resume her prayers.

After delivering a child, she may bleed up to 40 days in which all those days would count as valid bleeding if she stops at 40. However, if the bleeding went over 40 days, she would go back to her last lochia habit; i.e. her last delivery if she had been pregnant previously. If this was her first pregnancy, she would consider the blood after 40 days as invalid and resume prayers then.

Shaista Maqbool

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani