Reconciling the hadiths regarding fasting the major part of Sha`bân and the interdiction of fasting the second half of it | The official website of Sheikh Muhammad Ali FERKUS
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Wednesday 19 Al-Muharram 1441 H - September 18, 2019 G

Fatwa: 1020

Category: fatwas about fasting- supererogatory fasting

Reconciling the hadiths regarding fasting the major part of Sha`bân and the interdiction of fasting the second half of it

The question:

What is the reason for which the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم fasts many days of Sha`bân and how can we remove the contradiction regarding the hadiths which forbid to fast the second half of Sha`bân? May Allah reward you with good.

The answer:

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

It is reported in the authentic hadith of `Âisha رضي الله عنها that she said: “The Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم never fasted in any month more than in the month of Sha`bân”(1). According to Um Salama رضي الله عنها: “the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم did not fast the whole month except Sha`bân which he combined with Ramadan”(2).

Fasting the whole month means the major part of it, as “The major part has the status of the totality”, though, the figurative use of the word is not very often, and the principle is that it means the proper sense. However, what makes us say that it is used figuratively is what is reported in the authentic hadith of `Âisha رضي الله عنها who said: “I never saw Allah’s Apostle صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم fasting for a whole month except the month of Ramadan, and did not see him fasting in any other month more than in the month of Sha`bân”(3). It is also reported that she رضي الله عنها said: “I have never seen him having fasted a whole month since he came to Medina, except when it was Ramadan”(4). This is supported by the hadith of Ibn `Abbâs رضي الله عنهما who said: “The Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم never fasted for a whole month except the month of Ramadan”(5).

The reason behind fasting much in Sha`bân, is that it is a month in which deeds are taken up to Allah تعالى. The Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم would like that his deeds be taken up while he is fasting, as it is established in the hadith of Ussâma Ibn Zayd رضي الله عنهما, he said: “O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting in any month more than in Sha`bân. He said, ‘that is a month (Sha`bân) which people neglect between Rajab and Ramadan. It is the month in which people’s deeds are taken up to the Lord of the Worlds, and I would like my deeds to be taken up whilst I am fasting”(6).

There is nothing that prevents a person from catching up in Sha`bân the supererogatory accumulated days that he did not fast because of a travel, incident or impediment, hoping that his deeds will be taken up while fasting. Moreover, the fasting person in Sha`bân will find, after having accustomed himself to fast, a sweetness and a pleasure in fasting, that will allow him to start the month of Ramadan with vigor and energy and his soul will be trained to obey The Most Beneficent(7).

This been said, the contradiction disappears when we reconcile the hadiths which indicate the permissibility and recommendation of fasting the major part of Sha`bân and the prohibition of fasting the second part of it which is mentioned in the hadith attributed to the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم by Abu Hurayra رضي الله عنه: “When the middle of Sha`bân comes, do not fast till the month of Ramadan”(8), and the prohibition to fast a day or two before the beginning of Ramadan mentioned in the hadith of the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم: “None of you should fast a day or two before the month of Ramadan unless he has the habit of fasting (optionally and if his fasting coincides with that day) then he can fast it”(9).

So, the contradiction can be ruled out by the exception mentioned in the hadith of Abu Hurayra when he said: “…unless he has a habit of fasting, then he can fast it”, that is to say, unless it coincides with a day he has the habit to fast(10), as someone who has the habit of fasting supererogatory fast like: the fasting on Monday and Thursday, or the fasting of Dâwûd (David) عليه السلام who fasts one day and not the next, or fasting three days in each month. Therefore, the prohibition concerns someone who fasts those days (in the second half of Sha`bân) without having a habit of fasting(11), that is to say, supererogatory fasting.

We add to this meaning with greater reason: making up, expiation and vow whether it is absolute or restricted, as performing these is obligatory, since the proofs concerning the obligation of making up (missed days of fasting), expiation and fulfillment of vows are unequivocal and certain. Moreover, it is established in the rules of the fundamentals of jurisprudence that: “What is certain does not annul or contradict what is uncertain(12).

The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم, his Family, his Companions and Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

Algiers, 20 Rajab 1430H.
Corresponding to: July 12th, 2009.



(1) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of « Fasting », concerning the fasting of the month of Sha`bân (1/471) and by Muslim, chapter of « Fasting » (1/513) number (1156), on the authority of `Âicha رضي الله عنها.

(2) Reported by Abu Dâwûd, chapter of « Fasting », concerning one who links the fasting of the month of Sha`bân with the fasting of the month of Ramadan (2/521), by At-Tirmidhi, chapter of « Fasting », concerning the fact of linking the fasting of the month of Sha`bân with the fasting of the month of Ramadan, and by Ahmed (6/311), on the authority of Um Salama رضي الله عنها. This hadith is judged authentic by Al-Albâni in « Sahîh Abi Dâwûd » (hadith 2336).

(3) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of « Fasting », concerning the fasting of the month of Sha`bân (1/471) and by Muslim, chapter of « Fasting » (1/513) number (1156), on the authority of `Âicha رضي الله عنها.

(4) Reported by Muslim, chapter of « Fasting » (1/513) number (1156) and by An-Nassâ'i, chapter of « Fasting » (hadith 2349), on the authority of `Âicha رضي الله عنها.

(5) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of « Fasting », concerning what is mentioned about the Prophet’s fasting and about his non-fasting (1/471) and by Muslim, chapter of « Fasting » (1/513) number (1156), on the authority of Ibn `Abbâs رضي الله عنهم.

(6) Reported by An-Nassâ'i, chapter of « Fasting », concerning the fasting of the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم (hadith 2357) and by Ahmad (5/201), on the authority of Ussâma Ibn Zayd رضي الله عنهما. Al-Albâni judged it Hasan (good) in « Al-Irwâ' » (4/103).

(7) See: “Latâ'if Al-Ma`ârif” by Ibn Rajab (135).

(8) Reported by Abu Dâwûd, chapter of « Fasting », concerning the detestation of that (2/521), by At-Tirmidhi, chapter of « Fasting », concerning the detestation of fasting the second half of Sha`bân due to the coming of the month of Ramadan (hadith 738), by Ibn Mâjah, chapter of « Fasting », concerning what is reported about the interdiction of observing fasting before the beginning of Ramadan, except for one who is used to fast, then this fasting coincides with that day (hadith 1651) and by Ahmad (2/442), on the authority of Abu Hurayra رضي الله عنه. This hadith is judged authentic by Al-Albâni in « Sahîh Al-Jâmi` » (hadith 397).

(9) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of « Fasting », concerning the fact that one should not fast one or two days before the beginning of Ramadan (1/457) and by Muslim, chapter of « Fasting » (1/483) number (1082), on the authority of Abu Hurayra رضي الله عنه.

(10) See: « Al-Majmû` » by An-Nawawi (6/400).

(11) See: « Fath Al-Bâri » by Ibn Hajar (4/215) and « Subul As-Salâm » by As-San`âni (2/349).

(12) See: the non-contradiction of what is certain and what is uncertain in « Sharh Al-Mumti` » by Ash-Shîrâzi (2/950-951), in « Al-Faqîh Wal-Mutafaqqih » by Al-Khatîb Al-Baghdâdi (1/215), in « Al-Minhâj » by Al-Bâji (page 120) and in « Sharh Tanqîh Al-Fussûl » by Al-Qarâfi (page 421).