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Fasting in Dhul Hijjah

The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are often referred to as the best ten days of the year and a second chance to have our sins forgiven and gain nearness to Allah (SWT) after Ramadan. 

Many Muslims will be performing Hajj this Dhul Hijjah, but even for those at home, these blessed days are a great time to gain rewards. 

Our good deeds are multiplied in reward during these holy days. We should make the most of this precious time and  focus on our relationship with Allah (SWT), with the aim of maximising our worship and good deeds, as well as improving our character. 

Fasting in Dhul Hijjah

Muslims who are not performing Hajj are taught to fast on the first nine days of the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah. As an important Sunnah, Dhul Hijjah fasting brings great rewards and forgiveness of sins. 

Indeed, fasting is one of the most beloved acts of worship to Allah (SWT): 

All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except fasting, which is for Me and I shall reward for it.

Hadith | Sahih al-Bukhari

Why do Muslims fast in the month of Dhul Hijjah?

Fasting Dhul Hijjah is extremely beneficial to Muslims because of the blessings Allah bestows during this time. As fasting is one of the most virtuous acts of rewards, fasting Dhul Hijjah is highly recommended. 

Muslims also fast in Dhul Hijjah because it is a Sunnah (tradition) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who would fast in the first nine days, as well as during the white days. 

Whatever the Messenger has given you - take; and what he has forbidden you - refrain from. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.

Quran | Surah Al-Hasr: 59:7

Fasting Dhul Hijjah also helps to expiate sins, particularly fasting on the 9th Dhul Hijjah, which is the Day of Arafah

Allah forgives sins on the Day of Arafah even if they are many. Indeed, we should not underestimate the immense mercy of Allah (SWT). 

As for you staying till the evening in Arafah, then Allah descends to the sky of the Dunya and He boasts about you to the Angels, and says: ‘My slaves have come to Me, looking rough, from every deep valley hoping for My mercy, so if your sins were equivalent to the amount of sand or the drops of rain or like the foam on the sea I will forgive them. So go forth My slaves! Having forgiveness and for what or who you have interceded for.

Hadith | Tabarani

Is it mandatory to fast on Dhul Hijjah?

Fasting the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah is not mandatory like the days of Ramadan, but it is highly recommended to do, as they are the most blessed days of the entire Islamic year. It is also Sunnah (tradition) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to fast on these days. 

The rewards and blessings of fasting on these holy days are immense, and can help us to purify our hearts and gain nearness to Allah. The benefits of doing so will help us throughout the whole year. 

Fasting for 9 or 10 days of Dhul Hijjah?

Muslims who are not performing Hajj should fast for the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah, but not on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, which is the day of Eid al-Adha

It is actually haram (prohibited) to fast on Eid day, as stated in the following Hadith:

He [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)] forbade fasting on the day of ‘Eid) al-Fitr and the day of al-Nahr (the day of sacrifice, i.e., ‘Eid al-Adha).

Hadith | Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim

Eid-ul Adha, or 10th Dhul Hijjah is a blessed day and although we should not fast, we are encouraged to engage in increased Dhikr and acts of worship such as reading more Qur’an and sending Salawat (salutations) upon the Prophet (peace be upon him), particularly during the night proceeding Eid. 

Can you fast any 10 days of Dhul Hijjah?

The best days to fast in Dhul Hijjah are the first nine days, as they are the most blessed days of the year and fasting these days is a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is prohibited (haram) to fast on the 10th Dhul Hijjah, which is the day of Eid al-Adha

If you are not able to fast the full nine days of Dhul Hijjah, then try to ensure to fast on the 9th Dhul Hijjah at a minimum, which is the Day of Arafah. This was the day that Allah perfected His religion:

This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.

Qur'an | 5:3

There is great reward in fasting on the Day of Arafah, as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)  said:

It expiates sins for the past and coming years.

Hadith | Muslim

However, pilgrims who are performing Hajj do not fast as they are travellers, and fasting would be difficult for them. The main focus for them on this day is Du’a. 

Outside of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah, it is also virtuous to fast on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as on the White Days (13th, 14th and 15th days of each Islamic calendar month) in order to follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). 

Significance of fasting the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah 

Fasting is one of the best ways to train our Nafs (desires) and to help cultivate patience, obedience and submission to Allah Almighty. 

Qurbani reflects Prophet Ibrahim (AS)’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail, for the sake of God and is a means for Muslims to reach the level of submission shown by Prophet Ibrahim (AS).

Fasting the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah, despite it not being compulsory, is a means to also demonstrate sacrifice for the sake of pleasing Allah, as we abstain from food and drink during daylight hours.  

The prayers of a fasting person are also more beloved to Allah, as we show our humility and dependance on Allah.

There are three whose du’as is not rejected: a just ruler, the fasting person when he breaks his fast and the prayer of the oppressed person. It rises above the clouds and the gates of heaven are opened for it, and the Lord, may He be glorified, says, ‘By My Glory I will answer you even if it is after a while.’

Hadith | Tirimdhi

Find out more about Du’as to read in Dhul Hijjah here

Fasting in Dhul Hijjah Hadith 

The importance of fasting in Dhul Hijjah is highlighted in the following Hadiths: 

There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days

Hadith | Sahih al-Bukhari

The Prophet used to fast on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah and the day of Ashura, and three days each month, the first Monday of the month and two Thursdays.

Hadith | Abu Dawood

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was asked about the observance of fasting on the day of Arafah. He said:

It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year.

Hadith | Muslim

The people of knowledge consider it recommended to fast on the Day of ’Arafah, except for those at ‘Arafat.

Hadith | Tirmidhi

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We ensure our content is reviewed and verified by qualified scholars to provide you with the most accurate information. This webpage was last reviewed by Sheikh Saalim Al-Azhari.

Page last reviewed: 30th May 2023

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