As-salamu `alaykum. Can we fast in the last five days of Shaban before Ramadan starts?
Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to fast most of the days of Shaban, but he used to stop fasting when he got close to the month of Ramadan. That is why Muslim scholars state that fasting is highly recommended in the early part of the month of Shaban until few days before the month of Ramadan.
Responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
As far as the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is concerned, we are told by Aishah, the Mother of the believers (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet “used to fast most of the days of Shaban, but he stopped fasting when he got close to the month of Ramadan.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Based on this, it is considered highly recommended to fast in the early part of Shaban and stop fasting the last few days of the month.
The Prophet wanted to teach us an important wisdom that we should not join Shaban and Ramadan in fasting, rather we should keep the Ramadan fast totally separate from that of Shaban. Shaban fasting is only for preparation and warming up for the fasting in Ramadan, so we should not confuse the two fasts.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.