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:
1- Muslims should try their best to please Allah Almighty by all means, in all times, and under all circumstances.
2- Part of pleasing Allah Almighty is to increase one’s quota of good deeds, especially voluntary fasting in winter in which the daytime is short and the cold weather causes no thirst, and hence one becomes better able to fast easily.
Responding to the question, Dr. Ahmad Yusuf Sulaiman, Professor of Shari`ah at the Faculty of Dar Al-`Ulum, Cairo University, states:
The statement referred to in the question is a hadith reported as attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and also as a statement attributed to some of the Prophet’s Companions.
To elaborate further, At-Tabarani and other scholars reported it as attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) on the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), but with a chain of transmitters that includes Sa`id ibn Al-Bashir, who was a doubtable narrator.
Al-Baihaqi, Abu Nu`aim, and `Abdullah ibn Ahmad reported it as a statement attributed to Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) without making reference to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as being the source of it.
Al-Baihaqi also said that its being reported as attributed to the Prophet’s Companion is more authentic than its being attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself.
However, there are some other hadiths that indicate that the statement in question has a source attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), which upgrades it from the degree of weakness to that of soundness.
Of these hadiths reported Ahmad and Abu Nu`aim: “Winter is the spring of the believer.”
Abu Ya`li and Al-`Askari reported the same words of the hadith but with the addition of “… its nighttime is long and so he can offer supererogatory prayers therein (at ease), and its daytime is short and so he can fast [without fatigue.]”
Both wordings of this hadith were reported on the authority of the Prophet’s Companion Sa`id Al-Khudri as attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). But its chain of transmitters includes Abu Al-Haitham, who was regarded a doubtable narrator by some scholars and of a trustworthy character by some others likeIbn Ma`in.
Another wording of this hadith was reported by Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Khuzaimah, At-Tabarani, and Al-Quda`i on the authority of the Prophet’s Companion `Amir ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him), who attributed it to the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) on the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him).
This was elaborated by As-Sakhawi, while As-Suyuti mentioned it in his book Al-Jami` As-Saghir as reported by Al-Baihaqi on the authority of the Prophet’s Companion Abu Sa`id (may Allah be pleased with him).
This wording goes “Winter is the spring of the believer; as its daytime is short, so he may offer fasting therein, and its nighttime is long, so he may pray voluntarily therein.”
Anyway, the hadith refers to the fact that fasting in winter is easy as its daytime is short and its cold weather causes no thirst.
Hence, it is a chance that behooves Muslims to seize in offering much fasting to get closer to Almighty Allah.
This brings to mind also that if the month of Ramadan happens to come in winter, Muslims should train their children and dependants under the age of legal responsibility to fast therein.
Allah Almighty has ordained fasting in Ramadan, which is a lunar month, and [as it is known] lunar months have to do with the cycle of the moon, not weather, and hence, they, sometimes, come in summer, sometimes in autumn, winter, or spring.
This teaches us that Almighty Allah wants to train Muslims to be patient, of strong will, and always mindful of their duties towards Him Most High at all times and seasons.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.