Fasting the White Days of Dhul-Hijjah: How?

22 July, 2021
Q As-salamu `alaykum. I understand that it is an act of Sunnah to fast on the White Days of every month (i.e., the 13th, 14th, and 15th of each lunar month). How can I fast on the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah when it is one of the Tashreeq Days (11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah), during which we are forbidden to observe the fast?


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.

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In this fatwa:

Those who are used to fasting the White Days should not fast on the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah. They can fast the 16th of Dhul-Hijjah instead.

Answering your question, Dr. Rajab Abu Maleeh, Professor of Islamic Studies at Kolej Universiti Insaniah, said,

The Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) aims at guiding people and bringing them closer to their Lord. Almighty Allah says, {If you obey him [the Messenger of Allah], you are on the right way.} (An-Nur 24:25)

True Muslims should avail themselves of the merit of every act of worship, especially those acts that Allah has promised great rewards for them such as fasting on the White Days, the Day of Ashura, and the Day of Arafah.

According to numerous hadiths, it is recommendable to fast on the White Days of each Hijri month. The Prophet (PBUHM) said,“[For] whoever fasts three days of every month [the 13th, 14th, and 15th of every lunar month], it will be as if they have fasted for the entire year.” (An-Nasai)

Therefore, the Prophet commanded his Companions to observe the fast on the White Days, asserting that this is regarded as fasting for an entire year.

However, those who are used to fasting on these days should not fast on the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah because this day is one of the Tashreeq Days during which fasting is not permissible.

The Prophet (PBUH) said, “The days of Mina are days of eating and drinking [lawful drinks] and remembering Allah.” (Al-Bukahri)

The more acceptable view is that of the Shafi`is, who opine that it is desirable to fast on the 16th of Dhul-Hijjah instead of the 13th day. This applies to those who used to fast on these days.

Apart from the fast of Ramadan, fasting is basically a recommended act of worship. Asserting this ruling, Imam Malik deemed it makruh to fast on these days (the 13th, 14th, and 15th of lunar months). This applies if there is fear that people may think that this fasting is obligatory. So, he would rather fast on the 1st, 11th, and 21st of the lunar month.

The Prophet would neither regularly observe nor totally abandon the supererogatory acts of worship. Imam Muslim reported that Aishah said, “The Prophet used to fast for so long that we thought he would never stop fasting. He would go without fasting for so long that we thought he would never fast again. I never saw the Messenger of Allah fast for a complete month, except for Ramadan.”

Also, Al-Bukhari reported that Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “One would never wish to see him [the Prophet] pray at night except that he would really be doing so, or to see him asleep except that he would really be [asleep].”

May Allah guide us all to what pleases Him!

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.