Short Commentary on the Continuous Fast in Rajab

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In Swahih Muslim, Sunan ibn Majah, and partly, Musnad Ahmad, ‘Abdullah (r.a.), the freed slave of Asma’ (r.a.), the daughter of Abu Bakr (r.a.), the maternal uncle of the son of ‘Atha’, reported, “Asma’ sent me to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar saying. ‘The news has reached me that you prohibit the use of three things: the striped robe, saddle cloth made of red silk, and fasting the whole month of Rajab.’

‘Abdullah said to me, ‘So far as what you say about fasting in the month of Rajab, how about one who observes continuous fasting?  And so far as what you say about the striped garment, I heard ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab say that he had heard from Allah's Messenger (s.a.w.). ‘He who wears a silk garment, has no share for him.’  And I am afraid that stripes were part of it.  And so far as the red saddle cloth is concerned, here is ‘Abdullah's saddle cloth and it is red.’’

I went back to Asma' and informed her, so she said, ‘Here is the jubbah of Allah's Messenger (s.a.w.),’ and she brought out to me that cloak made of Persian cloth with a hem of brocade, and its sleeves bordered with brocade, and said, ‘This was Allah's Messenger's cloak with ‘Aishah until she died, then I took possession of it.  The Apostle of Allah (s.a.w.) used to wear that, and we washed it for the sick so that they could seek cure with it.’”

Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) commented on the above, “ibn ‘Umar’s reply concerning fasting in Rajab is a denial on his part of what Asma' had heard with regard to his forbidding it, and it is an affirmation that he fasted Rajab in its entirety as well as fasting permanently, except the days of ‘Iyd and tashriq.  This perpetual fast is his way and the way of his father, `Umar ibn al-Khaththab, ‘Aishah, Abu Thalhah, and others of the salaf as well as ash-Shafi’i and other scholars: their position is that perpetual fasting is not makruh.”

Imam ibn Qudamah (r.a.) stated something similar, in al-Mughni, concerning perpetual fasting and added that the same view is related from Imam Ahmad (r.a.) and Imam Malik (r.a.), and that after the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) death, Abu Thalhah (r.a.) fasted permanently for forty years, among other companions.  Imam ibn Hajr al-Haytsami (r.a.), in al-Khayrat al-Hisan fi Manaqib Abi Hanifah an-Nu’man, similarly related that Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) was never seen eating except at night.

Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) added, “In this hadits is a proof that it is recommended to seek blessings through the relics of the righteous and their clothes.  This is found in Sharh Swahih Muslim.


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