Winter-fasting

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله وعلى آله وصحبه

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Amr bin Mas’ood رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

الصَّوْمُ في الشِّتَاء الغَنِيْمَةُ البَارِدَةُ

“Fasting in the winter (days) is a cold booty (i.e. easily gained reward).”

[Al-Bayhaqi, 4/297; at-Tirmidhi’, 797; Musnad Ahmad, 4/335 and others – classed as mursal by Bukhari, Tirmidhi and Bayhaqi;  graded as saheeh by Ibn Hajar in ‘Al-Isaabah’, 2/260 and al-Albani in ‘Saheeh at-Tirmidhi’, 797 and hasan by Suyooti in ‘Jaami as-Sagheer’, 5167 (see also ‘Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3868′ and ‘Silsilat as-Saheehah’, 4/554]

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1.  The merits and virtues for fasting during hot Summer days are known, and our righteous predecessors used to take every opportunity to partake in their immense rewards [see Ibn Rajab’s ‘Lata’if al-Ma’arif’, pg. 272-273] – Yet for many Muslims, fasting during hot Summer days is not an option due to their geographical location, where Summer may not occur and where they do not experience hot, long days. Yet even for those living in such climates, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has provided practical opportunities to gain rewards from fasting, easier than those living in hotter climates.

2. The Arabs used to refer to matters which were relatively easy to gain as being “cold”. In the above hadeeth, the relative ease of fasting in Winter and its consequent reward is likened to acquiring war booty without experiencing the heat of violence. Unlike the Summer period, Winter period provides ease due to its cold weather and shorter days that don’t make it arduous and tiring upon the fasting person, nor does thirst make it difficult. It is for this reason that fasting in such a climate is described as “cold booty”.

3. Commenting on the above hadeeth, Al-Manawi said in his valuable ‘Fayd al-Qadeer’ that this means getting the booty (i.e. rewards) without hardship. He further continued:

والعرب تستعمل البارد في شيء ذي راحة والبرد ضد الحرارة لأن الحرارة غالبة في بلادهم فإذا وجدوا برداً عدوه راحة وقيل الباردة الثابتة من برد لي على فلان كذا أي ثبت أو الطيبة من برد الهواء إذا طاب والأصل في وقوع البرد عبارة عن الطيب وأيضاً إن الهواء والماء لما كان طيبهما ببردهما سيما من بلاد تهامة والحجاز قيل هواء بارد وماء بارد على سبيل الاستطابة ثم كثر حتى قيل عيش بارد

4. At-Teebi said:

والتركيب من قلب التشبيه لأن الأصل الصوم في الشتاء كالغنيمة الباردة وفيه من المبالغة أن الأصل في التشبيه أن يلحق الناقص كالكامل كما يقال زيد كالأسد فإذا عكس وقيل الأسد يجعل الأصل كالفرع والفرع كالأصل يبلغ التشبيه إلى الدرجة القصوى في المبالغة ومعناه الصائم في الشتاء يحوز الأجر من غير أن تمسه مشقة الجوع

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5. There are other advantages to fasting in Winter fasting as is reported from ‘Ubayd bin ‘Umayr, who used to say when Winter came:

يا أهل القرآن طال الليل لصلاتكم وقصر النهار لصيامكم فاغتنموا

“O people of the Qur’an, the night has become long so you can pray (more) and the day has become short for you to fast.” [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, 1108]

6. It is for this reason that ‘Umar bin al-Khattab said: الشتاء غنيمة (“Winter is booty…”) [Ibid] – This is because it is an opportunity to take advantage of the season to perform ibadaat that would otherwise be far more difficult to practise in the hotter months.

7. Sh. Sa’d as-Shithri has a nice khutbah on the rewards of fasting in Winter and can be seen here

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All Praise is for Allaah who continuously provides opportunities for His servants to increase their hasanat and wipe away their sayyi’at.

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