Strive to do the Sunnah fasts authentically!
Whenever we can, we should try to complete Sunnah fasts as not only will it help us to build up our rewards, but it will also help us to feel better in life and become stronger in our faith.
When we fast, it makes us physically feel different to when we are not fasting. It encourages us to realise how weak we are as humans, and we are reminded of how dependent we really are. This humbles us and we turn to Allah, knowing that He is the only one who can truly help us. There are so many ways in which we can complete Sunnah fasts, one of which is fasting six days in the month of Shawwal. We read in a hadith:
Abu Ayyub reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of fasting in the month of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for the entire year.” (Ṣaḥih Muslim)
When we fast, it is a constant reminder to us of our faith. We remember the Hereafter and the reality of this life. We know that this life will not last forever and that we must prepare as best as we can for the Hereafter in order for us to be successful. Another time we can try to do Sunnah fasts is on Mondays and Thursdays. We read in a hadith:
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The deeds are presented on Monday and Thursday. Thus, I love for my deeds to be presented while I am fasting.” (Sunan Al-Tirmidhi)
When we are fasting, we generally feel more tired and of course we feel hungry. Due to this, we tend not to worry as much about our worldly stresses and we realise that in the bigger picture of this life, they are not actually as important as we previously thought.
Another Sunnah fast we could try to do is on the day of Ashura.
We read in a hadith:
Ibn Abbas was asked about observing of fast on the day of Ashura, whereupon he said: “I do not know Allah’s Messenger (SAW) singling out any day’s fast and considering it more excellent than another, except this day (the day of Ashura) and this month, meaning the month of Ramadan.” (Sahih Muslim)
We feel more grateful about having food to eat when it is after finishing a day of fasting. This encourages us to avoid complaining about food and be sincerely grateful for the food Allah has blessed us with.
Fasting on days that are in the month of Sha’ban is also amongst the Sunnah fasts we should strive to do. We read in a hadith:
Narrated `Aisha: “The Prophet (SAW) never fasted in any month more than in the month of Sha’ban. He used to say, ‘Do those deeds which you can do easily, as Allah will not get tired (of giving rewards) till you get bored and tired (of performing religious deeds).’ The most beloved prayer to the Prophet (SAW) was the one that was done regularly (throughout the life) even if it were little. And whenever the Prophet (SAW) offered a prayer he used to offer it regularly.” (Sahih Bukhari)