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Fast Days vs. Fast Days

For those of us residing in North America, the winter season has definitely arrived. The days are passing us by quicker than one can keep up with, with our daily prayer times arriving one after another subhan’Allah. The shorter, cooler days, coupled with the long, dark nights can make for a particularly dreary time for most of us.

But, for us sisters, the winter months offer an opportunity to make up the many Ramadan fasts we may still owe.

For many of us, we simply didn’t know we had to make them up. For others, we delayed it and delayed it, and delayed it some more until we arrived at this point. And for others, Allah (SWT) knows best, but somehow they sit here today with dozens of fasts to make up.

Life often gets in the way of making up these days – sickness, vacations, trips, work, busy schedules, and sometimes just plain exhaustion. And for those of us in school, we may be afraid to fast right now due to busy exam schedules and the need for energy to study.

But, my dear sisters, this debt of fasts is no small issue – it impacts us not only in this life, but more importantly in the next – so much so, that our debt does not dissipate with our death.

Aisha (RA) narrates that the Prophet (SAW) said,

“Whoever died and he ought to have fasted (the missed days of Ramadan) then his guardians must fast on his behalf” (Sahih Bukhari).

We rush to pay off our debts on our credit cards, to our neighbours, and even to our families. But do we rush to pay back this debt to Allah (SWT)?

Ibn Abbas (RA) narrated that a man came to the Prophet (SAW) and said,

“O Allah’s Messenger (SAW)! My mother died and she ought to have fasted one month (for her missed Ramadan). Shall I fast on her behalf?” The Prophet (SAW) replied in the affirmative and said, “Allah’s debts have more right to be paid” (Sahih Bukhari).

What excuse do we have when these days are so short? When we are not facing the heat of summer that causes us thirst and exhaustion? What excuses can we make today, my dear sisters? Even for those of us studying for exams, we must remember that fasting increases us in taqwa, and fulfilling our obligations to Allah (SWT) will only help us with our academic efforts – not hinder us.

Do not allow these winter days to pass you by, leaving you with regret. Make them bountiful, fill them with substance, and fulfill what is commanded of you. Let these be fast days, not just fast days.

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