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Can you make two different intentions for a single fast?

Question:

What do the scholars and experts of shari’ah say regarding joining two intentions for a single fast? Is it possible to combine the intention of a qadha fast of Ramadan with that of the six fasts of Shawwal?

Answer:

All perfect praise is for Allah ﷻ, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah ﷻ, and that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is His Messenger.

The majority of the Fuqaha hold the opinion that nafl (optional) fasts can be incorporated into the fardh (compulsory) fasts. However, the opposite is not permissible, the incorporation of the fardh within the nafl fasts.

According to this principle: A Muslim woman can perform her qadha fasts of Ramadan in the month of Shawwal. Her Ramadan fasts will also suffice for the six fasts of Shawwal. Insha-Allah she will be rewarded because she has fasted in the month of Shawwal.

This answer was deduced analytically from the case of a man who enters a Masjid and performs two untis of a fardh or sunnah muakkadah prayer. Such a person will by default also receive the reward of performing tahayyat al-Masjid, as the prayer he performed was done prior to sitting down.

It is said in the book Hashiya ‘ala Sharh al-Manhaj 280/1: “The reward for tahayyat al-Masjid will be achieved if two or more units of prayer are performed. Whether they are fardh or nafl, whether intention was made or not.

It has been narrated by the Shaykhayn: “If anyone of you enter the Masjid, do not sit down until you have prayed two raka’ah).” So, in the above situation salah was performed before sitting down as instructed by the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.

In the case of fasting, Imam al-Suyuti has mentioned: “If on the day of ‘Arafah a person performs a qadha, nadhr or kaffara fast and combines this with the fast of ‘Arafah, ‘Allama Barazi has mentioned this is sahih (correct) and has issued the fatwa that he will receive reward for both fasts. He says: Any absolute fast will also follow this ruling. He had deduced the ruling for this from the ruling of tahayyat al-Masjid.” (in Al-Ashbah wa al-Naza’ir 1/22)

We have also inclined to follow this deductive method and therefore a person will receive the reward for the six fasts of Shawwal. It should be noted the reward will be for following the sunnah of the Beloved Messenger ﷺ but will not be the complete reward of the voluntary fast.

Imam Ramli in Nihayat al-Muhtaj: “If in the six fasts of Shawwal a person keeps qadha, nadhr or any other fast, or on the Day of ‘Ashura, he keeps any fast he will also earn the reward of a nafl fast. Following my honourable father, Imam Barazi, Imam Asfawani, Imam Nashari, Faqih Ali bin Salih Hadrami and others I have also issued this fatwa. A person will not earn the full reward. The real aim after Ramadan is to keep the six days of fasting in Shawwal and also to perform your qadha Ramadan separately. (Nihaya-tul-Muhtaaj 3/208-209)

And Allah ﷻ knows best.

This Fatwa is written by Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Munir Al-Azhari