Did previous nations fast?


What do the scholars and experts of shari’ah say regarding fasting? Is this something that has been legislated only for the ummah of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ? Were previous nations also obliged to fast?


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.

To keep a fast is not something specific to our ummah. It has been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an: “O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you so perhaps you will become mindful of Allah.” (Surah al-Baqara:183) Through this verse we learn that fasting was an obligation on previous nations as well. However, we have limited information regarding their fasting and what it entailed.

The Prophet ﷺ are also referred to the fasting of Prophet Dawud (peace be upon him). He ﷺ said: “Indeed the most beloved fast to Allah is the fast of David, and the most beloved prayer to Allah is the prayer of David. He we would sleep half the night, stand in prayer for a third of the night, and the sleep for a sixth of it. He would fast for a day and not fast the next. (Muslim)

Allah ﷻ knows best

This fatwa is written by Dr Hafiz Muhammad Munir al-Azhari

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