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Fasting in Islam

Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri

Fasting in Islam is a comprehensive treatment of an essential practice of ritual worship in Islam. Starting from an overview of fasting in other religious traditions, Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri takes us through the health benefits of fasting, the Qur'anic injunctions to fast, Prophetic hadith, the legal regulations according to both Sunni and Shi'ite schools of law, focusing finally on the transcendental aspects of this ancient practice.

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Book Sample (PDF)

Readers' Reviews

A Reader

I found most enlightening the explanation of the inner benefits of fasting.

Ali Gokal

A very thorough and insightful book on the practise of fasting. The book contains the general benefits, both physical and spiritual, that comes with fasting during the moth of Ramadan. There is a lot of emphasis on the religious rules pertaining to fasting from the aspects of the main Islamic religious schools of thought as well as many Qur'anic and Prophetic references to this very special practice in a very special month.

Laa'iqah SeedSower

In the nearly two decades since I converted to Islam, I've never read a more beautiful explanation of Laylatul Qadr. I have never read an explanation of the inner and outer saum that resonates this much.


About each year, in the time preceding Ramadan, I question the value I can contribute to Islam and wonder about pursuing another way of life. The writings of SFH have inspired me to transcend the top layer of my extremely limited understanding and delve into the abyss of my heart, the compass of this path.

I am deeply moved.

Sadiq Lakhani

Once again a wonderful book from SFH about fasting and its benefits, The chapter about fasting as a cure is very interesting and will appeal to all readers, Muslims and non Muslims alike. It shows the wonderful health benefits one can get from fasting. The recent research in fasting for a healthy body and as a lifestyle change is catching up in the West with the 5:2 diet and with programs like the "Eat Fast and Live Longer" a BBC Horizon program by Michael Mosley. There is also research being done in fasting as a cure for Type II diabetes too. hunger makes us sharper in mind and heals the body. A good read... well recommended!

Nemir Adjina

A combination of erudition, clarity and profound spiritual insight.

Muslim R

I am 68 and have been fasting since I was around 15. For the first time, ever, ever I realize the importance and advantages of not only fasting but generally the value of the month, the significance of the nights of power and the rationale behind the special activities during the month. Thanks to this book by revered Sheikh. I can now shift from just hunger and thirst to the spiritual value of the exercise. It is never too late.

Narjis P

Fasting In Islam - a detailed and seemingly complete (probably) collection of material which pertains to the fasting practice in Islam … sort of 'anything I've ever wanted to know about it…'

Interesting is that the book begins with a much longer look back into fasting through time, and in a wide variety of indigenous cultures as well as the three Abrahamic faiths; this reflection connects todays 'modernity' to deep wisdoms of ancient practices which benefit body, mind and spirit addressing the 'whole' or complete human being: a completeness which individuals today yearn and search for.

The Book then dives into the meticulous details of the Islamic Fast: every verse in the Holy Qur'an which mentions fasting is gathered in an easy to read format, each chapter title making clear what its content will address.

The Teachings of the Prophet Muhammed (= Hadith) are then collected, and within those the details of many various conditions or questions a person may have are answered.

A bit of tedious reading but a brilliant compilation is the next part: it consists of the five legal schools of thought: one Shi`i and the four Sunni: details each one in legalized rulings has developed.

As today the deadly conflicts rage between various factions in the Middle East, reading this comparative section delivers a clear presentation of how little the Sunni diverge from the Shi`i.

A Reader

This book has really valuable information on fasting as well as deep insight on the spiritual dimension of the fast which can enrich the experience of the person performing the fast. The information about the different interpretations and rulings by the various schools of jurisprudence is a very useful resource to help guide the fasting person in determining what to do in various situations.