Observing Sawm on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah

Q: Kindly find an attached book titled "Min Akhta'ina Fi Al-`Ashr" (Some of Our Mistakes on the First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah) by Muhammad Al-Ghufayly. We would like you to read it and review the included Fatwa to see whether it is correct? On page no. 13, paragraph no. 5, it states, "Most people's observation of Sawm (Fast) of the whole ten days is a mistake..." Consequently, most of the people of Al-Rass abandoned Sawm of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, because of this book and this Fatwa. For decades, people used to observe Sawm of such days believing this act to be Sunnah (supererogatory act of worship following the teachings of the Prophet). However, after reading this book, they have been disapproving of those who observe Sawm on these days. I ask Your Eminence to issue a Fatwa (legal opinion issued by qualified Muslim scholar) on this regard and clarify it in (Part No. 9; Page No. 308) local newspapers, so that Al-Haqq (the Truth) will become evident before the public.

A: Sawm of the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah is not a mistake as is claimed by some people. Rather, according to the Jumhur (majority of scholars) of scholars it is Sunnah. Shaykh `Abdul-Rahman ibn Qasim said in his commentary on Al-Zad book, "Sawm of the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah is (an act of Sunnah, based on) the opinion of the Jumhur of scholars. In Al-Insaf book, it is stated that there is no difference in this regard." It is included in the general meaning of the Hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: There are no days in which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than during these ten days. (Related by Al-Bukhari, Ahl-ul-Sunan [authors of Hadith compilations classified by jurisprudential themes], and others) Musaddad narrated that Abu `Awanah narrated on the authority of Al-Hurr ibn Al-Sabah who narrated on the authority of Hunaydah ibn Khalid on the authority of his wife on the authority of a wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to fast the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, Day of `Ashura’ (10th of Muharram) and three days of every month - that is, the first Monday (of the month) and Thursday. (Related by Abu Dawud) It is also stated in Al-Muntaqa that it is related by Ahmad and Al-Nasa'y. Al-Shawkany said in his book Nayl Al-Awtar: "We previously mentioned Hadiths in 'Kitab Al-`Eidayn (Book of the Two `Eids)' indicating the virtue of performing good deeds on the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah in general. Sawm is included among these deeds. The opinion of those who claim that the term Tis` (nine) (that is mentioned in the Hadith) of Dhul-Hijjah refers to the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah is an untenable interpretation and an evident mistake due to the difference between the nine and the ninth." (Part No. 9; Page No. 309) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.