Praise be to Allaah.
This issue is known to the scholars as observing naafil fasts
before making up missed Ramadaan fasts. There is a difference of scholarly
opinion concerning this matter. Some scholars say that it is haraam to
observe naafil fasts before making up days that one owes, because it is more
important to start with an obligatory action than a naafil one. Some of the
scholars say that it is permissible.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have
mercy on him0 was asked about combining making up a missed obligation and
doing something that is mustahabb: is it permissible for a person to do the
mustahabb action and make up the obligatory action later on, or should he do
the obligatory action first, such as fasting the day ‘Ashoora’ which
coincides with making up a missed Ramadaan fast?
With regard to
obligatory and voluntary fasts, what is prescribed in sharee’ah and what
makes sense is to start with the obligatory fasts and then do the naafil
ones, because the obligatory fast is a debt which must be paid, whereas the
naafil fast is voluntary and is to be done if one can manage it, otherwise
there is no sin on one. Based on this, we say to the one who owes a missed
Ramadaan fast: make up what you owe before you observe a voluntary fast. If
he observes a voluntary fast before making up what he owes then the correct
view is that his voluntary fast is valid so long as there is still enough
time to make up the missed fasts, because a person may make up missed
Ramadaan fasts so long as there is still enough time for him to do so before
the next Ramadaan comes. So long as there is still plenty of time, it is
permissible for him to observe voluntary fasts. This is similar to the case
of obligatory prayers, such as if a person offers a naafil prayer before an
obligatory prayer when there is still plenty of time, this is permissible.
Whoever fasts on the day of ‘Arafah or ‘Ashoora’, and still owes some days
from Ramadaan, his fast is valid. But if he has the intention of fasting
this day to make up for a missed Ramadaan fast, he will have two rewards –
one for the day of ‘Arafah or ‘Ashoora’ and another for making up the missed
fast. This applies to all voluntary fasts that are not connected to
Ramadaan. With regard to fasting the six days of Shawwaal, these are
connected to Ramadaan and can only be done after making up missed Ramadaan
fasts. If a person fasts these days before making up his missed Ramadaan
fasts, he will not get the reward for them, because the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadaan then
follows it with six days of Shawwaal, it will be as if he fasted for a
lifetime.” It is known that the one who still has some days to make up is
not regarded as having fasted Ramadaan until he makes up those days. Some
people think that if they fear Shawwaal is going to end soon and they fast
the six days even though they still owe some days from Ramadaan, that this
is acceptable. This is a mistake, because these six days cannot be fasted
until a person has made up the days that he owes from Ramadaan.
Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen,
Based on this, it is permissible for you to fast the first
ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah as a naafil fast, but it is better for you to fast
them with the intention of making up what you owe of Ramadaan, and you will
have two rewards in sha Allaah.
See also question no. 23429.
And Allaah knows best.