Allah the almighty says:

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous - (2:183)

This means that fasting or sawm was known and ordered to earlier nations. In the sunnah we are informed about the fast of the prophet Dawood () and I wonder if we have other references about other prophets () or maybe about what was the prescribed fast for the ahl al-Kitab.

Are there any Muslim sources quoting the fast of ahl al-Kitab and/or earlier Prophets (except with Dawood)?

3 Answers 3


In the Quran there is mention of the fast of Maryam عليه السلام:

إني نذرت للرحمن صوما فلن أكلم اليوم إنسيا

Verily! I have vowed a fast unto the Most Beneficent (Allah) so I shall not speak to any human being this day.

Quran 19:26

والمراد أنهم كانوا إذا صاموا في شريعتهم يحرم عليهم الطعام والكلام ، نص على ذلك السدي ، وقتادة ، وعبد الرحمن بن زيد

The meaning here is that in their Law, when fasting, it was forbidden for them to eat and speak. As-Suddi, Qatadah and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd have all stated this view.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir [English translation]

In hadith there is mention that they did not take suhoor and that they delayed iftar:

فصل ما بين صيامنا وصيام أهل الكتاب أكلة السحر

The difference between our fasting and that of the people of the Book is eating shortly before dawn.


لا يزال الدين ظاهراً ما عجل الناس الفطر لأن اليهود والنصارى يؤخرون

Religion will continue to prevail as long as people hasten to break the fast, because the Jews and the Christians delay doing so.

Abu Daud

In one variant of a hadith, there is a claim made by the Jews that the fast of Ashura was kept by Musa عليه السلام:

فقالوا هذا يوم عظيم وهو يوم نجى الله فيه موسى وأغرق آل فرعون فصام موسى شكرا لله فقال أنا أولى بموسى منهم فصامه وأمر بصيامه

They used to say: "This is a great day on which Allah saved Moses and drowned the folk of Pharaoh. Moses observed the fast on this day, as a sign of gratitude to Allah." The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "I am closer to Moses than they." So, he observed the fast (on that day) and ordered the Muslims to fast on it.


  • The first evidence can also be considered as describing nadhr. The last certainly was known to me. I read somewhere a statement on the fast of Adam pbuh for which I was hoping to find some backup.
    – Medi1Saif
    Sep 11, 2018 at 7:45
  • 1
    @Medi1Saif This might be relevant.
    – UmH
    Sep 11, 2018 at 7:58

Are there Muslim sources quoting the fasts of the People of the Book or the previous prophets? The Qur'an explicitly states the existence of fasting in other religions. It was also obligatory for the ancients, and now there is information about fasting in the books of the Old and New Testaments; Here are some of them: 1- Fasting has always been common among every tribe and nation at the time of sorrow and unexpected hardship. (Paul, 3: 5) 2- Moses fasted for forty days. (Deuteronomy, 9: 9) 3. The Jewish people fasted when they had the opportunity to express humility in order to gain the satisfaction of the truth. (Judges 20:26) 4. Jesus commanded his disciples to fast after his death. (Luke, 5:34)

Ref: https://fa.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B2%D9%87_%D8%AF%D8%B1_%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85#%D9%BE%DB%8C%D8%B4%DB%8C%D9%86%D9%87


Question asked in about

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous - (2:183)

Here it is written " O you who have believed " - believing people were not present before 1400 years ago? People who followed Moses(AS) and Ibrahim(AS) were also Believing people. This ayat is for believing people of all times not just people from 1400 years ago til now.

Read all ayats from 83 til 89 , Allah mentions all Prophets here and then Allah says "Those are the ones to whom We gave alkitab and authority and prophethood" so for 18 Prophets Allah gave al-kitab that is One Book, same Book that is in https://quran.com/2/2 - in above ayat al-kitab is mentioned singular so singular same book for multiple prophets, plural of al-kitab is kutub.

We are the ahle-Kitab - we have al-kitab i.e Quran so all prophets who got this same al-kitab and people who are with prophets are ahle-kitab so they all kept same fasting like us nothing different.

This video also explains clearly same ayat mentioned in the question

Hope you have no confusion in understanding the video and above ayats. JazakAllah.

  • This post only wants to open a side discussion. I neither want to discuss who ahl al-Kitab are nor how who ever interprets this verse. I want evidences and references stating how ahl al-Kitab and earlier prophets pbut used to fast I don't see any.
    – Medi1Saif
    Sep 11, 2018 at 7:49

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