(Sayidina) Sahl (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated from the Prophet that he ﷺ said, ‘There is a door in Paradise called al-Rayyan, those who fast will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection. None except them will enter through it. It will be said, where are those who used to fast? They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After they enter, it will be closed. Nobody after them will enter through it.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, 1896).
The Hadith of the Holy Prophet ﷺ above is unambiguous regarding the fact that people who fast have a special door to Paradise. The Prophet clarified that the door is called al-Rayyan. However, there is some discussion amongst the scholars with regards to the meaning of ‘those who fast.’ Does it refer to the Ramadaan fast alone or additional Nafl fasts too.
فإن قلت: ما المراد بالصائمين؟ قلت: الذين يقومون بما فرض الله، ولفظ الصائم يدل عليه، فإنه يصدق على من صدر عنه الفعل في الجملة، ويمكن أن يكون محمولًا على من كان غالب حاله في العبادات زيادةَ الصوم؛ وإلا فالمؤمنون كلهم مشتركون في القيام بالفرض؛ لأن القيام بالفرض من كل مؤمن ليس بمعلوم، والوجه هو الأول في الصوم، وفي غيره هو الثاني، لأنّ أدنى جهاد لا يصير الإنسان به من أهل الصدقة وأهل الجهاد؛ بل لا بد وأن يكون له في ذلك تقدم واشتهار. (الكوثر الجاري إلى رياض أحاديث البخاري).
If you ask, what is meant by those who fast? I will respond, those who fulfil that which Allah (Most High) has obliged (upon them). The word Saim (fasting person) implies this. Since it includes anyone who has performed the action generally (without specifying abundance). It could (also) be understood to refer to a person who was abundant in the act of fasting, and that was his predominant state with regards to worship. Otherwise all believers share in the act of fulfilling the obligation (of fasting).
The sound opinion is the first with regards to fasting (the Fard is sufficient). With regards to other actions, the second opinion (is stronger). This is because a person does not become known as a charitable person, nor a person of Jihaad by fulfilling the bare minimum. Rather he must be amongst the foremost in it and recognised for it. (Imam al-Koraani, al-Kowthar al-Jari).
In the Nass (text) above we see a clear difference of opinion regarding what is meant by ‘those who fast.’ Imam al-Koraani inclines towards the opinion that even fulfilling the obligatory fast will suffice to include one in this promise. Therefore, people who fast the obligatory fast will have a special door to Paradise.
And Allah Most High Knows Best.
-Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (08.04.2022)