FASTING & RAMADAN
♣ What is the Ramadan (Shahr Ramadan - Month of Ramadan)?
Ramadan is the ninth month in Islamic calendar. It is considered as one of most blessed month. This month has been described in Al Quran and Al Hadith many times.
♣ Allah says about month of Ramadan in Al Quran
شَهۡرُ رَمَضَانَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانُ هُدً۬ى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَـٰتٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡهُدَىٰ وَٱلۡفُرۡقَانِۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ ٱلشَّهۡرَ فَلۡيَصُمۡهُۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوۡ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ۬ فَعِدَّةٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَۗ يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ بِكُمُ ٱلۡيُسۡرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ ٱلۡعُسۡرَ وَلِتُكۡمِلُواْ ٱلۡعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُواْ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَٮٰكُمۡ وَلَعَلَّكُمۡ تَشۡكُرُونَ
The month of Ramadan (is the month) in which the Qur’an has been sent down as guidance for mankind containing clear signs which lead (to the straight road) and distinguishing (the truth from falsehood). Therefore, he who witnesses this month must fast it, and he who is ill or on a journey should complete the count by (fasting on equal number of) other days. Allah desires ease for you and does not desire hardship for you so that you complete the prescribed number of fasting days, and that you glorify Him for the guidance which He has blessed you with, and that you may become grateful. (Al Quran - 2 :185)
♣ Beloved Prophet’s ﷺ sayings on month of Ramadan
Holy Prophet ﷺ said:
"When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained"
Sahih al Bukhari - Book 31, Hadith 123
♣ What is Fasting?
Fasting is the fourth of the five pillars in Islam. It is called in Arabic as “Sawm” meaning abstain. Fasting means one should abstain himself from eating, drinking and all the actions which will nullify the fasting from true dawn (time of fajr prayer) to sunset (time of maghrib prayer) in the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
If anyone rejects any of the five pillars of Islam, he will be considered as an unbeliever (Kafir). Therefore, fasting should not be rejected or should not be called as it is not an obligatory. Otherwise, the one who says it will become an unbeliever according to the Islamic Law. If someone is unable to fast in the month of Ramadan for any reason, he is obliged to fast those missed fastings as Kada (Due fasting) later
♣ Allah says about Fasting in Al Quran
يَا أَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for the people before you so that you may become pious. ( Al Quran 2 : 183)
♣ Beloved Prophet’s ﷺ sayings on Fasting
♦ Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said:
"Fasting is a shield (or a screen or a shelter). So, the person observing fasting should avoid sexual relation with his wife and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, 'I am fasting." The Prophet (ﷺ) added, "By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. (Allah says about the fasting person), 'He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times."
Narrated by : Hazrat Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him)
Sahih al-Bukhari 1894
♦ Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said:
Every (good) deed of the son of Adam would be multiplied, a good deed receiving a tenfold to seven hundredfold reward. Allah, the Exalted and Majestic, has said: With the exception of fasting, for it is done for Me and I will give a reward for it, for one abandons his passion and food for My sake. There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts, joy when he breaks it, and joy when he meets his Lord, and the breath (of an observer of fast) is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk.
Narrated by : Hazrat Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him)
Sahih Muslim 1151
♣ Types of Fasting
1. Compulsory Fasting (Fard)
It is three types:
a. Ramadan Fasting
It is the duty of every sane and adult Muslims to fast in the month of Ramadan. Whoever fulfils this duty will be awarded merits and obtained the love and mercy of Allah Almighty
b. Nadhr Fasting (Oath Fasting)
If a person took an Oath that he will be fasting for specified number of days if his particular wish is fulfilled then he must complete his oath in case his wish is fulfilled. He is not obliged to fast if his wish is not fulfilled.
c. Kaffara Fasting (Compensation Fasting)
Islam has imposed fasting as the compensation for certain criminal acts.
Example - If one took an Oath and if he breaks it, he is obliged to feed for 10 poor persons or should provide clothes to 10 poor persons or should free a slave or should fast for three days. Likewise, if one had sexual intercourse with his wife during the time of fasting, then he is obliged to free a slave or should fast continuously for two months or should feed for 60 poor people.
2. Additional Fasting
a. Sunnat Fasting
These are the additional fasting observed by beloved prophet ﷺ in some particular days and commanded to his nation to fast as an additional fasting. This is not compulsory to fast. But whoever fast it, will get the abundant rewards and love of Allah Almighty and his beloved prophet ﷺ
Example – Ashura fasting which is observed in 9th & 10th day of month of Muharram
b. Nafl Fasting
These are the additional fasting which is observed by a servant of Allah voluntarily for the sake of love and blessings of Allah Almighty. These fasting can be observed as to show the gratitude to Allah Almighty or to seek rewards from Him.
♣ On whom is Fasting compulsory?
One should have attained the following qualification to Fasting becomes compulsory upon him
1. He must be a Muslim
2. He must have reached puberty
3. He must be a Sane
4. He should possess the ability (power) to fast
5. Women must be clean from menstruation or post childbirth bleeding
6. Not in the state of travel
♣ On whom is Fasting not compulsory?
1. For Non-Muslims
2. For children
3. For an insane
4. People who are in serious illness
5. Women who are in the state of menstruation or post childbirth bleeding
However (3), (4), (5) are required to fast those missing fasts later (Kada)
♣ Fard (Compulsory) of Fasting
1. Intention (Niyyah of Fasting)
The person who supposed to fast should intend his intention of fasting. It is compulsory. Without an Intention, Fasting will not be valid.
Niyyah - “I intend to fast the compulsory Ramadan fast tomorrow”
The time for intention starts from Maghrib. It is sunnah to intend between Maghrib and Fajr for that day fasting. The time for intention lasts up to midday.
According to Shafie Fiqh, The time for intention is between Maghrib and Fajr. If one forgets to intend at that time, he may, based on the Hanafi Fiqh, intend before the midday.
The one who fast should abstain himself from eating, drinking and all the actions which will nullify the fasting from true dawn (time of fajr prayer) to sunset (time of maghrib prayer)
♣ What are Sunnat of Fasting?
1. Partaking (Eating) Suhoor.
2. Completing the Suhoor before to the Fajr Prayer Call with the time lapse where 50 ayat (Phrases of Al Quran) can be recited.
(Normally it is called Imsak or Suhoor End Time)
3. Starting Suhoor with dates.
4. Partaking Suhoor at least with a cup of water, if nothing is available.
5. Stopping the Suhoor if the time is doubtful.
6. Breaking the fast immediately after sunset
7. Breaking the fast with dates. If not available, then with water
8. Breaking the fast with three dates.
9. Inviting people to join in the break-fast (Iftar)
10. Reciting Iftar Dua (Prayer at the time of breaking fast)
11. Giving charity, donations and helping poor and relations.
12. Reciting Al Quran and performing I’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan
13. Taking obligatory bath before Fajr, if is needed
14. Avoiding from telling lies, bad words and erotic desires.
♣ Things should be considered at the time of Iftar
Once the time of Maghrib (Sun-set) comes, one should break the fast immediately without unnecessary delays.
Allah's Messenger ﷺ said:
"The people will remain on the right path as long as they hasten the breaking of the fast." (Sahih al Bukhari – 1957)
It is Sunnah to recite the following dua (supplication) once breaking the fast.
♣ Iftar Dua
“Allahumma laka sumtu wa bika amantu wa `alayka tawakkaltu wa `ala rizqika aftartu fata kabbal minnee”
‘O Allah, I have fasted for You, believed in You, placed my trust in You, and broken my fast on your provision, accept it ’
♣ Things that break (nullify) the fast
1. Intentionally eating, drinking or smoking without a valid reason.
2. Having Sexual intercourse (even though semen does not come)
3. Making out the semen consciously
4. Anything put by force into the mouth of a fasting person
5. To vomit mouthful intentionally or to return vomit down the throat
6. Water going down the throat whilst gargling
7. Intentionally swallowing a pebble, piece of paper or any item that is not used as food or medicine
8. Inhaling snuff into the nostrils
9. Dripping oil into the ear canal
10. Swallowing the blood from the gums if the color of the blood is more than the saliva with which it is mixed
11. Swallowing the spittle before washing the dirty mouth.
These all above will break the fast and make up is compulsory.
♣ Things that will not break the fast
1. Eating or drinking unintentionally or forgetfully
The Prophet ﷺ said:
"If somebody eats or drinks forgetfully then he should complete his fast, for what he has eaten or drunk, has been given to him by Allah."
Sahih al Bukhari – 1933
2. Vomiting unintentionally
3. Semen discharge in the sleep
4. Water entering the ears.
5. Swallowing one’s own saliva
6. Rubbing oil onto the body or hair
7. Applying surma; however, it is better to avoid it
♣ Things should be noted
1. If the fast is broken for any reason, It is wajib to be as fasting in the remaining hours of the day to honour the Ramadan
2. If a patient is recovered or if a traveler reached his place or if a woman cleaned herself from menstrual and post childbirth bleeding or if one embraced Islam, at the day time, it is wajib upon them to be fasting in the remaining time of that day. However, according to Shafie Fiqh it is Sunnah to be fasting.
3. Travelers and women who are in the state of menstrual and post childbirth bleeding can have meals at the day time. However, they must not disclose it out.
♣ Things that make compulsory to leave the fasting
It is wajib to break the fasting if one strongly thinks that the fasting will cause the death or increase his suffer from illness.
Also it is wajib to break the fast, if a pregnant woman fears for her pregnancy and the breastfeeding mother fears for her milk production
♣ The Expiatory Payment (Fidya) for Fasting
A very old person who does not have the strength to fast or a very sickly or diseased person who has no hope of recovering after Ramadan must make an expiatory payment for each fast missed in Ramadan. One “mudd” of grain should be given as Fidya. One mudd means the amount one can hold in both hands when cupped together. The grain should be the main staple in the place where it is given.
If, however, an old or sick person gains strength or recovers after Ramadan, he must keep the missed number of fasts and whatever was given as fidya will be a reward for him from Allah Almighty.
Each missed fasting in Ramadan should be made up before the next Ramadan, otherwise, One Mudd of grain should be given as Fidya in addition to makeup those missed fasts.
One cannot observe fasting on behalf of another one who is still alive even though he is a very old person. However, family members can fast on behalf of a deceased person.
♣ The forbidden days to fast
It is prohibited (haram) to fast in the following days:
1. Eid ul Fitr (Ramadan Festival Day)
2. Eid Ul Adha (Hajj Festival Day)
3. 11th, 12th & 13th day of Dhul Hijjah (i.e following three days from Hajj Festival)
4. Doubtful Day (Yaumul Shak) - 30th day of Sha’ban
5. Only in Friday (Fasting in Thursday plus Friday or Friday plus Saturday is permissible)
♣ Which are the Sunnat Fastings?
Beloved Prophet ﷺ has shown us lot of Sunnat Fastings in addition to the compulsory Ramadan Fasting. One can get abundant rewards and blessing through observing those fasts.
1. First six days fasting in the month of Shawwal (Following six days from Ramadan Festival)
2. Arafat Fasting (9th day of Dhul Hijjah)
3. Ashura Fasting (9th & 10th day of Muharram)
4. 13th, 14th & 15th day of every month except Dhul Hijjah
5. 27th, 28th & 29th day of every month
6. Fasting on Monday and Thursday is Sunnat Mu’akkadah