Let’s get ready for Ramadan in obedience to our Most Merciful Rabb, Allah!
It is hoped this will inform us of the primary reasons we fast, what is required of us and what to hope for.
May Allah, The Supreme Creator, permit us to fast for none but Him alone, may He reward us for our endeavours, and may He permit us to strive to avoid that which nullifies the fast, and strive to adhere to what maintains and perfects it, in accordance with the teachings of His final prophet peace be upon him. Ameen.
DISCLAIMER: This is for educational purposes and serves as an introduction to the issues pertaining to fasting. Parents/guardians are advised to supervise the following read as some issues which pertain to married adults have been mentioned. Please consult a knowledgeable Islamic scholar (and trustworthy medical professional) for details, particularly for questions and advice related to individual circumstances. We are not scholars and thus cannot issue fatwa, however we endeavour relate to you the words of the scholars who have studied the authentic teachings of Islam from the Qur’an and the Sunnah of prophet Muhammad upon him be peace. And ultimately, Allah knows best.
Fiqh of Fasting – Part 7 (adapted mainly from Sh. Yahya Adel Ibrahim with notes from others)
Summary of Siyam (Fasting) Essentials
What is the meaning of “Siyam?”
The word “siyam” comes from the root word “sowm,” which means “to abstain from.”
Did Muslims fast before 2 A.H.?
Yes, in fact the Prophet sala Allahu alihi wasSalaam and his companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to fast on various days, including:
1. Day of Ashura (the exodus) when Allah delivered Musa sala Allahu alihi wasSalaam and the Muslims of that time from the evil of Pharaoh. The Prophet (upon him be peace) taught us to fast two days—either the day before or after plus the actual day of Ashura.
2. On the day of Arafat, if not making Hajj
3. The first 9 Days of dhul-Hijjah
4. Mondays & Thursdays through out the year
5. The middle three days of each lunar month (13th, 14th & 15th) when he moon is at its brightest
6. There are some proofs by way of Khadija (May Allah be pleased with her) who reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to fast before the prophethood—but we do not know the exact days.
Why was Siyam ordered?
The answer to this question lies only with Allah. However, we can find that there are many benefits and bits of wisdom behind this pious and sincere act.
1. Increases one’s Taqwa (remembrance of Allah in daily affairs), as is stated in the Quran: Surah Baqara verse 183.
2. Trains the body, mind and spirit to bear hardships while remaining patient.
3. Trains the body, mind and spirit to hold back from the natural desires of the human: food, drink, anger, lust, etc.
4. To help one understand what the impoverished go though.
What is the importance of the month of Ramadan?
This is the month in which the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed. This is the month where every dua’ reaches Allah. This is the month where the Muslims are protected from the evil whisperings of the shayateen. This is the month where one plants the seeds of worship, the seeds of taqwa in the earth and harvests the good deeds for sustenance throughout the year. And most importantly, this is the month in which the Quran was revealed—more specifically, on the night of Lailat-ul-Qadr.
Who must fast?
1. One who is Muslim
2. One who has Aql (mental faculties are sound and understands the responsibility of fasting)
3. One who has reached the age of puberty (signs include: growth of pubic hair or nocturnal emissions, emitting maniy, or reaching 15 years of age, occurrence of menses)
4. One who is Kaadir (able to maintain the fast)
What is the requirement for the fast?
Very simply, the fast begins with the niya (intention-this need not be verbal, rather intention resides in the heart)—this is a pre Requisite/ Shart—and then refraining from food, drink and things that break the fast, until the time for Maghrib has arrived.
It must be noted by the reader that one cannot just wake up in the morning and proclaim his fast for that day. This was only allowed for the Prophet sala Allahu alihi wasSalaam. Rather, for the followers, there needs to be mental recognition of the fast BEFORE FAJR in other than the month of Ramadan.
What breaks the fast?
3. Sexual relations/intimate acts of any type that leads to male or female sexual discharge,
4. Haid (menstrual bleeding)
5. Nifas (post natal bleeding)
6. Intentional vomiting
7. Needles that give you nourishment
For further clarification on some issues:
a. Blood testing is okay
b. If one needs to take Insulin then that person cannot fast
c. Using the puffer for asthma patients is okay—the respiratory type only.
• If the couple have intercourse intentionally then they have to make up that day and they have to fast 60 days consecutively, or if unable feed 60 people or Kafarah
What is Kafarah?
This is given only as expiation for sexual infractions during the fast. There are three methods of expiation:
1. Freeing of a slave
2. Fast for 60 consecutive days. If one day is missed then you would start from the beginning again
3. If you are unable to fast, for a legitimate reason (sick, old,etc.) then you may feed 60 miskeen (poor) people. They have to be Muslim people and it can happen on one day as a feast. Also, one can just give the money to feed 60 people. This is considered a debt for that person and they should fulfil it before their death. If they do die then the relatives can either fast for them or feed the miskeen.
What about those that cannot fast, but are of age?
Of those who are excused from the fast are those who have a long-term sickness, the pregnant woman, the woman who is breast-feeding and the traveller. For the traveller, the fast is to be made up. But for the others, they are to pay the Fidya (please note, there is a scholarly difference of opinion regarding who can pay fidyah instead of making up fasts- please consult a scholar for your own case, see the links below). Fidya is to pay for a meal for one miskeen person for everyday that is missed. Like the Kafarah, one can arrange to give 30 days worth of money at one time, or arrange a feast for 30 miskeen people on one day.
Confused about your case? Contact a knowledgabe Mufti (try calling up on the Ask the Sheikh programmes on Eman Channel, or similar.)
The Sunnan of Fasting
1. The sahoor and iftaar should be done with the family. If the family is not available then one should make an effort to never break the fast alone.
2. To hurry up with breaking the iftaar—not to delay it. But the sahoor can be delayed right up until the time for Fajr enters.
3. To break the fast with dates, or at least 3 sips of water.
4. To make dua’ of breaking the fast. (“Dhahaba al-zamau’a, wa abtallat al-‘urooq wa thabata al-ajr insha Allah (Thirst has gone, the veins are moist, and the reward is assured, if Allaah wills).” see Arabic below )
5. To increase in acts of ibada (recitation of the Quran) and this should continue after the month of Ramadan has passed.
6. To give more sadaqa (charity).
7. To offer the tahajud prayers and the tarrawih prayers (in congregation).
8. To feed other Muslims, even if they are not needy—meaning to invite people to your house for the iftaar. In fact, when you invite people the host receives the reward that his guest earned on that day (while the guest retains his own reward). This is true even for the one who finances an iftaar, or one who prepares the food.
The Makrooh (hated things) of Fasting
1. To be excessive in rinsing with water, during wudu or other times. Having too much water in the mouth might cause a person to swallow some.
2. To unnecessarily taste food. There cannot be any swallowing and the tongue should be cleaned of any residual taste.
3. Kissing your spouse.
4. To sexually excite/touch your spouse.
5. To lie, to make ghiba (back biting), to do nameema (telling lies to cause two parties to fight). In fact, those who practice nameema do not enter paradise with the first set of Muslims.
6. To not pray the tarrawih or tahajjud in the last 10 days.
What are some the Voluntary Fasts that one may do?
1. The fast of the Prophet Dawood (peace be upon him) was mentioned by Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as the best. It includes one day of fasting and one day of resting, continuously.
2. The best months for fasting include: Sha’ban, Muharram, Ramadan,Dhul Hijja.
3. The 13th, 14th & 15th of every Islamic month. The reward of fasting these three days is like having fasted an entire year.
4. Mondays and Thursdays—for these are the two days that the angels rise and descend with your deeds; i.e. the gates of heaven are open.(This refers to Maghrib time)
5. The 9th day of Dhul Hijja (for the ones not performing the hajj).This is the day of Arafat and fasting on this day ensures that the minor sins for the previous year and the coming year are forgiven.
Allah knows best!
May Allah make this benefit us, and this advice is to us before it is to you our beloved readers.
May Allah allow us to succeed this Ramadan and may He forgive us for He is the Oft-Forgiving, The Forbearing! May Allah forgive us for any errors in this and grant us correctness. Wasallallahu alaa nabiyina Muhammad.Amin
Dear brothers and sisters, with Ramadan just round the corner, lets brush up our knowledge on the dos and donts of fasting, for the sake of Allah.
Here follows the fiqh of fasting regarding the nullifiers. May Allah help us to do that which He loves and is pleased with. May Allah help us to worship Him alone always and may He make us experience many Ramadans to come, in His obedience. ameen.
DISCLAIMER: This is for educational purposes and serves as an introduction to the issues pertaining to fasting. Parents/guardians are advised to supervise the following read as some issues which pertain to married adults have been mentioned. Please consult a knowledgeable Islamic scholar (and trustworthy physician if needed) for details, particularly for questions and advice related to individual circumstances. We are not scholars and thus cannot issue fatwa, however we endeavour to relate to you the words of the scholars who have studied the authentic teachings of Islam from the Qur’an and the Sunnah of prophet Muhammad upon him be peace. And ultimately, Allah knows best.
What breaks the fast? Can I have a blood test? How about other medical procedures? Am I allowed to apply moisturizers that penetrate the skin? What about eye drops or nasal spray or asthma puffer?
Imam Ibn Qudamah says in al Umdah: (Arabic omitted)
Things that Invalidate Fasting
[The Invalidators of Fasting] Whoever:- eats or drinks (1) or takes anything into his stomach through his nostrils (2)- or through any other route (3)- or intentionally vomit (4)– or masturbates (5)– or kissed or touched [the opposite sex] and subsequently ejaculated semen or had madh-ey (pre ejaculation) (6)– or had hijamah (cupping with bloodletting) (7)-or did it to someone else intentionally and while remembering [that he is fasting] his fast is nullified.
1) Both these and sexual intercourse break one’s fast by consensus, for Allah the Almighty says: “…so now be in contact with them [your wives] and seek what Allah has ordained for you, and eat and drink until the whiteness of the day becomes distinct from the blackness of the night at dawn, then complete the fast till night…” (al-Baqarah 2:187)Eating (by mouth) non-food items invalidates fasting by consensus.
2) Due to the statement of the Prophet sala Allahu alihi wasSalaam “Sniff water far into your nostrils unless you are fasting.” abu Dawud Authentic
3) Medical Care and Fasting (Taken from Judgements of Senior Scholars at the Fiqh Assembly of the OIC Organisation of Islamic Conference):
-Injections (with the exception of nutritious ones), many contemporary scholars believe they do not invalidate the fast. That is the position of the Fiqh Assembly of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference).
-Nutritious injections: controversial, but the vast majority considers them to invalidate the fast. That is the position of the Fiqh Assembly.
– Enemas, many contemporary scholars allow them while fasting, because even though they reach the hollow interior of the body (al-Jawf), they do so from a route that is not natural for food or drink; it is not even close to this natural route.- Vaginal suppositories do not break the fast according to (Malikis & Hanbalis) and modern medicine supports that position because there is no connection between the vagina and the stomach. The same applies to the male and female urethra. That is the position of the Fiqh Assembly of the OIC.- Sublingual tablets: many allow them because they are completely absorbed by the mucous membranes of the mouth and do not reach the hollow interior of the body (al-Jawf).
The Fiqh Assembly of the OIC maintains that as long as the patient avoids swallowing it, there should be no harm.- Inhalers and nasal sprays were regarded by the Permanent Fatwa Committee in Saudi Arabia as non-invalidators of the fast.- Nasal drops: controversial, and the scholars who say it invalidates the fast support their view with the previous hadeeth about istinshaq.
The scholars who argue that they do not break the fast maintain that even if a minute amount made it to the stomach, it would still be negligible. The Fiqh Assembly of the OIC maintains that as long as the patient avoids swallowing it, there should be no harm.- Eye drops and eardrops do not invalidate one’s fasting according to many scholars, particularly eardrops because there is no connection between the external ear and the interior of the body except in the case of perforation of the eardrum, and then what may reach the hollow interior of the body (al-Jawf) would be extremely negligible. That is the position of the Fiqh Assembly of the OIC.- Endoscopes, even if they enter from the mouth, they would not break the fast according to many (including the Fiqh Assembly of the OIC) because, they are not nutritious and according to (Hanafis), they do not remain in the abdomen.
The majority of the earlier scholars would consider them invalidators because they enter the hollow interior of the body (al-Jawf). But that seems to not be the correct position.- Skin preparations that are absorbed into the body do not invalidate the fast according to the Fiqh Assembly of the OIC and the vast majority of contemporary scholars and that was the opinion of Imam Ibn Taymiyah.
4) The Prophet sala Allahu alihi wasSalaam said: “He who is overwhelmed by vomiting does not have to make up, but he who intentionally vomits must make up.” (Tirmithi, and authenticated by Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Hibban and others)The one who intentionally vomits is the one who brings it on, not the one who vomits because he feels very nauseous.
5)That is the position of the four schools of Fiqh, for in the Divine hadeeth, Allah the Almighty in the hadith QUDSI says about the fasting person:“…he gives up his (sexual) desire, food and drink for Me…”(Agreed upon)And the one who masturbates does not give up his sexual desire. This sinful habit must be given up, here’s how to break the addiction and how to keep away from it.
6) Kissing one’s spouse while fasting with subsequent discharge
The position here above is the agreement of the four schools of Fiqh in the case of the ejaculation of semen, but it is controversial in the case of madhey (pre ejaculation). Many (Shafi’ee scholars and minority of hanbali) argue that it would not break the fast since the Prophet sala Allahu alihi wasSalaam allowed touching and kissing and that is not infrequently associated with madhey.
7) Bloodletting, Blood donation, and Blood tests
That is the correct position of the Hanbali school of thought. The majority (Shafiee,Malik, Abu Hanifa) does not consider hijamah to break one’s fast. The disagreement is because the Prophet sala Allahu alihi wasSalaam said: “Both the one doing bloodletting and the one having it done to him break their fast.” (abi Dawud; Authentic)Yet, many of the sahabah considered this to be abrogated and allowed bloodletting while fasting, and they include Anas Ibn Malik who indicated that it was initially forbidden out of fear that they may become weak.
(Bukhari reports that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said:”The Prophet had hijamah done to him while he was between Makkah and al-Madeenah while he was fasting and in the state of Ihram.”
Blood donation and tests therefore are acceptable, if they weaken you they are Makrooh but the fast is valid and not broken.
And Allah knows best.
May Allah, Al-Ghaffaar (The Perpetual Forgiver) forgive all our sins, and may He erase them completely, for He is Al-‘Afuww, Ar-Raheem, (The Oft-Pardoning, The Most Merciful). Ameen