Fasting in the month of Ramadan
1. What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the name of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The month of Ramadan is when the first verses of the Quran were revealed. Note: The entire Quran was revealed over a period of about 23 years, starting in 610 CE and ending in 632 CE.
2. When does the month of Ramadan begin?
Narrated Ibn Umar: I heard Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) saying, “When you see the crescent (of the month of Ramadan), start fasting, and when you see the crescent (of the month of Shawwal), stop fasting; and if the sky is overcast (and you can’t see It) then regard the crescent (month) of Ramadan (as of 30 days)”. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 124)B
3. What is fasting in Islam?
In Quran, Allah (swt) has said,
“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) taqwa (self-restraint)”
(Al-Quran: Surah Al-Baqarah 2:183)
Fasting is a unique moral and spiritual characteristic of Islam. Literally defined, fasting means to abstain “completely” from foods, drinks, intimate intercourse and smoking, before the break of the dawn till sunset. But if we restrict the meaning of the Islamic Fasting to this literal sense, we would be sadly mistaken.
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 127)
4. What is fasting in Ramadan?
In Quran, Allah (swt) has said:
“(Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (Should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (With hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will,- it is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew
Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.
When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every supplicant when he calls on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.
Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your wives. They are your garments and ye are their garments. Allah knows what ye used to do secretly among yourselves; but He turned to you and forgave you; so now associate with them, and seek what Allah Hath ordained for you, and eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread; then complete your fast Till the night appears; but do not associate with your wives while ye are in retreat in the mosques. Those are Limits (set by) Allah. Approach not nigh thereto. Thus doth Allah make clear His Signs to men: that they may learn self-restraint.” (Al-Quran: Surah Al-Baqarah 2:184-187)B
5. Why is it obligatory for every adult, sane Muslim to fast?
Fasting is compulsory because it was ordered in the Quran for those who are mentally and physically fit, past the age of puberty, in a settled situation (not travelling), and are sure fasting is unlikely to cause real physical or mental injury.
6. What are the rewards for fasting?
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) said,
“Allah said, ‘All the deeds of Adam’s sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it.’
Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting.’ By Him in Whose Hands my soul is’ The unpleasant smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord; then he will be pleased because of his fasting.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 128)
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) 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 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.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 118)
Narrated Sahl: The Prophet said, “There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Raiyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it.
It will be said, ‘Where are those who used to observe fasts?’ They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 120)
7. What are the timings for fasting in Ramadan
The fast begins from before the break of dawn (Fajr) until sunset (Maghrib).
8.Why is it necessary to make the intention for fasting?
Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab: The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: “Actions are judged according to the intention behind them, and for everyone is what he intended.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 1).
The Niyya (intention) of fasting is necessary for the fast to be valid. It is not necessary to express the Niyya verbally. The Niyya in the heart will suffice. However, it is better to express the Niyya verbally also.
9. How can someone make intention for fasting?
It is not necessary to express the Niyya (intention) verbally. The Niyya in the heart will suffice. However, it is better to express the Niyya verbally also.
10. What are the Du’a for keeping fasting?
“I intend to fast today for the month of Ramadan”
11. Du’a for Breaking Fast:
“Oh Allah! I fasted for You and I believe in You, and I break my fast with Your sustenance”
Narrated Sahl bin Sad: Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) said, “The people will remain on the right path as long as they hasten the breaking of the fast.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 178)
12. What can break one’s fast?
- Anything put by force into the mouth of a fasting person
- Water goes down the throat while gargling and being conscious of fasting
- To vomit intentionally or to return vomit down the throat
- Swallowing intentionally a pebble, piece of paper or any item that is not used as food or medicine
- Swallowing something edible, equal to or bigger than a grain of gram which was stuck between the teeth. However it is first taken out of the mouth and swallowed, it will break the fast whether it is smaller or bigger than the size of a gram
- Putting oil into ear
- Inhaling snuff into the nostrils
- Swallowing the blood from the gums if the color of the blood is more than the saliva with which it is mixed
- To eat and drink forgetting that one is fasting and thereafter thinking that the fast is broken, to eat and drink again
- To eat and drink after Fajr or to break the fast before sunset due to a cloudy sky or a faulty watch etc. and then realizing one’s fault
- Eating, drinking or breaking the fast in any other manner e.g. smoking, etc.
- Applying SURMA into the eye or rubbing oil on the head and then thinking that the fast is broken, to eat and drink intentionally.
- To drink any kind of medicine intentionally (Note: INJECTION is permitted.)
13. What if you mistakenly break your fast?
If one eats due to forgetfulness, a mistake, or coercion, then he does not have to make up the day later or perform any expiation:
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (pbuh) 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.” Narrated ‘Amir bin Rabi’a, “I saw the Prophet (pbuh) cleaning his teeth with Siwak while he was fasting so many times as I can’t count.”
And narrated Abu Huraira, “The Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘But for my fear that it would be hard for my followers, I would have ordered them to clean their teeth with Siwak on every performance of ablution.” The same is narrated by Jabir and Zaid bin Khalid from the Prophet who did not differentiate between a fasting and a nonfasting person in this respect (using Siwak).
Aisha said, “The Prophet (pbuh) said, “It (i.e. Siwak) is a purification for the mouth and it is a way of seeking Allah’s pleasures.” Ata’ and Qatada said, “There is no harm in swallowing the resultant saliva.”(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 154)
14. What is Qadha (Make-Up)?
Qadha (Make-up) means to keep one fast in place of the one that breaks, or is broken intentionally.
15. When Qadha fasting is required?
- Anything put by force into the mouth of fasting persons.
- Water goes down the throat whilst gargling, conscious of one’s fasting.
- To vomit mouthful intentionally or to return vomit down the throat.
- Swallowing intentionally a pebble, piece of paper or any item that is not used as food or medicine.
- Swallowing something edible, equal to or bigger than a grain of gram which was stuck between the teeth. However if it is first taken out of the mouth and swallowed, it will break the fast whether it is smaller or bigger than the size of a gram.
- Putting oil into the ear.
- Inhaling snuff into the nostrils.
- Swallowing the blood from the if the colour of the blood is more than saliva with which it is mixed.
- To eat and drink forgetting that one is fasting and thereafter thinking that the fast is broken, to eat and drink again.
- To eat and drink after Fajr or to break the fast before sunset due to a cloudy sky or a faulty watch etc. and then realizing one’s fault.
16. What is Kaffarah (compensation) fasting?
Kaffarah: To keep one fast after another for sixty days CONTINUOUSLY.
However, if a person is unable to keep these 60 fasts for some valid reason e.g. continuous sickness, then one has the option of choosing from one of the following four:
1. Feed sixty poor people to their fill for two meals, or
2. Feed one poor person two meals a day for sixty days; or
3. Give 60 poor persons 3 1/2 Ibs. (approx. l.6kg of wheat or its value in cash or food grains)
4. Give to one poor person not less than 3 1/2 Ibs. of wheat, rice or food grains, etc. to its value or cash for sixty days.
17. On which action of breaking fasting Qadha (make up) and Kaffara (compensation) are necessary?
- Eating, drinking or breaking the fast in any other manner e.g. smoking, etc.
- Applying SURMA (kohl) into the eye or rubbing oil on the head and then thinking that the fast is broken, to eat and drink intentionally.
- To drink any kind of medicine intentionally. (Note: INJECTION is permitted.)
18. What things do not break the fast?
- To eat or drink something unintentionally.
- A mosquito, fly or any other object going down the throat unintentionally.
- Water entering the ears.
- Dust or dirt going down the throat.
- Swallowing one’s own saliva.
- Taking an injection.
- Applying of Surma (kohl) into the eyes.
- Taking a bath to keep cool.
- Rubbing oil onto the body or hair.
- To vomit unintentionally.
- Applying Itr or perfume. It is not permitted to inhale the smoke of Lobaan or incense whilst fasting. It is also not permitted to smoke cigarettes or inhale its smoke.
- Brushing the teeth without tooth paste or powder e.g. using a Miswaak, etc.A dream which makes Ghusl wajib (necessary) does NOT break the fast.
19. What are the virtues of Ramadan?
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) 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 Bukhari – Volume 3, Book 31, Number 123)
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) said: “Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not for showing off), all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Sahih Bukhari – Volume 1, Book 2, Number 36)
Narrated Abu Huraira: A Bedouin came to the Prophet and said, “Tell me of such a deed as will make me enter Paradise, if I do it.” The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, “Worship Allah, and worship none along with Him, offer the (five) prescribed compulsory prayers perfectly, pay the compulsory Zakat, and fast the month of Ramadan.” The Bedouin said, “By Him, in Whose Hands my life is, I will not do more than this.” When he (the Bedouin) left, the Prophet said, “Whoever likes to see a man of Paradise, then he may look at this man.” (Sahih Bukhari – Volume 2, Book 23, Number 480)
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven; and whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 125)
20. How the Prophet (PBUH) acted in Ramadan?
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: Allah’s Apostle was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur’an. Allah’s Apostle was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds). (Sahih Bukhari – Volume 1, Book 1, Number 5)