All praise is due and belongs to Allâh. We praise Him, seek His help and forgiveness and repent to Him. We seek refuge with Allâh from the evils of ourselves and from the wickedness of our own deeds. Whomever that Allâh guides, none can mislead him, and whomever He sends astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh alone with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
(يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ)
(O you who believe, fear Allâh as he should be feared and die not unless you are Muslims) [Al-Imran: 102]
(يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا)
(O people fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul. From it, He created its spouse, and from both of them scattered many men and women. Fear Allâh, by whom you ask one another, and (fear) the wombs (lest you sever its relationship). Allâh is ever watching over you). [An-Nisa: 1].
(يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا * يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا)
(O you, who believe, fear Allâh and say sound statements. He will mend your deeds for you and forgive your sins. Whosoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger shall win a great victory) [Al-Ahzab: 70-71].
Fasting is a perfect and unabrogated religious obligation of Allâh and is the fourth pillar of Islam. It is observed in one month, which is the month of Ramadan every year. The Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, “(The superstructure of) al-Islam is raised upon five (pillars), and he mentioned: “Fasting the month of Ramadan” (Agreed upon).
Allâh, the Most High, has made it obligatory on our nation as it was prescribed for the previous nations. Allâh, the Almighty said:
(يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيۡڪُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَّقُونَ)
O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious [Al-Baqarah: 183].
Fasting was legislated in the second year of immigration to Madinah.
Slaves of Allâh! In view of the importance of fasting and for the fact that it is considered one of the pillars upon which Islam is built, we are going to dedicate this meeting to discuss some of its rules and etiquettes by the will of Allâh in the form of questions and answers. If you ask me: Who should fast? I reply to you that fasting is obligatory on every adult Muslim person who is sound and resident.
Although, if you may ask again by what does fasting become obligatory? I would answer you that it becomes obligatory by one of two things:
The first is the sighting of the crescent of Ramadan, and the second is the completion of the days (thirty days) of the month of Sha’ban, as evidenced by the words of the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), ” Observe Saum (fast) on sighting the crescent and terminate it on sighting it (the new moon), but if the sky is cloudy before you, then complete the number (thirty days) of the month of Sha’ban”. (Agreed upon) .
If you may inquire: What proves the sighting of the moon? I would explain to you that it is proved by the testimony of one just and credible witness owing to the hadith of Ibn Umar, who said: “The people were trying to sight the new moon (of Ramadan) and I sighted it. So, when I reported to the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) that I had seen it, he fasted and commanded people to fast ” (Ibn Hibban).
If you may re-inquire again : When do people begin to avoid food, drink and things that invalidate fasting and when do they have to resume that? I would reply you that fasting begins from the true dawn and ends with the sunset; for the saying of Allâh, the Almighty:
(وَكُلُواْ وَٱشۡرَبُواْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ ٱلۡخَيۡطُ ٱلۡأَبۡيَضُ مِنَ ٱلۡخَيۡطِ ٱلۡأَسۡوَدِ مِنَ ٱلۡفَجۡرِۖ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّواْ ٱلصِّيَامَ إِلَى ٱلَّيۡلِ)
And eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your Saum (fast) till the nightfall [Al-Baqarah: 187].
O Muslims! As fasting has certain basic elements without which it cannot be perfect, it also has some Sunnah (desirable) aspects and etiquettes including the following:
First: Sahur (Pre-dawn meal): due to the saying of the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), “Take Sahur, for in Sahur there is blessing” (Agreed upon).
Second: Hastening to break the fast when the sunset is confirmed. This is based on the saying of the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), “People will remain in good as long as they are quick to break the fast” (Agreed upon).
Third: Exercising noble characters and ethics. The Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “Allâh 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 ” (Agreed upon).
Fourth: Frequent invocations (du’a). Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “Three supplications are answered without doubt. The supplication of the oppressed, the supplication of the traveller, and the supplication of the parent for his/her son/daughter” (At-Tirmidhi).
He should do this especially when breaking fast. Abdullah bin Umar narrated that when the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) breaks the fast, he would say, “Thirst has gone, the arteries are moist, and the reward is sure, if Allâh wills” (Transmitted by An-Nasaei in As-Sunan Al-Kubra).
Fifth: To avoid all acts that makes fasting defective, such as lying, obscenity, indecency and all kinds of sin. Albeit these acts are at all times prohibited, but they are more ugly and offensive during fasting. The Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) has warned against that, saying, “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, Allâh has no need of his giving up his food and drink (i.e. Allâh will not accept his Fasting). “(Al-Bukhari).
Furthermore, the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) has defined the real fast when he said, “Fasting is not just abstaining from eating and drinking but abstaining from idle and obscene speech” (Al-Hakim).
Among the acts that detracts from the reward of one observing fast also or destroying it is listening to music, watching sitcoms and dramas, and wasting time in every unsavory and despicable thing.
O believers! Because our religion is a religion of tolerance and ease, it has permitted many things to the fasting person, including the following:
First: To be in a state of spiritual major impurity (state of Janabah). On the authority of Aishah, may Allâh be pleased with her, ” (At times) in Ramadan the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) used to take a bath in the morning not because of a wet dream and would continue his fast ” (Agreed upon).
Second: Siwaak (Tooth stick): whether this is in the beginning of the day or at the end; for the general meaning of his saying, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), ” Were it not that I might over-burden the believers or “my people” – I would have ordered them to use tooth stick at every time of prayer” (Agreed upon).
Third: Rinsing the mouth and nose without exaggeration. This is due to the saying of the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) “And sniff water deep into the nose except when you are observing fast” (Ibn Majah).
Fourth: To taste food according to the words of Ibn Abbas, may Allâh be pleased with them: “It’s okay to taste the vinegar or something, unless it enters one’s throat while he is fasting” (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaibah).
Fifth: Bathing and immersion in water. It was narrated that a man from the companions of the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said: “I saw the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), pouring water on his head because of the heat when he was fasting” (Ahmad).
Sixth: Using kohl and eye drop whether one perceives its taste in the throat or not … Allâh, the Almighty did speak the truth when He said:
(يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ بِڪُمُ ٱلۡيُسۡرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِڪُمُ ٱلۡعُسۡرَ)
(Allâh intends for you ease and does not want hardship for you) [Al-Baqarah: 185].
Slaves of Allâh! However, a Muslim can be subjected to some conditions where fasting in Ramadan may become difficult for him. In view of this, Allâh has permitted some categories of people who find it difficult to fast not to observe fast, and they are as follows:
First: The traveler. This is based on the saying of Allâh, the Almighty:
(فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوۡ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ۬ فَعِدَّةٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَيَّامٍ أُخَر)
But if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days [Al-Baqarah: 184].
And the words of the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him): “It is not part of righteousness to fast during travel” (Agreed upon). It is a gift and a leave from Ar-Rahman Al-Karim, the Most Gracious and Most Generous. Anyone who choses to enjoy it shall not be maligned. Therefore, accept the gift of Al-Karim, the Most Glorified and Exalted.
Second: the sick person. This is based on the previous verse of the Qur’an. Therefore, any sick person that finds it difficult to fast, or believes that fasting may cause delay in healing, it is permissible for him not to fast.
Third: menstruating women or women undergoing post-natal bleeding: It is the unanimous opinion of learned scholars that it is not permissible for them to fast and if they fast, it will not accepted from them. They have to abstain from fasting and make up for it in other days.
Fourth: the elderly who cannot fast. Ataa’ reported that he heard Ibn Abbas reciting this verse:
ۖ(وَعَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ ۥ فِدۡيَةٌ۬ طَعَامُ مِسۡكِينٍ۬)
And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a needy person (for every day) [Al-Baqarah: 184].
Ibn Abbas said: «It has not been abrogated. It refers to an aged man and an elderly woman who cannot fast and so they should feed a needy person in place of each day they were supposed to fast “(Al-Bukhari).
Fifth: The pregnant and breastfeeding women. If they fear for themselves or their babies, they should not fast but would have to feed the needy without having to make up for the days missed. This is according to Ibn Abbas’ school of thought, may Allâh be pleased with them. However, the majority of the companions of the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) and most learned scholars opine that they would have to fast and feed the needy as well as make up for the days missed. Allâh knows best.
All praise is due and belongs to Allâh alone, and may the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon the last Prophet.
O Muslims! What now remains, however, is to beware of the things that vitiate and invalidate one’s fasting, which fall into two categories as follows:
The first: That which requires making up for the days missed only, and the second: that which requires making up for the days missed and atonement.
As for the things that invalidate the fast and require making up for the days missed only, they are as follows:
First: Eating and drinking intentionally. Those who eat or drink out of forgetfulness, their fast is valid based on the saying of the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), ” Whoever forgets that he is fasting, and eats or drinks is to complete his fast, as it was Allâh who fed him and gave him something to drink.” (Agreed upon).
Second: Vomiting deliberately. Those who are overwhelmed by vomiting, nothing shall be upon them. The Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “Whoever is overcome and vomits is not to make up for the day, but whoever vomits intentionally must make up the day” (Ibn Majah).
Third: Menstruation and postpartum bleeding; for the saying of the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), “Isn’t it true that a woman does not pray and does not fast on menstruating?” (Al-Bukhari).
Fourth: Nutritional injections, which are intended for nutrition, for they break the fast. This is because it is an act of putting something in the stomach, as they serve as food and drink.
Unlike the injections of medication that are not intended for nutrition, as opposed to taking a blood sample for analysis, both of them do not break the fast, but if one delays them until after sunset it would be more perfect, better and safer. Likewise, the use of chest spray for people with asthma or allergies, does not break the fast also.
Fifth: the emission of semen intentionally lustily without intercourse, whether it occurs by fondling a woman or masturbating or zest by gazing at something … breaks the fast.
Sixth: Cupping if much blood comes out with it and weakens the fasting person from carrying on the fasting. This is owing to the saying of the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), ” The cupper and the one for whom cupping is done both break their fast ” (Ibn Majah).
However, if cupping did not weaken him and much blood did not come out that does not break the fast according to the hadith of Ibn Abbas, May Allâh be pleased with them, who said, « The Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) had himself cupped while he was fasting » (Al-Bukhari).
However, it is better to do cupping after sunset.
The second category of things that break the fast is that which requires repentance, making up for the days missed and atonement. It is the act of having intercourse during the day in Ramadan, while one knows that he is fasting. The atonement for this is clear from the hadith of Abu Hurairah when he says: A man came to the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) and said, “l am ruined O Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him)! ” The Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) asked him, “What has ruined you?” The man replied, ‘I had intercourse with my wife during the day in Ramadan while fasting.’ The Prophet said to him, “Are you able to free a slave?” The man said, ‘No.’ The Prophet said, “Can you fast for two consecutive months?” He said, ‘No.’ The Prophet then asked him, “Can you provide food for sixty poor people?” He said, ‘No.’ Then the man sat down. A basket of dates was brought to the Prophet and he said to the man, “Give this as Sadaqah (voluntary charity)” The man said, ‘To someone who is poorer than us!’ There is no one in this city (Al-Madinah) who is in need of these dates more than us!’ The Prophet laughed until his molar teeth could be seen and said to the man, “Go and feed your family with these dates” (Agreed upon).
This atonement is not lifted from a person except when he is completely incapacitated.
Fear Allâh, my Muslim brother, and stay away from all that may vitiate or nullify your fast. On the authority of Abu Umamah, may Allâh be pleased with him, I heard the Messenger of Allâh peace be upon him, say: “Whilst I was sleeping, two men came to me because they took hold of my upper arm, brought me to a bumpy mountain and said to me: climb, I said: I am not capable of climbing. They said: we are going to facilitate it for you. I climbed until I arrived at the mountaintop and I heard strong voices. I said: what are these voices? They replied: this is the howling of the people of hellfire. Then they took me further until I saw people hung with their shanks, and their mouths torn and pouring with blood. I said: who are these? They said: These are people, who break their fast before fulfilling their fast “(Al-Hakim).
Finally, my dear fast observing brother, here is a tip before the conclusion: You should give food to fasters to break their fast and you would attain great reward. Zaid bin Khalid Al-Juhani narrated that the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said: ” Whoever gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will have a reward like theirs, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest” ” (Ibn Majah).
O Allâh accept our fasting, night prayers and other acts of worship…
Invoke prayers and blessings of Allâh upon the one Allâh, the Most Exalted and Glorified, has commanded you to do so when He said,
(إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا)
Allâh sends His Salâh (Graces, Honours, Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet (Muhammad) and also His angels too (ask Allâh to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salâh on (ask Allâh to bless) him (Muhammad), and (you should) greet him with the Islamic way of greeting [Al-Ahzab: 56].