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Aspects of Saum(Fasting)

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Aspects of Saum(Fasting)

Post by Ithar Ghada Faied on Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:08 pm

In the Hadith, great rewards have been mentioned for fasting. The fasting person has a very high status in the sight of Allah Ta'ala. Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: "The person who fasts in the month of Ramadaan solely for the pleasure of Allah Ta'ala and for gaining His reward, all his past minor sins will be forgiven." Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: "The smell which emanates from the mouth of a fasting person is more beloved in the sight of Allah Ta'ala than the fragrance of musk." On the day of judgement, one would receive great rewards for fasting. It is related in a Hadith that a table below the Arsh of Allah Ta'ala will be laid for the fasting persons on the day of judgement.

They will sit at this table and partake of the food while all the other people will still be busy giving their account of deeds. On seeing them, they will say: "How is it that these people are eating and drinking while we are still occupied in giving an account of our deeds?" It will be said to them that they used to fast while you abstained from fasting. This fasting is also a great pillar of Islam. The person who does not fast in the month of Ramadaan commits a major sin, and his Deen shall become weak. 1. Fasting in the month of Ramadaan is fard on every Muslim who is not a lunatic nor an immature person (minor). As long as there is no valid excuse, it is not permissible to abstain from fasting. If a person vows to fast, fasting becomes fard on him on account of this vow. The qada and kaffarah fasts are also fard. Apart from this, all other fasts are nafl - if a person keeps them he will be rewarded, and if he does not do so, there will be no sin on him. However, the fasts of eid ul-fitr, eid ul-ad'haa, and the three days following eid ul-ad'haa are all haraam.

2. Once the time of fajr salaat approaches (i.e. dawn) until the time of sunset, a person should make the intention of fasting and abstain from all food, drink, and sexual intercourse. This is known as fasting in the Shariah.

3. It is not necessary to make a verbal intention. Instead, once a person has this in his heart that today he is fasting and he does not eat or drink anything, nor does he indulge in sexual intercourse - his fast will be valid. If a person makes a verbal intention by saying: "O Allah! I will fast for Your pleasure tomorrow", or he says the

following words in Arabic: even then there is no harm in this.

4. A person did not eat nor drink anything the entire day and remained hungry and thirsty from morning till evening. However, in his heart he did not have the intention of fasting but merely abstained from food due to a lack of hunger, or, for some reason or the other he did not get the opportunity of eating anything - in such a case

his fast will not be valid. Had he made the intention of fasting in his heart, his fast would have become valid.

5. According to the Shariah, the time of fasting commences from subah saadiq. Therefore, as long as the subah saadiq time does not expire, eating, drinking, etc. is permissible. Some women wake up early and after having a meal, they make the intention of fasting and sleep away thinking that once the intention is made, eating and drinking is not permissible. This is a gross error. As long as the subah saadiq time does not expire, it is permissible to eat and drink. This is irrespective of whether the intention of fasting has been made or not.

The Fasts of Ramadaan

1. If the intention of fasting for the fast of Ramadaan is made at night, the fast will be valid. The intention was not made at night and even in the morning one decided not to fast on that day. The day progressed considerably and only thereafter the person realized that it is not good to leave out a fard duty and therefore made the intention of fasting - even then his fast will be valid. But if he has already consumed some food in the morning, he cannot make the intention of fasting.

2. If a person has not consumed any food or drink, then for the fasts of Ramadaan he can make the intention of fasting until one hour before mid-day.

3. For the fasts of Ramadaan, the following intention is sufficient: "I am fasting today". Alternatively, at night one could say: "Tomorrow I will fast". By making this intention, the fasts of Ramadaan will be valid. When making the intention, a person did not specify as to whether it is a fast of Ramadaan or a fard fast. Even then the fast will be valid.

4. In the month of Ramadaan, a person made the following intention: "Tomorrow I will keep a nafl fast and I will not keep the fast of Ramadaan. I will make qada of this Ramadaan fast at some other time." Even then, the Ramadaan fast will be considered and not the nafl fast.

5. A person had missed a few fasts of the previous Ramadaan. The whole year passed without his making qada of these missed fasts as yet. When the next Ramadaan commenced, he made the intention of making qada of those missed fasts. Even then, the fasts of this Ramadaan will be considered and the qada fasts will not be valid. He will have to keep those qada fasts after Ramadaan.

6. A person had taken a vow that if a certain work of his is fulfilled, he will keep one or two fasts for the pleasure of Allah. When the month of Ramadaan commenced,he made the intention of keeping those fasts which he had vowed to keep and not the fast of Ramadaan. Even then, the fast of Ramadaan will be considered and not that of the vowed fast. The vowed fast will have to be kept after Ramadaan. In short, if any other intention is made in the month of Ramadaan, the fast of Ramadaan will be considered. All other fasts will not be valid.

7. If the moon of Ramadaan is sighted on the 29th of Sha'baan, commence fasting the following morning. However, if it is not sighted or cannot be sighted because of clouds, do not fast the next morning as long as there is a doubt as to whether Ramadaan has commenced or not. Instead, complete the 30 days of Sha'baan and thereafter commence the fasts of Ramadaan.

8. Because of clouds, the moon was not sighted on the 29th of Sha'baan. Do not even keep a nafl fast the following day. However, if a person is in the habit of fasting on Mondays and Thursdays or any other specific day, and coincidentally that day falls on the 29th, then in such a case it will be preferable to keep this fast.

Thereafter, if he receives the news of the sighting of the moon on the 29th, the fast of Ramadaan will be fulfilled with that very nafl fast. He does not have to make qada of it.

9. Because of clouds, the moon was not sighted on the 29th of Sha'baan. Do not eat or drink anything the following day until an hour before mid-day. If news of the sighting of the moon is received from somewhere, make the intention of fasting. If no news is received, one can commence eating and drinking.

10. The moon was not sighted on the 29th. Do not think that since tomorrow is not Ramadaan, let me keep my qada fast of the previous year, or let me keep the fast that I had vowed to keep. On such a day, it is also makruh to keep the qada, kaffarah, and nazr (vowed) fasts. No fast should be kept on that day. If a person keeps the qada or nazr fast, and later he receives the news of the sighting of the moon; even then the fast of Ramadaan will be considered. He will have to repeat the qada or nazr fast. If he does not receive any news of the sighting of the moon, the fast will be valid for whatever reason he had kept it (i.e. whether it be a qada or a nazr fast).

The Sighting of the Moon

1. The moon of Ramadaan was not sighted because of clouds or some dust in the sky. However, a religious-minded, pious and honest person gives testimony that he has sighted the moon. The sighting of the moon will thus be established irrespective of whether the person is a male or a female.

2. If the moon of Eid is not sighted because of clouds, the testimony of one person will not be acceptable irrespective of how reliable a person he may be. Instead, the sighting of the moon will only be established if two reliable, pious men or one reliable, pious man and two reliable, pious women give testimony that they have sighted the moon. If four women alone give testimony, it will not be acceptable.

3. The person who does not follow the requirements of the Deen and continues committing sinful acts, e.g. he does not offer salaat, does not keep fasts, is in the habit of speaking lies or commits some other sin and does not confine himself to the dictates of the Shariah; his testimony cannot be relied upon according to the Shariah. This is irrespective of the number of oaths he may take in order to give credence to what he is saying. In fact, if there are several people like him, even then their testimony will not be acceptable.

4. This notion which has become popular among the masses that the day on which the 4th of Rajab falls, on that same day the 1st of Ramadaan will fall has no validity in the Shariah. If the moon is not sighted, fast should not be kept.

5. Upon seeing the moon, one should not say that the moon appears to be very big and that it appears to be the second moon. This is an evil habit. It is mentioned in a Hadith that this is a sign of qiyaamah. When qiyaamah will draw near, people will talk in this manner. In short, do not even rely on the size of the moon as to whether it is big or small. Nor should you rely on the Hindus who say that today is dooj (the second day of the lunar fortnight) and that the moon will definitely be sighted today. In the Shariah, all this is regarded as nonsense.

6. If the skies are absolutely clear, even the testimony of several persons will not be acceptable and the sighting of the moon cannot be established. This is irrespective of whether it is the moon of Ramadaan or the moon of Eid. However, if a very large number of people give their testimony that they have sighted the moon to such an extent that the heart feels that such a large number of people cannot be lying and that it is impossible for them to be concocting a story, then only will the sighting of the moon be established.

7. A rumour has spread in the entire city that the moon had been sighted yesterday and that many people had seen it. However, after making many enquiries, not a single person could be found who had actually sighted the moon. Such a rumour cannot be acceptable.

8. A person sighted the moon of Ramadaan. Apart from him, no one else in the entire city sighted the moon. Furthermore, this person does not follow the dictates of the Shariah. The residents of the city should not fast and cannot rely on this person's testimony. However, this person will have to fast. And if he fasts for the full thirty days and the moon of Eid has not been sighted as yet, he will have to keep one additional fast and celebrate Eid with the rest of the residents of the city.

9. A person sighted the moon of Eid alone and the Shariah did not accept his testimony. This person cannot celebrate Eid as well. He must fast the following day and should not rely on his sighting of the moon. Nor should he break his fast.

The Qada or Missed Fasts

1. The fasts that have been missed for some reason or the other have to be kept after Ramadaan as soon as possible. One should not delay in keeping these missed fasts. It is a sin to delay in keeping these missed fasts without any reason.

2. When keeping the qada fasts, it is not necessary to specify the date by saying: "I am keeping a qada fast for so-and-so day". Instead, one should merely keep the fasts that have been missed. However, if one has missed a few fasts of two Ramadaans and has to keep the qada for both the years, it will be necessary to specify the year for which he is keeping the qada. That is, he should make the intention in the following way: "I am keeping this qada fast for so-and-so year".

3. When keeping a qada fast, it is necessary to make the intention at night (i.e. before subah saadiq). If the intention is made in the morning (i.e. after subah saadiq), the qada fast will not be valid and it will be regarded as a nafl fast. The person will have to keep the qada fast again.

4. The same rule applies to the kaffarah fasts, i.e. the intention has to be made at night. If the intention is made the following morning, the kaffarah fast will not be valid.

5. When keeping the qada fasts, one has the choice of either keeping them consecutively or at random. Both options are permissible.

6. If a person has not kept the qada fasts of Ramadaan and the following Ramadaan commences without his having made the qada, he should keep the fasts of the present Ramadaan and keep the qada fasts of the previous Ramadaan after Eid. However, it is an evil practice to delay in this manner.

7. In the month of Ramadaan a person became unconscious during the day. This unconsciousness continued for more than a day. Apart from the day on which he fell unconscious, he will have to keep qada of all the other days in which he remained unconscious. Qada of the first day on which he fell unconscious is not wajib because due to his intention of fasting, that fast has become valid. However, if the person was not fasting on that day, or, if he took some medication on that day and this medication went down his throat, qada of this first day will also be wajib on him.

8. If the person fell unconscious at night, it is not wajib on him to make qada of the fast of the following day as well. However, he will have to make qada of the remainder of the days in which he remained unconscious. But if he did not make the intention of fasting on that night for the following day, or if he took some medication the following morning, then he will also have to make qada of that first day.

9. If a person remains unconscious for the entire month of Ramadaan, even then he should make qada of these fasts. He should not think that he is absolved from keeping all these fasts. However, if he became a lunatic, and this lunacy remained for the entire month, he does not have to keep qada for any of the days of this Ramadaan. If his lunacy disappears on any day in the month of Ramadaan and he comes back to his senses, he should commence fasting and keep qada of the days in which he experienced this lunacy.

The Nazr or Vowed Fasts

1. If a person vows to keep a fast, it becomes wajib upon him to fulfil it. If he does not do so he will be sinning.

2. Nazr is of two types. One is that the person takes a vow by specifying the day and date by saying: "O Allah! If a particular task of mine is fulfilled today, I will keep a fast for Your pleasure tomorrow." Alternatively, he says: "O Allah! If a certain wish of mine is fulfilled, I will keep a fast on the coming Friday." When taking such a vow, it is permissible to make the intention at night or the following day until an hour before mid-day. In both cases the vow will be completed.

3. A person had taken a vow to fast on Friday. When Friday came, he merely made the following intention: "Today I am fasting", without specifying that this is a nazr fast. Alternatively he made the intention of keeping a nafl fast. Even then, the nazr fast will be fulfilled. However, if a person keeps a qada fast on this Friday and

forgets to keep the nazr fast, or, he remembers but intentionally keeps a qada fast, then in such a case the nazr fast will not be fulfilled. Instead, the qada fast will be considered and he will have to repeat the nazr fast.

4. The second type of nazr is that the person does not specify the day and date. He merely says: "O Allah! If a particular task of mine is fulfilled, I will keep a fast." Alternatively, he did not mention the task but merely said that he will keep five fasts. For such a nazr, it is a prerequisite to make the intention at night. If the intention

is made in the morning, the nazr will not be fulfilled and this fast will be regarded as a nafl fast.

The Nafl or Optional Fasts

1. For the nafl fast it is permissible to specify the intention by saying: "I am keeping a nafl fast", or to merely say: "I am keeping a fast". Both are correct.

2. It is permissible to make the intention for a nafl fast until an hour before mid-day. If, for example, until 10am a person did not have the intention of fasting and had not consumed any food or drink until then and thereafter he decided to fast and kept the fast; this fast will also be valid.

3. Apart from the month of Ramadaan, a person may keep nafl fasts whenever he wishes. The more he fasts, the greater the reward. However, it is not permissible to fast on the days of eid ul-fitr, eid ul-ad'haa, and the 11th, 12th, and 13th of Zil Hijjah. In the entire year, it is haraam to fast on these five days only. Apart from these days, it is permissible to fast on all other days.

4. If a person takes an oath that he will fast on the day of Eid, the fast of that day will still not be permissible. In place of that day, he should keep it on some other day.

5. If a person takes an oath that he will fast for the entire year and that he will not leave out a single day, even then he cannot fast on these five days. He should fast on the remainder of the days and thereafter keep qada of these five days.

6. By making the intention of keeping a nafl fast, this nafl fast becomes wajib on the person. If a person makes an intention before subah saadiq that he is going to fast today and later (after subah saadiq) breaks this fast, it will be wajib on him to make qada of this fast.

7. A person made an intention at night that he will fast the following day. However, prior to subah saadiq he changed his intention and did not fast. Qada will not be wajib.

8. It is not permissible to keep a nafl fast without the permission of the husband. If the wife fasts without her husband's permission and he orders her to break it, it will be permissible for her to break it. When he permits her, she must make qada of that fast.

9. A guest went to a person's house, or, a person was invited to a meal somewhere. If the person who was invited feels that by his not partaking of the meal, his host will feel insulted or feel ill at heart, it will be permissible to break the nafl fast. It is also permissible for the host to break his nafl fast on account of the guest.

10. A person made the intention of fasting on Eid day and also kept the fast. Even then he should break his fast and qada will not be wajib on him.

11. It is mustahab to fast on the 10th of Muharram. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the one who fasts on this day will have his sins of the past year forgiven. (In addition to this, it is also mustahab to fast on the 9th or 11th. It is makruh to fast on the 10th alone.)

12. Similarly, there is also a great reward in fasting on the 9th of Zil Hijjah. By fasting on this day, the sins for the past year and the following year are forgiven. If a person fasts from the 1st till the 9th of Zil Hijjah, the rewards will be increased manifold.

13. Fasting on the 15th of Sha'baan and the six days after eid ul-fitr is more virtuous than keeping other nafl fasts.

14. If a person fasts on the 13th, 14th and 15th of every month, it is as if he has fasted for the entire year. Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam used to fast on these days. He also used to fast on Mondays and Thursdays. If a person tries to fast on these days, he will also be greatly rewarded.

Acts which Break or do not Break the Fast

1. If a fasting person forgetfully eats, drinks or has sexual intercourse, the fast will not break. If he eats and drinks a full-stomach, even then the fast will not break. If he forgetfully eats or drinks several times in the day, the fast will still not break.

2. A person saw a fasting person eating or drinking something. If this fasting person is quite strong and is not greatly affected by fasting, it will be wajib to remind him that he is fasting. But if he is a weak person and is greatly affected by fasting, he should not be reminded that he is fasting. Instead, he should be allowed to continue eating.

3. A person slept away during the day. He saw a dream which made ghusl compulsory on him. (i.e. he had a wet-dream) In such a case, the fast does not break.

4. During the day, it is permissible to apply surmah (antimony), oil, and to inhale any fragrance. The fast is not affected by such acts irrespective of when this is done. In fact, after applying surmah, if the colour of the surmah appears in one's saliva or mucus in the nose, even then the fast will not break nor will it become makruh.

5. It is permissible for a man to sleep next to his wife, to touch her and to kiss her. However, if, due to the passions of youth, there is the fear that these acts would lead to sexual intercourse, they should be abstained from. It will then be makruh to carry out such acts.

6. A fly went down the throat, or some smoke or dust went down the throat on it's own. In such a case, the fast will not break. However, if one did this intentionally, the fast will break.

7. Incense sticks were burnt and the person went and sat near them and inhaled the smoke. The fast will break. In the same way, the fast breaks by smoking cigarettes, cigars, etc. Apart from this smoke, it is permissible to inhale the fragrance of perfumes which do not have any smoke.

8. A fibre of meat or fragments of betel-leaf, etc. was stuck in the teeth. Due to cleansing the teeth, this fibre released itself from in between the teeth and the person ate it. However, he did not remove it from his mouth. It went down his throat on its own. If this fibre is less than the size of a gram-seed, the fast will not break. If it is equal to or more than the size of a gram-seed, the fast will break. However, if the person removed this fibre from his mouth and thereafter swallowed it, his fast will break irrespective of whether it was smaller or larger than a gram-seed. In both cases the fast will break.

9. By swallowing one's saliva, the fast does not break irrespective of the amount swallowed.

10. After eating some betel-leaves, the person washed and gargled his mouth thoroughly. Despite this, the redness of the saliva did not disappear. There is no harm in this. The fast will still be valid.

11. Ghusl became compulsory at night. However, the person did not have a bath and only took a bath during the day. The fast will be valid. In fact, even if he does not bath the entire day, the fast will still be valid. However, he will still be sinning for not bathing.

12. A person sniffed in such a way that the mucus of his nose went down his throat. His fast will not break. Similarly, the fast does not break by sniffing and swallowing the saliva that is in the mouth.

13. A person placed betel-leaves in his mouth and slept away. His eyes only opened the following morning. His fast will not be valid. He will have to make qada of this fast but there will be no kaffarah on him.

14. While rinsing the mouth, water went down the throat and the person knew that he was fasting. His fast will break, qada will be wajib, but there will be no kaffarah on him.

15. A person vomitted unintentionally. The fast will not break irrespective of the amount. However, if he vomitted intentionally, his fast will break if the vomit was a full-mouth. But if it is less than a mouth full, the fast will not break.

16. A small amount of vomit came out but it returned down the throat on its own. The fast will not break. However, if the person swallows it intentionally, his fast will break.

17. A person ate a pebble, a piece of steel or some other object which is not normally eaten nor is it consumed for medicinal purposes. His fast will break but there will be no kaffarah on him. And if he eats or drinks something that is normally consumed, or, it is not normally consumed but is used for medicinal purposes, his fast

will break and qada and kaffarah will be wajib on him.

18. When a person has sexual intercourse, the fast will break, qada will become wajib, and it will also be wajib to observe kaffarah. Once the head of the penis enters the vagina, the fast breaks and qada and kaffarah become wajib. This is irrespective of whether ejaculation takes place or not.

19. If the man inserts the head of his penis into the anus of the woman, even then, the fast of both the man and woman will break. Qada and kaffarah will also be wajib on them.

20. When a fast is broken, kaffarah only becomes wajib when the fast of Ramadaan is broken. Kaffarah does not become wajib by breaking any other fast irrespective of the manner in which the fast is broken. This applies even if the fast is a qada of a Ramadaan fast. However, if the intention was not made at night (i.e before dawn)

for such a fast, or, a woman gets her haid on that very day after breaking her fast; then by breaking the fast, kaffarah will not become wajib.

21. While fasting, a person took snuff, put some oil in his ears or took an enema without taking any medicine orally. The fast will break. However, only qada will be wajib and not kaffarah. If he puts water in his ears, the fast will not break.

22. While fasting, it is not permissible for a woman to insert any medicine, oil, etc. in her vagina. If she inserts any medicine into the vagina, the fast will break, qada will be wajib but not kaffarah.

23. Because of some reason, the doctor inserts his finger into the vagina, or, the woman inserts her own finger. Thereafter, he or she removes part of the finger or the entire finger and then re-inserts the finger. The fast will break but kaffarah will not be wajib. If the finger was not re-inserted, the fast will not break. However, if the

finger was wet or moist before inserting it the first time, and then it is inserted, the fast will break the first time it is inserted.

24. Blood comes out from the mouth. It is then swallowed together with saliva. The fast will break. However, if the quantity of blood is less than that of the saliva and its taste is not felt when it goes down the throat, the fast will not break.

25. If a person tastes something with his mouth and thereafter spits it out, the fast will not break. However, it is makruh to do so unnecessarily. But if one's husband is very hot-tempered and there is the fear that if the salt or water content in the gravy is not in order, he will become extremely angry, it will be permissible to taste

and will no longer be makruh.

26. It is makruh to soften any food with one's mouth and feed it to a child. However, if this becomes necessary and there is no alternative, it will not be makruh.

27. It is makruh to cleanse the teeth with coal or tooth-powder. If any of these things go down the throat, the fast will break. It is permissible to clean the teeth with a miswaak. This is irrespective of whether it is a dry miswaak or a fresh one. If the miswaak is obtained from the neem (margosa) tree and one perceives it's bitterness in the mouth, even then it will not be makruh to use such a miswaak.

28. A woman was sleeping or lying down unconscious. A person came and had sexual intercourse with her. Her fast will break, qada will become wajib but she does not have to give any kaffarah. As for the man, qada and kaffarah will be wajib on him.

29. A person ate something forgetfully and thought that since he has eaten, his fast is now broken. He therefore ate something intentionally. His fast will now break, qada will be wajib on him, but not kaffarah.

30. A person vomited involuntarily and thought that his fast is now broken. He therefore consumed some food. His fast will break, qada will be wajib, and not kaffarah.

31. A person applied surmah, underwent blood-letting or applied some oil and thereafter thought that his fast has broken because of any of these causes. He therefore ate some food intentionally. In this case, both qada and kaffarah will be wajib on him.

32. If a person's fast coincidentally breaks in the month of Ramadaan, he cannot eat or drink anything for the rest of the day. It is wajib on him to abstain from consuming anything for the rest of the day just like a normal fasting person.

33. A person had no intention of fasting on any day in the month of Ramadaan . He therefore continued eating and drinking the entire day. Kaffarah will not be wajib on such a person. Kaffarah only becomes wajib when one makes an intention to fast and thereafter breaks the fast.

Sehri and Iftaar

1. It is sunnah to make sehri. If a person is not hungry, he should at least eat a few dates or anything else no matter how little it may be. If he does not want to have anything at all, he should at least drink some water.

2. A person did not make sehri. He merely woke up and ate some betel-leaves. He will still receive the reward of sehri.

3. As far as is possible, sehri should be delayed. However, it should not be delayed to the extent that the time of dawn commences and one begins to have a doubt in one's fast.

4. A person made sehri very early but thereafter he continued having some betel-leaves, tobacco, tea, water, etc. until just before dawn. When there was a little time left, he gargled his mouth. He will still get the reward of delaying his sehri, and the same rule will apply as that which was mentioned with regard to delaying the sehri.

5. If one'e eyes did not open for sehri and all the members of the household fell asleep, they should fast despite not having made sehri. To leave out the fast on account of not making sehri is a sign of lack of dedication and also a major sin.

6. As long as it is not dawn and the time of fajr salaat does not commence, the explanation of which has passed in the chapter on the times of salaat, it is permissible to continue with the sehri. Once this time expires, sehri is not permissible.

7. A person woke up a bit late and thought that there is some time left. On this assumption, he made sehri. Later he learnt that he had actually made sehri after dawn. His fast will not be valid. He should make qada but kaffarah will not be wajib. However, he should still abstain from eating or drinking anything and remain like any normal fasting person. In the same way, if a person thinks that the sun has set and opens his fast and thereafter the sun appears, his fast will break. He will have to make qada of this but there will be no kaffarah on him. After having learnt that the sun has not set as yet, he should abstain from consuming anything until sunset.

8. If a person gets delayed in waking up for sehri to such an extent that he is in doubt as to whether there is any time left or not, it will be makruh to consume anything. If he eats or drinks anything at such a time, he has committed an evil act and sinned. Later, if he learns that it was already the time of dawn, he will have to keep qada of that fast. But if he does not learn anything and remains in doubt, it will not be wajib to keep the qada fast. However, caution demands that he keep that qada fast.

9. When a person is sure that the sun has set, it is mustahab for him to open his fast immediately. It is makruh to delay in opening the fast.

10. One should delay in opening the fast on a cloudy day. When one is sure that the sun must have definitely set, then only should one open one’s fast and make iftaar. Do not depend on watches and clocks until and unless your heart is at ease because it is possible that the watch is incorrect. In fact, even if the adhaan is heard from somewhere and there is still a doubt as to whether the time is really up or not, even in such a case it is not permissible to open the fast.

11. It is preferable to open the fast with dates. If these are not available, any other sweet substance will suffice. And if even this is not available, open the fast with water. Some men and women open their fast with rough salt and regard this to be an act of reward. This is an incorrect belief.

12. As long as there is a doubt as to whether the sun has set or not, it is not permissible to make iftaar.

Kaffarah

1. The kaffarah for breaking the fast of Ramadaan is that the person must fast for two consecutive months. It is not permissible to keep a few fasts, stop fasting for a few days, and recommence fasting. If for some reason or the other, one or two fasts in-between are missed out, then the fast for two months will have to be restarted. However, the fasts that a woman misses due to her monthly haid, are forgiven. By not fasting on these days, no harm is caused to the kaffarah. However, once she is purified from her haid, she should immediately recommence with the fasting and complete the sixty days.

2. If a few fasts are missed because of nifaas, and the full sixty days could not be kept consecutively, the kaffarah will still not be correct. The fasts will have to be started all over again.

3. If a few fasts of kaffarah are missed due to some problem or sickness, even then the fasts will have to be re-started once the person is cured from that sickness.

4. If the month of Ramadaan comes in-between the kaffarah fasts, the kaffarah will not be valid.

5. If a person does not have the strength to keep the fasts, he should feed sixty poor persons twice a day with a full meal. They must be allowed to eat as much as possible.

6. If there are a few children included among these poor persons, this will not be permissible. One will have to feed additional poor persons in place of these children.

7. If there is bread made of wheat, it is permissible to feed it to them even if it is dry. If the bread is made of barley, millet, corn, etc. they should also be given some gravy with which they could eat the bread.

8. If the person does not feed them with any food, but instead he gives grain to sixty poor persons, this will also be permissible. He should give each poor person grain equal to the value of sadaqatul fitr (which is approximately one and a half to two kilos of wheat). Rules concerning sadaqatul fitr will Insha Allah be discussed in the chapter on zakaat.

9. It is also permissible to give money equal to the value of the grain.

10. If a person asks someone else to fulfil this kaffarah on his behalf by feeding sixty poor persons and the person fulfils his request or he gives the grain, the kaffarah will be fulfilled. But if the person gives the kaffarah without being asked to do so, it will not be valid.

11. If a person feeds one poor person for sixty days every morning and evening, or continues giving him grain for the next sixty days, or gives him money that equals the value of that grain, the kaffarah will be valid.

12. If the person did not feed the poor person for sixty consecutive days, but missed out a few days in between, there is no harm in this. This is also permissible (as long as he completes the sixty days).

13. If a person gives the poor person grain that will last him for sixty days at one time, the kaffarah will not be valid. Similarly, if he gives one poor person sixty times in one day, it will still be regarded as giving for one day only. He will then have to give to 59 additional poor persons. The same rule applies when giving money. That is, it is not permissible to give money to one poor person in one day as a compensation for more than one fast.

14. If he gives a poor person kaffarah that is less than the sadaqatul fitr, the kaffarah will not be valid.

15. If a person breaks a few fasts in the same Ramadaan, only one kaffarah will be wajib. But if two fasts are for the Ramadaans of two different years, he will have to give kaffarah for each fast.

Conditions which Permit the Breaking of the Fast

1. A person suddenly falls ill and fears that if the fast is not broken his life will be in danger or that his health will deteriorate. In such a case it will be permissible to break the fast. For example, a person experiences severe pains in the stomach and becomes extremely restless, or he was bitten by a snake. In such instances, it will be permissible to break the fast and take some medicine. Similarly, if a person feels extremely thirsty and fears for his life, it will be permissible to break the fast.

2. A pregnant woman encounters certain difficulty and thereby fears for her or her child's life. It will be permissible for her to break her fast.

3. On account of her being preoccupied in cooking, a woman feels extremely thirsty and she feels so restless that she fears for her life. It will be permissible to break the fast. But if she intentionally carried out such strenuous work which caused her to feel this way, she will be sinning.

Conditions which Permit one not to Fast

1. A person experiences a sickness which could be aggravated by fasting and he fears that if he had to fast, his sickness would worsen or that his recovery would be delayed or that he would die. In all these instances he should not fast. Once he recovers from his sickness, he must keep qada for the fasts which he missed. However, this concession cannot be obtained by mere thinking and the fast cannot be left out merely on this basis. Instead, when a pious Muslim doctor says that fasting would be detrimental to the sickness, only then will it be permissible to leave out a fast.

2. If the doctor is a kaafir or he is not religiously minded, his advice cannot be relied upon. One cannot leave out a fast merely on his advice.

3. If the doctor did not say anything, and the person has some past experience or noticed certain signs whereby his heart says that fasting will be detrimental to his health, he should not fast. But if he has no past experience, nor does he know anything about this sickness, then his mere thinking is not considered. If a person breaks his fast without consulting a pious doctor or without having any past experience, he will have to give kaffarah. And if he does not fast at all, he will be sinning.

4. A person recovered from his sickness but continued feeling weak and he feels that if he fasts, he will fall ill again. It will be permissible not to fast.

5. If a person is travelling, it is permissible for him not to fast. He must make qada of the missed fast whenever possible. "Travelling" in this context is the same as that mentioned in the chapter on offering salaat while travelling, i.e. one must have the intention of travelling approximately 77 kilometres or more.

6. If by travelling, a person will not experience any difficulties by fasting, e.g. he is travelling by train and feels that he will reach his destination by the evening or he has all the necessary items which will give him comfort during the course of the journey, in such a case it will be preferable to fast even though he is still regarded as

a musafir. But if he does not fast despite all these comforts, even then there will be no sin on him. However, he will be deprived of the virtue of fasting in the month of Ramadaan. If a person experiences difficulties because of fasting during the course of his journey, in such a case it will be better not to fast.

7. A person did not fast due to some sickness and passed away in that very sickness, or a traveller did not fast and passed away before he could reach his destination or before he could return home - in both cases they will be absolved from making qada and will not be taken to task for this on the day of judgement. This is because they did not get the opportunity to make qada of the fasts which they had left out.

8. A person left out 10 fasts on account of sickness. Thereafter his health returned to normal for 5 days and he passed away. However, he did not keep any of the missed fasts in these 5 days. He will therefore be accountable for not keeping qada for 5 days of missed fasts and will be absolved from the other 5 days. If the person returned to normal for 10 days but did not make qada of the 10 fasts which he had missed, he will be accountable for all 10 days. It is therefore necessary for the person to advise his near ones before he can pass away to pay fidyah on his behalf for all the fasts which he will be accountable for. This is if he has any money to be given as fidyah. The masa'il related to fidyah will be mentioned in a later chapter - Insha Allah.

9. Similarly, if a person misses a few fasts on account of travelling and passes away after reaching his house, he will only be accountable for the number of days that he was at his house. It is also necessary on this person to make a bequest that fidyah be paid on his behalf. If the number of fasts missed are more than the duration of his stay at home, there is no accountability for them (i.e. for the number of fasts which exceed the duration of his stay at home).

10. During the course of his journey, a person stopped over at a place with the intention of staying there for 15 days or more. It will not be permissible for him to miss out any fast because he is no more regarded as a musafir according to the Shariah. However, if he made the intention of stopping over for less than 15 days, it will be permissible for him not to fast.

11. A pregnant or a breast-feeding woman is permitted not to fast if she fears for the life of her child or her own life. She must make qada of the missed fasts at a later date. However, if her husband is wealthy and he can afford to pay a wet nurse to breast-feed his child, it will not be permissible for her to miss out any fast on account of breast-feeding. However, if the child is such that he refuses to drink the milk of anyone other than his mother's, it will be permissible for the woman not to fast on account of breast-feeding.

12. A wet nurse accepted the job of breast-feeding before Ramadaan. When Ramadaan commenced, she feared over the life of the child by her fasting. It will also be permissible for this wet nurse not to fast.

13. A woman experienced the monthly haid or gave birth and was therefore in a state of nifaas. As long as the state of haid or nifaas remains, it will not be permissible for such a woman to fast.

14. If a woman becomes pure from her haid or nifaas during the night, she should not leave out fasting the following day. Even if she did not have a bath at night, she should fast and have a bath in the morning. If a woman becomes pure after dawn, it will not be permissible for her to make the intention of fasting. In addition to this, it will not be permissible for her to eat or drink anything. She will have to spend her entire day like normal fasting persons.

15. Similarly, when a person accepts Islam during the day or reaches the age of puberty during the day, he should abstain from eating or drinking anything for the rest of the day. If such a person eats or drinks something during the day, qada fast will not be wajib on him.

16. A traveller had the intention of not fasting. However, he reached his house one hour before noon, or, one hour before noon he made the intention of staying over at a place for 15 days or more. In addition to this, he had not consumed any food or drink since dawn. Such a person should make the intention of fasting and fast for

the rest of the day.

Fidyah

1. The person who is extremely old and does not have the strength of fasting, and the person who is extremely ill and does not have any hope of recovering nor the strength to fast will have to give grain to a poor person equivalent to the amount stipulated for sadaqatul fitr in place of every fast that such people miss. Alternatively,

they could feed one poor person with two complete meals for each fast that they miss. In the Shariah this is known as fidyah. It is also permissible for such persons to give the value of the grain in cash.

2. It is also permissible to distribute this grain of fidyah among several poor persons.

3. If the old person happens to regain some of his strength, or the sick person recovers from his illness, they will have to keep qada for all the fasts which they had missed. As for the fidyah which they had paid, they will be rewarded separately for that.

4. A person had to keep qada of several fasts. At the time of death he made a bequest that fidyah be paid in place of all his missed fasts. This fidyah will have to be paid by his inheritors from his wealth. After paying for the deceased person's funeral arrangements, his debts, etc. if one third of his left over wealth will be sufficient

to pay the fidyah, then it will be wajib to pay this fidyah

5. If the person did not make a bequest but his inheritors paid the fidyah out of their own wealth, even then one should have the hope that this act will be accepted by Allah Ta'ala and that He will not make one accountable for the missed fasts. It should be borne in mind that it is not permissible for the inheritors to pay the fidyah from the deceased person's wealth if the latter did not make a bequest in that respect. Similarly, if the fidyah is more than one third of his wealth, then despite his making a bequest in this regard, it will not be permissible to utilise the balance of his money without the permission and consent of all the inheritors. If all the inheritors express their consent and happiness, it will be permissible to pay the fidyah in both cases. However, it should be remembered that the consent of immature inheritors is not considered in the Shariah. If the mature inheritors separate their inheritance and pay the fidyah from their share, it will be permissible to do so.

6. The same rules will apply if a person had several salaats which he had to make qada of and made a bequest that fidyah be paid for the salaats that he missed.

7. The fidyah that will have to be paid for each missed salaat will be the same as that paid for each missed fast. Fidyah will have to be paid for the five fard salaats plus the witr salaat; totalling six salaats a day. According to this calculation, approximately 12 kilos of grain will have to be paid.

8. A person had not paid his zakaat. By his making a bequest, the paying of this zakaat will become wajib on his inheritors. If the person did not make a bequest but his inheritors paid the zakaat on his behalf out of their own good will and happiness, even then the zakaat will not be fulfilled.

9. It is not permissible for the inheritors to offer qada salaats or keep qada fasts on behalf of the deceased. If they do so, the deceased will not be absolved of his accountability to Allah Ta'ala.

10. It is not permissible to miss out the fasts of Ramadaan without any valid reason. To do so is a major sin. A person should not be under the misconception that he will keep qada of the missed fast at a later date. It is mentioned in a Hadith that if a person misses a single fast of Ramadaan and thereafter fasts the entire year as a

compensation for that one missed fast, he will not receive the reward that he would have received for that one fast of Ramadaan.

11. If a person does not fast on a particular day, he should not eat or drink in the presence of others. Nor should he inform anyone that he is not fasting on that day. This is because to commit a sin and thereafter to expose it is also a sin. The person will get a double sin if he informs others that he is not fasting - one sin for not

fasting and another for informing others. It is wrong to think that when we cannot conceal anything from Allah Ta'ala, why should we conceal it from others? In fact, even the person who does not fast due to some valid excuse, should not inform others, nor should he eat or drink in their presence.

12. When a young boy or girl becomes capable of fasting, they should also be commanded to fast. When they reach the age of ten, they should be beaten and made to fast. If they cannot keep all the fasts, they should be made to keep as many as possible.

13. When an immature girl or boy keeps a fast and thereafter break it, they should not be made to keep qada of it. However, if they commence offering a salaat and thereafter break it, they should be made to repeat that salaat.

The Virtues of Fasting

1. Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: "The sleep of a fasting person is regarded as an act of ibaadah, his remaining silent is regarded as a tasbeeh, the reward for his good deeds is multiplied, his duas are accepted, and his sins are forgiven."

2. It is mentioned in a Hadith that fasting is a shield and a strong fortress in order to save oneself from hell. In other words, just as a person seeks refuge in a strong fortress or by means of a shield from an enemy, in the same way, one gets salvation from hell by fasting. By fasting, a person's power of committing sins gets weak,and his power to do good gets stronger. When a person fasts in the proper manner and implements all the etiquette of fasting, he will free himself of sins and gain salvation from hell.

3. It is mentioned in a Hadith that fasting is a shield as long as it is not destroyed by lies and backbiting. In other words, fasting works as a shield as explained above. But this is on the condition that the person abstains from sinning. If a person fasts and still speaks lies, backbites, and commits other sins, then although he

will be absolved of the fard of fasting, he will be committing a major sin. Furthermore, he will be deprived of the barakah of fasting.

4. It is mentioned in a Hadith that fasting is a shield. The person who awakens in the morning in a state of fasting should not commit any act of ignorance. If a person approaches him in an ignorant way, he should not reply him in the same ignorant manner nor should he address him disrespectfully. Instead, he should inform him that he is fasting. By him in whose control is the life of Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, the smell that emanates from the mouth of a fasting person is more beloved in the sight of Allah Ta'ala than the fragrance of musk. In other words, on the day of judgement, the smell that emanates from the mouth of a fasting person will be replaced with a fragrance even better than musk. This fragrance will emanate from the mouth of the fasting person and it will be most beloved in the sight of Allah Ta'ala. This foul smell that emanates from a fasting person in this world will actually be a source of attaining that fragrance in the hereafter.

5. It is mentioned in a Hadith that at the time of opening the fast, the person is permitted to make a dua whose acceptance is promised.

6. It is mentioned in a Hadith that Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam addressed two persons saying: "You should fast because fasting is a shield in order to save oneself from hell and in order to save oneself from the difficulties of time." In other words, one will be saved from hell and also from the difficulties and calamities of

this world.

7. It is mentioned in a Hadith that on the day of judgement, three persons will not have to give an account of the food that they ate, immaterial of what they ate as long as it is halaal. They are: the fasting person, the person who makes sehri, and the person who is stationed on the borders of the Islamic state safeguarding it from being invaded by the kuffaar. This is a great concession for these three persons that they have been absolved from giving an account of their eating. It should be borne in mind that despite this concession, one should not spend a lot of money and time in preparing very exquisite meals. Spending a lot of time in preparing delicacies turns one away from the remembrance of Allah Ta'ala and gives impetus to one's power of committin g sins. This should always be borne in mind. One should value the bounties that Allah Ta'ala has blessed one with. The best way of showing gratitude to Allah Ta'ala is that one should obey all His commands and orders.

8. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the person who feeds a fasting person at the time of opening fast will receive the same reward as that of the fasting person without there being any decrease in the reward of the fasting person. In other words, through the mercy and generosity of Allah Ta'ala, both of them will receive the same reward. This will apply even if the person feeds him with a very simple or insignificant meal. Even if he merely gives him some water to drink.

9. It is mentioned in a Hadith that Allah Ta'ala multiplies the rewards of His pious servants by ten times up to 700 times except for the reward of fasting. In other words, there is no limit for the reward of fasting. As regards fasting, Allah Ta'ala says: "It is for Me alone and I will give the reward for it." From this we can gauge how great the reward of fasting is that there is no limit to the rewards. In addition to this, Allah Ta'ala will give the reward for fasting Himself and will not delegate this task to the angels. Glory be to Allah Ta'ala for attaching such importance to this little effort on our part. However, it should be borne in mind that all these virtues and benefits of fasting will only come into effect when we fulfil this duty as it ought to be fulfilled, and only when we abstain from speaking lies, backbiting, and all other sins. In the month of Ramadaan, some people leave out their salaats completely while others miss out the fajr salaat. In doing so, they are depriving themselves of the numerous blessings and rewards of fasting. Furthermore, by reading this Hadith, one should not have this misconception that fasting is more virtuous than salaat because salaat is the most virtuous of all the different acts of ibaadah. The meaning of this Hadith is that there is a very great reward for fasting and it does not mean that fasting is the most virtuous act of ibaadah. The above-mentioned Hadith continues that there are two times of extreme happiness for the fasting person. The first time of happiness is when he opens his fast and the second time is on the day of judgement. That is, when he meets Allah Ta'ala, as mentioned in other Ahaadith.

10. It is mentioned in a Hadith that on the first night of Ramadaan the doors of heaven are opened. These doors remain open right till the end of Ramadaan. There is no Muslim who offers salaat in any of the nights of this month except that he receives 2500 rewards for every rakaat that he offers. In addition to this, Allah Ta'ala will construct a palace of rubies. This palace will have sixty doors. Each of these doors will have a golden chamber which will be decorated with rubies. When the person keeps the first fast of Ramadaan, all the minor sins that he had committed during the past year since the first fast of the last Ramadaan will be forgiven. In addition to this, 70 000 angels will make dua for his forgiveness daily from morning till sunset. For e very rakaat of salaat that he offers in Ramadaan, whether it be during the day or at night, he will be rewarded with a tree in paradise. The shade of this tree will be such that a traveller will be able to travel beneath it for a journey of 500 years.

How great is the virtue of fasting! O Muslims! Never allow yourself to miss any fast. In fact, if you have the strength, then keep nafl fasts as well. Show total love for Allah Ta'ala who is so merciful that He is rewarding us so abundantly in exchange for a little effort on our part. At least make Allah Ta'ala your beloved for your own benefit in that you will receive the abundant benefits of jannah.

11. It is mentioned in a Hadith that jannah is decorated from the beginning of the year till the end of the year especially for Ramadaan. In addition to this, the large-eyed Hoors of jannah decorate and beautify themselves from the beginning of the year till the end of the year especially for the fasting persons. When Ramadaan commences, jannah says to Allah Ta'ala: "O Allah! Enter your pious servants into me in this month." As for the large-eyed Hoors, they say: "O Allah! Appoint husbands for us from among your pious servants." The person who did not slander anyone in this month and did not consume any intoxicants shall have all his sins wiped out. As for the one who slanders someone or consumes any intoxicant, all his good deeds for the past year will be wiped out. In other words, he will be committing a major sin. It should be borne in mind that just as rewards are multiplied in a holy month, punishment is also increased if a sin is committed in a holy month. One should ponder over the warning in this Hadith. Fear the month of Ramadaan because it is the month of Allah Ta'ala. In this month, Allah Ta'ala has ordered His servants to emulate His practice by abstaining from food and drink. Since Allah Ta'ala is pure from food and drink all the time, this month of Ramadaan has been specially attached to Him. As for the other months, they all belong to Him as well. Allah Ta'ala has given you eleven months in which you can eat, drink, and indulge in other halaal pleasures. He has set aside just one month for Himself in which He has ordered you to abstain from food, drink, and other halaal pleasures. Therefore, fear the month of Ramadaan, for most certainly, it belongs to Allah Ta'ala. Obey Allah Ta'ala in this month and abstain from sins. Although obedience to Allah Ta'ala is necessary all the time, it's importance is stressed in particular places such as Makkah al-Mukarramah and Madinah al-Munawwarah; and at particular times such as in the month of Ramadaan. Special attention should be paid to abstaining from sins at such places and at such times because just as rewards are multiplied at these times and places, so too is punishment.

12. It is mentioned in a Hadith that when food is presented to you at the time of iftaar, then prior to opening your fast you should recite the following dua: Translation: "In the name of Allah. All praise is due to Allah. O Allah! I have fasted for Your pleasure, it is with Your sustenance that I am opening my fast, and I have placed complete trust in You. Glory be to You and praise be to You. Accept this fast from me for most surely You are All-Hearing, All-Knowing."

13. It is mentioned in a Hadith that when you open your fast, it is preferable to open it with dry dates because there is a lot of blessing in this. If you do not have dates, open your fast with water because water is a great purifier. In certain Ahadith it is also mentioned that the fast should be opened with milk.

14. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the person who keeps fast for 40 days solely for the pleasure of Allah Ta'ala shall have whatever dua he makes to Allah Ta'ala accepted. In other words, this person will become so beloved in the sight of Allah Ta'ala that whatever dua he makes will be accepted by Allah Ta'ala if He feels that it will be to the benefit of that person. The respected sufis, may Allah Ta'ala be pleased with them, have laid down a system of cutting off all relations with this world for forty days and engaging in the ibaadah of Allah Ta'ala in a musjid. In addition to this, the person must fast for these forty days while he is in the musjid. By doing this, the person will benefit tremendously and will also develop the strength to do good deeds. Through the barakah of this, he will receive special knowledge from Allah Ta'ala and he will also be blessed with a deep understanding of things.

15. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the person who fasts on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays of every sacred month, he will receive the reward of making ibaadah for 700 years. There are four months which are sacred. They are: Rajab, Zul Qa'dah, the first ten days of Zul Hijjah, and Muharram. However, it should be borne in mind that it is haraam to fast on the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th of Zul Hijjah.

16. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the person who keeps three fasts in the sacred months, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, he will receive the reward of making ibaadah for two years. That is, on the day of judgement it will be written in his book of deeds that he had made ibaadah for two years in return for these three days of fasting.
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