Ramadan, Ramadhaan, Fasting Islamweb
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RAMADAN 1440 > Fasting >

Prophetic Guidelines on Fasting - I

This is a short synopsis to describe how the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) performed fasting. It includes the relevant obligations, etiquette and supplications, the rulings of fasting, people's different attitudes to fasting, the nullifiers of fasting as well as other benefits. We ask Allah The Almighty to grant Muslims success to apply the Sunnah (tradition) of their Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) in all minor and major deeds.


Definition of fasting:
It is abstention from all the actions that nullify the fast starting from the break of dawn until sunset, with the sole intention of worshipping Allah The Almighty.


Fasting Ramadan:
Fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the great pillars of Islam. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Islam is built upon five pillars: Bearing witness that none is worthy of worship but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, perfecting the prayer, paying Zakah, fasting Ramadan and performing Hajj to Al-Bayt Al-Haraam." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

People's attitudes with regard to fasting:


  * Fasting is obligatory on every Muslim who is mature, sane, able and in residence.


  * Fasting is not obligatory for a non-Muslim and he is not required to make up for fasting when he reverts to Islam.


  * Before attaining the age of puberty, a young Muslim is not required to fast. Rather, he is recommended to fast in order to become accustomed to fasting.


  * When a person suffers from a curable disease and he cannot fast, he is allowed not to fast and then he must make up for the missed days after recovery. 


  * A person who is mentally unsound is neither required to fast nor should his relatives pay the compensation (by feeding a needy person for each day), even if he is mature. This applies to an insane person and one who is senile.


  * A person who is unable to fast due to a permanent reason, such as senility and incurable disease has to feed a needy person for each day.


  * Pregnant and suckling women are permitted not to fast, when fasting is difficult for them or when it is expected that their child may be harmed. Later, they are required to make up for the missed days, when fasting is easy for them and there is no danger of incurring harm.


  * A woman is not permitted to fast when she is experiencing a state of menstruation or post-partum bleeding. Later, she is required to make up for fasting. 


  * A person who is forced to break the fast in order to rescue someone from drowning or burning is allowed to do so and then he has to make up for the missed day's.


  * A traveler has the option either to fast or not, whether he travels due to an emergency or undertakes a journey for a reason, such as ‘Umrah for example, or he is in a state of permanent travel, like drivers when they are away from their own towns. Such people are permitted to break the fast and later to make up for the missed days.


The rulings of fasting:


1- Intention:


For the obligatory fasting, one has to make his intention before the break of dawn. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Whoever does not intend fasting before dawn, his fasting is invalid." [Abu Daawood]


In another Hadeeth, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Whoever does not intend fasting (of the next day) during the night, his fasting is invalid." [An-Nasaa’i]


Intention is made by the heart. Neither the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) nor the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, made the intention orally.


2- The time of fasting:


Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of dawn].} [Quran 2: 187]


There are two dawns:


  * The false dawn: It neither makes the Morning Prayer due nor prevents the fasting person from eating or drinking. It is the white light which appears vertically in the sky and it is followed by darkness. 


  * The true dawn: It makes the Morning Prayer due and prevents the fasting person from eating and drinking. It is the red light which appears horizontally on the tops of hills and mountains.


When the night comes from the east and departs from the west and the sun sets, one is permitted to break the fast. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "If night comes from this side (east), and day goes from that side (west) and the sun has gone, then break your fast." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]


This occurs immediately after sunset, even if the light is still there.


3- Suhoor (the pre-dawn meal):


The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "The difference between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is the (meal of) Suhoor." [Muslim]


The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) also said: "There is blessing in three: the Jamaa‘ah (the Muslim community), the Thareed (a broth of crumbled bread and meat) and the Suhoor." [At-Tabaraani: Saheeh]


The Suhoor meal is blessed and thus one should not abandon it. It also reflects compliance with the Sunnah of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and gives one the strength to fast. It is also a blessed meal, as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) called it saying: "Come to the blessed meal." [Abu Daawood]


The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) also said: "The Suhoor is a meal of blessing, so do not leave it, even if one of you just takes a gulp of water, since Allah sends mercy and His angels seek forgiveness for those who have Suhoor." [Ahmad: Hasan]


The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "How excellent are dates as the believer's Suhoor!" [Abu Daawood]


The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) used to delay the Suhoor meal until shortly before dawn.


4- What is forbidden for the fasting person:


  * Falsehood: The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Whoever does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then Allah The Almighty has no need [i.e. will not accept] that he should leave his food and drink." [Al-Bukhari]


  * Foul speech: "Fasting is not [abstaining] from eating and drinking only, but also from vain speech and foul language. If one of you is being cursed or annoyed, he should say, 'I am fasting, I am fasting.'" [Ibn Khuzaymah]


5- What is permissible for the fasting person:


  * Waking up while one is in a state of Janaabah (sexual impurity): ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, "The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was sometimes overtaken by dawn, while he would be in a state of Janaabah after having sexual intercourse with his wives; he would then perform Ghusl (ritual bath) and observe fasting." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]


  * Using the Siwaak (teeth-cleansing stick): It was narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Had it not been for the fact that I would put my Ummah (nation) to hardship, I would have commanded them to use the Siwaak whenever they perform ablution." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]


The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) did not differentiate between the one who is fasting and one who is not. This indicates that using the Siwaak is recommended for both the fasting person as well as the one who is not before every prayer, upon performing ablution and at any time before or after midday.


  * Rinsing one's mouth and sniffing water into the nose: The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) used to rinse his mouth and sniff water into his nose when he was fasting. However, the fasting person should avoid drawing water deeply inside. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Exaggerate when rinsing your nose unless you are fasting." [Abu Daawood]

 

  * Touching and kissing one's wife: ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, "The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) used to kiss (his wives) when he was fasting and touch (embrace) them, but he had more power to control his desires than anyone of you." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]


Unlike an old man, this is disliked for a young man. Indicating the reason, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "The old man can control himself." [Ahmad]


  * Undergoing blood tests and using injections containing no nourishment. This type of injection is not nutritious and does not reach the stomach.


  * Tooth extraction does not invalidate fasting.


  * Tasting food: This is permissible provided that it does not reach the throat. The same ruling is applicable to toothpaste. It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with them, said: "It is permissible to taste vinegar or any other thing as long as it does not go through the throat." [Al-Bukhari]


  * Applying kohl and eye drops and other things which enter the eye: These things do not invalidate fasting, whether the taste is there in the throat or not. In his Saheeh, Al-Bukhari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, "Anas, Al-Hasan and Ibraaheem allowed the fasting person to apply kohl."
To be continued …

Prophetic Guidelines on Fasting - II

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