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Home Practices Fasting Fasting during the Holy month of Ramadan

Fasting during the Holy month of Ramadan

There are six duties during Ramadan

1. The sighting of the new moon.

It is sufficient if just one trustworthy person sees the new moon that indicates the start of Ramadan.
Riyadh-us-Saleehin vol II page 596 hadith no 1221

Hazrat Abu Hurairah says that the Holy Prophet said: “start fasting on seeing the new moon and stop fasting on observing the same. If you are unable to spot it due to the sky being cloudy then treat the month of Shaban as thirty days." (Sahih Muslim and Bukhari)

Supplication on sighting of the new moon

Hazrat Talha bin Ubaidullah (r.a.) says that on sighting a new moon the Holy prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) used to pray thus “’Alllahumma Ahillahu aina Bil Am’ne Wal Imane Was-Salamate Wal islam rabbiwa Rabbukal-Lah Hilal-o-rush’din Khairin" - “Oh Allah! Do let the appearance of this moon be a forerunner of peace, faith, safety and Islam for us. (Oh Moon) my and your Lord is Allah. May this be a moon of (right) guidance and virtue."
Riyadh-us-Saleehin Vol II page 599 hadith no 1228, Tirmizi

Every town has the responsibility to look for the new moon especially if there is a great distance between them as the moon may not be sighted on the same night in two different places.

Kuraib reported that Umm Fadi, daughter of Harith sent him (Fadl i.e.her son) to Mu’awiya in Syria: "I (Fadl) arrived in Syria and did the needful for her. It was there in Syria that the month of Ramadan commenced. I saw the new moon (of Ramadan) on Friday. I then came back to medina at the end of the month. Abdullah ibn Abbas (r.a.) asked me (about the new moon of Ramadan) and said: 'When did you see it?' I said: 'We saw it on the night of Friday.' He said: 'Did you see it yourself?' I said: 'Yes and the people also saw it and they observed fast and Mu’awiya also observed fast', whereupon he said: 'But we saw it on Saturday night. So we would continue to observe fast it until we have completed thirty (fasts) or we see (the new moon of Shawwal).' I said: 'Is the sighting of the new moon by Mu’awiya not valid for you?' He said: 'No this is how the Messenger of Allah S.A.W has commanded us.'"
Sahih Muslim Vol II page 529 hadith no 2391

2. The Niyyat or intention to fast Ramadan

The niyyah should be recited at night and once again in the morning before Fajr. The Niyyah for fasting expressed at night is:

Bi-Saum ghadin nawaitu min shahr-i-Ramadan.

I have the intention to observe fast tomorrow in the month of Ramadan.

The Niyyah in the morning:

Nawaitu bi-saum-il yaum amin shahri-i Ramadan.

I resolve to keep the fast today in the month of Ramadan.

Niyyah to fast the whole month:

Nawaitu Sauma Shahri Ramadhana Kullihi Hazihi's sanati lilahi ta'ala

I intend to fast the whole of Ramadan for the sake of Allah Almighty.

Muwatta by Imam Malik page 140 hadith no. 5

Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Abdullah ibn Umar used to say “Only one who makes the intention to fast before dawn (actually) fasts. Mishkat-Us-Masabih Vol III page 525 hadith 26

Hafsah reported that the Apostle of Allah said: "Whosoever does not intend to fast before daybreak, there is no fast for him“ Tirmizi Abu Daud

3. Not to willingly admit any form of fluid or food into the body while fasting (Including injections)

If however water accidently enters the stomach it does not break ones fast. Cupping does not break one’s fast but it is discouraged during fasting as it weakens the body. Riyadh-Us-Saleehin Vol II page 604 Hadith no. 1242

Hazrat Abu Hurairah (r.a.) says that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s) said: “When anyone of you eats or drinks accidently forgetting his fast, he should continue his fast till the end (because his eating and drinking by mistake means that Allah has fed him and given him drink).” Sahih Bukhari and Muslim

Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Abdullah ibn Umar used to be cupped while he was fasting. Nafi said: “He later stopped doing that, and would not be cupped when he was fasting till he had broken his fast." Muwatta of Imam Malik page 143

Sabet-al-Bonani reported that Anas-ibn Malik was asked: “Did you dislike cupping at the time of the Messenger of Allah?" He said: “No, except on account of weakness". Bukhari

Page 529 Hadith 40 Ibn Abbas (r.a.) reported that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) took cupping while he was in ihram and he took cupping while he was fasting.

4. To abstain from all sexual intercourse while fasting

Although intercourse through forgetfulness and mistaking the time of fasting will not break the fast, it is undesirable and should be replaced with another day's fast. (Everyday Fiqh Vol II page 810)
(Riyadh-us-Saleehin Vol II page 604 hadith no 1244)

Hazrat Ayesha (r.a.) relates that if the Holy prophet (s.a.w.s) reached dawn in a state where he had consorted with a wife, he would take bath and observe the fast as usual.
(Sahih Bukhari and Muslim).

Kissing and embracing one's spouse also does not break one’s fast provided that one can control one’s passions.
(Mishkat-us-Masabih Vol III page 528 hadith no 38)

Ayesha (r.a.) reported that the Messenger of Allah used to kiss and embrace while he was fasting and he had the greatest control among you over his passion.

5. To abstain from all deliberate sexual emission
, although wet dreams or the unintentional emission of semen do not break the fast. (Everyday Fiqh page 81)

Abu Sayeed reported that the Apostle of Allah said “There are three things that do not break the fast of a man: cupping, vomiting and emission of semen." (providing the vomit is a small amount ).
Mishkat-us-Masabih Voll III page 532 hadith no 52, Tirmizi, Darqutni and Baihaqi

6.To abstain from deliberate vomiting, although unintentional vomiting will not break one's fast.
Same reported that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s) said: “For whoever is attacked with vomiting while he is fasting there is no atonement and whoever vomits intentionally, let him atone.”
Mishkat-us-Masabih Vol III page 530 Hadith no 45, Tirmizi, Abu daud, ibn Majah.


Four types of Atonement for not fasting

  1. Qaza: A woman must pay back the same number of days she did not fast due to menstruation before the next Ramadan. These fasts however do not need to be consecutive.
    Miskat-us-Masabih Vol III Hadith no 66 page 537.
    Ayesha (r.a.) reported: "There were dues of fast of Ramadan upon me. I could not perform the qaza except in Sha’ban" Agreed
  2. Kaffara: atonement is not compulsory except in the case of deliberate sexual intercourse. The Kaffara is either setting free one slave for each day broken in this manner, or 2 months consecutive fasting or feeding sixty people for one meal.
    Al-Muwatta by Imam Malik Hadith no 28 page 143, Miskat –us-Masabih Vol III page 529 Hadith no 42
    Yahya related to me from Ibn Shuai from Hunayd Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Awf from Abu Hurairah that a man broke fast in Ramadan and the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s) ordered him to make Kaffara by freeing a slave, or fasting two consecutive months, or feeding sixty poor people and he said “I can’t do that". Someone brought a large basket of dates to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s) and said “Take this and give it as sadaqa.“ He said “Oh Messenger of Allah, there is no one more needy than I am. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) laughed until his eye-teeth appeared and then he said “eat them.” Agreed
  3. Ismak: if someone carelessly breaks fast by eating, drinking or sexual intercourse it is compulsory for them to continue the fast till the end of the day.
  4. Fidaya is paid by the ones who, because of illness or old age, cannot fulfil the duty of fasting for the whole or part of Ramadan. However if a sick person later on recovers his health he should also repay the missed days. A pregnant or breast-feeding woman who fears fasting may harm her child may also pay Fidaya however she must also perform Qaza fast to replace these days as soon as she can.
    For one missed fast the fidaya is appox one kilo and 110 grams of wheat per head or its equivalent in rice, etc or money.


The Sunnets of fast are six :

  1. To eat sehr (meal before starting to fast) later rather than earlier.

    Hazrat Ibn Umar (r.a.) relates that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s) had two Muezzins (callers for prayer). One was Hazrat Bilal (r.a.) and one was Hazrat Ibn Ume Maktum (r.a.) The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s) said: "Bilal (r.a.) calls the Azan (a bit earlier ) when it is still night. Therefore continue eating and drinking till Ibn Ume Maktum calls it." He said, there was in fact only a brief interval between the two, when one descended and the other ascended (the high platform)
    Riyadh-us-Saliheen page 600 hadith no 1231.

    Hazrat Amr bin Al-Aas (r.a.) says that the Holy prophet (s.a.w.s) said: "The only distinguishing factor between our fasting and that of the other people of the book is Sehr or Sahri (that is the Christians and Jews who do not eat pre-dawn meal)".
    Bukhari and Muslim Hadith no 1232

  2. Not to delay breaking fast (a few seconds before magrib) and to break your fast with water and dates.

    Sahl bin Sa’d (r.a.) related that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s) said: "The people (Muslims) will remain on the right path as long as they make haste in breaking fast (Immediately after the sun has set and the time to pray after breaking fast has arrived)."
    Riyadh-Us-Saleheen Vol II page 601 hadith no 1233

    Hazrat Abu Hurairah (r.a.) reports that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s) said: "Allah the Almighty and Master of Glory says 'Among My servants, I like most the one who hastens in breaking his fast.' "
    Bukhari and Muslim Hadith 1235

    Hazrat Sal’man bin Amir Zabai as Sahabi relates that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s) said “When someone breaks fast he should do so with a date. If he does not get it, then with water for it is pure and purifies others.”
    Tirmizi Hadith 1238 page 602, Abu Daud and Tirmizi.

    Prayer to be said when breaking fast:

    Allahumma Laka saum tu wabika amaantu wa ala rizqika aftartu ya arhama-r Rahmin

    O Lord! my fast if for You alone and to You is my beliefs and with Your provisions and blessings I break my fast O lord of Mercy, the most Merciful.

  3. Not to clean the teeth after midday however the use of miswak is permitted at any time of the day.

    Al-Muwatta by Imam Malik page 148 hadith no 58
    Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu’z-Zinad from al A’raj from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said “By the One in Whose Hand my self is, the smell of the breath of a man fasting is better with Allah than the scent of musk. He leaves his desires and food and drink for My Sake. Fasting is for Me and I reward it. Every good action is rewarded by ten times its kind up to seven hundred times except for fasting which is for Me and I reward it."

    Miskat-us-Masabih Vol III Page 531 hadith no 47
    A’mer-ibn-Rabiyah reported: "I saw the Messenger of Allah more often that I can count using a miswak (tooth stick) while he was fasting."
    Tirmizi Abu Daud

  4. To increase the amount of charity (sadaqa) given during the month of Ramadan.
    Riyadh-us-Saleheen Vol II page 597 Hadith 1222
    Hazrat Ibn Abbas (r.a.) said that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s) was the most generous person among all men, particularly during the month of Ramadan, he (s.a.w.s) used to be extraordinarily benevolent and generous when he met Gabriel. And during this month Angel Gabriel used to visit him every night and recite Holy Quran to him. At this time the normal generosity of the Holy prophet (s.a.w.s) used to be very much increased, faster then the rain-bearing wind.
    Sahih Bukhari and Muslim

  5. To increase your recitation of the Holy Quran.
    It is sunnah if you can complete the reading of the Whole Quran within this month especially.

  6. To observe I’tikaf (spiritual seclusion) in the mosque during the last ten days of Ramadan.
    During I’tikaf one is not allowed to leave the mosque except for valid reasons and one should spend one's time in prayer, dhikr and recitation of the holy Quran until the end of their I’takaf.

    Umm ul Mumineen Hazat Ayesha (r.a.) relates that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s) was regular in retiring to the mosque for prayers during the last ten days of Ramadan up to the last days of his life. After his (s.a.w.s) demise his wives continued the practice.
    Riyadh_us-Saleheen Vol II page 613 hadith no 1269

    Hazrat Abu Hurairah (r.a.) says that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s) retired to the mosque for ten days every year in the month of Ramadan but in the last year of his life he retired to the mosque for twenty days.
    Bukhari and Muslim Hadith 1270

People who are excused from fasting and who should pay back missing fast days a later date:

  1. Children below the age of maturity do not need to fast but should be encouraged to do so at the earliest age possible.

  2. Illness which would be worsened by fasting but the missing days must be paid back as soon as the person is well enough ((see fidayh).

  3. Pregnant or breast feeding woman (see notes on paying back fasts).

  4. Travellers on a long journey may choose whether to fast or not but they must replace the missing days.

    Yahya related to me from Malik from Hisham ibn Urwa from his father that Hamza in Amr al-Aslami once said to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.): “Messenger of Allah I am a man who fasts. Can I fast when travelling?“ The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said “If you want to you can fast and if you want you can break the fast.”
    Al-Mutawwa by Imam Malik Hadith 24 page 142

    Yahya related to me from Malik that Hisham ibn Urwa said: “My father Urwa used to travel in Ramadan and we would travel with him, and he would fast while we would break the fast and he would not tell us to fast.“
    However it is recommended that if you know that you will reach your destination that day you should fast
    Al-Mutawwa by Imam Malik Hadith 25 page 142

    Yahya related to me that Malik said that he had heard from Umar ibn Al-Khattab if he was travelling in Ramadan and knew that he would reach Medina at the beginning of the day, would do so fasting.
    Al-Mutawwa by Imam Malik Hadith 27

  5. the insane person until he has recovered his sanity.

Completing the fasts on behalf of the dead

The Holy prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s) told his sahabah that if one of their parents died while still owing some fasts to Allah Almighty then their heirs must perform these fasts on their behalf.

Ayesha (r.a.) reported that Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s) as saying: "If anyone dies in a state (that he had to complete) some fasts then his heir must fast on his behalf."
Sahih Muslim Vol II page 556 hadith no 2553

Ibn Abbas (r.a.) reported: "A woman came to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and said: 'My mother has died and fasts of a month are due from her.' Thereupon He said: 'Don’t you see that if debt was due from her would you not pay it?' She said: 'Yes (I would pay on her behalf).' Thereupon he said: 'The debt of Allah deserves its repayment more than (the payment of anyone else).' "
Sahih Muslim Vol II page 556 Hadith no 2554.

The Night of Power (lailatu l-Qadr)

The night of power is the night that Allah Almighty sent down the first revelation of the Holy Quran through the Ruh Quddus (Holy spirit) the Archangel Gabriel (a.s.) to His beloved prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s). This night is considered one of the most holy of all nights and one is highly encouraged to spend the whole night in prayer, dhikr, asking for forgiveness and reading the Holy Quran. In  the Holy Quran it says this night is better than a thousands months so who ever spends this night in worship will receive the equivalent reward of a 1000 months of worship.

Al-Quran Surah al-Qadr

1. Verily! We have sent it (this Quran) down in the night of Al-Qadr.
2. And what will make you know what the night of Degree is ?
3. The Night of Qadr is better than a thousand months.
4. Therein descend the angels and the Ruh (Gabriel) by Allah’s permission with all Decrees.
5. Peace! Until the appearance of the dawn.

This is also the night when Allah Almighty makes clear what will happen in the coming year and mercy and forgiveness is poured down upon mankind.

Al-Quran Surah ad-Dukhan verses 2-6:

2.By the manifest Book (this Quran) that make things clear
3.We sent it (this Quran) down on a blessed night (night of Qadr). Verily We are ever warning -
4.Therein(that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments.
5.Amran (ie command or this Quran or the Degree of every matter ) from Us.
6.(As) a mercy from your Lord. Verily He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) spent the whole of this special night in worship and when the sahabah asked the holy prophet (s.a.w.s.) when was the night of Power he told them to look for it the last ten days of Ramadan on the odd nights. He specifically mentioned the 27th but encouraged the sahabah to devote themselves to worship during all the nights of the last ten days.

Ayesha (r.a.) reported that the Apostle of Allah said: Search for the blessed night in an odd (Night) from the last ten (nights) of Ramadan.
Miskat-us-Masabih vol III page 553 hadith no 113, Bukhari.

Jirr-ibn-Hubaish reported: I asked Obay-ibn Ka’ab and said: Verily your brother Ibn Mas’ud says: Whoever stands up (in prayer) for the year will find the Blessed Night. He said: May Allah bless him. He intended that the people should not sit idle. Behold He knew that it is in Ramadan and that it is in the last ten days and that it is the 27th night. Then he took an oath without making exception that it is the 27th night. I enquired: O Abdul Munzir, for what reason do you say that? He said: On account of a sign or an indication which the prophet had communicated to us that the sun rises that day without its rays.”
Miskat-us-Masabih Vol III page 554 hadith no 117, Sahih Muslim.

Ayesha (r.a.) reported that the Messenger of Allah used to strive hard in the last ten nights besides which he was not accustomed to strive so hard.
Miskat-us-Masabih vol III page 555 hadith 118, Muslim.

Another reason why this night is hidden is because when the prophet was shown this night, two men, Abdullah ibn Abi Hudud and Ka’ba ibn Malik, started quarrelling and abusing each other; because of this the night was raised up and hidden. Our Lord Allah Almighty dislikes bad behaviour and especially quarrelling and abusing one another.

Obadah-ibn-Swa’met reported: ”the Prophet came out to inform us about the Blessed night .Two of the Muslims had a quarrel. So He said. I Have come to inform you about the Blessed night but so and so quarrelled and it was raised up. Perchance it is better for you. So seek it on the 9th ,7th and 5th night (of the last ten days)."
Miskat-ul-Masabih Vol III page 556 hadith no 124, Sahih Bukhari

Ziyad related to me from Malik from Humayd al-tawil that Anas ibn Malik said: that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) came out to us in Ramadan and said “I was shown a certain night in Ramadan and then two men abused each other and it was taken away. Look it on the 9th, and 7th and 5th.”
Al-Muwatta by Imam Malik page 154 hadith no 14.

Ziyadh related to me from Malik from Abdullah ibn Dinar from Abdullah ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said: "Search for Laylat-al Qadr in the last seven days".
Al-Muwatta by Imam Malik page 154 hadith no 12.

This Blessed night was given to the Holy prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s) as a gift from Allah (s.w.t.). The Holy prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s) was shown the life spans of his Ummah which were much shorter than the life spans of the previous ummahs and he wondered how his followers would ever be able to match their good deeds and acts of worship of those which such long lives . Therefore Allah bestowed upon the prophet and his Ummah Laylatul-al-Qadr whose one night is equal to 1000 months of worship.

Al-Muwatta by Imam Malik page 154 hadith no 16

Ziyad related to me from Malik that he had heard a man he trusted of the people of Knowledge say; ”the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) was shown the life spans of the people (who had gone) before him and or what Allah willed of that and it was as if the lives of the people of his community had become too short for them to be able to do as many good actions as others before them had be able to do with their long lives so Allah gave him Laylat-al-Qadr, which is better than a thousand months."



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