The Fiqh of Fasting.

All praise is due to Allah and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon his Messenger his family and his followers. As to what proceeds:
Since Ramadan is approaching and may be tomorrow or Thursday I wanted to write some information about fasting during the month. However, I will not be writing about these issues in detail with the different evidences and differences of opinion. It is just some pointers so that we would get through our day in fasting.
As for the first issue, it is important to define what fasting is according to the scholars. And from this we will extract the other issues in fasting.
Fasting according to the Arabic language means to abstain.
And according to the terminology of the scholars it means:
“To abstain from anything that breaks the fast (Al Muftiraat) from the Dawn until Sunset (During Ramadan) with the intention of gaining closeness to Allah.”

From this definition we extract the Conditions of fasting, the pillars of fasting and we can also go into the Sunan of Fasting.
As for the conditions of fasting they refer to the following:
The one upon whom it is compulsory to fast and they are:
  1. Islam
  2. The one who is sane
  3. The one who has reached the age of puberty
  4. The one who has the ability to do so
As for Islam it excludes the Kaafir. And the actions of the Kaafir are not accepted.

As for the one who is sane this excludes the insane. And the fast of the insane is not correct.

As for puberty it is a condition for it being obligatory. However, if a child fasts below the age of puberty his fast is correct, and this was the way of the Salaf as narrated in Saheeh Al Bukhari.
As for the ability it excludes the following:
  • The one who is terminally ill. In this case he feeds a poor person for every day.
  • The woman who is mentruating or has post natal bleeding. In that case she is not to fast at all however she makes up the fast on other days. As in the Hadeeth of A’isha in Saheeh Al Bukhari.
  • The woman who is breastfeeding or pregnant. She has the choice of either fasting or not fasting. If she does not fast she makes it up on other days. And this is what some of the scholars have noted.
  • The one who is either sick or travelling. And they can either fast or make it up on other days.
Another condition is the time. And the time of fasting is during the Month of Ramadaan. Therefore it is not a condition to fast a specific month outside the month of Ramadaan.
Also the fasting should be from Dawn until Sunset. Therefore it is not compulsory to stop five or ten minutes before the break of dawn because of the statement of Allah:
“And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct from the black thread (of night).”

And in fact, making it compolsury to stop the Sahuur five or ten minutes before dawn is seen as an innovation as said by Shaikh Bassam (one of the students of Shaikh Sa’di and contemporaries of Shaikh Uthaimeen) in his book Tayseer Ul ‘Alaam.
From the conditions also is the intention. One must have the intention to fast before dawn of every day. As the Prophet said: “The one who does not intend by the night has no fast.”

However, as for making the intention aloud or making a specific intention verbally then this is not from the Sunnah of the Messenger and there is no Hadeeth to substantiate this. Rather the place of the intention is the heart. And his actions itself shows his intentions i.e if a person wakes up before dawn and eats the Sahuur and then stops at dawn it shows his intention to fast. And Allah knows best.
Additionally the fasting person must intend to stay away from all the things that break the fast and they are the following:
1. Eating on purpose
2. Drinking on purpose
3. Vomiting on purpose
4. Masturbating with semen coming out.

The first three if done unintentionally do not break the fast. However, if all are done intentionally a day must be made up for it.
5. Sexual intercourse
If this is done one has to either free a female slave (which we do not have), fast sixty days straight or feed 60 people and they have to make up the day in which they did the deed.
As for masturbation and sexual intercourse as Shaikh Al Albani said: “I cannot see how this can be done unintentionally.” And Allah knows best.
As for other than this then there are differences of opinion.
Pillars of Fasting:

Fasting has two pillars which is to stay away from any of the Muftiraat (that which breaks the fast) between dawn and sunset. And the second pillar is that the intention should remain during the period of fasting.
Sunan of Fasting:
1. The Sahuur (Sehri, pre-dawn meal)
2. Delaying it until the dawn
3. Hurrying the breaking of the fast (after the sun has set)
4. Breaking the fast upon half ripe dates (Rutab), if not dates (Tamr) if not water.
5. Spending one’s day in the worship of Allah from Du’a and reading the Qur’an.
Things hated while fasting:
1. Doing things that can leading to breaking the fast like kissing one’s wife (for the youth).
2. Backbiting and slandering.
3. Ignorant behaviour.
If someone is fasting his eyes, ears and his tongue should fast as Jaabir said.
The Prophet said: “Whoever stands with the Imam in faith and hope then the standing in the night will be written for him.”

Therefore in a Masjid where 8 is prayed one should pray 8. And in a Masjid where 20 is prayed one should pray the 20 as it is an issue of difference of opinion among the scholars and it is a Khilaaf Mu’tabar (a difference of opinion where both sides have strong evidences.) And the Manhaj of the Salaf in terms of this type of difference is not to seperate from each other.
We find that some of the Salaf believed that eating camel meat broke wuduu and some believed that it did not. However, this did not prevent them from praying behind each other.
And in this time Shaikh Al Albani who said that placing the hands on the chest after Rukuu’ is an innovation still placed his hands on his chest in the same instance when he used to pray behind the Shaikh Ibn Baaz .
Therefore, we should adopt the attitude of being open-hearted when it comes to fiqh issues where both sides have strong evidences and we should not adopt an antagonistic attitude to the one who adopts another view.
And Allah ta’ala knows best.
If I was correct then it was from Allah and if I said anything that was incorrect or needed addition it was from myself and the Shaitaan and I say to feel free to add any extra benefits in terms of the Fiqh in Ramadan.
As for the way I arranged it I benefitted from a book called Mudhakirah As Siyaam by Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab Al Wassabi Al ‘Abdali Al Yemeni.
And one thing to note is that we fast this month in order to gain the fear of Allah ta’ala and in order to gain piety. So I ask Allah to help us to make maximum use of this Ramadaan, to change our lives for the better and to help us to use the Ramadaan as a fuel for the rest of the year.
Ameen, Wa Subhanakallahuma Wa Bihamdik. Ashadu An Laa Ilaha Illa Anta Astaghfiruka Wa Atuubu Ilaik.

One thought on “The Fiqh of Fasting.

  1. Assalamu Alaikum
    Ramadan Mubarack.. May Allah bless you with maximum rewards for your tireless committment to educating and being available for Muslims.

    I pray that Allah (swt) would protect you in this month and in all times to come Insha Allah.

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