Fiqh of Siyam [Fasting]

[By Majlisul Ulama of South Africa]

INTRODUCTION

O People  of  Imaan!  Siyâm  (fasting)  has  been ordained for you  just  as  It  was  ordained for  those  before  you so that you attain taqwa!

”  [Qur’an]

Siyam  is  among  the  fundamental  acts  of  Ibadat. It  has  been ordained  by Allah Ta’ala  for  the  development  of  taqwa  (piety)  in the  Mu’mineen. Fasting  is extremely efficacious  for  the  acquisition of  taqwa. A  Muslim  cannot  acquire Divine  Proximity without  taqwa. Without  taqwa, the  Muslim  must  necessarily drift  far  off  the straight  Path (Siraatul  Mustaqeem)  which leads  to Allah Ta’ala  and everlasting  success  in the Aakhirah.

One  who denies  the  fardhiyat  (obligation)  of  Saum, no longer  remains  a  Muslim  and the  one  who does  not  fast  during  the  month of  Ramadan is  a  Fasiq (an immoral  and flagrant  transgressor)  of the  highest  order. Such a  Fasiq totally destroys  his  spirituality and morality and exposes  his  Imân to the  gravest  onslaughts  of  kufr.

There  are  numerous  benefits,  both spiritual  and  physical, of  fasting. The  prime  benefit  in the  pursuit of  taqwa  is  the  suppression of  the  inordinate  desires  and demands  of  nafs-e-ammarah (man’s  base carnal  propensity). The  nafs  is  perpetually in collusion with shaitan mardus the accursed. to spiritually  and morally ruin the  Mu’min. If  the  nafs  is  allowed unrestrained freedom, it  will  succeed to make  man  the  slave  of passion, lust  and  base  emotions. His  Imaan will  suffer. The  Noor  of  his  Imaan will  be  extinguished. It  is, therefore, essential  that  the  nafs  is  put  in fetters. Fasting  greatly aids  in this  direction.

By fasting, the  Muslim  learns  to restrain his  lowly desires. The  nafs  is  not  allowed free  expression. The  nafs  becomes  accustomed to submit  to the  Shariah’s  restrictions. Carnal  desires  are  weakened and the  ability of  inculcating  taqwa  is  created.

Fasting  produces  purity in the  rooh (soul). For  such  purity to come  into the  rooh, spiritual authorities  (the  Auliya)  say, there  is  nothing  that  has  greater  efficacy than fasting. While  fasting results  in even  physical  health, it  creates  a  feeling  of  palpable  spiritual  purity in  the  Mu’min. The Door  of  Roohaniyat  (the  spiritual  domain)  is  opened up  by fasting.

Fasting  creates  pleasure  in Ibadat. It  also makes  the  heart  more  conducive  for  Ibadat. The  bond with Allah Ta’ala  is  strengthened and the  Mu’min acquires  a  greater  awareness  of  his  spiritual  and moral  goals  for  which he  has  been created.

By fasting, the  Mu’min  progressively draws  nearer  to Allah Ta’ala.

Once  Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam)  supplicated: “O Rabbul  Alameen!  When does  the  servant  become  closest  to you?

The  Divine  Reply came: ‘When the  servant  is  hungry and when he  is  in Sajdah“.

The  development  of  lofty, angelic  attributes  are  engendered in the  Mu’min  by fasting. In fasting, man  brings  about  in him  a  resemblance  with the  angels  since  the  latter  do not  eat. They are  devoid of  evil  inclinations  and all  things  base. Man  by reducing  his  worldly relations  and  by increasingly stripping  his  nafs  of  emotional  desires, moves  closer  to the  angelic  domain. Thikrullah is  the nourishment  of  the  angels. By increasing  his  Thikrullah, especially in the  state  of  fasting, the Muslim  enters  the  realm  of  Divine  Proximity.

Fasting  engenders  a  feeling  for  the  poor. Mar.  becomes  more  conscious  of  his  less  fortunate brethren and their  hardships. He  thus  learns  the  lesson of  sacrificing  some  of  his  wealth to aid others  in need. He  inculcates  in him  feeling  for  humanity.

The  greatest  and highest  benefits  of  fasting  are  the  acquisition of  Allah’s  Pleasure  and lofty ranks  in the  Akhirah.

In a  Hadith-e-Qudsi, Allah Ta’ala  says: “Saum  is  for  Me. I  shall  (personally)  apportion out  the  reward for  it“.

For  the  acquisition of  the  numerous  benefits  of  Siyam, there  is, however, one  vital  condition, viz.: abstention from  sin and futility. Sin and futility negate  the  beneficial  effects  of  fasting. It  is therefore  essential  for  the Sa-im  (the  fasting  person)  to exercise  utmost  care  and abstain from  sin and all  things  of  futility. Should the  Sa-im  not  be  heedful  of  this  important  condition, his  mere abstention from  food and water  will  be  akin to a  chained animal  which is  denied food. Spiritually such abstention from  food and drink is  of  no value. The  Muslim  should therefore  understand well the  purpose  of  Saum  and transform  his  abstention from  food into a  higher  and spiritual  act  of Ibaadat  for  the  achievement  of  all  the  lofty  benefits  by abstaining  from  sin, futility and all  such things, acts, attitudes  and thoughts  which neutralize  and nullify the  efficacy of  Saum.

In addition to the  adoption of  the  moral  principles  for  gaining  the  spiritual  and moral  effects  of Saum, it  is  essential  to adopt  all  the  fiqh  juristic)  rules  necessary for  the  validity of  Saum. Without these  rules  the  Saum  is  rendered utterly worthless  and at  times  totally invalid. This article explains these  important  and necessary rules.

DEFINITION

Saum (fasting)  is  abstention’  from  eating, drinking  and sexual  intercourse  during  the  day whilst  having  made  niyyat  (intention)  of  Saum. The  fasting  day commences  with Subah Sadiq (Fajr  Thani)  and ends  at  sunset.

CATEGORIES OF  SAUM

There  are  two categories  of  Saum, viz.,

(1) Wajib  (2)  Nafl

(1)  WAJIB  CATEGORY

The  word ‘Wajib‘  here  means  ‘essential’  or  ‘necessary’. It  does  not  refer  to the  technical meaning  of  the  Fiqhi  term.

The  category of  Wajib  Saum includes  all  forms  of  compulsory fasts both Fardh and Wajib.

The  Wajib  category is  sub-divided into two classes  of  Saum, viz.

1. Saum related to time.

2. Saum which devolves  upon one  as  an obligation.

(a)  SAUM  RELATED  TO  TIME

This  type  of  Saum  comes  into effect  when the  occasion or  time  for  its  observance  arrives. This  type  of  Saum  comprises:

1.  The  Saum  of  Ramadan.

2.  The  Saum  of  Nathrul  Muayyan.

Nathrul  Muayyan refers  to a  vow  in which it  was  stipulated that  a  particular  day/s  will  be fasted upon materialization of one’s wish or dua.

NIYYAT FOR THIS  FIRST WAJIB  CATEGORY

It  is  perferable  to make  the  Niyyat  for  this  Wajib  category of  Saum  during  the  night, i.e.  prior to the  entry of  Subah Sadiq when the  fast  starts.

If  the  Niyyat  was  not  made  during  the  night, the  Saum  will  be  valid if  the  Niyyat  is  made approximately one  hour  before  Zawwal. One  hour  before  Zawwal  is  an approximate  time taken as  a  precautionary measure. The  exact  time  limit  for  the  validity of  the  Niyyat  for Saum is  before  the  time  of  Nisfun-Nahar, i.e. mid-day in terms  of  the  Shariah.

Nisfun-Nahar  is  determined  by dividing  by two the  time  duration from  Subah Sadiq to sunset, and adding  the  result  to Subah Sadiq time. Example:

Subah Sadiq 5:30 a. m.

Sunset  5:35  p. m.

Time  duration from  Subah Sadiq to Sunset:

12 hrs. 5 mins  divided  by 2

=6 hrs. 2 mins.

Add this  result  to Subah Sadiq:

5:30 +  6:02 = 11.32 a.m. =  Nisfun  Nahar

If  Niyyat  is  made  for  the  Saum  before  11:32 a.m. (in this  example), the  Wajib-Saum  will  be
valid. It  is  not  essential  that  any  particular  Niyyat  formula  be  recited.  Niyyat  merely means  to intend that  one  will  be  fasting, or  is  fasting. The  Niyyat  could also  be  made  verbally in any language, e.g. one  may say:

‘O  Allah!  Tomorrow  I  shall  be  fasting  for  You’. Or  one  may recite  in Arabic  e.g.

Nawaitu  bi  saum-il  yauma  min shahar-i-Ramadan“.

I  intend to fast  for  this  day in the  month of  Ramadhan (for  the  sake  of  Allah only)“.

Remaining  without  food and drink the  whole  day will  not  render  such abstention a  Saum  if  no Niyyat  was  made.

During  the  month of  Ramadan only  Niyyat  of  the  existing  Ramadan Saum  will  be  valid. Even if  a  Niyyat  for  any other  Saum, is  made  during  Ramadan, then too only the  Saum, of the  existing  Ramadan will  be  discharged and not  the  Saum for  which  Niyyat  was  made.

(b)  SAUM  WHICH  DEVOLVES AS A OBLIGATION

This  is  the  second category of  Wajib  Saum  (stated earlier). Examples  of  Saum  in this category are:

(i)  Qadha  of  Ramadan

(ii)  Nathrul  Mutlaq which is  a  vow  made  to fast  any number  of  days  without  stipulating  any particular  day or  date  in the  vow.

1. Kaffarat.

2. Saum, of  Zihar

NIYYAT FOR THIS  SECOND CATEGORY OF  WAJIB  SAUM

This  type  of  fast  will  be  valid only if  niyyat  was  made  during  the  night, i.e.  before  Subah Sadiq.

If  niyyat  for  this  type  of  Saum  was  made  after  Subah Sadiq, then the  Wajib  Saum  of  this category, will  not  be  discharged, and the  Saum  thus  kept  will  be  a  Nafl  fast.

(2) NAFL CATEGORY

(1) All  classes  of  Nafl  Saum  are  valid with a  niyyat  made  prior  to  Nisfun-Nahar. It  is preferable  to make  the  Niyyat  at  night;  however, as  said, it  will  be  valid even if  not made  at  night. The  sunnat  fasts  also fall  in the  Nafl  category.

(2)  Thus, for  Saum  belonging  to the  first  category of  Wajib and for  Nafl  Saum, a niyyat  made  prior  to  Nisfun-Nahar  will  suffice.

(3)  Once  a  Nafl  Saum  has  been commenced, it  to Incumbent  to complete  It.

(4)  It  is  not  permissible  to nullify a  Nafl  fast  without  valid reason.

(5)  If  a  Nafl  fast  is  broken, it  is  obligatory to make  Qadha  of  it.

(6)  A  Mutlaq (i.e. without  any descriptive  condition)  niyyat  suffices  for  the  validity of  nafl Saum. Thus, the  Niyyat:  ‘I  shall  be  fasting,’  suffices.

(7)  A  niyyat  made  for  Nafl  Saum  during  the  night  may  be  cancelled  before  Subah Sadiq, and qadha  for  the  intended  Nafl  Saum  will  not  be  obligatory.

(8)  A  niyyat  made  for  Nafl  Saum  after  Subah Sadiq,  but  before  Nisfun-Nahar, makes  the  fast incumbent. If  the  fast  is  broken, qadha  becomes  obligatory.

(9)  It  is  permissible  to end a  Nafl  Saum  to honor  one’s  guests  by  participating  in meals  with them. The  Saum  thus  broken should  be  made  qadha.

(10)  When the  husband is  present, it  is  not  permissible  for  the  wife  to engage  in  Nafl  Saum without  his  consent. If  she  kept  a  Nafl  Saum  without  his  consent, it  will  be  permissible  for  her to  break it  if  he  instructs  her  to do so. She  has  to make  qadha  of  the  fast  whenever  her husband gives  her  the  permission to do so.

(11)  The  incidence  of  haidh (menses)  during  a  Nafl  fast  will  necessitate  qadha. If  during  the day when a  woman is  keeping  a  Nafl  fast  she  menstruates, the  Saum  will  be  broken. Qadha  of the  day is  necessary.

(12)  A  Qadha  fast  was  commenced. However, niyyat  for  the  Qadha  was  not  made  during  the night  as  is  required  by the  Shariah. The  niyyat  was  made  only after  Subah Sadiq. The  qadha  is not  valid. However, this  fast  will  be  a  Nafl  one. The  fast  should not  be  broken. If  it  is  broken qadha  will  have  to  be  made.

THE MASNOON SAUM

The  Masnoon (Sunnat)  fasts  are  all  classified in the  Nafl  category. The following  are  the  Sunnat  fasts  for  which the  Shariah  promises  great  thawab (reward):

(1)  The  10th of  Muharram  – the  Day of  Ashura. Along  with the  10th, either  the  9th or  the 11th should also  be  kept.

(2)  The  9th of  Zil-haj.

(3)  The  15th of  Sha’ban.

(4)  Six days  during  the  month of  Shawwal. These  six Saum  may  be  kept  consecutively (in succession)  or  spread over  the  month.

(5)  The  13th, 14th and 15th of  every Islamic  month.

(6)  Every Monday and Thursday.

(7)  The  first  nine  days  of  Dhil-hajj.

SAHRI

Sahri  is  the  act  of  arising  from  sleep  during  the  course  of  the  night  to  partake  of  some  food or drink in anticipation of  the  next  day’s  fasting.

1. Sahri  is  Sunnat  regardless  of  whether  one  feels  like  eating  anything  or  not. One  should rise and eat  even a  date  or  two or  merely take  a  gulp  of  water.

2. It  is  of  greater  merit  to delay Sahri. But  it  should not  be  delayed so much that  Subah Sadiq has  almost  set  in, causing  doubt  in the  validity of  the  fast.

3. It  is  not  permissible  to forgo a  fast  because  of  failure  to wake  up  during  the  night  for  Sahri.

4. It  is  not  permissible  to eat  after  the  expiry of  Sahri  time. Sahri  time  expires  with the commencement  of  Subah Sadiq.

5. Some  people  continue  eating  even while  the  Fajr  Athaan is  being  proclaimed. This  act breaks  the  fast  since  the  Athaan is  proclaimed after  expiry of  Sahri  time.

6. While  the  best  method of  observing  Sahri  is  in the  later  part  of  the  night, after  rising  from sleep, the  Sahri  will  be  valid if  for  some  reason one  remained awake  until  late  in the  night  and then  partook of  Sahri  before  going  to sleep.

7. Eating  by error  after  the  ending  of  Sahri  time  necessitates  QADHA  of  the  fast. If  one  ate under  the  mistaken Impression that  it  was  still  Sahri  time, the  fast  of  the  following  day will not  be  valid. However, it  is  Wajib  (compulsory)  to abstain from  all  acts  which  break Saum and to remain like  a  Sa-im  (a  fasting  person). Qadha  of  the  fast  will  have  to  be  made  after Ramadan.

8. A  doubt  in the  ending  of  Sahri  time  will  not  invalidate  the  fast  although it  is  Makrooh (a sinful  act)  to eat  when there  is  a  doubt  as  to the  existence  of  Sahri  time. But  qadha  will  not  be compulsory.  Nevertheless, in view  of  the  doubt, it  will  be  better  to make  qadha  of  such a  fast.

9. It  is  Mustahab  to delay Sahri  as  late  as  possible,  but  not  to the  Makrooh time, i.e. when one starts  doubting  the  validity of  Sahri  time.

10. Some  Ramadan time-tables  indicate  a  recommended time  for  the  cessation of  eating, etc. at  the  time  of  Sahri. It, is  not  obligatory to stop  eating  at  such recommended times. One is  allowed to eat  right  until  the  ending  of  Sahri  time  which coincides  with Subah Sadiq although it  is  best  to stop  a  couple  of  minutes  before  Subah Sadiq.

(11)  If  Sahri  was  missed due  to having  overslept, one  should not  forgo fasting. It  is  not permissible  to refrain from  Saum  because  of  having  missed Sahri.

SAUM IN ABORMAL TIME ZONES

In abnormal  time  zones  where  the  sun either  does  not  rise  or  set  for  months, the  times  of  the nearest  normal  region should  be  taken for  beginning  and ending  the  Saum.

IFTAR

(1)  It  is  Mustahab  to hasten with Iftar  (breaking  the  fast)  as  soon as  the  sun has  set.

(2)  Iftar  should  be  made  before  the  Maghrib  Salat.

(3)  The  Muath-thin should make  Iftar  before  proclaiming  the  Athan.

(4)  At  the  time  of  Iftar  it  is  Sunnat  to recite  the  following  dua:

Allahuma  inni  laka  sumtu wa  ‘ala  rizqika  aftartu…“.

O Allah!  for  thy sake  I  have  fasted and now  I  break the  fast  with the  food that  comes  from thee.”

(5)  Iftar  should  preferably  be  made  with dates. In the  absence  of  dates, water  is  best. Although this  is  best, it  is  permissible  to  break the  fast  with any lawful  food or  drink.

(6)  It  is  Makrooh to make  iftar  when in doubt  regarding  sunset. If  it  is  overcast, iftar  should be  delayed until  there  is  absolute  certainty that  the  sun has  set.

(7)  If  iftar  is  made  even a  minute  before  sunset, qadha  of  the  fast  is  incumbent.

(8)  It  is  Makrooh, to unnecessarily delay Iftar.

(9)  The  time  of  Iftar  is  very auspicious. Dua  is  readily accepted at  the  time  when the  fast  is about  to end.

THE SAUM OF RAMADAN

(1)  The  Saum  of  Ramadan is  Fardh. One  who denies  the  fardhiyat  (being  Fardh)  of  the Saum of  Ramadan  becomes  a  kaafir  while  one  who accepts  its  fardhiyat  but  neglects  its observance  is  described as  a  Fasiq.

(2)  The  Saum  of  Ramadan commences  when the  sighting  of  the  Ramadan hilal  (crescent moon)  has  been confirmed in accordance  with the  rules  of  the  Shariah. Niyyat  for  the  Saum. of  Ramadan should  be  renewed each day. A  single  niyyat  at  the beginning  of  Ramadan will  not  suffice  for  the  Saum  of  the  entire  month. Partaking  of  the Sahri  meal  will  be  an adequate  niyyat  for  the  validity of  the  Saum. While  it  is  better  to recite a  verbal  niyyat  as  well, the  mere  act  of  rising  from  sleep  to  participate  in Sahri  with the intention of  fasting  constitutes  the  actual  niyyat.

(3)  The  Saum  of  Ramadan  belongs  to the  first  class  of  Wajib  fasting. Therefore, the  niyyat  for  the  Ramadan fasting  will  be  valid until  Nisfun  Nahar. However, there  is  greater  merit  in making  the  niyyat  at  night, i.e.  before  Subah Sadiq.

(4)  A  mutlaq (i.e. without  any descriptive  condition)  niyyat  will  suffice  for  the  Saum. of Ramadan. Thus, it  is  not  incumbent  to say:  ‘I  am  fasting  the  Saum  of  Ramadhan or  Fardh Saum’. It  will  suffice  to intend that  one  is  just  fasting.

(5)  During  the  month of  Ramadan only the  Saum  of  the  prevalent  Ramadan can  be  kept. No other  Saum  is  valid in the  month of  Ramadan. Thus,  previous  Qadha  fasts, Kaffarah fasts,  Nafl  fasts  etc. are  not  discharged during  the  month of  Ramadan. Even if  the  niyyat  of other  Saum  is  made  during  Ramadan, such niyyat  will  not,  be  valid and only the  Saum  of  the existing  Ramadan will  be  discharged. By the  niyyat  not  being  valid here, means  that  in regard to other  fasts  the  niyyat  will  not  operate. In terms  of  the  Shariah this  niyyat, although made  for  other  Saum  will  operate  as  valid for  only the  Saum  of  the  existing  Ramadan.

(6)  If  one account  of  a  reason accepted as  valid  by the  Shariah, one  does  not  fast  during Ramadan, one  should not  eat in the  presence  of  others.

(7)  If  one’s  Saum  is  nullified  by error, e.g. water  slips  down the  throat  while  rinsing  the mouth, one  should remain the  whole  day as  a  fasting  person although qadha  is  incumbent. It will  be  sinful  to indulge  in eating  once  the  fast  is  erroneously  broken.

(8)  If  haidh  begins  during  the  course  of  the  fasting  day, the  fast  is  not  valid. It  is  not incumbent  to abstain from  eating  during  the  remaining  part  of  the  day. However, she  should not  eat  in the  presence  of  others.

(9)  A  woman whose  haidh ends  during  the  course  of  the  day (i.e. during  Ramadan)  should compulsorily abstain from  eating, etc. Her  fast  on the  particular  day her  haidh ended is  not valid, hence  she  has  to make  qadha  Inspite  of  having  to refrain from  eating  etc. on that  day.

(10)  A  fast  of  Ramadan  broken deliberately without  valid reason, after  having  made  the niyyat  for  fasting  during  the  night,  brings  about  the  penalty of  Kaffarah.

(11)  A  musafir  is  permitted to refrain from  Saum  although it  is  meritorious  for  him/her  to fast if  the  journey is  not  a  difficult  one. However, the  Shariah allows  a  musafir  to refrain from fasting  during  Ramadan even if  he/she  encounters  no difficulty on the  journey. The  musafir shall  make  qadha  of  all  Saum  omitted during  the  journey.

(12)  A  musafir  ceases  to  be  a  musafir  on returning  to his  hometown or  on forming  a  niyyat  of staying  fifteen days  or  more  at  any  place  along  the  journey. The  non-musafir  is  termed a muqeem. When a  musafir  becomes  a  muqeem, he  has  to compulsorily abstain from  eating, etc. If  he  becomes  a  muqeem  prior  to  Nisfun  Nahar , and he  has  yet  not committed any act  which nullifies  Saum, then his  niyyat  for  the  day’s  fast  will  be  valid. However, if  he  has  already eaten, etc.  prior  to  becoming  a  muqeem, then although his  fast will  now  not  be  valid, nevertheless, he  has  to compulsorily abstain from  eating, etc.  for  the rest  of  the  day. In addition he  has  to make  qadha  of  that  day.

(13)  A  muqeem  (one  who is  not  a  musafir)  who has  started fasting  and then goes  on a journey, should continue  with the  fast. It  is  not  permissible  for  this  person who has  become  a musafir  to  break the  fast.

(14)  A  musafir  who returns  home  (becomes  a  muqeem)  and dies  before  having  obtained a sufficient  number  of  days  to make  qadha  of  the  fasts  which he/she  missed while  on the journey, is  liable  for  the  qadha  of  only the  number  of  days  he/she  remained alive  and  capable of  fasting. Example:  The  musafir  did not  fast  for  20 days. On returning  home  he/she  died after  12 days,  but  did not  make  any qadha  Inspite  of  having  had the  opportunity to do  so, he/she  is, therefore, liable  for  only 12 days  of  qadha, not  for  20 days  which were  missed while  on the  journey. He/she  has  thus  to make  wasiyyat  (a  bequest)  for  the  payment  of Fidyah for  the  Saum  which could no longer  be  discharged. (This  rule  will  be  further  discussed below ).

(15)  The  same  rule, viz. 14. will  apply to a  sick  person who regained health after  Ramadan, but  did not  live  a  sufficient  number  of  days  to discharge  all  the  Saum  missed.

(16)  If  a  musafir  dies  along  the  journey or  the  sick  person dies  without  having  regained sufficient  health to fast, the  Saum  is  waived. They are  not  required to make  wasiyyat  for payment  of  Fidyah (Fidyah is  explained below ).

(17)  When a  pregnant  woman has  a  genuine  fear  for  either  her  own life  or  the  life  of  the  child she  is  bearing, it  will  be  permissible  for  her  to refrain from  Saum. She  will  have  to  make qadha  of  the  Saum  she  misses  as  a  result. Should she  break her  Saum  during  the  course  of  the day, i.e. after  having  started it, the  penalty of  kaffarah does  not  apply to her. She  is  liable  for only qadha. She  cannot  compensate  the  missed fasts  with Fidyah as  long  as  she  has  the  ability to fast. Qadha  is  necessary. Fear  in this  context  will  mean a  genuine  fear  supported  by either  previous  experience  or  by the  advice  of  a  pious  Muslim  physician. The  word of  a  kaafir  doctor  or  of  a  Muslim  fasiq doctor  is  not  valid grounds  for  her  to  break her  fast  nor  to abstain from  fasting.

(18)  If  a  mother  who  breast-feeds  her  baby genuinely fears  for  her  baby if  she  fasts  – that  the baby will  suffer  by her  milk drying  up  during  the  fast, then it  will  be  permissible  for  her  to refrain from  fasting. She  has  to make  qadha  of  the  missed fasts. She  too cannot  compensate the  omitted fasts  by means  of  Fidyah.

(19)  A  very old  person who is  truly unable  to fast, is  permitted to refrain from  Saum. He  has to offer  compensation  by means  of  paying  the  Fidyah.

(20)  When a  child (a  na-baligh-one  who has  not  attained the  age  of  puberty)  becomes  baligh during  the  course  of  the  day in Ramadan, he/she  has  to compulsorily refrain from  eating  the rest  of  that  day although there  is  no qadha  for  that  day.

(21)  When a  non-Muslim  embraces  Islam  during  the  course  of  the  day in Ramadan, he/she has  to refrain from  eating  the  rest  of  the  day although there  is  no qadha  for  that  day.

(22)  If  the  child mentioned in mas’alah 20 and the  Muslim  mentioned in mas’alah 21, eats during  that  particular  day, there  will  be  no kaffarah on them  although their  action of  eating  is sinful.

(23)  The  saum  of  a  person who  becomes  unconscious  after  having  commenced the  fast, remains  valid as  long  as  medicine  was  not  administered to him  via  his/her  mouth.

(24)  A  person who lapsed into unconsciousness  before  having  made  niyyat  for  Saum  during the  night  or  before  Nisfun-Nahar, shall  make  qadha  of  that  day, i.e. if  he/she  had no  intention of  fasting  that  day.

(25)  A  person lapsed into unconsciousness  before  commencement  of  Ramadan, and remained in this  state  the  entire  month. After  regaining  consciousness, qadha  of  the  whole month is  obligatory.

(26)  When a  person lapses  into unconsciousness  on the  first  night  of  Ramadan and remained in this  state  the  entire  month or  for  a  number  of  days, then qadha  of  the  first  day is  not obligatory. Qadha  of  all  the  subsequent  days- viz. the  days  after  the  day when unconsciousness  started, is  compulsory.

(27)  If  a  person  becomes  insane  prior  to Ramadan and the  insanity endures  until  after Ramadan, the  saum  of  the  whole  of  Ramadan is  waived even if  sanity is  regained.

(28)  An insane  person who regains  sanity during  Ramadan has  to make  qadha  of  the  fasts missed during  the  duration of  insanity.

(29)  If  a  non-Muslim  embraces  Islam  during  Ramadan and learns  of  the  obligation of  fasting only after  Ramadan, then qadha  is  not  compulsory on him.
(30)  When a  child reaches  the  age  of  seven years, he/she  should  be  ordered to observe  Saum. However, there  is  no qadha  if  the  child  breaks  the  fast. By the  age  of  ten, the  child  should  be compelled to keep  the  Ramadan fasts. This  is  the  normal  rule. Parents  should use  their discretion and introduce their children to Saum according to their health and strength.

NATHR SAUM

Nathr  is  a  vow  or  pledge  made  to Allah Ta’ala.  Nathr  Saum  is  a  pledge  to fast. A  person may make  a  vow  that  if  a  certain dua  or  wish is  granted, a  certain number  of  days  will  be  fasted. On the  materialization of  the  dua/wish, fulfillment  of  the  vow  becomes  Wajib  (compulsory).

Nathr  Saum is  of  two kinds:

(1)  Nathr  Mu-ayyan and (2)  Nathr  Ghair-muayyan or  Nathr  Mutlaq.

Nathr  Muayyan is  a  vow  in which the  pledge  is  made  to fast  on specific  days, e.g. it  is pledged:  “O  Allah!  if  my dua  Is  fulfilled, I  shall  fast  next  Thursday, Friday and Saturday”. On fulfillment  of  the  dua, it  becomes  Wajib  to fast  on the  specific  days  mentioned in  the vow.

(2)  Nathr  Mu-ayyan belongs  to the  first  category of  Saum, viz. the  wajib  category.

(3)  Niyyat  for  Nathr  Muayyan will  be  valid until  Nisfun-Nahar.

1. Nathr  Ghair  Muayyin or  Nathr  Mutlaq is  a  vow  in which specific  days  are  not  set  aside for  Saum. The  number  of  days  to  be  fasted is  declared,  but  the  intention is  not  to fast on any  particular  days, e.g. a  person vows:

“O Allah!  if  a  certain dua  of-mine  is  fulfilled, I  shall  fast  three  days”.

Or  someone  merely assumes  the  liability of  fasting  a  number  of  days  without  conditioning  the fast  with fulfillment  of  a  dua, e.g. one  says:

“O Allah!  I  shall  fast  two days”.

(5)  The  saum  of  Nathr  Mutlaq may  be  kept  at  any time. One  is  not  required to keep  such Saum immediately although it  is  best  to discharge  the  obligation as  soon as  possible  since  no one  knows  when maut  (death)  will  overtake  one.

(6)  For  the  validity of  the Saum of Nathr  Mutlaq it  is  essential  to make  niyyat  before  Subah Sadiq. If  niyyat  for  this  type  of  fasting  is  made  after  Subah Sadiq, the  saum  of  the  Nathr  will not  be  discharged and the  fast  thus  kept  will  be  a  Nafl  one. The  fast  of  the  Nathr  will  have  to be  discharged on another  day with a  niyyat  made  before  Subah Sadiq.

(7)  When the  method of  executing  the  fasts  is  not  stipulated in the  vow, it  will  be  permissible to discharge  the  Saum  of  the  Nathr  in any way one  pleases, whether  consecutively or interspersingly. Example:  A  vow  is  made  to keep  10 fasts. When the  vow  was  made  one  did not  have  any intention of  keeping  the  fasts  one  after  the  other  (i.e. consecutively)  nor  of keeping  the  fasts  spread over  a  period (i.e. interspersingly). In this  case  one  has  the  choice  of executing  the  Saum  consecutively or  intersprsingly.

(8)  When the  intention is  to keep  the  Saum  of  the  Nathr  consecutively then it  will  be obligatory to do so.

(9)  When failing  to observe  the  consecutive  order  (as  mentioned in mas’alah 8), the  Saum  will have  to  be  kept  all  over  again, e.g. the  intention at  the  time  of  the  vow  was  to fast  three consecutive  days. However, after  fasting  two days, one  failed to observe  fast  on the  third day or  haidh started. The  Saum  will  have  to  be  started over  again.

(10)  If  on account  of  severe  weather  conditions, e.g. extreme  heat, one  is  unable  to execute the  Saum  of  Nathr  on its  specific  days, it  will  be  permissible  to  postpone  the  fasting  for  the winter  months. The  qadha  will  be  valid.

(11)  If  the  Nathr  of  Saum  is  attached to a  condition, the  fast  will  be  validly executed only after  the  coming  into effect  of  the  condition. Example:  “I  shall  fast  three  days  if  a  certain event  occurs”.  Now, if  one  fasts  before  the  event  transpires, the  Saum  of  the  Nathr  will  not be  discharged. After  occurrence  of  the  event, the  fasts  will  have  to  be  repeated.

(12)  Unfulfilled Saum  of  Nathr  must  be  compensated  by Fidyah, i.e. when death overtakes one, wasiyyat  to  pay Fidyah has  to  be  compulsorily made. Example:  A  man vows  to fast  one month. Before  being  able  to complete  the  month’s  fasting, he  is  overtaken  by severe  illness and he  loses  hope  in life. It  now  becomes  obligatory on him  to make  a  bequest  (wasiyyat)  to enable  his  heirs  to  pay the  Fidyah of  the  unfulfilled number  of  days  of  his  Nathr.

(13)  A  vow  of  fasting  made  during  the  state  of  illness  will  become  binding  only if  one  gains sufficient  health to fast. Thus, if  a  man during  his  illness  vows  to fast  for  a  number  of  days, but  dies  before  recovering  from  that  illness, he  is  under  no obligation to make  wasiyyat  for the  payment  of  Fidyah for  the  Saum  he  was  unable  to execute. Fidyah is  not  Wajib  on him. However, if  he  recovers  from  his  illness  for  even one  day, the  full  number  of  days  of  his  vow becomes  obligatory on him. If  he  thereafter  again lapses  into sickness  and loses  hope  in life, he  has  to make  wasiyyat  for  the  payment  of  Fidyah.

KAFFARAH OF RAMADAN

Kaffarah is  the  penalty which is  imposed  by the  Shariah for  the  deliberate  and flagrant nullification of  the  Saum  of  Ramadhan.

(1)  Kaffarah applies  to only the  Saum  of  Ramadan.

(2)  Kaffarah comes  into force  only if  the  niyyat  for  fasting  was  made  at  night, i.e.  before Subah Sadiq. Thus, if  niyyat  was  made  during  the  night  to fast  the  following  day, and  then the fast  is  broken without  valid reason, the  Kaffarah  penalty comes  into effect.

(3)  Kaffarah for  flagrantly  breaking  a  fast  of  Ramadan is  to fast  60 consecutive  days  – sixty days, one  after  the  other, without  missing  any day in  between.

(4)  Since  Kaffarah Saum  belongs  to the  second class  of  the  Wajib  category of  Saum, it  is  essential  to make  niyyat  for  this  type  of  fasting  from  the  night, i.e.  before  Subah Sadiq. If  the  niyyat  is  not  made  before  Subah Sadiq, the  Kaffarah will  not  be  valid.

(5)  The  kaffarah will  be  rendered invalid if  for  any reason-be  it  a  valid reason-even  a  single day is  omitted during  the  60 day Kaffarah course. Thus  if  a  person fasted for  59 days  and failed to fast  on the  sixtieth day due  to illness, he  will  have  to start  the  Kaffarah all  over again. The  only interruption which will  not  invalidate  the  kaffarah is  haidh (the  monthly menses  of  women).
(6)  A  Kaffarah interrupted  by the  intervention of  nifas  will  be  rendered invalid.

(7)  A  person who is  unable  to discharge  the  Kaffarah  because  of  ill-health or  very old age, will  have  to feed 60  poor  persons. Each miskeen (poor)  should  be  given two full  meals  for  the day or  the  amount  in cash which is  given as  Sadqah Fitr. This  amount  is  the  price  of approximately 2 kilograms  bread flour. Instead of  cash, flour  may also  be  given.

(8)  If  the  grain, food or  cash of  60  persons  is  given to one  man on a  single  day the  Kaffarah will  not  be  discharged. It  will  be  regarded as  an amount/quantity given to only one  person. If the  entire  Kaffarah amount/quantity is  distributed on a  single  day to only two  persons, the Kaffarah will  not  be  discharged thereby. Another  58  persons  will  have  to  be  given each the Sadqah Fitr amount.

(9)  The  Kaffarah option of  feeding  60 Masakeen (poor  persons)  may  be  discharged on a single  day  by feeding  60  persons  or  giving  the  cash or  grain to sixty  persons.

(10)  The  Kaffarah may also  be  spread over  a  period of  60 days. Daily, one  miskeen may  be fed or  given the  grain/cash until  60 days.

(11)  If  after  having  paid the  Kaffarah one  recovers  from  the  illness  and is  able  to execute  the 60 day fast, then fasting  60 days  becomes  obligatory. The  money, etc.  previously given to the poor  will  become  a  nafl  charity.

(12)  If  any miskeen among  the  sixty is  a  small  child, the  Kaffarah will  not  be  discharged. If small  children were  fed, an equal  number  of  adults  will  have  to  be  fed in lieu. However, if  the full  Sadqah Fitr  amount  was  given in cash to a  poor  child, the  Kaffarah will  be  fulfilled.

(13)  Where  the  Kaffarah option of  feeding  or  payment  is  valid, another  person may  pay  it  on the  instruction of  the  one  who is  liable  for  the  Kaffarah. Without  such instruction it  will  not be  valid.

(14)  Where  the  Kaffarah option of  feeding  or  payment  is  valid, an Interruption during  the course  of  feeding  or  paying  will  not  invalidate  the  Kaffarah. Thus, if  a  person who is  unable to fast  the  60 days, undertakes  to feed one  miskeen for  60 days,  but  does  not  feed the miskeen for  60 consecutive  days, the  Kaffarah will  be  valid. As  long  as  the  miskeen is  fed for 60 days, the  Kaffarah will  be  valid even if  the  60 days  are  spread over  a  long  period.

(15)  A  single  Ramadan makes  Wajib  only one  Kaffarah irrespective  of  the  number  of  fasts flagrantly  broken during  that  Ramadan.

(16)  If  fasts  were  flagrantly nullified in more  than one  Ramadan, the  number  of  kaffarah  will  be  equal  to the  number  of  Ramadhan. Thus, if  fasts  were  flagrantly  broken in three different  Ramadans, three  different  Kaffarah will  be  obligatory.

(17)  When the  Kaffarah is  commenced on the  1st  day of  the  Islamic  month, then fasting  two full  Islamic  months  will  suffice  for  the  Kaffarah even if  the  total  number  of  days  In  the  two months  are  58 days  (29 day months). If, however, the  Kaffarah is  started during  the  course  of  the  month, then it  will  be  necessary to fast  a  full  60 days.

THINGS WHICH BREAK THE FAST
(1)  Eating  or  drinking  breaks  the  Saum.

(2)  Sexual  intercourse  even if  there  is  no emergence  of  semen.
(3)  Smoking.

(4)  Inhaling  smoke  by one’s  own action, e.g. inhaling  the  smoke  of  incence, etc.

(5)  Application of  medication into the  anus.

(6)  Swallowing  any substance  or  object  which is  not  normally consumed as  food or  medicine, e.g.  pebbles,  paper, a  coin, etc.

(7)  Pouring  oil  into the  ears.

(8)  Saliva  mingled with  blood will  break the  fast  if  the  taste  of  blood is  discernable  when swallowing.

(9)  Eating  deliberately after  having  eaten mistakenly. (Eating  by mistake  does  not  break the fast).

(9)  Water  slipping  down the  throat  while  making  wudhu even if  not  done  deliberately

(10)  Deliberately inducing  oneself  to vomit  will  break the  fast  if  the  vomit  is  a  mouthful. If the  emergence  of  the  vomit  cannot  be  restrained, the  vomit  will  be  said to  be  a  mouthful. Vomiting  less  than a  mouthful  will  not  break the  fast  even if  deliberately induced.

(11)  A  food  particle  the  size  of  a  chana  (about  the  size  of  half  a  pea).  becoming  unstuck from the  teeth and slipping  down the  throat.

(12)  Applying  drops  of  medicine  into the  nostrils.

(13)  Masturbation. In addition to it  nullifying  the  Saum, it  is  an immoral  and a  sinful  act. The perpetrator  has  been cursed  by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi  Wasallam).

(14)  Medical  tests  undertaken  by Women in which any instrument, etc. is  internally inserted.

(15)  Ejaculation as  a  result  of  caressing  and fondling  the  wife  even if  there  was  no sexual intercourse.

THINGS WHICH DO NOT BREAK THE FAST

1)  Eating, drinking  or  indulging  in sexual  relations  forgetfully. This  means  that  at  the  time  of committing  these  acts, one  does  not  remember  the  fast. However, if  one  continues  even momentarily after  recalling  the  fast, the  Saum  will  be  nullified.

(2)  Applying  eye-drops.

(3)  Water  entering  the  ears.

(4)  Vomiting, no matter  how  much. This  refers  to vomiting  which is  not  self-induced. For  the rule  regarding  self-induced vomiting, (see  above  no. 10).

(5)  Smoke, which is  inhaled unintentionally, not  by one’s  volition or  conscious  action.

(6)  Applying  surmah into the  eyes.

(7)  Smelling  anything  fragrant  provided that  there  are  no vapours.

(8)  A  food  particle  less  than the  size  of  a  chana  becoming  unstuck from  the  teeth and  slipping down the  throat.

(9)  Swallowing  saliva  and slime.

(10)  Injection. The  injection of  medicine  into the  body will  not  break the  fast  provided that the  medicine  does  not  reach the  brain or  the  stomach.

(11)  Blood in the  saliva  will  not  break the  fast  if  the  blood is  less  than the  saliva. This  fact will  be  recognized if  the  taste  of  the  blood is  not  discerned.

(12)  Using  a  miswak to clean the  teeth even if  the  miswak is  fresh and has  a  taste.

(13)  Breast-feeding  the  baby.

(14)  If  during  wudhu water  slips  down the  throat  while  one  does  not  remember  the  saum, the fast  will  not  break.

(15)  Ejaculation of  semen during  sleep.

(16)  Ejaculation caused  by imagination.

(17)  Janabat  or  the  state  of  Hadath-e-Akbar  which is  purified  by ghusl. If  one  has  not  taken ghusI  and Sahri  time  ends, the  fast  is  valid.

THINGS WHICH DO NOT BREAK THE FAST, BUT WHICH  ARE MAKROOH DURING SAUM

Some  things, while  not  breaking  the  fast, are  nevertheless  Makrooh to do during  fasting. Makrooh means  detestable  and in this  context  Makrooh things  are  sinful. Makrooh things bring  about  a  decrease  in the  thawab  of  the  Saum. It  is, therefore, essential  to abstain from committing  Makrooh acts. The  following  acts  are  Makrooh during  fasting:

(1)  Tasting  food, etc. is  Makrooh if  done  unnecessarily. If  an ill-tempered husband shows  his  unjustified wrath when food has  not  been  prepared to satisfy his  taste, it  will  be permissible  for  the  wife  to taste  the  food while  she  is  preparing  it. As  long  as  nothing  goes down her  throat, her  fast  will  be  valid and her  act  of  tasting  will  not  be  makrooh.

(2)  Using  powder  or  paste  to clean the  teeth, If  anything  of  these  substances  slips  down the throat, the  Saum  Is  nullified.

(3)  Caressing, fondling  or  kissing  the  wife. If  ejaculation does  not  occur. the  Saum  will  be valid.

(4)  To rinse  the  mouth at  times  other  than when making  wudhu.

(5)  To  put  water  in the  nose  at  times  other  than when making  wudhu.

(6)  To take  ghusl  merely for  cooling.

(7)  To swim.

(8)  To unnecessarily apply ointment  to the  lips. If, however, due  to  pain caused  by cracked lips, ointment  is  applied care  should  be  taken to  prevent  licking  the  ointment.

(9)  To unnecessarily chew  something  to soften it, for  example.

(10)  To eat  when in doubt  as  regards  the  existence  of  Sahri  time. If  later  it  transpires  that Sahri  time  had in fact  expired, qadha  will  be  obligatory.

(11)  To make  Iftar  (i.e. to  break the  fast)  when in doubt  as  to the  time  of  sunset. If  it transpires  that  the  time  when Iftar  was  made  the  sun had not  yet  set, qadha  will  be  obligatory.

(12)  Participating  In un-Islamic  activities  such as  watching  television and  playing  games  such as  chess, draughts, monopoly, etc. The  thawab  of  the  Saum  is  destroyed  by indulgence  In such unlawful  activities.

(13)  Gheebat  or  back-biting.

(14)  To gargle  the  mouth when making  wudhu

QADHA SAUM

Qadha  means  to fulfill  or  to compensate  fasts  which were  not  executed when they were  due.

(1)  It  is  necessary to make  qadha  of  Saum  as  soon as  possible  since  one  does  not  know  when death will  overtake  one. While  it  is  not  Wajib  to make  the  qadha  immediately after Ramadan or  on any other  specific  day/s, qadha  should not  be  unnecessarily delayed.

(2)  Qadha  Saum  belongs  to the  second class  of  Wajib  fasting. For  the  validity of Qadha  Saum it  is  essential  to make  niyyat  during  the  night, i.e.  before  Subah Sadiq.

(3)  Saum  omitted on account  of  haidh and nifas  has  to  be  made  qadha.

(4)  It  is  not  necessary to specify in one’s  niyyat  for  qadha  the  particular  day/s  which were omitted. It  will  suffice  to merely intend that:  “I  am  keeping  qadha  fast”, However, if  the Saum missed  be  longs  to more  than one  Ramadan, then it  will  be  essential  to specify in one’s niyyat  for  qadha  the  year, e.g. “I  am  making  qadha  of  the  Saum  of  Ramadan of  the  year 1409″, etc.

(5)  It  is  not  obligatory to keep  the  qadha  Saum  all  at  once  (consecutively). The  qadha  Saum may  be  spread over  a  period or  they may  be  kept  consecutively.

(6)  Saum  which is  broken in any way whatsoever, deliberately or  erroneously, voluntarily or under  compulsion, has  to  be  made  qadha.

(7)  qadha  has  also to  be  made  of  Nafl  fasts  which were  broken.

(8)  Qadha  has  also to  be  made  of  Nathr  Muayyan fasts  (see  Nathr  no. 8 )  which were  not executed on their  specified days.

(9)  If  by the  time  death approaches, the  qadha  has  not  yet  been discharged, it  will  then  be obligatory to make  a  wasiyyat  (bequest)  for  payment  of  Fidyah.
(10)  Similarly, if  due  to old age  or  sickness  one  is  unable  to fast  and the  qadha  has  not  yet been executed, wasiyyat  to  pay Fidyah will  be  Wajib  (obligatory).

THINGS WHICH MAKE PERMISSIBLE THE BREAKING OF SAUM

Breaking  Saum  becomes  permissible  only in case  of  a  real  need, emergency or  danger. When a  fast  is  broken on account  of  a  valid reason qadha  of  the  fast  is  obligatory. In such cases only qadha  is  necessary, not  Kaffarah.

The  following  are  valid reasons  which make  permissible  the  breaking  of  Saum:

(1)  Sudden sickness  which endangers  one’s  life, or  which will  cause  great  deterioration of health if  the  fast  is  not  broken.

(2)  When it  becomes  necessary to take  medicine  due  to having  been  bitten  by a  poisonous animal.

(3)  Extreme  thirst, which endangers  one’s  life.

(4)  A  pregnant  woman having  genuine  fear  for  either  her  own safety or  the  safety of  the  child she  is  bearing, may  break the  fast.

(5)  A  woman fearing  for  the  life  of  the  baby she  is  breast-feeding  may  break the  fast. If  her milk dries  up  as  a  result  of  the  fast  and the  baby is  dependant  on  breast-feeding,  breaking  the Saum is  permissible.

(6)  A  Nafl  fast  may  be  broken to honour  one’s  guests. Qadha  of  the  fast  has  to  be  made.

FIDYAH AND WASIYYAT

Fidyah is  the  compensation which has  to  be  paid for  the  Saum  which has  not  been executed on account  of  permanent  disability, etc.

(1)  The  Fidyah amount  for  each compulsory fast  not  kept  is  the  same  as  Sadqah Fitr, viz. 2kg bread flour  or  its  cash equivalent  or  feeding  a  miskeen (poor  person)  two full  meals  for  a  day.

(2)  Unlike  Kaffarah, it  is  permissible  to distribute  the  Fidyah amount  among  several masakeen (poor  persons).

(3)  Fidyah (as  well  as  Kaffarah)  money/food can  be  given to only such Muslims  who are allowed to accept  Zakat.

(4)  If  by the  time  maut  (death)  approaches, one  has  not  yet  paid the  Fidyah, it  will  be  Wajib to make  a  wasiyyat  (bequest)  for  the  Fidyah to  be  paid.

(5)  A  person who is  allowed to  pay Fidyah for  undischarged Saum, on recovering  his  health after  having  paid the  Fidyah, is  obliged to fast  the  number  of  days  he  had missed. The  Fidyah thus  paid will  become  a  Nafl  charity.

WASIYYAT

Wasiyyat  is  a  bequest  which a  person has  to make  with regard to undischarged Saum.

(1)  If  by the  time  of  the  approach of  maut  (death)  a  person has  not  executed his  obligation of qadha  Saum  or  Fidyah, it  will  be  Wajib  (obligatory)  on him/her  to make  a  wasiyyat, declaring that  Fidyah for  the  undischarged Saum  obligation  be  paid on his/her  behalf.

(2)  Once  the  mayyit  (deceased)  has  made  a  wasiyyat, it  will  be  wajib  on the  executors/heirs of  the  mayyit’s  estate  to  pay the  Fidyah from  the  estate  of  the  deceased, i.e. from  one  third of the  estate.

(3)  If  the  Fidyah amount  exceeds  one  third of  the  estate,  payment  of  the  excess  from  the mayyit’s  estate  is  not  permissible. However, if  all  the  adult  heirs  willingly consent  to the payment  of  the  full  Fidyah (i.e. including  the  excess), it  will  be  permissible. The  consent  of minors  is  not  valid, hence  the  excess  (i.e. more  than one  third the  value  of  the  estate)  cannot be  paid from  the  shares  of  the  minor  heirs.

THINGS WHICH PERMIT ABSTENTION FROM SAUM

The  following  things  permit  one  to refrain from  fasting:

(1)  Extreme  old age  which renders  a  person decrepit.

(2)  Sickness. If  there  is  danger  to life  or  if  the  fast  will  cause  the  sickness  to deteriorate, it will  be  permissible  to abstain from  Saum.

(3)  Pregnancy, if  the  health or  life  of  the  mother  or  child is  threatened.

(4)  Breast-feeding, if  the  baby is  dependent  thereon and if  the  Saum  causes  the  milk to dry out.

(5)  Journey. A  musafir  (one  who has  undertaken a  journey of  48 Islamic  miles  or  more)  is permitted to abstain from  fasting. Forty eight  Islamic  miles  equals  88 kilometres.

(6)  Haidh (menses). The  Saum  of  a  woman in the  state  of  haidh is  not  valid. She  has  to make qadha  after  Ramadan.

(7)  Nifas  (post-natal  blood). The  Saum  of  a  woman in the  state  of  nifas  is  not  valid.  She  has to make  qadha  after  having  attained tahaarath (purification – when nifas  ends).

THE DAYS WHEN IT IS  FORBIDDE TO FAST

There  are  five  days  during the  year  on  which  it  is  forbidden  to fast. These  five  days  are: The  two days  of  Eid and the  three  days  of  Tashreek viz. 11th, 12th and 13th Zil-Haj. (The  3 days  following  Eid-ul-Adhaa) Fasting  on these  days  is  not  valid.

YAUMUSH  SHAKK (THE DOUBTFUL DAY)

(1)  The  day after  the  29th of  Sha’ban is  termed Yaumush Shakk or  the  Doubtful  Day  because of  the  possibility of  that  day  being  the  30th Sha’baan or  the  1st  Ramadan.

(2)  It  is  Makrooh to fast  on Yaumush Shakk whether  it  is  a  Nafl, Qadha  or  Nathr  Saum.

(3)  If  one’s  usual  day of  Nafl  fasting  coincides  with Yaumush Shakk, it  will  then not  be Makrooh to fast  on that  day, e.g. it  is  one’s  usual  practice  to fast  on Mondays  and Thursdays. Should Yaumush Shakk coincide  with Monday or  Thursday and one  makes  the  firm  intention of  Nafl  fast, then it  will  not  be  Makrooh. Should it  be  confirmed later  that  the  day is  in fact the  first  day of  Ramadan, the  fast  thus  kept  will  be  regarded as  the  Fardh Saum  of Ramadan even though the  niyyat  was  for  Nafl.

(4)  It  is  Makrooh Tahrimi  (which is  a  forbidden and sinful  act)  to fast  on this  day (Yaumush Shakk)  with the  niyyat  of  Ramadan or  some  other  compulsory Saum  such as  Qadha  or Nathr.  Nevertheless, if  it  transpires  that  the  day is  in fact  the  first  day of  Ramadan, then this fast  will  be  regarded as  the  Saum  of  Ramadan.

(5)  It  will  be  afdhal  (best)  for  a  person whose  usual  day of  Nafl  Saum  coincides  with Yaumush Shakk to fast  on that  day (viz. Yaumush Shakk).

(6)  On the  Day of  Doubt  people  should abstain from  eating  until  Nisfun-Nahar (about  one hour  before  Zawwal). If  by this  time  news  confirming  the  sighting  of  the  moon is  received, they should make  the  niyyat  for  Ramadan Saum. If  by  Nisfun-Nahar  such confirmation is not  received, they should eat, for  then it  is  not  Ramadan.

MISCELLANEOUS MASA’IL,

(1)  Saumul-Wisal  is  Makrooh. Saumul  WisaI is  to fast  the  whole  year  including  the  forbidden days.

Saumul  Wisal  according  to another  authoritative  version also means  fasting  continuously day after  day – throughout  the  year  excepting  the  forbidden days.

(2)  The  best  method of  Nafl  fasting  is  to fast  every alternate  day. However, due  to the physical  weakness  of  most  people  in this  age, Auliya  advise  abstention from  abundance  of Nafl  Saum.

(3)  When fasting  on the  Day of  Ashura  (10th Muharram), it  is  Sunnat  to add another  day. Therefore, one  should fast  on either  the  9th and 10th or  the  10 th and 11th Muharram.

(4)  Saumus  Samt  is  Makrooh. Saumus  Samt  means  a  fast  in which abstention is  not  only from eating, drinking  and sexual  relations,  but  also from  speaking. Saumus  Samt literally means  a fast  of  silence.

(5)  If  the  husband himself  is  fasting, he  is  not  entitled to  prevent  his  wife  from  Nafl fasting. Thus, when he  is  fasting  she  does  not  require  his  consent  for  Nafl  fasting.

(6)  If  fasting  interferes  with the  diligence  of  a  worker, it  will  be  makrooh for  him  to engage  in Nafl  Saum  without  the  consent  of  his  employer.

(7)  When one  is  permitted to abstain from  a  Saum  during  Ramadan due  to a  valid reason, one  should not  eat  publicly.

(8)  If  it  is  seen that  an aged or  a  feeble  person eats  forgetfully during  Ramadan, it  is permissible  to refrain from  reminding  him  of  the  fast. However, if  he  is  strong  enough to complete  the  fast  without  difficulty, then it  will  be  incumbent  to remind him, of  the  Saum.

THE VIRTUES, SIGNIIFICANCE AD REWARDS OF SAUM

(1)  Rasulullah (Sallallahu AIayhi  Wasallam)  said: “He  who fasts  solely for  the  sake  of  Allah Ta’ala, his  previous  sins  are  all  forgiven“.

(2)  “The  odour  of  the  mouth of  a  Sa-im  (fasting  person)  is  sweeter  to Allah than the  fragrance of  musk“.

(3)  It  is  narrated in the  Hadith that  on the  Day of  Qiyamah, even  before  Reckoning  has  taken place, the  fasting  people  will  be  sumptuously fed under  the  shade  of  Allah’s  Arsh (Throne) while  others  will  be  still  embroiled in the  hardships  of  Reckoning.

(4)  Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi  Wasallam)  said: “The  sleep  of  a  Sa-im  is  ibadat  and his  silence  Is  Tasbeeh (recitation of  Subhanallah):  (the thawab  of  his  deeds  is  considerably increased:  his  dua  is  accepted and his  sins  are  forgiven“.

(5)  “Saum  is  a  shield and a  powerful  fort  to save  one  from  Jahannam.

(6)  According  to the  Hadith fasting  is  a  shield as  long  as  the  Sa-im  does  not  rupture  it  with lies  and  backbiting  (gheebat). Although the  fast  will  be  discharged, the  thawab  and efficacy of  the  Saum  are  destroyed  by the  commission of  sin.

(7)  Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi  Wasallam)  said:  that  the  Sa-im  has  been  promised  by  Allah Ta’ala  that  at  the  time  of  Iftar  (at  least)  one  of  his  duas  will  most  certainly  be  accepted.

(8)  The  person who gives  a  Sa-im  something  with which to  break his  fast, will  receive  the thawab  of  the  fast  while  nothing  will  be  reduced of  the  Sa-im’s  fast. This  thawab  will  apply even if  some  water  is  presented with which to  break fast. (Hadith).

(9)  On the  first  night  of  Ramadan the  Doors  of  Heaven are  opened up  and all  Doors  remain open until  the  end of  Ramadan. (Hadith).

(10)  Every raka’t  of  Salat  performed during  the  nights  of  Ramadan gains  for  the Sa-im  the thawab  of  one  and half  thousand good deeds. In addition special  mansions  will  be constructed in Jannat  for  this  person. (Hadith).

(11)  On the  first  night  of  Ramadan the  sins  committed since  the  previous  Ramadan until now  are  forgiven. (Hadith).

(12)  During  Ramadan, 70,000 Mala-ikah daily make  Dua  of  Maghfirah (forgiveness)  on behalf  of  the  Sa-im, from  the  time  of  Subah Sadiq until  sunset. (Hadith).

(13)  Whoever  engages  in gheebat  (back-biting)  or  consumes  liquor  during  the  month of Ramadan, Allah Ta’ala  will  erase  ‘  the  good deeds  which he  had rendered throughout  the year. (Hadith).

(14)  Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaylhi  Wasallam)  said: “Every good deed of  the  son of  Aadam  (alaihi  sallam)  is  increased (in reward)from  ten  times to seven hundred times  – and Allah Ta’ala  said:  ‘Except  Saum, for  verily, it  (Saum)  is  for  Me and I, Myself  will  reward it. The  Sa-im  abstains  from  desire  and food for  My sake.’  For  the Sa-im  there  are  two (occasions  of  pleasure  -pleasure  at  the  time  of  breaking  fast  and  pleasure at  the  time  of  meeting  his  Rabb“.

(15)  Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)  said: “Saum  and the  Qur’an will  intercede  on  behalf  of  the  servant  (of  Allah). Saum  will  say”  ‘My Rabb!  I  forbade  him  from  food and desires  during  the  day, therefore, accept  my intercession on his  behalf.’  The  Qur’an will  say:  I  forbade  him  from  sleep  at  night, therefore  accept  my intercession on his  behalf’. Thus, their  intercession will  be  accepted“.

THE SIGHTING OF THE MOON

(1)  The  Islamic  months,  being  lunar  months, commence  with the  sighting  (rooyat)  of  the crescent  moon (hilal). The  principle  is  the  sighting  of  the  hilaI, not  the  birth of  the  moon.

(2)  It  is  Wajib  (obligatory)  for  the  people  to search for  the  hilal  at  the  end of  the  29th day of Sha’ban, i.e. at  sunset.

(3)  if  the  hilal  is  not  sighted nor  is  reliable  news  of  the  sighting  of  another  place  received, the month of  Sha’ban should then  be  completed with 30 days. This  is  the  clear, straight  forward and simple  instruction of  Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi  Wasallam). If  this  instruction is adhered to, all  controversy usually associated with moon-sightings  nowadays, will  be eliminated.

There  are  many masa-il  (rules)  related to the  sighting  of  the  hilal  and its  confirmation. However, since  these  rules  are  necessary for  only those  in  positions  of  Islamic  leadership  (the Mufti, Imam, etc.), these  will  be  omitted from  this  book.

(4)  In the  present  time  people  indulge  in needless  controversy regarding  Ramadan and  Eid. In some  countries  such as  England, where  the  hilal  cannot  be  sighted at  the  end of  the  29th day due  to  perpetual  overcast  conditions, the  desire  is  almost  always  to ignore  the  simple  and clear  instruction of  Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi  Wasallam)  viz. if  the  hilal  is  not  sighted, the month should  be  completed with 30 days. The  attitude  adopted  by  people  of  such  places conveys  the  impression that  it  is  wrong  to follow  the  example  of  Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), hence  attempts  are  made  to obtain news  of  moon sightings  from  nearby or  even distant  countries. In the  process  of  receiving  and accepting  news  and information of  this  kind, irregularities  are  committed. Many a  time, the  news  is  not  regarded reliable  in Shar’i  terms.

The, inhabitants  of  such countries  will  render  themselves  a  favour  should they opt  for following  Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi  Wasallam)’s  advice  in matters  of  sightings  of  the  hilaI. It  does  not  matter  at  all  if  every Islamic  month is  a  thirty day month on account  of  the  hilal not  being  sighted at  the  end of  the  29th, day.

There  is  no need for  the  institution of  elaborate, expensive  and time-consuming  measures  for the  purposes  of  confirming  the  sighting  of  the  hilal. Simple  Islamic  practices  of  the  Sunnah are  inexpensive  and do not  give  rise  to controversy. The  Sunnah method is  simply to regard the  month as  a  30 day month if  the  hilal  is  not  sighted at  the  end of  the  29th day.

(5)  Another  act  of  deviation in regard to moon-sighting  is  the  introduction of  the  baseless principle  of  ‘Eid in conjunction with Makkah’. Some  deviated  people  have  of  recent  come  up with this  idea. However, in the  Shariah there  is  no such  principle  as  ‘Eid in conjunction with Makkah’. If  the  sighting  is  not  confirmed according  to Shar’i  rules, the  month will  not commence  regardless  of  the  month having  been started in Makkah Muazzamah. The  Shariah does  not  require  all  regions  of  the  world to follow  Makkah Muazzamah in regard to moon-sighting.

WAJIB  (COMPULSORY) SAUM

Besides  the  Saum  of  Ramadan, there  are  other  compulsory Saum  as  well. These  are  briefly discussed hereunder.

(1)  Saum  as  Kaffarah for  Qasam: When a  Qasam  (oath)  has  been violated, one  of  the  options  of  expiation is  to fast  three consecutive  days. On having  fasted three  days  – one  after  the  other  – one  is  absolved of  the sin of  having  violated the  oath.

(2)  Saum  as  Kaffarah for  killing: When a  person has  been accidentally killed, the  killer  has  to fast  sixty consecutive  days  in addition to the  Diyat  which he  has  to  pay to the  heirs  of  the  killed  person.

(3)  Saum  of  Zihar: When a  person utters  to his  wife. ‘You are  for  me  like  the  back of  my mother’  or  any other similar  statement, the  wife  becomes  unlawful  to her  husband until  he  has  executed the  Saum of  Zihar  which consists  of  fasting  sixty consecutive  days.

(4)  Saum  of  Hajj-e-Tamattu :When the  Mutamatti  is  not  by the  means  to sacrifice  his/her  Dam-e-Tamattu (the  animal which a  Mutamatti  has  to compulsorily sacrifice), ten fasts  become  obligatory in lieu. Three fasts  are  to  be  observed in Makkah Muazzamah, the  last  of  the  three  being  on the  Day of Arafah, and seven fasts  are  to  be  observed after  returning  home. It  is  not  obligatory  to keep these  fasts  in consecutive  order.

(5)  There  are  also some  other  obligatory fasts  which have  to  be  kept  as  penalties  for  certain violations  of  Ihram.

MASAIL PERTAINING TO SAUM

(1)  The  thawab  and spiritual  benefits  of  saum  are  eliminated  by commission of  sin during  the state  of  fasting.

(2)  Fasting  acts  as  a  protecting  shield for  the  Sa-im  (fasting  person)  as  long  as  he  does  not destroy his  Saum  with sin.

(3)  Among  the  sins  which destroy the  benefits  of  Saum, the  worst  is  Gheebat  (to speak  ill  of others  in their  absence), Gheebat  also  produces  physical  weakness  during  Saum. The  fast thus  becomes  very difficult  to observe.

(4)  Indulgence  in futile  acts, nonsensical  and idle  conversation are  also negatory of  the benefits  of  Saum.

(5)  While  it  is  necessary to remember  Allah Ta’ala  at  all  times, the  need for  Thikrullah is greater  during  the  fast, This  greatly improves  the  spirituality of  the  fasting  person  and is  very efficacious  in  bringing  one  closer  to Allah Ta’ala.

(6)  The  dua  of  the  fasting  person is  readily accepted  by Allah Ta’ala, especially his  dua  at  the time  of  iftar. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi  wasallam)  said:
Everything  has  a  gateway. The  gateway of  ibadat  is  fasting“.

Explaining  the  benefits  of  fasting, Imam  Ghazali  (rahmatullah alayh)  says:

Fasting  overpowers  shaitan, the  enemy of  Allah  because  the  base  of  all  carnal  desires  is  the stomach. By filling  the  stomach, lust  exhibits  its  actions. Shaitan,  by manipulating  these carnal  desires, targets  man as  his  prey. When the  Muslim  adopts  hunger  by fasting  and  the lustful  desires  weaken in consequence, shaitan is  beaten into defeat  and despondency“.

Ensure  (fiat  (The  food with which you make  iftar  is  halal  without  the  slightest  vestige  of doubt. Do not  eat  so much that  the  body feels  heavy. The  aim  of  the  fast  is  defeated in so doing

I’TIKAF

(1)  I’tikaf  means  to stay in the  Musjid with the  niyyat  of  I’tikaf  for  the  sake  of  Allah Ta’ala. The  purpose  of  such stay in the  Musjid is  ibadat  and to gain  proximity to Allah Ta’ala.

THE TYPES OF  I’TIKAF

There  are  three  types  of  I’tikaf

Wajib, Sunnatul  Muakkadah and  Nafl.

WAJIB I’TIKAF

An I’tikaf of Nathr and a Qadha I’tikaf are Wajib (compulsory) I’tikaf.

NATHR I’TIKAF

(1)  I’tikaf  of  Nathr  is  an I’tikaf  undertaken as  a  result  of  a  vow  made  to Allah Ta’ala.

(2)  The  validity of  Nathr  I’tikaf requires  the  verbal  expression of  the  Niyyat  or  intention. It  is, therefore, essential  to verbally say, for  example:

“I  am  undertaking  (or  making)  I’tikaf  for  Allah Ta’ala  for  three  days”,,

or  any other  similar  statement  in which it  is  declared that  I’tikaf  has  been undertaken or  is presently  being  undertaken. The  expression of  an intention should not  relate  to the  future, e.g. “It  is  my intention to  perform  I’tikaf“, etc.

For  the  purpose  of Nathr  I’tikaf  only a  niyyat  in the  mind/heart  is  not  sufficient.

(3)  Saum  (fasting)  is  a  condition for  the  validity of  Nathr  I’tikafNathr  I’tikaf  without  fasting is  not  valid even if  one  vows  to observe  I’tikaf  without  fasting.

(4)  There  are  two types  of  Nathr  I’tikaf:  Nathr  Muayyan and  Nathr  Ghair  Muayyan

Nathr Muayyan I’tikaf  is  an I’tikaf, the  observance  of  which, one  vowed to keep  on specific  days, e.g. on the  13th, 14th and 15th of  Muharram. If  one  failed to observe  the  I’tikaf  on the particular  days  stipulated in the  niyyat, the  I’tikaf  has  to  be  discharged at  another  time, i.e. qadha  will  have  to  be  made  of  the  I’tikaf.

Nathr  Ghair  Muayyan I’tikaf  is  an I’tikaf, the  observance  of  which is  not  pledged for  any specific  day/s. one  merely vows  to observe  I’tikaf  for  two days  (for  example). Such an I’tikaf may  be  executed at  any time  of  one’s  choice.

(5)  If  in the  niyyat  the  number  of  days  is  expressed in the  plural, e.g. ‘I  shall  observe  I’tikaf  of two days  (three  or  four  days  etc.), and no specific  meaning  was  given to the  word ‘days’, then the  word ‘day’  will  mean 24 hours. Thus, I’tikaf  of  the  days  as  well  as  the  nights  will  be obligatory.

When expressing  the  niyyat, if  the  intention is  to observe  I’tikaf  only during  the  day and not during  the  night, only the  days  will  become  wajib.

If  it  is  specified in the  niyyat  that  I’tikaf  of  only the  nights  will  be  observed, then such I’tikaf is  not  obligatory.

(6)  Similarly, if  in the  niyyat  the  term  ‘nights’  was  used, e.g. ‘I  have  made  obligatory on me  an I’tikaf  of  three  nights’., and  by the  term nights’  no  particular  meaning  was  intended nor specified, then I’tikaf  of  both the  night  and day will  be  Wajib.

(7)  If  the  vow  was  for  an I’tikaf  of  one  day only, then It  will  mean the  day commencing  from Subah-Sadiq until  sunset. However, if  the  Intention was  a  24 hour  period, then ‘one  day’  will mean from  one  sunset  to another  sunset, i.e. 24 hours  – night  and day.

(8)  If  the  Intention is  to observe  I’tikaf  of  only one  day (i.e. minus  the  night), one  should enter  the  Musjid  just  prior  to Subah-sadiq and leave  at  any time  after  sunset.

(9)  If  the  intention is  to observe  I’tikaf  for  24 hours  or  for  several  days  with nights  included, one  should enter  the  Musjid  before  sunset  and leave  at  any time  after  sunset  of  the  last  day of the  I’tikaf.

(10)  When  Nathr  (vow)  is  made  to observe  I’tikaf  for  several  days  (i.e. days  including  nights  24 hour  period), it  will  be  wajib  to execute  the  days  of  the  I’tikaf  consecutively – one  after  the other  without  interruption. However, if  at  the  time  of  the  niyyat  it  is  specified that  the  I’tikaf will  be  interspersed, then it  will  be  permissible  to spread the  number  of  days  of  the  Nathr I’tikaf  over  a  period. It  will  then not  be  Wajib  to observe  the  I’tikaf  in consecutive  order  of days.

(11)  In a  Nathr  I’tikaf  in which the  nights  have  not  been included in the  niyyat, it  will  be permissible  to intersperse  the  days  of  the  I’tikaf. Consecutive  order  in this  case  is  not  Wajib.

(12)  A  Nathr  Muayyan I’tikaf  (in which a  specific  month or  particular  days  have  been specified for  the  I’tikaf  may  be  executed even  before  the  specified  period.

(13)  If  it  is  expressed in the  vow  that  the  Nathr  I’tikaf  will  be  undertaken in Musjidul  Haram, it  will  be  permissible  to observe  it  in any Musjid.

(14)  Nathr  I’tikaf  may  be  discharged even with the  Saum  of  Ramadan. Thus, if  a  vow  was taken to observe  I’tikaf  during  Ramadan (i.e. other  than the  I’tikaf  of  the  last  10 days), then such I’tikaf  will  be  valid and the  fasting  of  Ramadan will  suffice  for  the  I’tikaf.

(15)  Nathr  I’tikaf  will  be  valid with any type  of  Wajib  fasting  even if  the  Saum  is  qadha  or Kaffarah fasting. Thus, if  one  is  keeping  Qadha  fasts, one  may observe  a  Nathr  I’tikaf on such days.

(16)  Nathr  I’tikaf  will  not  be  valid with  Nafl  fasting. Thus  if  one  intends  Nathr  I’tikaf after having  commenced a  Nafl  Saum, the  Nathr  I’tikaf will  not  be  valid.

(17)  The  minimum  period for  a  wajib  I’tikaf  is  one  day, i.e. from  Subah Sadiq to sunset.

QADHA OF I’TIKAF

(1)  Qadha  will  be  made  of  Nathr  and Masnoon I’tikaf. There  is  no qadha  for  Nafl  I’tikaf.

(2)  Qadha  of  Nathr  Muayyan I’tikaf will  be  made  if  the  I’tikaf  was  not  observed on its specific  days  or  if  it  was  rendered void while  observing  it.

(3)  Masnoon I’tikaf  (i.e. the  I’tikaf  of  the  last  ten days  of  Ramadan)  will  be  made  qadha  if  it was  rendered void after  having  commenced it. It  is  necessary to make  qadha  of  only the  day or  days  which were  rendered void. When making  qadha  of  the  I’tikaf, Saum  (fasting)  is obligatory. qadha  of  the  I’TIKAF  will  be  valid only if  fasting  is  also observed on the  day/s when the  qadha  is  being  made.

SUNNATUL MUAKKADAH I’TIKAF

I’tikaf  of  the  last  ten days  of  Ramadan is  the  only Masnoon I’tikaf. This  Masnoon I’tikaf  is Sunnatul  Muak-kadah alal  Kifayah. If  a  few  or  even  just  one  person observes  this  I’tikaf  in a particular  area/neighbourhood, the  duty will  be  discharged on  behalf  of  the  entire  community of  that  locality. On the  otherhand, if  no one  observes  this  I’tikaf, the  whole  community will be  guilty of  neglecting  a  Sunnatul  Muakkadah obligation. Such neglect  is  sinful.

(1)  The  Mu’takif  (the  one  who observes  I’tikaf  will  enter  the  Musjid  before  sunset  of  the  20th day of  Ramadan.

(2)  The  Mu’takif  will  remain in the  Musjid, until  the  sighting  of  the  Eid hilal  is  confirmed.

(3)  Niyyat  (making  intention)  is  a  necessary condition for  Masnoon I’tikaf as  well.

(4)  If  the  Masnoon I’tikaf  is  broken or  nullified, qadha  of  it  is  obligatory.

THE VENUE FOR I’TIKAF

(1)  For  men, I’tikaf  is  valid in only a  Musjid in which Athan and Iqamah are  proclaimed for the  five  daily Salat. In otherwords  it  has  to  be  a  Musjid in which the  five  daily Salat  are performed with Jama’t.

(2)  Females  can observe  I’tikaf  in a  place  in their  homes, set  aside  for  Salat  or  specially cordoned off  for  the  purpose  of  I’tikaf.

(3)  It  is  not  permissible  for  women to come  to the  Musjid to observe  I’tikaf  or  to  perform Salat  or  to listen to lectures.

(4)  The  Musjid here  refers  to the  Musjid  proper  and not  to the  annexures  or  adjacent buildings  erected for  the  needs  of  the  Musjid or  Musallees. The  Musjid  proper  is  that  section of  the  building  which was  intended  by the  Waqif  to  be  the Musjid. (Waqif  is  the  person or  organization who erected the  Musjid, and demarcated the  Musjid boundaries).

(5)  Most  Musajid have  a  section at  the  back, which in most  cases  is  under  the  same  roof,  but is  excluded from  the  Musjid  proper. Janazah Salat  and sometimes  a  second Jama’t  by late-comers  are  performed in this  section. Since  this  section of  the  building  is  excluded from the  Musjid  proper, it  is  not  permissible  for  the  Mu’takif  to venture  unnecessarily into that area. If  he  does, his  I’tikaf  will  be  rendered void.

(6)  The  Mu’takif  should ascertain from  the  Mutawallis  (trustees)  the  exact  boundaries  of  the Musjid.

(7)  The  wudhu Khanah, courtyard, store-rooms  and any other  adjacent  buildings  are  all excluded from  the  Musjid.

(8)  It  is  essential  that  the  Mu’takif  remains  inside  the  Musjid, or  inside  the  special  place  set aside  at  home  (for  women)  throughout  the  duration of  the  I’tikaf. Leaving  the  place  of  I’tikaf unnecessarily for  even a  minute  will  render  the  I’tikaf  null  and void.

VALID REASONS FOR LEAVING THE MUSJID AND WHICH  WILL NOT BREAK THE I’TIKAF

It  is  permissible  to leave  the  Musjid for  the  following  acts  of  need:

(1)  To answer  the  call  of  nature  – to go to the  toilet.

(2)  To  pass  wind.

(3)  To take  an obligatory  bath.

(4)  To make  wudhu.

(5)  Juma’h Salat, if  Juma’h Salat  is  not  performed in the  Musjid where  the  I’tikaf  is  being observed. In this  case  the  Mu’takif  should leave  the  Musjid at  such a  time  to enable  him  to reach the  other  Musjid in time  to  perform  his  Sunnat  Salat. He  should leave  immediately after having  completed the  six raka’ts  Sunnats  after  the  Fardh Salat. He  should not  delay for  Dua and Thikr.

(6)  To  proclaim  the  Athan, if  he  is  the  Muath-thin. This  is  permissible  for  even a  Mu’takif who is  not  the  permanent  Muath-thin.

(7)  To  bring  food if  there  is  no one  to tend to this  need of  his.

(8)  If  one  is  compelled to leave  the  Musjid either  because  of  danger  or  forceful  eviction, one may immediately  proceed to another  Musjid. to continue  with the  I’tikaf  an unnecessary delay in the  process  of  changing  Musjids  is  not  permissible  and will  break the  I’tikaf. When leaving  the  Musjid for  the  above  mentioned reasons, the  Mu’takif  must  return to the  Musjid immediately after  having  fulfilled the  need. An unnecessary delay of  even a  minute  will break the  l’tikaf.

THE MUFSIDAT OR THE  THINGS WHICH  INVALIDATE (BREAK) THE I’TIKAF

Only Wajib  and Masnoon I’tikaf are  rendered invalid.  Nafl  I’tikaf is  not  rendered void  by any act. It  is  merely ended  by engaging  in an act  which is  not  permitted for  the  Mu’takif.

Unnecessarily leaving  the  Musjid for  even a  minute  whether  intentionally, unintentionally or under  compulsion, will  invalidate  the  I’tikaf. All  acts  and reasons  besides  the  valid  reasons  will  be  regarded as  ‘unnecessary’  in the  context  of  I’tikaf. Thus, leaving  the Musjid due  to illness, although  permissible, will  invalidate  the  I’tikaf. To leave  the  Musjid for Jannazah Salat, visiting  the  sick or  for  an other  permissible  activity  besides  the  VALID REASONS, will  render  the  I’tikaf  null  and void.

The  I’tika-f  will  also  become  void (break –  be  invalid)  if  the  Mu’takifs  fast  breaks.

THE MUBAHAT OR THE THINGS WHICH  ARE PERMISSIBLE DURING I’TIKAF

During  I’tikaf, the  following  acts  are  mubah (permissible):

(1)  To eat  and drink.

(2)  To sleep.

(3)  Necessary conversation.

(4)  To change  clothes  and apply  perfume  and oil.

(5)  To cut  hair  and nails. These  should not  be  allowed to fall  in the  Musjid.

(6)  To walk inside  the  Musjid.

(7)  To sit  anywhere  inside  the  Musjid.

(8)  To tend to a  sick  person inside  the  Musjid.

(9)  If  necessary, to  buy and sell  goods  provided that  the  goods  are  not  brought  Into the Musjid nor  is  payment  made  inside  the  Musjid.

(10)  To teach Deeni  lessons.

(11)  To sew  clothing.

(12)  To study Deeni  books.

(13)  To get  married and to  perform  a  Nikah.

(14)  All  such acts  which are  lawful  and allowed in the  Musjid are  permissible  for  the Mu’takif.

THE MAKRUHAT OR THE THINGS WHICH  ARE DETESTABLE AD OT PERMISSIBLE  FOR THE  MU’TAKIF

The  Makruhat  during  I’tikaf  are  as  follows:

(1)  To maintain total  silence.

(2)  To Indulge  In idle  talk.

(3)  To sleep  excessively merely to wile  away the  time.

(4)  To unnecessarily  pass  wind inside  the  Musjid.

(5)  To sew  garments  or  engage  in any occupation for  a  fee.

(6)  To read  books  and magazines  which are  not  of  a  Deeni  nature.

(7)  To erect  the  mu’takaf  in a  way which inconveniences  the  Musallees. (Mu’takaf  is  the  area which is  enclosed for  the  sleeping  and eating  of  the  one  who observes  I’tikaf).

(8)  To engage  in any worldly activity unnecessarily.

WHAT TO DO  DURING I’TIKAF

The  Mu’takif  should engage  himself  in lbadat  to the  best  of  his  ability.  Nafl  Salat, Tilawat, Durood, Istighfar  and  permanent  Thikr  in general  should  be  the  Mu’takifs  occupations throughout  the  duration of  his  I’tikaf.

When the  Mu’takif  speaks, he  must  speak only what  is  virtue  or  what  is  necessary.

The  Mutakif  should not  do anything  which conflicts  with the  spirit  of  I’tikaf. He  should guard his  heart, mind, ears, eyes  and limbs  against  all  evil, thus  deriving  maximum  benefit  from  his seclusion in the  Musjid.

The  Mu’takif  is  the  guest  of  Allah. He  should, therefore,  be  careful  of  his  behaviour  in the House  of  Allah.

MASAAL (RULES)  PERTAINING TO  I’TIKAF

(1)  The  same  rules  which apply to a  man observing  I’tikaf  in the  Musjid, apply to a  woman observing  I’tikaf  in her  place  of  seclusion at  home.

(2)  When necessity, e.g. Juma’h Salat in another  Musjid, compels  the  Mu’takif  to leave  his Musjid, it  will  be  permissible  for  him  to enquire  about  a  sick  person or  generally engage  in good conversation without  departing  from  the  road. He  must  not  unnecessarily stop  on the road.

(3)  During  I’tikaf  it  is  not  permissible  to leave  the  Musjid for  even a  Sunnat  ghusl.

(4)  It  is  permissible  for  the  Muath-thin who is  in I’tikaf  to enter  the  minaret  for  the  Athan.

(5)  Whilst  standing  inside  the  Musjid it  is  permissible  for  the  Mu’takif  to  protrude  his  lie-ad out  of  the  window.

(6)  Emission of  semen, e.g. in a  wet  dream, does  not  invalidate  the  I’tikaf.

(7)  A  woman’s  I’tikaf  is  proper  if  she  has  the  consent  of  her  husband.

(8)  The  I’tikaf  of  a  child who understands  the  meaning  of  I’tikaf, is  valid. Buloogh (puberty)  is not  a  condition for  the  validity of  I’tikaf.

(9)  It  is  permissible  to sleep  on a  bed in the  Mu’takaf  (the  place  cordoned off  for  sleeping  and eating).

(10)  A  person who is  not  in I’tikaf  should not  join the  Mu’takif  for  iftar  or  eating  unless  he also makes  a  niyyat  for  I’tikaf. Such an I’tikaf  will  be  Nafl  and its  duration can  be  even for  a minute. The  person should make  niyyat  of  I’tikaf, then engage  in some  thikr  and Salat. Thereafter  he  may do as  he  pleases, e.g.  join the  Mu’takif  in eating.

(11)  The  Mu’takif  should remain at  all  times  with wudhu. If  his  wudhu  breaks, it  will  be permissible  for  him  to leave  the  Musjid for  the  purpose  of  wudhu, even if  it  is  not  yet  time  for Salat. After  making  wudhu, he  should  perform  at  least  two raka’ts  Tahiyyatal  -wudhu. Similarly, it  will  be  permissible  for  him  to leave  the  Musjid to make  wudhu at  night  to enable him  to sleep  with wudhu.

(12)  If  for  some  reason the  I’tikaf  of  Ramadan was  rendered void (broken), it  will  not  be necessary to leave  the  Musjid. The  remaining  days  may still  be  observed and qadha  of  the day/s  rendered void should  be  made.

THE THREE CLASSES  OF FASTING

In his  Kitaab, Tableeghud Deen, Imaam  Ghazali  (rahmatullah alayh)  says:

Fasting,.with regard to quality, are  of  three  kinds:

(1)  The  Saum  of  the  Awam  (general  public-the  masses). Their  fast  consists  of  only abstention from  the  physical  acts  which nullify the  fast. While  they abstain from  eating, etc., they involve  their  bodies  in sin. Such saum  is  merely fasting  in name. (Only the  Fardh obligation is  discharged thereby).

(2)  In addition to abstaining  from  food, etc., the  Sa-im  (fasting  person)  restrains  the  body from  acting  in violation of  the  Shariah. He  withholds  his  tongue  from  gheebat  and eyes from  casting  gazes  at  ghair  mahareem. This  is  the  middle  category of  fasting.

(3)  The  third category of  fasting  is  the  Saum  of  the  elite  servants  of  Allah Ta’ala, viz. the Muttaqeen. In addition to their  limbs  abstaining  from  transgression, their  hearts  and  minds arc  perpetually engrossed in thikrullah. At  all  times, in their  hearts  there  is  nothing  but  the remembrance  of  Allah Ta’ala. This  is  fasting  in the  state  of  kamal  (perfection)”.

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