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DECEMBER 2000

MONTHLY    *    Vol 14-12 No:168    *   DECEMBER 2000 / RAMADAN 1421H
  email: editor@islamicvoice.com

RAMADAN


Ramadan the month of Allah's Mercy
Health Tips for a Comfortable Ramadan
The Saum of Ramadan
Ramadan - The month of Fasting
What are the benefits of fasting?
The Significance and Rewards of Fasting
Who Should Fast?
What is Sahri?
What is Iftar
Niyyat
What Makes Fast Valid
Things which do not break the Fast
Things which Break the Fast
Makrooh during Saum
Kaffarah of Ramadan
Qadha Saum
Last Ten Days of Ramadan
Prescribed Works on Ed-ul-Fitr
Regulations Relating to 'Eid Prayer
Regulation Concerning the Eid Sermon
The days when it is forbidden to fast

Ramadan the month of Allah's Mercy

By Adil Salahi

RAMADAN is a great season for Muslims. Throughout the month, they feel very close to Allah. Only those who fast know from personal experience that to deprive oneself of the pleasure of eating and drinking when hungry, thirsty and tired on a long, hot summer day, does not make him bored or depressed. On the contrary, when he remembers that he is doing that solely to please Allah, he feels a sense of satisfaction which is very rare in human experience but it is also very real. He is particularly happy because he is able to overcome even the most pressing of human desires which is closely interwined with man’s sense of survival. When man can triumph over his strongest desires, he becomes well trained in the art of placing duty before self-interest. He gains the sort of freedom to which every human being should aspire. It is freedom from being enslaved by desire. Examples abound in the history of Islam of people who were so courageous that they stood out for the right they believed in the face of great personal danger to themselves and to their families. They come from all parts of the Muslim world. They belonged to different races, different traditions and different environments. They shared in common the fact that they had the same training to overcome through fasting and the pressures of self-interest. When we examine this 30-day course of training we find that it progresses in a very subtle and gradual way to the high level of its last ten days and reaches its pinnacle with the Night of Power. Fasting itself works on man and enhances his sense of duty. As he goes on from one day to another, the significance of this hard experience becomes clearer and clearer. Difficult as the task is, he is not bored with it. He is after its great prize. When he has been fasting a few days, he is on the lookout for anything which is certain to increase his reward from Allah. We have been recommended by the Prophet (Pbuh) to spend much of the nights of Ramadan in worship. People may be slow coming to act on this recommendation in the first few days. More of them do come every day to share in the blessings which are experienced by everyone who goes through his fasting days with patience and stands up in worship for parts of the nights of Ramadan. When two thirds of the month have gone by, a Muslim feels that he has been elevated very highly above his own standard 20 days earlier. For 20 days he has been in the company of sincere worshippers, and for 20 days he has been earning Allah’s pleasure which makes his life blessed, although he may not be physically aware of it. Those 20 days have prepared him for a higher task, following the Prophet (Pbuh)’s guidance.

Al-Bukhari relates a report by Aisha, the Prophet (Pbuh)’s wife, who states: “When the last 10 days (of Ramadan) arrived, the Prophet (Pbuh) used to tighten his dress, stay up the whole night and wake up his household.” This authentic Hadith stresses the fact that the last 10 days of Ramadan are singled out for special significance. Although we are recommended to spend a part of each night of Ramadan in prayer, which is known to all Muslims as taraweeh”, the Prophet (Pbuh)’s guidance suggests that we go into a stage of full mobilization, as it were, in the last 10 days of the month. The Prophet (Pbuh) used to do three things in those 10 days of Ramadan. The first is to tighten his dress. This is meant metaphorically. It signifies that the Prophet (Pbuh) did not have sexual intercourse with any of his wives in those 10 days.

This he did voluntarily. It is not forbidden to have sexual intercourse with one’s wife in any night of Ramadan. The permission stated in the Quran in this regard is very general and it applies to all the nights of the fasting month.

The Prophet (Pbuh)’s abstention from sex in the last 10 nights, however, was voluntary. When one is in a state of full mobilization, one goes without many things which normally give him pleasure. The abstention here is relevant to the nature of the days in question. When we aspire to a high standard of spirituality, the most physical of human desires, loses its place altogether.

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Health Tips for a Comfortable Ramadan

By Dr. Farouk Haffejee

DURING the holy month of Ramadan, our diet should not differ very much from our normal diet and should be as simple as possible. The diet should be such that we maintain our normal weight, neither losing nor gaining. However, if one is over-weight, Ramadan is an ideal time to normalise one’s weight.

In view of the long hours of fasting, we should consume slow digesting foods including fibre containing-foods rather than fast-digesting foods. Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours.

Slow-digesting foods are those that contain grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour, unpolished rice, etc. (called complex carbohydrates).

Fast-burning foods are those that contain sugar, white flour, etc. (called refined carbohydrates).

Fibre-containing foods are bran-containing foods, whole wheat, grains and seeds, vegetables like green beans, peas, sem (papry), marrow, mealies, spinach, and other herbs like methie, the leaves of beetroot (iron-rich), fruit with skin, dried fruit especially dried apricots, figs and prunes, almonds, etc.

The foods eaten should be well-balanced, containing foods from each food group, i.e. fruits, vegetables, meat/chicken/fish, bread/cereals and dairy products. Fried foods are unhealthy and should be limited. They cause indigestion, heart-burn, and weight problems.

Avoid

  • Fried and fatty foods.
  • Foods containing too much sugar.
  • Over-eating especially at sehri.
  • Too much tea at sehri. Tea makes you pass more urine taking with it valuable mineral salts that your body would need during the day.
  • Smoking cigarettes. If you cannot give up smoking, cut down gradually starting a few weeks before Ramadhan. Smoking is unhealthy and one should stop completely.

Eat

  • Complex carbohydrates at sehri so that the food lasts longer making you less hungry.
  • Haleem is an excellent source of protein and is a slow-burning food.
  • Dates are excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium.
  • Almonds are rich in protein and fibre with less fat.
  • Bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.

Drink

  • As much water or fruit juices as possible between iftar and bedtime so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time.

Constipation

Constipation can cause piles (haemorroids), fissures (painful cracks in anal canal) and indigestion with a bloated feeling.

Causes: Too much refined foods, too little water and not enough fibre in the diet.

Remedy: Avoid excessive refined foods, increase water intake, use bran in baking, brown flour when making roti.

Indigestion And Wind

Causes: Over-eating. Too much fried and fatty foods, spicy foods, and foods that produce wind e.g. eggs, cabbage, lentils, carbonated drinks like Cola also produce gas.

Remedy: Do not over-eat, drink fruit juices or better still drink water. Avoid fried foods, add ajmor to wind-producing foods.

Lethargy (‘low blood pressure’)

Excessive sweating, weakness, tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness, especially on getting up from sitting position, pale appearance and feeling faint are symptoms associated with “low blood pressure”. This tends to occur towards the afternoon.

Causes: Too little fluid intake, decreased salt intake.

Remedy: Keep cool, increase fluid and salt intake.

Causes: Low blood pressure should be confirmed by taking a blood pressure reading when symptoms are present.

Persons with high blood pressure may need their medication adjusted during Ramadan. They should consult their doctor.

Headache

Causes: Caffeine and tobacco-withdrawal, doing too much in one day, lack of sleep, hunger usually occur as the day goes by and worsens at the end of the day. When associated with “low blood pressure”, the headache can be quite severe and can also cause nausea before Iftar.

Remedy: Cut down caffeine and tobacco slowly starting a week or two before Ramadan. Herbal and caffeine-free teas may be substituted. Reorganise your schedule during the Ramadan so as to have adequate sleep.

Low Blood Sugar

Weakness, dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration, perspiring easily, feeling shaky (tremor), unable to perform physical activities, headache, palpitations are symptoms of low blood sugar.

Causes in non-diabetics: Having too much sugar i.e. refined carbohydrates especially at sehri. The body produces too much insulin causing the blood glucose to drop.

Remedy: Eat something at sehri and limit sugar-containing foods and drinks.

Causes: Diabetics may need to adjust their medication in Ramadan, consult your doctor.

Muscle Cramps

Causes: Inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium foods.

Remedy: Eat foods rich in the above minerals e.g. vegetables, fruit, dairy products, meat and dates.

Causes: Those on high blood pressure medication and with kidney stone problems should consult their doctor.

Peptic Ulcers, Heart Burn, Gastirtis And Hiatus Hernia

Increased acid levels in the empty stomach in Ramadhan aggravate the above conditions. It presents as a burning feeling in the stomach area under the ribs and can extend upto the throat. Spicy foods, coffee, and Cola drinks worsen these conditions.

Medications are available to control acid levels in the stomach. People with proven peptic ulcers and hiatus hernia should consult their doctor well before Ramadan.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones may occur in people who have less liquids to drink. Therefore, it is essential to drink extra liquids so as to prevent stone formation.

Joint Pains

Causes: During Ramadan, when extra namaz are performed the pressure on the knee joints increases. In the elderly and those with arthritis this may result in pain, stiffness, swelling and discomfort.

Remedy: Lose weight so that the knees do not have to carry any extra load. Exercise the lower limbs before Ramadan so that they can be prepared for the additional strain. Being physically fit allows greater fulfilment, thus enabling one to be able to perform namaz with ease.

(The author is a member of the Islamic Medical Association of South Africa, Durban)

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The Saum of Ramadan

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

  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 Shairah. 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 enitre 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 (see above). Therefore, the niyyat for the Ramadan fasting will be valid until Nisfun Nahar (see above). 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 fassting the Saum of Ramadan or Fardh Saum’. It will suffice to intend that one is just fasting.

  5. 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.

  6. 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. (see below for Kaffarah).

  7. A musafir is permitted to refrain from Saum although it is meritorius for him/her to fast, if the journey is not a difficult one. However, the shariah allows a Musafir to refrain from fasting during Ramadhan even if he/she encounters no difficulty on the journey. The Musafir shall make Qadha of all Saum omitted during the journey.

  8. A Musafir ceases to be a Musafir on returning to his hometown or on forming a Niyyat of staying 15 days or more at any place along the journey. The non-Musafir is termed as 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.

  9. If Haydh 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, one should not eat in the presence of others.

  10. A woman whose Haydh ends during the course of the day (i.e. during Ramadan) should compulsory abstain from eating, etc. Her fast on the particular day her haydh ended is not valid, hence she has to make Qadha inspite of having refrained from eating etc. on that day.

  11. 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 for 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.

  12. 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 for the omitted fasts by means of Fidyah.

  13. 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.

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

  15. If a non-muslim embraces Islam during Ramadhan and learns of the obligation of fasting only after Ramadan, then Qadha is not compulsory on him.

  16. 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 thier discretion and introduce their children to Saum according to their health and strength.

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Ramadan - The month of Fasting

ISLAM is one of the world’s major monotheistic religions, constituting over one billion adherents world-wide. One of the major characteristics of Islam, when compared to the doctrinal teachings of the other major religions, is the call that it makes to mankind to live a life of piety, discipline, sublime morality, justice, and peace, based on a strict set of rules laid out in the Holy Quran.

One of the major obligations of every Muslim is that he or she must fast during the holy month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the lunar calendar followed by the Muslims. For thirty days, Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sexual relations from shortly before sunrise to shortly after sunset. One who has fasted during this month shall be rewarded accordingly in the life hereafter, in Heaven, if he or she lives a good life according to the laws of Islam. One who takes this obligation lightly shall be condemned to eternal torment in the fires of Hell in the life after death.

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What are the benefits of fasting?

BY pledging to abstain from these three things, Muslims are, in effect, learning self-discipline. The word learning is used in this context, because life is a journey in which we learn and prepare ourselves for the life to come in the hereafter. They are becoming aware of their own true nature as spiritual beings, by being able to allow their minds to control them, and not their baser lusts and material desires.

After all, man, though he may biologically be like an animal, is much more elevated. He is set above the animals by his ability to think, reason, make decisions, and consciously express himself.

By fasting, he is able to realize that he is something more than just an animal, but that he is a conscious being with the will to choose between doing what is right and doing what is wrong.

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The Significance and Rewards of Fasting

  1. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi 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 thefragrance 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 back-biting (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 (reward) 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 Ramadhan the Doors of Heaven are opened up and all Doors remain open until the end of Ramadhan. (Hadith).

  10. Every raka’t of Salat performed during the nights of Ramadhan gains for the Saim the thawaab 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 Ramadhan the sins committed since the previous Ramadhan until now are forgiven. (Hadith).

  12. During Ramadhan, 70,000 Mala-ikah daily make Dua of Maghfirah (forgiveness) on behalf of the Saim, from the time of Subah Salat until sunset. (Hadith).

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

  14. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said “Every good deed of the son of Aadam 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 Saim abstains from desire and food for My sake.’ For the Saim 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 Quran will intercede on behalf of the servant (of Allah). Saum will say ‘My Rabb! I forbade him from sleep at night and desires during the day, therefore, accept my intercession on his behalf.’ The Quran will say: ‘I forbade him from sleep at night, therefore accept my intercession on his behalf.’ Thus, their intercession will be accepted”.

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Who Should Fast?

FASTING Ramadan compulsory for every Muslim male or female, who meets the following requirements:

  1. Is mentally and physically fit i.e., sane and able;

  2. Is of full age, the age of puberty and discretion, which is normally about 14. Children under this age should be encouraged to start practice by stages, so that when they reach the age of puberty they will be mentally and physically prepared to observe the fasting.
  3. Is present at their permanent settlement, hometown, farm, business premises etc. This means not to be travelling on a journey of about 50 miles or more;
  4. Is fairly certain that the fasting is unlikely to cause any harm, physical or mental other than the normal reactions to hunger, thirst etc.
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What is 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 when the Fajr Adhaan is being proclaimed. This act breaks the fast since the Adhaan 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 Waajib (compulsory) to abstain from all acts which break Saum and to remain like a Saim ( a fasting person). Qadha of the fast will have to be made after Ramadhan.

  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 Ramadhan 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.

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What is 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 Muadhin should make Iftar before proclaiming the Adhaan.
  4. At the time of Iftar it is Sunnat to recite the following dua: “O Allah! I have fasted for you. I believe in you. I have trust in you and I amke Iftar with the rizq (food) provided by you.”
  5. Iftar should preferably be made with dates. In the absense 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. It is Makrooh to unnecessarily delay Iftar.

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

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Niyyat

IT is preferable to make the Niyyat of Saum during night, i.e. prior to the entry of Subah Sadiq. When the fast starts, if the Niyyat was not made duriong the night, the Saum will be valid if the Niyyat is made approximately one hour before zawaal. One hour before zawaal 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 it in Arabic e.g. I make Niyyat of Tomorrow’s fast.

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’s 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 the Niyyat was made.

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What Makes Fast Valid

  1. Niyyah: (intention of fasting) is a must.
    This means to have intention of observing the fast, either while taking the Sehri meal or before noon on the day on which one observes fasting.
    “I have the intention of observing a fast today of the month of Ramadan.”

  2. From dawn to dusk one should abstain from eating, drinking, sex, foul talk and evil thoughts.

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Things which do not break the Fast

  1. The using of Miswak

  2. To take bath during the day or to pour water, overhead due to the pang of summer heat.

  3. To smell perfume.

  4. To apply Surmah (Kohl) in the eyes, or oil to the hair.

  5. To eat or drink in forgetfulness.

  6. To inhale a fly or smoke or dust without one's will or intention.

  7. To pour water into the ear unintentionally.

  8. To swallow saliva or phlegm.

  9. To gargle or take water in the nose, while performing ablution (Wadu), but care should be taken that no part of water enters the throat.

  10. To kiss one's wife. It is sexual intercourse which is prohibited during fast. One is allowed to kiss one's wife, provided one is sure that one would not yield to sexual lust.

  11. To take out blood from the body for treatment.

  12. To have a wet dream in the day.

  13. Where one is in need of a Ghusl (Bath) due to a wet dream or intercourse during the night, and did not perform bath before Subh Saadiq (dawn).

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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. inhailing the smoke of incense, etc.
  5. Apllication 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 discernible when swallowing it.

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

  10. Water slipping down the throat while making wudhu even if not done deliberately.

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

  12. 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.

  13. Applying drops of medicine into the nostrils.

  14. Masturbation. In addition to it nullifying the Saum, it is an immoral and a sinful act. The perpetrator has been cursed by Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam).

  15. Medical tests undertaken by women in which any instrument, etc., is internally inserted.

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

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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 reward 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 put water in the nose at times other than when making Wudhu.

  5. To rinse the mouth 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 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.

  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 backbiting.

  14. To gargle the mouth when making Wudhu.

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Kaffarah of Ramadan

KAFFARAH (compensation) is the penalty which is imposed by the Shariah for the deliberate and flagrant nullification of the Saum of Ramadan.
  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. 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 Haydh (the monthly menses of women).

  5. A Kaffarah interrupted by the intervention of Nifaas will be rendered invalid.

  6. 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 Sadaqah Fitr. This amount is the price of approximately 2 kilograms bread flour. Instead of the cash, the flour may also be given.

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

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

  9. 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.

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Qadha Saum

QADHA means to fulfill or to compensate for fasts which are 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 Ramadhan or on any other specific days, Qadha should not be unnecessarily delayed.

  2. Qadha Saum belongs to the second class of Wahjib 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 Haydh and Nifaas has to be made Qadha.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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).

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Last Ten Days of Ramadan

THOUGH the entire month of Ramadan are full of blessings and rewards, its last ten days hold a special status reflected in the recommendations and practices of the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, and his companions. I will focus here on three major practices of the Prophet, Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, and his companions during these days.

1. Praying in the last ten nights of Ramadan.

Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from 'Aishah that during the last ten days of Ramadan, the Messenger of Allah would wake his wives up during the night and then remain apart from them (that is, being busy in acts of worship). A narration in Muslim states: "He would strive [to do acts of worship during the last ten days of Ramadan more than he would at any other time." Aisha reported that With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet (Pbuh) used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers. [Bukhari]

2. Performing I'tikaf in the Masjid (seclusion in the Mosque)

I'tikaf is the seclusion and staying in the mosque with the intention of becoming closer to Allah. This was the practise of the Prophet, Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, during the last ten days of Ramadan especially. He would do it during other months as well.

'Aisha reported that the Messenger of Allah, Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, used to practise I`tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, "Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadhan" [Bukhari]

3. Seeking Lailatul-Qadr (the Night of Decree)

It is the greatest night of the year like the Day of 'Arafah is the greatest day of the year. It is a night about which Allah revealed a full Surah, Suratul-Qadr [97:1-5] and the 3rd to the 6th verses of Surat ad-Dukhan [44:3-6]

It is the night when the Qur'an was revealed. It is the night when the Message (the Final and seal of all messages) sent to Muhammad, Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam, started It is the night when the light, that would illuminate mankind to the end of life, started. It is the night when every matter of ordainment is decreed. A person who misses Lailatul-Qadr is really a deprived person!

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Significance of Ed-ul-Fitr

Prescribed Works on Ed-ul-Fitr>

THE following eleven things have been prescribed to be done on Ed-ul-Fitr;
  1. To rise early in the morning.

  2. To brush the teeth.

  3. To have bath for Eid after the Fajr Prayer.

  4. To put on the best available dress.

  5. To use perfume.

  6. To arrange for one's personal adornment and decoration.

  7. To give away 'Eid Charity (Zaka-ul-Fitr) before departure for the Eid ground.

  8. To eat something sweet before going for the 'Eid Prayer.

  9. To reach the 'Eid ground as early as possible.

  10. To walk to the 'Eid ground by one way and return by the other; however, there is no harm if one rides back home.

  11. To pronounce the following Takbir on the way in a low voice.

Alla-u Akbar, Allah-u Akbar
Allah is greatest Allah is greatest

La-Ilaha ill-Allah
There is no God but Allah

wa-Allah-u Akbar, Allah-u Akbar
and Allah is greatest Allah is greatest

wa-lillah-il-hamd
and all praise is for Allah.
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Regulations Relating to 'Eid Prayer

  1. If a person misses the 'Eid prayer, he cannot offer it individually, for the 'Eid prayer is conditioned upon congregation. Similarly, if the prayer of a person who joined in the congregation is invalidated due to some reason, he cannot offer it later as a missed prayer, nor is it incumbent upon him to do so. However, a few persons who have missed the prayer can get together and offer it if they so desire.

  2. There is neither Azan nor Iqamah for the 'Eid Prayers.
  3. Women and the men who cannot offer the 'Eid Prayers due to some reason, should not offer any voluntary prayer before the 'Eid prayer'.

  4. The Ahl al-Hadith scholars maintain the view that women and children have been enjoined to attend the 'Eid prayer, because the 'Eid, like the Friday Prayer, is a special feature of Islam, and the holy Prophet (Pbuh) himself has exhorted the women to go to the 'Eid ground.
    Hadrat Umm'atiyyah has narrated; "The holy Prophet (Pbuh) commanded us that we should take un-married young girls and grown-up women, even the menstruating ones, along with us to the 'Eid ground. The menstruating women, however, are not to attend the prayer, but should sit aside and keep on pronouncing the Takbir, and join only in the supplications. I asked, 'O Prophet of Allah! what about those who do not have the over-garment to cover themselves up?" The holy Prophet (Pbuh) replied; The one having an over-garment should take her sister along with her." (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi)

  5. If a person joins the 'Eid prayer when the Imam has already pronounced the Takbirs and is reciting the Quran, he should pronounce the Takbirs after expressing intention for the prayer. If he joins in the Ruku position, he should pronounce the Takbirs, instead of the usual Tashibh, without raising the hands. If the Imam resumes the standing position before the late-comer has been able to pronounce the required number of Takbirs, he should also resume the standing position after the Imam; the remaining Takbirs are excused.

  6. If Imam forgets to pronounce the additional Takbirs and remembers this in the Ruku position, he should pronounce them even in that position instead of resuming the standing position for the purpose; but even if he resumes the standing position, the prayer will not be invalidated.

  7. It is undesirable to say a voluntary prayer in the 'Eid ground or elsewhere before or after the 'Eid prayer'.

  8. If a person has missed the 'Eid Prayer, he should not say it later as a missed prayer, because the 'Eid prayer cannot be said later individually.

  9. Jurists have agreed that the 'Eid prayer may be held at more than one place in the city. The people who cannot go out to the 'Eid ground may offer the prayer in the city according to their convenience.

  10. The recitation in the 'Eid prayer is to be audible. The Imam should preferably recite Surahs al-A'ala (87) and Al-Ghashiyah (88) or Surahs Qaf (50) and Al-Qamar (54) as was the practice of the holy Prophet (Pbuh) himself.

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    Regulation Concerning the Eid Sermon

    1. The 'Eid Sermon is Sunnat in nature, but listening to it is wajib (obligatory) for the audience.

    2. The sermon should be delivered after the prayer, Hadrat Abu Sa'id says; "The holy Prophet (Pbuh) would first of all offer the Fitr or Adha Prayer; then he would stand up facing the people who kept on sitting in their rows and he would instruct them in religion. Then if he had to send out an army or had to give a special command to the people, he would do so. After this he would return home". (Bukahri, Muslim)

      "I accompanied the Holy Prophet (Pbuh) to the 'Eid ground. He led the prayer and then gave the sermon. Then he approached the gathering of the women and gave them religious instructions and urged them to practise charity." (Bukhari)

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      The days when it is forbidden 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-Hajj.

      (The 3 days following Eid-ul-Adhaa) fasting on these days is not valid.

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