The Significance and Rewards of Fasting
Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) said: “He who fasts solely for the sake of Allah, has all his previous sins forgiven.
The odour of the mouth of a fasting person is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk.
The Prophet said, the sleep of a fasting person is Ibadat and his silence is Tasbeeh (recitation of Subhan Allah).
According to the Hadith, fasting is a shield as long as the fasting person does not rupture it with lies and back-biting.
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.”
Who should Fast?
Fasting during Ramadan is compulsory for every Muslim, male or female, who meets the following requirements:
- Is mentally and physically fit i.e., sane and able.
- Has attained the age of puberty and discretion, which is normally about 14.
- Is present at their permanent settlement, hometown, farm or business premises etc.
- Is fairly certain that the fasting is unlikely to cause any harm, physical or mental other than the normal reactions to hunger, thirst etc.
Simple Facts about 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- It is not permissible to forgo a fast because of failure to wake up during the night for Sahri.
It is not permissible to eat after the expiry of Sahri time. Sahri time expires with the commencement of Subah Sadiq.
- If Sahri was missed if one has overslept, one should not forgo fasting. It is not permissible to refrain from Saum because of having missed Sahri.
The Glow of Sunset-Iftar
- It is good to hasten with Iftar (breaking the fast) as soon as the sun has set.
- Iftar should be made before the Maghrib Salat.
- The Muezzin should make Iftar before proclaiming the Adhaan.
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 make Iftar with the rizaq (food) provided by you.”
- Iftar should preferably be made with dates. In the absence of dates, water is best.
If it is overcast, Iftar should be delayed until there is absolute certainty that the sun has set.
- If Iftar is made even a minute before sunset, Qadha of the fast is incumbent.
- The time of Iftar is very auspicious. Dua is readily accepted at the time when the fast is about to end.
During the month of Ramadan only Niyyat (intention) 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.
Things which do not break the Fast
- The using of Miswak
- To take bath during the day or to pour water, over the head due to the summer heat.
- To smell perfume.
- To apply Surmah (Kohl) in the eyes, or oil to the hair.
- To eat or drink in forgetfulness.
- To inhale a fly or smoke or dust without one’s will or intention.
- To pour water into the ear unintentionally.
- To swallow saliva or phlegm.
- To gargle or take water in the nose, while performing ablution , but care should be taken that no part of water enters the throat.
- Blood tests during illness.
Things which break the Fast
- Eating or drinking breaks the Saum.
- Sexual intercourse even if there is no emergence of semen.
- Inhaling smoke by one’s own action, e.g. inhaling the smoke of incense, etc.
- Swallowing any substance or object which is not normally consumed as food or medicine, e.g. pebbles, paper, a coin, etc.
- Pouring oil into the ears.
- Applying drops of medicine into the nostrils.
- Masturbation. In addition to it nullifying the Saum, it is an immoral and a sinful act.
- Ejaculation as a result of caressing and fondling the wife even if there was no sexual intercourse.