Brief Notes On Fasting
Shaykh Muhammad Bin Saleh Al-Uthaimeen
Praise be to Allah, Rabb (Maintainer and Provider) of the worlds and may Allah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala) exalt the mention of our Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alaihi wa sallam), his kinfolk and his companions. Following is some brief information about fasting, its rulings and types of people along with its violations and other benefits:
Muslim fasting is to worship Allah by avoiding fast-breaking acts from daybreak until sunset.
Fasting the month of Ramadhan is one of the great pillars of Islam as Prophet Muhammad, (Peace be upon him) said, “Islam is based on five pillars: (1) to testify that none is worthy to be worshiped except Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s messenger. (3) to pay “Zakah” (Charity), (4) to fast Ramadhan and (5) to go on pilgrimage to Makkah.”
People In Ramadhan
Fasting is an obligatory duty for every Muslim who is mature, sane and a non-traveler.
The disbeliever is not required to fast and in case of embracing Islam he isn’t required to make up the prior fast he missed.
The youngster who is under age is not required to fast but he should be guided do so in order be accustomed to doing it.
The insane isn’t required to fast or to feed even if he is of age. The same thing goes for the mentally deficient and old senile people.
The disabled person who cannot fast because of permanent reasons such as senility or sickness. Such people have to feed an indigent every day during the month of Ramadhan.
The patient who has a temporary benign disease and it is hard for him to fast, he is not required to fast but he must fast those days after recovery.
The pregnant and wet nurse (foster mother) are not required to fast if it is hard for them to fast because of pregnancy or fosterage or fear of harming their children, but they should fast these days after child birth or child bed.
The menstruating women and those suffering from post-natal bleeding are not allowed to fast and must make up the days missed.
A person, who is facing a necessity of breaking his fast in order to rescue another Muslim from drowning or burning can break his fast but he must fast the day he missed later.
A traveler can either fast or not, but he should make up the days he misses whether his travel is temporary such as performing “Umra”, or permanent such as transit truck drivers. So, they have the choice of fasting or not fasting since they are still outside residence.
Fast Breaking Acts
1. Fast – breaking acts do not break the fast in case of forgetfulness, ignorance, or compulsion according to Allah’s saying “Our Rabb! Do not punish us if we forget or fall into error” and His saying, “Except who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with faith”. And His saying, “And there is sin on you concerning that in which you made a mistake except in regard to what your heart deliberately intend.” (Al-Ahzab: Ayah 5)
If the faster forgot when eating or drinking his fast wouldn’t be broken due to forgetfulness and if one eats or drinks thinking that the sun has set or the day hasn’t broken, one’s fast is still valid due to ignorance. And if one rinses his mouth letting water go inside his throat by mistake, such rinsing will not break his fast because it is not done intentionally.
Wet dreaming during sleep does not break the fast because it is not intentional.
Fast Breaking Acts Are Eight
Sexual intercourse. If it is committed by the faster during the daytime in the month of Ramadhan. He must make –up the fast besides a hard binding atonement, that is, emancipating a slave, but if it is not possible he must fast two consecutive months and when is able to do so he must feed sixty indigents (i.e. sixty meals).
Seminal ejaculation while awake by masturbation or fondling or hugging and the like.
Eating or drinking whether beneficial or harmful, including smoking.
The use of nutritive injections that substitute for food, but the use of injections that won’t nourish the body don’t break the fast whether taken In the muscles or in the vein even if he tastes the nutrient in his throat.
Blood transfusion when blood loss occurs to the faster. Blood may be transfused into his body instead in place of the blood that he lost.
The blood that comes out from a woman due to post-natal bleeding or menses.
Forcing out one’s blood by cupping or the like. But unlike cupping, involuntary bleeding such as nose bleeding or when pulling out teeth and he like would not break the fast.
Vomiting when intentionally done. But if it is not done on purpose the fast won’t be broken.
It is permissible for the Muslim to have the intention of fasting in mind while ritually impure. He should wash himself thoroughly after daybreak.
The woman menstruating or suffering from bleeding after childbirth must fast if she becomes pure (stops bleeding) before Fajr even if she has not bathed before Fajr.
A faster can pull out his tooth and treat his wounds and drop medicine in his eyes or in his ears without having broken his fast even it he tastes it in his throat.
A faster can use his tooth stick in the early or late daytime, which is legal and preferable for both the faster and non-faster.
A faster is permitted to do things that may reduce strong heat or thirst such as the use of water or air conditionerto cool him down.
A faster may use inhalers that may reduce his labored breathing due to asthma or other reasons.
A faster can wet his lips when dry, and rinse his mouth when dried out without gurgling, or swallowing.
It is favorable for the faster to delay eating “Suhoor” (the morning meal) until shortly before day break and to break the fast soon after sunset. It is preferable to eat, if accessible, fresh dates or drink water or any legal food; and if all the above are unavailable, one should have had the intention of breaking his fast in mind until he finds something to eat.
A faster is urged by Islamic law to do good deeds and avoid all evils.
It is prescribed for faster to observe his obligatory duties and keep away from prohibitions. Thus, he should perform the daily five prayers at their prescribed times and in congregation. He should keep away from telling lies, backbiting, cheating, usury and all illegal words or deeds as the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) said, “Whoever doesn’t quit telling falsities and folly, Allah needn’t him to give up eating and drinking”
Fast Breaking Charity (Zakaatul-Fitr)
The amount of fast – breaking charity is a Saa’ (a measure of volume) of rice or flour or dates or other staple food. Fast breaking charity in money or clothing or other means is not lawfully acceptable in place of food. Fast breaking charity should be given out (paid) in the early morning of ‘Al-Eid Al-Fitr” (lesser Feast Day) or one or two days before Eid”.
This charity must not be delayed until after Al-Eid prayer unless there is a valid excuse.
Fast breaking charity should be paid so as to have all family members represented including the young, old, male and female Muslims.