Age of Jahiliyah

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Archive for the tag “Month of Ramadan”

A Ramadan Reader: Comprehensive Answers Guide to Getting the Most Out of Ramadan

Ramadan Reader: Comprehensive Answers Guide to Getting the Most Out of Ramadan

SeekersHub Answers | Can I Just Pray 8 Cycles of Tarawih?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Is it permissible for me to pray eight rakats of tarawih? Twenty seems like so much.

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful

The confirmed sunna in the Hanafi school, in fact in all the 4 schools, is to pray 20 rakats for tarawih. Many great scholars consider there to be scholarly consensus (ijma`) of the Companions regarding this.

Don’t think of them as 20. Think of it simply as 5 sets of 4. It doesn’t take more than a quarter of an hour. If you cannot pray 20 lengthy rakats, pray 20 brief rakats. Also, you don’t have to pray all 20 at once, you can spread them out over the night.

The important thing is: pray them. Motivate yourself at various levels:

1. Do it out of love for Allah, and out of thanks for the gift of guidance, faith, and clarity of vision in life. Do it out of gratitude for the gift that is al-Mustafa [the Chosen One, our Prophet Muhammad] (Allah bless him & give him peace), and his sunna, which is the clear path to success in this life and the next.  How do we express our thanks and gratefulness? With the worship He has demanded from us. What can one do with the Beloved’s demands but obey them?

2. Think of the great reward in this: The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Whoever stands in prayer in Ramadan, out of faith and seeking its reward, shall have all their past sins forgiven.” [Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, and others]

3. Give yourself little ‘rewards’ as reinforcements, to get your nafs to go along, such as snacks you like, etc… Or that if you pray all 20 for three days in a row, you get yourself xyz…

4. Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said,

“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, though there is good in both. Be avid for that which benefits you. Rely on Allah and do not deem yourself incapable…” [Muslim 4816, Ibn Majah 76, Ahmad 8436]

Imam Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) explained that the strength in this hadith refers to, “One’s determination and ability in matters of the next life.” [Sharh Sahih Muslim]

The early Muslims (salaf) used to warn, “This matter is your deen [religion or way of life], so be careful as to whom you take your deen from.”

At the same time, if one is absolutely unable to pray 20 rakats, then one should do what one can, because, “That which one cannot do completely should not be left completely,” as the scholars explain. However, one should be remorseful, because one is leaving a confirmed sunna of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace).

Wassalam

Faraz

Fasting – It’s Principles and Virtues | Imam Ghazali

 

Excerpt from Imam al-Ghazali’s (d. 1111 CE / 505 AH) Book of Forty Principles from the Foundations of Religion:

Translated by: Khalil Abu Asmaa (Christopher Moore)

[ After discussing the Prayer and Zakah, Imam al-Ghazali goes on to say: ]

The Third Principle: Fasting

The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) said that God said:

Every good deed is ten times its likeness, up to seven hundred times, except for fasting, for verily it is for Me, and I will reward it. [al-Bukhari and Muslim]

He (peace and blessings be upon him) also said:

For everything there is a door, and the door of worship is fasting. [Ibn al-Mubarak]

Fasting has been singled out with these amazing qualities for two main reasons:

1. Its essence is that it is a personal abstinence, and such is a hidden action that no one but God can see, unlike the prayer, the zakah, or other (acts of worship).

2. It is a grief for, and subdual of, the enemy of God. Shaytan is the enemy, and the enemy cannot gain strength except through the medium of the passions. Hunger breaks all the passions that are the tool of Shaytan. For this reason, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

Verily Shaytan runs in the Son of Adam like blood. Therefore, constrain the passageways of Shaytan with hunger. [al-Bukhari and Muslim, except after “Therefore”]

Such is the secret of his statement (peace be upon him):

When Ramadan comes the doors of Paradise are opened, the doors of the Fire are shut, the shaytans are restrained, and a caller calls: ‘Oh seeker of good, come forward! Oh seeker of evil, back off!’ [al-Tirmidhi, and al-Hakim said it was sound]

Know that fasting, in addition to its rank, has three levels, and in addition to its secrets, has three levels as well.

As for the levels of its rank:

The least of them is to only fast the month of Ramadan. The highest of them is the fast of David (peace be upon him), which entails fasting every other day. It is mentioned in an authentic narration (in both al-Bukhari and Muslim) that such is “the fast of all time” and that it is the best of all fasts. The wisdom behind this type of fast lies in the fact that whoever fasts daily, fasting will become completely habitual and he will not feel brokenness in his soul, purity in his heart, or weakness in his desires. For indeed, the soul is only impacted by what comes to it (occasionally), not by what it has become used to. This shouldn’t be hard to imagine, for medical doctors also discourage their patients from developing a dependence for medicine, and they say, “Whoever becomes accustomed to that he will not benefit from it when he is sick, for his temperament will becomes used to it and it will henceforth not affect him.”

Know that the doctoring of the hearts is akin to that of the doctoring of the bodies. This is the wisdom of the statement of the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) to ‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr b. al-‘Aas (may be pleased with them both) when he asked him about fasting: “Fast one day, break your fast the next.” He replied, “I want something better than that.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) responded, “There is nothing better than that.”

It is for this reason that when it was said to the Messenger of God (peace be upon him), “So-and-so fasts all the time,” he said, “He neither fasted, nor broke his fast.” This is just like when Aisha (may God be pleased with her) said to a man that was reciting the Quran in a rapid fashion: “This one here has neither recited the Quran nor kept silent.”

As for the middle level, it is to fast one third of the time. Whenever you fast every Monday and Thursday, adding to it Ramadan, then you have fasted four months and four days out of the year, which is slightly over a third. With that said, it is necessary that one day will be broken during the days of tashriq (during Hajj), so the total left is now three days. It is also imagined that the days of Eid will be lost as well, so this makes three days missed altogether, leaving us with one day. So think about the arithmetic and you will figure it out.

Therefore, it is inappropriate for your fast to be less than this, for it is light on the nafs (self) and its reward is immense.

As for the levels of its secrets, they are three:

1. The least of them is that one abstains from those things that break the fast, all the while not preventing his limbs from that which is disliked. This is the fast of the masses and it is indicative of their being pleased with the name (of “fasting”).

2. The second level is when you add to it prevention of the limbs. Hence, you guard the tongue from backbiting and the eye from looking at doubtful things, as well as guarding the rest of the body parts.

3. The third level is when you add to it the maintenance of the heart from (bad) thoughts and whisperings, and when you restrict it to the remembrance of God (Mighty and Majestic). This is the fast of the elect of the elite and it is the perfection of the fast.

Finally, fasting has a last matter by which it is completed: to break the fast with that which is permissible, not that which is doubtful. In addition, not to be excessive in the eating of the permissible, in an attempt to make up for what was lost in the morning. In this case one would be merging two meals into one thereby weighing down the stomach and increasing the desires. This will invalidate the wisdom of the fast and its benefit, and will lead one to be too lazy to get up for tahajjud (night vigil prayer) and possibly cause one to not even get up before Fajr (to have suhur and prepare for prayer). All of this is a complete loss and it may be that such a one will not even benefit from the fast at all.

ReflectOnThis: Fasting – Imam al-Ghazali

SeekersHub Answers | Pregnant Women and Fasting

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari & Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: I know for many women who breast feed, they need to keep hydrated so that they are able to produce milk to feed their child. What do you suggestion one should do when wanting to fast but yet still breast feeding? What suggestions can you give for a woman in this situation in order to benefit the most from Ramadan?

Answer: The normal case is that Muslim women who are pregnant and nursing must fast. They should also take the means to ensure this.

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani has outlined from Ibn `Abidin’s Radd al-Muhtar the case of when a pregnant or nursing woman is exempt from fasting. She may leave fasting if she has a good reason to fear harm for herself or her child. This is through

1. advice from reliable Muslim medical opinion (or a non-Muslim medical opinion if it confirm’s one’s own good reason for fear)
2. previous experience
3. or clear and unmistakable signs

It’s very important that women observe how their bodies react to fasting and not ignore obvious warning signs. Sometimes one can see two extremes when it comes to pregnancy/lactation and fasting. Either women automatically assume they cannot fast when pregnant or lactating, and they make no effort to see how their bodies will handle the fast. Or they fast and ignore all warning signs until their health is actually compromised. This is not the way it should be. Women need to strike a balance and understand that every woman’s experience will be different.

Some sisters have shown that they have been able to fast while pregnant and lactating. Other sisters, however, simply cannot fast and maintain good health during pregnancy or sufficient milk supply during lactation. In this case, women should keep track of the days they miss and plan to make them up later.

Again, being in tune with one’s body is really important. Looking out for obvious warning signs does not mean women should wait until they’ve landed in the hospital. What it does mean is that they have to check things like the frequency and color of their urine, frequency and consistency of stools, and the presence of any type of contractions when pregnant. When nursing, they should also look at the frequency and color of their urine, and be aware of the color of their milk, its quantity, the strength of their let-down reflex, and their baby’s state: contented vs. agitated.

Clear warning signs include:

1. dark urine (when pregnant or nursing)
2. constipation (when pregnant or nursing)
3. cramps and contractions (for pregnant women)
4. nausea
5. dizziness
6. a baby who seems agitated, that is, it’s clear that no matter how often you nurse the baby, she or he is not calming down

At the first sign of trouble, it’s permitted to break your fast and make up the days later.

Please note that this advice comes from an observant Muslim OBGYN who has advised many pregnant and nursing women during Ramadan.

In the end, pregnant and nursing women who are not able fasting can still do many things to make the most of their Ramadan. Ramadan is a time when one draws closer to Allah — and this can be done in many forms. She may perform the tarawih prayer, extra prayers and recite Qur’an. She can also do acts of charity and service for others. In addition to the outward forms of worship, many scholars have stressed the importance of inner acts of worship, such as reflecting on one’s bad habits and working steadily towards eliminating them.

And Allah knows best,

Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq & Sulma Badrudduja

(This is an answer combined from two replies to the specific question. Originally answered on the SeekersGuidance Ramadan Course Forum.)

SeekersHub | The Complete Guide to Fasting

The Fiqh Of Fasting In the Hanafi Madhhab

by Ustadha Umm Ihsan

Fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. The Companion Abdullah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) say: ‘The religion of Islam is based upon five (pillars): testifying that there is no deity except God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God; establishing the prayer; giving zakat; making pilgrimage; and fasting (the month) of Ramadan.’” [Bukhari; Muslim]

In truth, fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the greatest acts of worship a believer can perform. It is an act that cleanses one’s mind, body, and soul from the spiritual and physical impurities of this world. It is an act that brings the hearts of Muslims together on a world-wide level as they endeavor to practice the virtue of self-discipline in unison. And it is an act that satiates the hungry soul for its eagerness to please the Lord of the Worlds.

The act of fasting was also practiced by previous religious communities. Likewise, it has been ordained for the followers of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). Allah All-Mighty says in the Quran, “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed onto you as it was prescribed onto those before you, that perhaps ye may (learn) self-restraint.” [Surat Al-Baqara, v. 183]

What is Fasting?

Linguistically, the word fasting in the Arabic language means unconditional ‘restraint’ (imsak) from any action or speech during any time.

According to the Sacred Law, fasting is the act of:

a. refraining from engaging in sexual activity, and
b. refraining from entering anything into the body cavity,
c. whether deliberately or accidentally,
d. from the time the sun begins to rise to the time the sun sets
e. accompanied with the intention of fasting
f.  from individuals who are permitted to fast.

‘Refraining from engaging in sexual activity’ includes actual sexual intercourse and ejaculation cased by foreplay.

‘Refraining from entering anything into the body cavity’ refers to the acts of entering food, drink, or medicine into the body cavity, regardless of whether this is a typical item one would enter into the body cavity or not. Entering any of these substances inside the body cavity means that the substance enters into the throat, the intestines, the stomach, or the brain by way of the nose, the throat, the private parts, or open wounds.

‘Whether deliberately or accidentally’ excludes forgetful acts of eating, drinking, or sexual activity.

‘From the time the sun begins to rise to the time the sun sets’ refers to the true entering of the Fajr time to the entering of the Maghrib time.

‘Accompanied with the intention of fasting’ means that one must intend to fast in order to distinguish if one is really performing an act of worship or not when one refrains from eating, drinking, or having sexual intercourse. For example, if one were to merely stay away from food, drink, or sexual activity without an intention to fast, then this fast is not valid and does not count.

‘From individuals who are permitted to fast’ means that one must be free from a situation that would prevent the validity of one’s fast, such as menstruation or lochia (post-natal bleeding).

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya; Shurunbulali Imdad al-Fattah]

When Does Fasting Become Obligatory?

Fasting the month of Ramadan is obligatory upon every Muslim, male and female, who is sane and pubescent. This ruling also applies to making up any unperformed Ramadan fasts whether due to an excuse or one’s own remissness. Therefore, a person is obliged to makeup missed Ramadan fasts. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

A male child becomes pubescent when he experiences a wet dream or ejaculation. A female child becomes pubescent when she experiences a wet dream or her first menstruation. If by the age of 15 lunar years neither male nor female has undergone these experiences, then they are considered legally pubescent and are obliged to fast.

Fasting the current month of Ramadan is obligatory upon the aforementioned individuals if they are physically able to fast, free from menstruation and lochia (post-natal bleeding), and resident. [ibid]

Who Is Excused From Fasting the Month of Ramadan?

Fasting the month of Ramadan is not obligatory upon a menstruating woman or a woman in the state of lochia (post-natal bleeding) because fasting is not permitted while they are in this state. [Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah]

Sick people and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are obliged to fast. However, illness can excuse a person from fasting if one reasonably fears that the act of fasting would increase the sickness or slow the recovery process. The same ruling applies to a woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding and reasonably fears that fasting will harm her or her baby. Reasonable fear is known by: 1) manifest signs, 2) a relevant past experience, or 3) the notification of an upright, Muslim doctor/expert. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah]

A traveler is also excused from fasting if he initiates his journey before the time of Fajr enters. However, it is better that he fasts providing that this does not cause undue hardship. If a person begins fasting a day of Ramadan and then travels, he is obliged to complete his fast. [ibid]

All of the aforementioned individuals are obliged to make up their missed fasts once Ramadan has ended in a time that they are able. There is no expiation for a person who delays making up their missed fasts, though it is superior to make them up immediately if they are able. [ibid]

What are the Different Types of Fasts?

There are essentially 9 types of fasts:

1. Specified* Obligatory (fard) fasts: the current month of Ramadan

2. Non-Specified Obligatory (fard) fasts: make up fasts from a past Ramadan

3. Specified Necessary (wajib) fasts: specified vowed fasts

4. Non-Specified Necessary (wajib) fasts:

  • non-specified vowed fasts
  • expiation fasts
  • make up fasts for any vowed, sunna, nafl, or expiation fast that one vitiated

5. Emphasized Sunna fast:

  • the 9th of Dhul al-Hijjah (the day of Arafat)
  • the 10th of Muharram (the day of ‘Ashura) along with either the ninth or the eleventh day

6. Recommended fasts:

  • 13th, 14th, 15th days of each lunar month (full moon days)
  • every Monday and Thursday of each month
  • 6 days of the month of Shawwal; it is best to perform them consecutively
  • any other fast established by a request or promise of reward from the sunna, like the fast of Dawud (fasting every other day), which is said to be the most beloved fast to Allah

7. Voluntary (nafl) fasts: any fast other than the aforementioned as long as it is not disliked

8. Slightly Disliked (makruh tanzihi) fasts:

  • only fasting 10th of Muharram without the ninth or eleventh day
  • singling out Friday if one specifically thinks that there is reward in it, otherwise there is no dislikedness
  • singling out Saturday, though there is no dislikedness if it coincides with another type of fast
  • continuously fasting without breaking one’s fast in the evening (wisal)

9. Prohibitively disliked (makruh tahrimi), sinful fasts:

  • the day of Eid al-Fitr
  • the day of Eid al-Adha and the three days that follow (al-Ayyam al-Tashriq)

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya; Shurunbulali Imdad al-Fattah; Tahtawi, Hashiyya al-Tahtawi]

*Specified fast means that there is a specific time designated for performing this fast. [Radd al-Muhtar] As such, one is obliged to fast this day, and one cannot intend to fast a different type of fast.

Non-Specified fast means that there is not a specific time designated for performing this fast. Therefore, it is possible to choose when to fast it. The distinction between specified and non-specified also returns to rulings related to the intention which is forthcoming.

What are the Stipulations For a Valid Fast?

The stipulations for a valid fast are: 1) the intention, 2) to be free from menstruation and lochia, and 3) to be free from anything else that would break the fast. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Iydah]

It is not a condition for the validity of the fast that a person be free from the state of major ritual impurity (janaba). The mother of the believers, Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) said, “Fajr would enter during the month of Ramadan and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) would be in a state of major ritual purity from other than a sexual dream (i.e. because of sexual relations). He would perform the purificatory bath and fast (that day).” [Muslim]

Likewise, if one intended to fast during the night and woke up within Fajr time in a state of major ritual impurity, then one must perform the purificatory bath (ghusl) for the sake of the validity of one’s prayers, fast this day, and the fast is considered valid. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Shurunbulali,  Imdad al-Fattah]

What Is the Intention?

The intention is needed for each day one fasts, even in the month of Ramadan. [Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya]

The intention is the determination one feels in the heart to do something. [Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya] A way to envision this point is if a person was to ask one what they are doing, one would affirm that they are fasting. Practically-speaking, it is nearly impossible to not have the intention in the Hanafi madhhab. One does not have to verbally state the intention, though it is better. [ibid]

When Does One Make the Intention?

The time of the intention depends on the type of fast.

Category A: For the specified obligatory, specified necessary, emphasized sunna, recommended, and nafl fasts, the following rulings apply to the intention:

1. One must make the intention in the appropriate time in order for the fast to count.
2. The time of the intention is from Maghrib of the previous night to before the Islamic midday (see definition below) of the following day. This is providing that one did nothing that would invalidate the fast from the start of Fajr time.
3. Scholars confirm that it is superior for one to make the intention the night before one fasts (i.e. any time from Maghrib to the entering of Fajr) due to the difference of opinion from other schools on this point.
4. It is sufficient to intend to fast without specifying if the fast is obligatory, necessary, sunna, recommended, or nafl.

[Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya; al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya]

Category B: For non-specified obligatory and non-specified necessary fasts, the following rulings apply to the intention:

1. One must make the intention in the appropriate time in order for the fast to count.
2. The time for the intention is from Maghrib of the previous night to the entering of Fajr on the day one desires to fast.
3. One must also specify the type of fast when intending.
4. If one made the intention after the entering of Fajr to before the Islamic midday (see definition below), then this fast counts as a voluntary (nafl) fast instead.

[Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya]

When Is the Islamic Midday?

The Islamic midday (al-Dahwa al-Kubra) is the half-way point between the entering of Fajr time to the entering of Maghrib time. It does not mean noon, nor does it mean the zawal. [Mulla Khusru, Durar al-Hikam Sharh Ghurar al-Ahkam; ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

For example, if Fajr entered at 5 am and Maghrib entered at 5 pm, then the Islamic midday would be the half-way point between this 12 hour time span, which is 11 am. Thus, in this example, a person would have from the entering of Maghrib of the previous night to before 11 am of the next day to make the intention if he is performing a fast from category A.

The intention must be made ‘before’ the Islamic midday because one needs to fast with the intention for the majority of the day. According to the Sacred Law, this would be akin to fasting the entire day. [Mulla Khusru, Durar al-Hikam Sharh Ghurar al-Ahkam; ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

What Happens If One Decides Not to Fast?

It is a condition that the intention to fast remains with one.

If during the night one decides to not fast the next day after previously intending to fast it, then one is not considered to be fasting for that day. If one renewed the intention, however, then one is considered to be fasting.

[Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya]

What Are Some Recommended Acts While Fasting?

  • To eat the pre-dawn meal (suhur) before Fajr time enters
  • To delay the pre-dawn meal closer to the time before Fajr enters
  • To hasten to break one’s fast at the entering of Maghrib

[Shurunbulali, Nur al-Iydah]

What Are Some Duas to Read When Breaking the Fast?

Allahumma laka sumtu wa bika aamantu wa ‘alayka tawakkaltu wa ‘ala rizqika aftartu wa sawm al-ghad min shahr Ramadan nawaytu faghfir li ma qaddamtu wa ma akh-khartu

“Oh Allah, for You I fasted, and in You I believe, and on You I place my reliance, and on Your provision I break my fast. And I intend the fasting of tomorrow for the month of Ramadan. Forgive me for what I did before and what I do after.”

Allahumma laka sumtu wa ‘ala rizqika aftartu

“Oh Allah for You I fasted and upon Your provision I break my fast.”

Allahumma laka sumna wa ‘ala rizqika aftarna fataqabbal minna innaka Anta al-Sami’ al-‘Alim

“Oh Allah for You we fasted, and upon Your provision we break our fasts. Accept this from us. Verily, You are All-Hearing, All-Knowing.”

[Nawawi, al-Adhkar; Tahtawi, Hashiyya al-Tahtawi]

What Does a Woman Do If Her Period Starts In Ramadan?

If her menstruation starts in Ramadan during the night (i.e. any time from the entering of Maghrib to before the entering of Fajr), then she refrains from fasting the following day and for the duration that she is menstruating. [Hedaya Hartford, Birgivi’s Manual Interpreted]

If her menstruation starts in Ramadan during the day (i.e. any time from the entering of Fajr to the entering of Maghrib), then her fast is vitiated and it does not count. She must make up this day after Ramadan has ended in a time when she is able. She must refrain from fasting for the duration that she is menstruating. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah; Tahtawi, Hashiyya al-Tahtawi]

A menstruating woman can eat and drink during the day in Ramadan. If she believes that it is unlawful for her to eat or drink, then it is necessary for her to do so as refraining from food or drink with the intention of fasting is unlawful for her. [Tahtawi, Hashiyya al-Tahtawi; Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah]

A menstruating woman should record the number of days she missed while fasting and make them up after Ramadan ends in a time when she is able.

The same rulings apply to a woman in a state of lochia (post-natal bleeding).

What Does a Woman Do If her Period Ends In Ramadan?

If her menstruation stops in Ramadan during the night (i.e. any time from the entering of Maghrib to before the entering of Fajr), then she performs a purificatory bath (ghusl), begins her obligatory worship, and she is obliged to fast the following day and the remainder of Ramadan. [Hedaya Hartford, Birgivi’s Manual Interpreted]

Note: There are details to this point if her menstruation ends before the menstrual maximum of 10 complete days and the ghusl time finishes within the Fajr time. Please refer to Hedaya Hartford’s ‘Birgivi’s Manual Interpreted.’

If her menstruation stops in Ramadan during the day (i.e. any time after the entering of Fajr up to the entering of Maghrib), then she performs a purificatory bath (ghusl), begins her obligatory worship and she acts like a fasting person until the Maghrib time enters due to the sacredness of the month of Ramadan. [Hedaya Hartford, Birgivi’s Manual Interpreted] It is necessary for her to abstain from eating and drinking for the remainder of the day. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Shurunbulali,  Imdad al-Fattah] She is sinful if she does not do so. However, this day of acting like a fasting person does not count as a fast. She must make up this day after Ramadan has ended in a time when she is able. [ibid] She is obliged to fast the following day and the remainder of Ramadan.

A menstruating woman should record the number of days she missed while fasting and make them up after Ramadan ends in a time when she is able.

The same rulings apply to a woman in a state of lochia (post-natal bleeding).

Are There Actions That Can Vitiate the Fast?

Yes, there are actions that can vitiate the fast. These actions fall under two categories: 1) that which vitiates the fast and requires a makeup along with expiation and 2) that which vitiates the fast and requires makeup only. [ibn Abdin, Radd al-Muhtar]

For the first category, the principle returns to deliberately performing an act that vitiates the fast by one’s own free will and without a valid reason. Deliberately means that one remembers that one is fasting and purposely performs an action that breaks the fast. [ibid] These actions are outlined below in the section ‘category 1.’

For the second category, the principle returns to accidentally performing an act that vitiates the fast. It also includes acts performed by force of a third party. Accidentally means that one remembers that one is fasting but broke the fast by one’s own doing without the intention to purposely break the fast. [Tahtawi, Hashiyya al-Tahtawi; Related in Radd al-Muhtar] These actions are outlined below in the section ‘category 2.’

If any of the actions from category 1 are performed forgetfully, then they do not vitiate the fast. Forgetfully means that one does not have the presence of mind that one is fasting when performing the action. [Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah]  The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever forgets that he is fasting and eats or drinks, then he still completes his fast. It is only Allah who fed him and gave him drink.” [Bukhari] In another narration, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “If a fasting person eats forgetfully, it is only provision Allah put forth to him and there is no makeup upon him.” [Bukhari]

Category 1: Acts That Vitiate the Fast & Require Makeup & Expiation

Acts that invalidate the fast and require a makeup along with expiation only relate to the current Ramadan fasts. Otherwise, if one performs any of the following actions while performing a fast outside of the current month of Ramadan, such as a make-up fast, then the fast is vitiated and only a makeup is required. One does not owe the expiation.

If done deliberately, by one’s own free will, and without a valid reason while fasting a current Ramadan fast, the following acts invalidate the fast and require a makeup along with expiation:

1. eating or drinking something that humans would normally consume and this consummation nourishes, medicates, r pleases the body in some way
2. actual sexual intercourse, in the front or rear private part*, regardless if one ejaculated or not
3. swallowing the saliva of one’s spouse

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya]

*It is impermissible and a grave crime to engage in sexual intercourse from the rear private part. The Sacred Law unconditionally prohibits this type of sexual activity whether during or not during the month of Ramadan.

What is the Expiation?

The expiation is to fast sixty consecutive days in the year without any interruption. One must choose a time where one can fast these sixty days without the days of Eid or the three days after Eid al-Adha (al-Ayyam al-Tashriq) interrupting the fasts because of the prohibition of fasting on these days. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah] If one does not fast them consecutively, then one must restart the 60 day period each time the continuity of the fasts is broken. [Tahtawi, Hashiyya al-Tahtawi]

The only exceptions to this rule are if one is menstruating or in a state of lochia (post-natal bleeding). A menstruating woman must continue to fast after she becomes pure, and she cannot delay the completion of the expiation. If she does delay fasting after becoming pure, then she must restart the 60 days of fasting. [Tahtawi, Hashiyya al-Tahtawi] The same ruling applies to a woman in the state of lochia.

If one is genuinely unable to perform the sixty consecutive fasts based on reasonable surety, then one must either:

a. feed the same sixty, poor people to their fill for two meals, or
b. feed one poor person to his fill for two meals a day for sixty days, or
c. give sixty poor people half a sa’* of wheat (or similar food grains) or its monetary value, or
d. give sixty poor people a sa’* of dates (or similar food grains) or its monetary value, or
e. give one poor person either c or d for sixty days.

It is important to note that one does not have a choice between fasting sixty days and feeding sixty poor people. Rather, one is obliged to fast sixty days, unless one is genuinely unable to perform all of these fasts based on reasonable surety.

Reasonable surety is known by: 1) manifest signs, 2) a relevant past experience, or 3) the notification of an upright, Muslim doctor/expert.

One expiation suffices for all previous violations performed, even if they occurred in separate Ramadans. However, if one performed a future violation after the performance of the expiation, then a new expiation is owed.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya; Shurunbulali Imdad al-Fattah]

*Half a sa’ is approximately 2 kilos (4.5 pounds). A full sa’ is approximately 4 kilos (9 pounds).

Category 2: Acts That Vitiate the Fast & Require Make Up But Do Not Require Expiation

This category includes any act that vitiates the fast if done accidentally (see aforementioned definition) or by force of another.

It also includes any makeup fast one vitiated while trying to make it up.

The Mouth & Throat:

  • eating or drinking accidentally
  • eating or drinking because one thought Maghrib entered but Maghrib did not enter
  • eating or drinking because one doubted that Fajr entered but Fajr really did enter
  • eating or drinking forgetfully and thereafter thinking that the fast is broken, to deliberately eat and drink again
  • swallowing what is between the teeth, on the condition that it is the size of a chickpea or bigger
  • swallowing a pebble or other items that people wouldn’t typically eat
  • swallowing water by accident when gargling for wudu or ghusl (with the exception of water that remains in the mouth—see next category)
  • swallowing blood that exits from the gums and preponderates over the saliva
  • swallowing toothpaste or mouthwash
  • deliberately swallowing vomit that reaches a mouthful
  • deliberately vomiting a mouthful, regardless if one swallows it or not
  • vomiting and thereafter thinking that the fast is broken, to deliberately vomit again
  • smoke that enters the throat by one’s doing, on the condition one’s body doesn’t benefit from it
  • kissing that causes one to ejaculate, on the condition one did not swallow the other’s saliva

The Private Parts:

  • engaging in sexual intercourse because one still thinks Fajr has not entered but it really has
  • engaging in sexual intercourse forgetfully and thereafter thinking that the fast is broken, to deliberately have sexual intercourse again
  • entering a suppository into the anus
  • entering something dry into the anus and it completely disappears inside the body
  • entering something wet or oiled into the anus, even if it does not completely disappear inside of the body
  • entering a wet tissue or a wet piece of cotton into the vagina, even if it does not completely disappear inside of the body
  • entering a dry tissue or a dry piece of cotton into the vagina and it is completely inserted inside of the body without any part remaining outside
  • pouring water or oil into the anus and it reaches the distance of the mihqana*
  • pouring water or oil into the vagina and it reaches the distance of the mihqana

The Nose:

  • water used to clean the nose for wudu or ghusl reaches the throat or the brain
  • inhaling medicine into the nostrils
  • inhaling smoke by one’s doing, on the condition one’s body doesn’t benefit from it

The Body, in General:

  • touching that causes one to ejaculate (this includes masturbation)
  • applying medicine to an open abdominal or head wound and it reaches the stomach or the brain

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya; Shurunbulali Imdad al-Fattah]

*The mihqana, or huqna in other relations, is a device used to insert medicine into the body by way of the anus (medical term: enema). In our day, a mihqana is similar to a rectal syringe or a clyster-pipe. The distance that breaks the fast is determined by when the top of mihqana reaches the place where medicine is released from it to the intestines. [Radd al-Muhtar]

What are the Acts That Do Not Break the Fast?

The Mouth & Throat:

  • eating or drinking something forgetfully (see aforementioned definition)
  • eating what is between the teeth if it is less than the size of a chickpea
  • tasting the leftover traces of medicine in the mouth or throat
  • chewing on a sesame seed without swallowing it, if its taste doesn’t reach the throat
  • dust or smoke (including smoke from ‘ud or incense) entering one’s throat without one’s doing
  • a mosquito, fly, or any other object entering one’s throat without one’s doing
  • swallowing the wetness that remains after washing one’s mouth for wudu or ghusl
  • swallowing one or two drops of sweat or tears that enter the mouth and mixes with one’s saliva, on the condition that one cannot taste its saltiness
  • swallowing one’s own saliva
  • swallowing one’s own phlegm after clearing the throat
  • swallowing vomit that emerges in the mouth without one’s doing, even if it is a mouthful
  • deliberately vomiting less than a mouthful, regardless if one swallows it or not
  • using a miswak or toothbrush
  • wetting one’s lips with one’s saliva while speaking and swallowing it
  • swallowing blood that exits from the gums and does not preponderate over the saliva on the condition one cannot taste it
  • pulling back saliva into one’s mouth that flows to the chin like a string on the condition that it stays connected and does not break off
  • backbiting

The Private Parts:

  • performing sexual intercourse forgetfully
  • the state of major ritual impurity (janaba) suddenly befalls one, such as from a wet dream
  • ejaculation caused by looking or thinking
  • entering a dry finger into the anus
  • pouring water or oil into the male urethra
  • entering tissue or a piece of cotton into the male urethra, even if it completely disappears inside the body
  • entering a dry finger into the vagina
  • entering a dry tissue or a dry piece of cotton into the vagina upon the condition that part of it remains outside of the body
  • performing istinja with water, providing that the wetness doesn’t reach the distance of the mihqana (see aforementioned definition)

The Nose:

  • mucus descending from the nose
  • sniffing up mucus that is in the nose and it descends to one’s throat
  • inhaling smoke, perfume, or incense without one’s doing
  • smelling an odor

The Eyes:

  • applying kuhl in the eyes, even if one finds its taste in the throat or its color in the saliva or phlegm
  • dripping eye drops or contact solution into the eyes
  • wearing contact lenses

The Ears:

  • water entering the ears from a bath
  • scratching the inside of one’s ear with a q-tip, even if dirt exits and one reinserts it into the ear

The Body, in General:

  • rubbing oil or cream on the body or hair
  • applying deodorant
  • performing a bath and finding its coolness penetrating into one’s body
  • withdrawing blood, such as in a blood test
  • blood cupping

The Mind:

  • intending to break one’s fast but not actually doing it

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya; Shurunbulali Imdad al-Fattah]

What are the Acts That Are Disliked While Fasting?

  • tasting or chewing something without an excuse, provided that its flavor is not swallowed
  • chewing flavorless gum
  • kissing with desire in which one fears falling into sexual intercourse or ejaculation, on the condition one did not swallow the other’s saliva
  • gathering saliva in the mouth and then swallowing it
  • to gargle excessively when making wudu or ghusl for fear of breaking the fast
  • to sniff water excessively when cleaning the nose in wudu or ghusl for fear of breaking the fast
  • doing things that would weaken one while fasting, like cupping or withdrawing blood
  • brushing the teeth with toothpaste or using mouthwash, on the condition one does not swallow it

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya; Shurunbulali Imdad al-Fattah]

Can I Be Affectionate With My Spouse While Fasting?

There are different rulings related to this question due to the various ways one can be affectionate.

Physical Contact that Does Not Vitiate the Fast:

  • Non-passionate kissing in which one is free from swallowing the saliva of one’s spouse and free from the fear of falling into sexual intercourse or ejaculation
  • Non-passionate touching in which one is free from the fear of falling into sexual intercourse or ejaculation, such as hugging or holding hands
  • Looking at one’s spouse, even if one ejaculates

Physical Contact that Does Not Vitiate the Fast But Is Prohibitively Disliked and Sinful:

  • Kissing with desire in which one fears falling into sexual intercourse or ejaculation
  • Touching with desire in which one fears falling into sexual intercourse or ejaculation
  • Anything sexual that one fears will lead to sexual intercourse or ejaculation

Physical Contact that Vitiates the Fast And Requires Makeup Only:

  • Ejaculation from masturbation*
  • Kissing and touching (i.e. no actual penetration took place) that causes ejaculation*

Physical Contact that Vitiates the Fast and Requires Makeup and Expiation**:

  • Deliberate passionate kissing that causes one to swallow the saliva of one’s spouse*
  • Deliberate sexual intercourse in one of the private parts with ejaculation*
  • Deliberate sexual intercourse in one of the private parts without ejaculation*

*The person who involved himself in the above-mentioned situations should refrain from eating, drinking, and sexual activity for the remainder of that day, as well as repenting for the severity of the sin.

**Outside the month of Ramadan, if one breaks a fast deliberately through these acts, then the expiation is not required.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya]

What is the I’tikaf (Spiritual Retreat)?

The mother of the believers, Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) said, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) would always perform I’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan until Allah Most High took his soul (Allah bless him and give him peace).” [Bukhari]

The scholar al-Zahidi said, “It is strange how the people have left performing the I’tikaf. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) performed some actions and left them, but he never left the I’tikaf–from the time he entered Medina to the moment he died (Allah bless him and give him peace).”

The I’tikaf is entering the masjid with the intention to remain there for worship. The masjid must be one where the group prayer is offered for the five obligatory prayers.

The I’tikaf  is permissible if one is free from a state of major ritual impurity, menstruation, and lochia (post-natal bleeding).

The conditions for a valid vowed I’tikaf (see definition below) are 1) the intention, 2) to be Muslim, 3) sanity, and 4) to be free from menstruation and lochia (post-natal bleeding).

[Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya]

What Are the Types of I’tikaf?

1. Necessary (wajib): the vowed I’tikaf

The vowed I’tikaf  is an oath to make i`tikaf for a specified time. It must be at least an entire day and night. One is obliged to fast during it in order for the vowed I’tikaf to count.

2. Emphasized sunna: the last ten days and nights of Ramadan

Performing I’tikaf in the last ten days and nights of Ramadan is a strongly emphasized communal sunna. It is blameworthy upon the community as a whole to not perform the I’tikaf. If some people perform the I’tikaf and others do not, then they raise the blameworthiness from the entire community.

The scholars do not stipulate that one must fast during the emphasized sunna I’tikaf because it is performed during Ramadan and the assumption is that the person will be fasting anyway.

3. Recommended: any times other than the aforementioned

For the recommended I’tikaf, its minimum duration is a moment, even if it’s when one passes through the mosque. Fasting is not a condition for the recommended I’tikaf.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya]

Can a Woman Perform I’tikaf?

Yes, a woman can perform I’tikaf.

A woman’s I’tikaf is best performed in the prayer area of her house. The prayer area is the place where she has designated to pray her obligatory and nafl prayers.

It is disliked for a woman to perform I’tikaf in the masjid.

It is not valid for men to perform I’tikaf  in other than the masjid.

[Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya]

Can One Leave the Masjid During I’tikaf?

Leaving the masjid without an excuse ends the I’tikaf. This ruling also applies to a woman performing I’tikaf in the prayer area of her house. If one does leave because of an excuse, the excuse must be due to a shariah-compliant need, or to use the restroom if unable to use the masjid facilities, or out of necessity. [Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah]

What Does a Person Do During I’tikaf?

One is encouraged to busy oneself with worship and anything beneficial, such as praying, reciting the Qur’an, making much dhikr, speaking of the good, and gaining beneficial knowledge.

A person performing I’tikaf can eat, drink, sleep, talk, and do everything that is normally permissible, except for sexual intercourse, kissing, and touching with desire. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Iydah]

Allah Most High says, “And do not approach your women while you are performing the spiritual retreat in the masjids.” [al-Baqara, v. 187] Engaging in these acts end the I’tikaf whether inside or outside of the masjid. For example, if one left the masjid for a shariah-compliant need and fell into sexual intercourse with one’s spouse, then this act ends the I’tikaf.  Engaging in these actions end the I’tikaf, regardless of whether one did them during the day or the night.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Tahtawi, Hashiyya al-Tahtawi; Shurunbulali Imdad al-Fattah]

During the I’tikaf, it is disliked to believe that remaining silent is a form of worship. It is also disliked to engage in work or trade. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Iydah]

May Allah accept our fasts and any act of worship that we perform for His sake.

Ustadha Umm Ihsan is a female student of Islamic knowledge from the US. She studies with leading Hanafi scholars from Syria and elsewhere.

SeekersHub Answers | Missing Fasts Because of Exams

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Asalam ‘alaykum

I am studying at university . My exams will be occurring during the month of Ramadan.I am concerned that fasting will affect my exam performance because of the difficulty to fast in summer and was wondering is there any way I could miss those fasts and make them up later. 

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

No, you cannot miss your fasts.

Fasting is a duty for the believers. Whoever misses it without genuine excuse doesn’t understand what that means nor what is going on. Mercy and blessings flow down upon the obedient, worshipful servant, and such are the believers whom Allah loves.

Allah Most High says, “And whoever is mindful of Allah, He will grant them a way out, and will provide for them in ways unimagined. And whoever places their trust in Allah, then Allah is their sufficiency. Allah’s affair will surely come to pass–and Allah has made a clear decree for everything.” [65.2-3]

If there is taqwa, there is assistance. If there is taqwa, there is an opening, there is light, there is success. Missing fasts and disobeying Allah in the hope of succeeding in this world is folly. Whoever makes Allah their priority, He suffices them from their other concerns.

Focus, work hard, eat and drink well, get enough rest, and pray at night when others are asleep, asking Allah for success and facilitation, and pray the Prayer of Need [see: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?] before each exam. This is the way of the strong believers.

May Allah bless your efforts and facilitate success for you in this life and the next.

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

 

SeekersHub Answers | Do Insulin Injections Nullify the Fast?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam Alaikum ,

Although Glucose drips are injected through the arm or bloodstream it still provides nourishment. Would insulin injections nullify the fast?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

Injections do not invalidate the fast, irrespective of the substance they contain.

A drip takes the same ruling. The entrance of something through a recognized entry point invalidates the fast.

Please see: The Complete Guide to Fasting and: “Principles on What Invalidates the Fast”

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

SeekersHub Answers | Is It Obligatory to Complete Recitation of Quran in Ramadan?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Is it compulsory for every Muslim to complete recitation of the Qur’an at least once in the month of Ramadan? I ask because sometimes it is difficult to complete the Qur’an due to being busy.

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

It is recommended, but not obligatory, for those able to complete the Quran in Ramadan to do so.

If difficult for one:

a) one should strive to read as much as one can in an effective and moving manner (such that one reads with reflection);

b) one should try to listen to as much Qur’an as one can, while maintaining at least minimum attentiveness to the recitation. There is great merit, reward, and benefit in listening to the Qur’an.

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

Please see Book of Virtues (180-231) – Recitation of the Qur’an (180-184) Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous) by Al-Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya bin Sharaf An-Nawawi Ad-Dimashqi

SeekersHub Answers | What Should I Do If I Was Taking Medication During Ramadan?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam aleykum

I have been in a lot pain recently and had to miss some days of Ramadan because of pain medication. On some days, I would take pain medicine once after sunrise but before noon and then continue with my fast. Should I make up these days?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

You must make up all the fasts you invalidated. This includes those invalidated by taking medication during the fasting hours.

Make the intention to make up a fast before Fajr on the day you wish to fast, and then do so.

In future, you should consult with an expert doctor to see if it is possible to take an alternative medicine, or at least to be able to take the medicine outside the fasting hours.

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

SeekersHub Answers | Is It Permissible to Avoid Inhaling Water in Nose for Wudu While Fasting?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

When fasting I don’t inhale water into my nose during wudu, I just wash my nose by putting water into it without inhaling it. Is it ok?

Also are my previous fasts valid as before I always sniffed water when doing wudu?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

Yes, your previous fasts are valid.

In general, it is a sunna to exaggerate the washing of the [mouth and] nose. However, this is not the case when fasting due to the fear of vitiating your fast.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Exaggerate in washing the nose except if you are fasting.” [Abu Dawud]

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

Please also see: The Complete Guide to Fasting

And consider taking the following free class at SeekersHub: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Basic Hanafi Jurisprudence (STEP)

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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