In the name of ALLAH, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So, whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan, i.e., is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and he does not want to make things difficult to you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.”
Miscellaneous Explications for Diversified issues
1. Fasting is compulsory upon every adult, sane and healthy Muslim.
2. It is not obligatory for minor children to fast. However, it is preferable to encourage them to fast as they are able to do so, in order for them to become accustomed to it from an early age
3. A person who is chronically ill and fears that by fasting, he will suffer further difficulty, or make his illness worse, then it is not necessary for him to fast. Rather he has to make up for those days once he is relieved.
4. The same rule is true for women who are pregnant, or breast feeding, or if she fears for herself, or for her infant. Such decisions are to be based upon the expert advice of an honest doctor. They are permitted to break the fast, but later, they have to make up for such missed fasts.
5. A woman in her menstruation or postnatal period is exempt from fasting. The postnatal period occurs after childbirth, lasting until the moment the bleeding ceases, the maximum period being forty days. Whenever her bleeding ceases, her cleanliness begins, then she takes a complete bath and performs the prayer or observes fasting accordingly. It is necessary for those who were in menstruation or postnatal period to make up for the missed fasts.
6. Those who are physically incapable of fasting, such as the chronically or terminally ill, or those suffering from senility, such are permitted to break the fast. However, later they have to feed a poor person for every missed day. In other words, their expiation of feeding the needy is equal to observing the fast.
7. Similarly, one who is insane, in a coma, unconscious, or very old- having lost the faculty of sensation, or those who suffer from psychosis or other mental disorders. These are exempt from the fast.
8. Those in extreme conditions or in emergency situations, such as those swimming into deep bodies of water or rescuing victims of fire, they are also permitted to break their fast. This is especially the case when their life saving mission is impossible while fasting. However, they have to make up for these fasts later.
9. A traveler, who suffers from the length of the journey, is also allowed to break his fast, but he has to make up for his missed days Similarly, those involved in the permanent duty of continuous traveling, such as drivers of railway and bus transportation, or those executives who travel from one city to another every day. These are also permitted to break their fast, but they have to be made up for later. Such eligibility applies whether their journey is frequent or not. Nevertheless, they are not completely excused from fasting; rather it is obligatory for them to complete the fasts of Ramadan. If they are not able to observe fasting in Ramadan due to their journey, they must make up for those missed days outside of Ramadan.
The Essential Elements of the Fast
1. The Intention
In the case of the obligatory fast, the intention must be made the night before the fast begins. Allah’s Messenger said:
“Whoever does not determine to fast before the dawn, his fasting is null and void.” (Ahmad and the Four Sunan Compilers, graded authentic by Shaikh Al-Albani in Sahih Al Jami ‘As-Saghir, No. 6539)
Every Muslim must make his intention at night to observe his fasting from early morning the next day, in addition to taking his pre-dawn meal (Suhoor).
2. Duration of the Fast
Its duration is from dawn to sunset. Before the dawn (Fajr), one has to take his pre-dawn mean (Suhoor) and anstain from everything that invalidates the fast until sunset.
3. Pre-dawn Meal (Suhoor)
Some people are not serious about the pre-dawn meal, since either they have an adequate dinner at night before going for a deep sleep, or they have a meal during the middle of the night. Either choice is wrong. Allah's Messenger said:
“The difference between our fasting and that of the people of the Scriptures is the Suhoor (Pre- dawn meal).” (Muslim)
This is because the People of the Book do not eat the pre-dawn meal, while Muslims regularly take the pre-dawn meal. Therefore, taking the pre-dawn meal is essential. Therefore, Allah's Messenger has signified it by describing the pre-dawn meal as a “blessed provision.” (Abu Dawud)
In another Hadith, Allah's Messenger said:
“Taking the pre-dawn meal in Ramadan is a blessing, so do not leave it, even by drinking a mouthful water. For Allah the Noble and the Mighty, and His angels send blessing over those who have taken the pre-dawn meal.” (Ahmad, graded authentic by Shaikh Al-Albani in Sahih Al-Jami ´ As- Saghir, No. 3683)
Allah and His angels send blessing' signifies that Allah sends His Grace, Honor, Blessings, and Merey on him, and His angels ask Allah to bless and forgive him.
4. Hasten to break the Fasting
Hastening to breaking the fast, without delay is from the Sunnah of the Prophet, Hastening means to break the fast immediately after sunset without any further delay.
“People will continue to adhere to good as long as they hasten break the fast.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
5. How to break the Fast
“Allah's Messenger used to break his fast before Maghrib (sunset) prayer with three fresh dates; if there were no fresh dates, he would eat three dry dates; and if there were no dry dates, he would take three draughts of water.” (Abu Dawud and others, graded authentic by Shaikh Al-Albani in Sahih Al-Jami ´ As-Saghir, No.4995)
6. Times responding to the Supplication
Those believers who strive and control themselves, abstaining from those things restricted, such as food, drink, and sexual desire, all day long, to attain the Pleasure of Allah, will definitely have a special status with Allah. Thus, responding to his invocation when breaking his fast is more likely to occur. Allah's Messenger said:
“The supplication of a fasting person upon breaking his fast will not be rejected.” (Ibn Majah, graded authentic by Shaikh Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah, No. 1432)
7. What to Supplicate upon breaking the Fast?
There is a well-known invocation related in the hadith in this respect.
“Allahumma laka sumtu wa-‘ala Rizqika Aftartu.”
(O Allah! For You I have observed fasting and with Your provisions do I break my fasting).
A second supplication is “Allahumma laka sumtu, wa bika amantu, wa-‘alaika tawakkaltu, wa ‘ala rizqika aftartu.”
(O Allah! For you I have observed fasting and in You I have believed and upon You I have relied, and with Your provisions do I break my fasting).
8. Reward for helping Others to break their Fast
Allah's Messenger said:
“He who provides a fasting person something with which to break his fast, and he who equips a fighter (in the way of Allah with arms, etc.) will learn the same reward as the one who was doing it.” (At-Tirmidi, graded authentic by Shaikh Al-Albabi in Sahih At-Targhib, No.1072)
9. Shunning Evil Deeds
A fasting person must abstain from the following evil deeds and speech:
i. False speech
Allah's Messenger said:
“Whosoever doesn’t give up speaking falsely, and acting on those lies and evil action, Allah does not care for his abstaining from eating and drinking (i.e., Allah will not accept his fasting).” (Al-Bukhari)
ii. Vain speech and foul Language
Allah's Messenger said:
“Fasting is not just (abstaining from) eating and drinking, but fasting is also (refraining) from vain speech (Laghw) and foul (or obscene) language (Rafath). If one you is being verbally abused or annoyed, he should say: ‘I am fasting.’” (Al-Bayhaqi in his Sunan, Ibn Khuzaymah in his Sahih, Al-Hakim and others. It was graded authentic by Shaikh Al-Albani in Sahih Al-Jami ‘ As Saghir, no.5376
Permissible things for fasting Person
It is permissible to observe fasting after taking one’s pre-dawn meal while one is in a state sexual impurity. However, it is imperative that such person take a full bath to offer the prayer. Narrated ‘Aishah:
“Allah's Messenger would wake up at Fajr (dawn) in a state of sexual impurity after having intercourse with his wives. So, he would then take a bath and observe fasting.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
It is allowed to clean the mouth using the Miswak (tooth-stick). There is no harm for the fasting person to sniff water into his nose to rinse it out, if they take care not to let the water reach too far inside the nose. In a normal state, there is nothing wrong in overdoing such sniffing. Allah's Messenger said:
“And if not fasting, sniff water up well inside the nose.” (authenticated by Shaikh Al-Albani)
It is allowed to kiss one’s wife while fasting as well as to embrace her.
It is learnt from hadith that kissing and fondling one’s wife is permissible even if one is fasting. However, this is exclusively limited to those who have self-control and restrain during such passionate moments. Nevertheless, contemporary scholars hold the firm view that if the fasting person is young, then it is undesirable to kiss or fondle his wife while fasting. In case of older individuals, such acts are acceptable. The reason for this distinction is obvious in the case of youths, since the danger of exceeding the boundaries of excitement is more likely than in the case of the more mature person.
Medicinal injections are allowed for the fasting person, as long as such injections are not food or nourishment substitutes. This type of injection should strictly be for medical treatment only. It does not matter if the injection was intravenous or underneath the skin, as it does not reach the stomach through the customary manner (that food does).
Similarly, in a state of fasting, it is permissible to use cupping to drain blood. That is, the process of drawing blood to the surface of the skin by creating a vacuum at that point. Having one’s teeth removed is also permissible.
“The prophet has himself cupped when he was fasting.” (Al-Bukhari)
Applying kohl and eyeliner into eyes, dropping some medicine into eyes or ears, are also permissible, even while fasting, whether some taste from it finds its way to the throat or not. One’s fasting is not invalidated by these actions.
Actions that void Fast
1. Intentional eating or drinking is among the things that invalidate the fast. Meanwhile, if somebody eats or drink forgetfully, or he is forced to do so, then he should complete his fasting. Allah’s Messenger said:
“If somebody cats or drink forgetfully, then he should complete his fasting, for what he has eaten or drank, has actually been given to him by Allah.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
2. Intentional vomiting: if a fasting person intentionally vomits, his fasting will be void. However, if one unintentionally vomits, his fast is valid. Allah’s Messenger said:
“Whoever is overcome and vomits is not to make up for the day, and whoever vomits intentionally must make up for the day.” (Related by the Four Sunnah Compilers and others, authenticated by Shaikh Al-Albani in sahih Al-Jami ‘As-Saghir, No.6243)
3. Sexual intercourse with the wife: if a fasting person purposefully has sexual intercourse, his fast will be null and void and he must make up for the day later, as well as paying the expiation for it. This expiation is to free a slave, observe fast for two successive months, or feed sixty of the poor. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
4. If things like gulcose, blood or any type of foodstuff reach one’s stomach, then the fast is invalidated. This is because one has taken them intentionally for consumption.
5. Menstruation and post-childbirth bleeding invalidate the fast.
6. Purposeful ejaculation of semen invalidates one’s fast. Unintentional ejaculation which occurs by a wet dream will not invalidate the fast, because this action is something beyond one’s control and choice, contrary to the former case.
7. In the case when someone has lost blood due to an injury or wound, if he is given blood to replenish his blood supply, then his fast will be broken. However, the mere loss of blood does not break the fast.
Issues related to making up for the Fast
1. The first category includes the sick, or one traveling, or in a period of menstruation and post-childbirth bleeding. Then they should hasten to make up for missed days of fasting immediately after Ramadan. It is not necessary that they be made up in successive days.
2. Whoever died and missed some obligatory prayers, and then there is no making up for those missed prayers. Similarly, if a person becomes too weak to fast, he must feed an indigent for each missed day during his lifetime. However, making up for those missed days is not required.
3. Whoever made a vow, swearing to fast, but was unable to do so during his lifetime, his heirs must fulfill the vow for him. Allah’s Messenger said: