“O Believers, fasting is prescribed upon you just as it was prescribed upon those before you, so that you may attain Taqwa” (Surah Baqarah)
The virtues of the month of Ramadan are well known to Muslims with fasting being the main Ibadah. It is mentioned in a Hadith, “Whoever fasts in Ramadan out of faith and with the hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Bukhari)
In this auspicious month, Allah Ta'ala forgives sins, the gates of heaven are opened, the gates of hell are closed, the devils are chained up and in it is a blessed night which is better than 1000 months (83 years and 4 months).
Due to blessings of Ramadan, a Muslim experiences a refreshment of faith and a renewed vigour to do good deeds. This is facilitated through obligatory fasting during the day and recitation of the Quran in Taraweeh prayers at night.
Importance of Fasting
In Islam, fasting means to refrain from eating, drinking and cohabitation from Subh Sadiq (pre-dawn) to sunset with the intention of observing fast.
Observing the fast of Ramadan is a fundamental tenet of lslam. The person who denies the obligation of fast in this month does not remain a Muslim. A person who does not observe the fast is guilty of a major sin and is deprived of great blessings.
Miscellaneous Rules of Fasting
1. Fasting is obligatory upon every sane adult Muslim male and female in the month of Ramadan. It is not obligatory for a minor to fast, however, they should be encouraged to fast from the age of seven
2. The fast commences from early dawn and terminates at sunset
3. It is highly recommended (Sunnah) to partake of some meal before dawn - this meal is known as "Suhoor/Sehri”
4. The fasting person should break his fast at sunset, preferably with dates or a drink of water
5. In the event of a fast breaking accidently or by mistake, it is compulsory (wajib) to remain in the state of fasting till sunset. The broken fast must be kept after Ramadan
6. Applying eye drops or surmah into the eyes does not break the fast
Factors that Nullify the Fast
The fast will be nullified in the following instances and only Qaza becomes necessary :
1. Vomiting a mouthful intentionally and willfully or returning vomit down the throat in-voluntarily
2. Pouring medicine/oil into the nose or the ear
3. Letting water down the throat whilst gargling (whilst being conscious of the fast)
4. Deliberately eating, thinking that one's fast has been broken, after one has mistakenly eaten
5. Eating particles of food stuck between the teeth, provided the substance is the size of a grain or larger. If the particles of food stuck between the teeth are taken out of the mouth and eaten again, the fast will break, irrespective of the size of the particle
6. Swallowing such things that are not normally eaten e.g. wood, iron, cloth, etc.
7. Letting the smoke of incense sticks/cigarettes, etc., pass intentionally through the mouth or the nose
8. If someone thrusts something into the mouth of a fasting person and this goes down his throat
9. Swallowing blood (discharged from the mouth), if the quantity is equal to or greater than the saliva
10. Partaking of Sehri after dawn, thinking it is still night and breaking the fast (Iftar) thinking that the sun has already set when in actual fact the sun had not
The fast will be nullified in the following instances and Qaza and Kaffarah become necessary:
Intentionally eating, drinking and to have intercourse
N.B. Kaffarah is the penalty which the Shariah imposes upon a Believer for flagrant violation of the sanctity of fasting during the month of Ramadan.
Kaffarah is fulfilled by:
1. Fasting for two months consecutively, and if one does not have the strength to fast, then
2. feeding sixty poor and hungry persons two meals, or feeding one person two meals a day for sixty days
Some undesirable acts whilst fasting
1. To chew gum or similar substance and to clean the teeth with toothpaste or tooth- powder. It is permissible to use Miswak whilst fasting.
2. To indulge in unnecessary conversation, back-biting, slanderous and abusive utterances.
3. To collect one's saliva and swallow it.
4. Delaying deliberately the obligatory bath for ritual purity
5. To use excess water while cleaning the nose or throat.
Factors that exempt a person from fasting in Ramadan
1 Being on a Shari journey
3. Weakness and old age
The missed fast must be kept once a person is able to.
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