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Fasting in Islam

Posted on: 01 February 2013
  1. What do you mean by the observation of Fasts ?
  2. On whom is the observation of fasts obligatory?
  3. Under what circumstances can one defer the observation of fasts ?
  4. Under what circumstances should a woman postpone the observation of fasts?
  5. Why is the observation of fasts obligatory during the month of Ramadan ?
  6. Can we spread our the period of fasting and complete the observation of fasts for the required number of days -29 or 30, as the case may be - at any time during the year ?
  7. What is the real significance of fasting ?
  8. What should be done if one does not observe a fast without any cogent reason on any day during the month of Ramadan ?
  9. What are the main obligatory factors for the proper observation of fasts ?
  10. What is the usual form of Niyyat for fasting during the month of Ramadan ?
  11. When should one conceive the Niyyat or give utterance to it ?
  12. What are the main optional for (Sunnat) for the observation of fast ?
  13. What is the penalty for doing anything that makes a fast void without any cogent reason ?
  14. Is fast made void if by mistake one does something that makes it so under the impression that one is not observing a fast ?

1 What do you mean by the observation of Fasts ?

By observation of Fasts I mean the act of abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking anything whatsoever to enter into what is understood to be the interior of the body, as also voluntary vomiting, self-pollution, sexual intercourse, etc.

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2 On whom is the observation of fasts obligatory?

Men and women too old and feeble to bear the hardships of a fast are exempted, but they should feed a poor and needy Muslim to satiation twice a day, or pay the amount of one Sadaq-ul-Fitr for every day.

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3 Under what circumstances can one defer the observation of fasts ?

One can defer the observation of fasts if:

  1. One is so sick that the observation of fast is likely to increase his or her sickness.
  2. A woman who is suckling a child, and there is a danger of reduction in the supply of milk if she observes fasts.
  3. a traveler who has reason to fear that observing of fasts will make him or her unable to prosecute the journey.

Note:- As soon as one is relieved of the respective disabilities, one must observe the fasts immediately.

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4 Under what circumstances should a woman postpone the observation of fasts ?

A woman should postpone the observation of fasts during the period of menses and when she is in the family way.

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5 Why is the observation of fasts obligatory during the month of Ramadan ?

The observation of fasts is obligatory in the month of Ramadan because it is the blessed month of the year during which Holy Quran was revealed.

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6 Can we spread our the period of fasting and complete the observation of fasts for the required number of days -29 or 30, as the case may be - at any time during the year ?

No. The Holy Quran enjoins upon Muslims to observe the fasts consecutively for 29 or 30 days, as the case may be, during the month of Ramadan alone. Besides, the main purpose for which the observation of fasts has been made obligatory will not be served if the period were spread out, for the training that one receives for fearing with thirst and hunger, and incidentally realizing the distress of the starving poor and sympathizing with and helping them would not be acquired.

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7 What is the real significance of fasting ?

The real significance of fasting consists in the habit of self control that it fosters and develops and thus enables one to save oneself from being an easy victim to temptation, and consequently minimizing the chances of committing sins. This in its turn turn will make the practice of virtue easier and lead one nearer to the Kingdom of Allah.

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8 What should be done if one does not observe a fast without any cogent reason on any day during the month of Ramadan ?

If one does not fast on any day during the month of Ramadan without any cogent reason, one will be committing a sin, but all the same he or she must fast on some other day to make up for the omission.

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9 What are the main obligatory factors for the proper observation of fasts ?

The main obligatory factors for the proper observation of fasts are:

  1. Conception or utterance of Niyyat, i.e., intention to fast.
  2. Abstinence from all things that would nullify the fast from break of dawn to sunset.

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10 What is the usual form of Niyyat for fasting during the month of Ramadan ?

The usual form of Niyyat for fasting during the month of Ramadan is:

Nawaitu sauma ghaidin 'an ada'i fardi Ramadana hazihis-sanati lillahi ta'ala.
i.e., 'I intend to fast for this day in order to perform my duty towards Allah in the month of Ramadan of the present year.'

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11 When should one conceive the Niyyat or give utterance to it ?

The Niyyat, (i.e., the intention) should be conceived or given utterance to for each day preferably before the break of dawn, if not, at any time before the midday, if in the meanwhile one has maintained the state of fasting from the time of dawn.

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12 What are the main optional for (Sunnat) for the observation of fast ?

The main optionals for the observation of fasts are:

  1. Partaking of meals before the break of dawn.
  2. Eating of three dates and drinking of water after sunset for signifying the end of the fast
  3. And reciting, prior to breaking the fast, the du'a :

Allahumma laka sumtu wa 'ala rizqika aftartu.
i.e., 'Oh Allah! for Thy sake have I faster, and (now) I break the fast with the food that comes from Thee !

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13 What is the penalty for doing anything that makes a fast void without any cogent reason ?

The penalty for doing anything that makes a fast void without any cogent reason is to observe sixty consecutive fasts or feed sixty persons besides observing the fast in place of one which he or she has deliberately made void.

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14 Is fast made void if by mistake one does something that makes it so under the impression that one is not observing a fast ?

No. If anyone by mistake does something that makes a fast void under the impression that one is not observing a fast, the fast in not nullified, provided one stops doing it the moment one recollects the same.

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