Fatawa >Section Three:FASTING
Section Three:FASTING (SAWM)--chapter one :Fasting the Month of Ramadhan
Sawm (fasting) means abstaining or refraining from doing anything
including refraining from speech. Allah, the Exalted said, "..Then
if you see any mortal, say: Surely I have vowed a fast to the
Beneficent God, so I shall not speak to any man today"
however, it means abstaining from certain things such as food and
drink and others during a given time, as will be discussed, Inshallah.
certain occasions, on top of which is the month of Ramadhan, is
coSection Three:FASTINGING (SAWM)--chapter one :Fasting the Month of Ramadhan
on Three:FASTING (SAWM)--chapter one :Fasting the Month of Ramadhan
red among the most important obligations, as stipulated by
Shari’a. It is one of the five pillars of Islam.
obligation is one of the Religion’s fundamental truths. Whomsoever
rebels against it would be deemed kafir (irreligious or unbeliever(.
However, whoever recognizes it to be an obligatory devotion, yet shows
disobedience by not fasting without an admissible excuse would be
blameworthy in this life and in the Hereafter, unless they repented.
fasting the month of Ramadhan requires the mukallaf to be in a state
of taharah from janabah, to abstain from food and drink, and to be
mindful of other things called "invalidators of fast" which
we will be discussing later. The fast period is from dawn till sunset,
i.e. from the start of subh prayer to the start of maghrib.
In making niyyah
for fasting, the mukallaf should be seeking closeness (qurbah) to
Allah. Fasting the days of Ramadhan, as we have described, starts from
the first day till the last one, at the end of which the moon of
Shawwal will have been born. The first day of Shawwal marks the
festive season, i.e. Eidul Fitr.
Being a lunar
month, Ramadhan may consist of thirty or twenty nine days. It is
widely the view in scholastic and juridical circles that it cannot be
less than twenty nine days.
Just as prayer
may be performed ada’ or qadha’, fasting follows the same rules.
Should the worshipper miss the opportunity of fasting the month of
Ramadhan, they can do so after it has ended. Fasting may become
obligatory on the worshipper not in the context of the month of
Ramadhan, rather as a kaffarah, hence the name "kaffarah
fasting", or fasting in fulfilment of a vow ( or oath ) and so
Above all, it is
a mustahab kind of worship in all days, although certain days and
months of the calendar are stressed more to fast than others.
Therefore, voluntary fasting during Rajab and Sha’ban is more
superior to fasting in the other months.
Sometimes it is
unlawful to fast on certain days, such as the first day of Eidul Fitr.
We shall be discussing, in some detail, the rules regulating all types
When is it obligatory to
the month of Ramadhan?
It is obligatory
on every soul, capable of meeting the requirements, stated below to
observe fasting during the month of Ramadhan:
2 a. Adulthood;
this is one of the general conditions for making the mukallaf
duty-bound to observe fast; thus it is not obligatory on the person
who has not attained adulthood to fast; but if they did they will be
rewarded; if such a person attain adulthood not before dawn but after
it, they are not required to abstain from food and drink that day, nor
are they required to compensate for it by way of qadha’. Should the
person who we have just described voluntarily fast that day, i.e. when
they attained adulthood, they can continue their fast, in which case
it will be accepted; they are therefore not required to compensate for
it by way of qadha’. Moreover, they are free not to fast that day.
3. b. Reason;
this is also one of the general requirements for making the mukallaf
duty-bound to observe fast; thus it is not obligatory on an insane
person to observe fast. In order for the obligation to continue the
sanity of the mukallafs must endure till the end of the day. Even if
they lose their sanity temporarily that day, they should be absolved
of the responsibility of fasting it. Should the illness of such a
persons persist until after dawn, only to recover during the day, the
sick persons should not abstain from food and drink, nor are they
required to compensate for it by way of qadha.
4. c. The
mukallafs should not sustain loss of consciousness before they make
niyyah for fasting. If unconsciousness befell them ahead of a new day
without letup until after dawn broke, it is not obligatory on them to
fast that day, even if they regain consciousness at any stage of it.
persons make niyyah to fast the next day, only to fall victim to
unconsciousness and come around after a while during the day, they are
required to maintain their fast; fasting that day shall count as part
of obligatory fasting.
The same applies
to the person who started their day fasting, then became unconscious
for an hour or so.
5. d. Women have
to be in a state of taharah from the blood of haydh or nifas
throughout the day. Even if bleeding ceases at the first second after
dawn, they are not required to fast that day. Should bleeding start a
second before sunset of the day, fasting on that day is not
obligatory. Therefore, what makes fasting obligatory depends to a
large extent on the woman being free from the bleeding of haydh or
nifas throughout the day of fast. Should the woman fast the day while
still not in a state of taharah, albeit for part of the day, such a
fast is not called for at the outset; this, though, will not absolve
her from the responsibility of compensatory fast .
Safeguarding against harming oneself; should the mukallaf not be
immune of harm which may be triggered by fasting, they are not
required to fast. All people, who fear that fasting may cause them to
be sick, or worsen or complicate a current illness they are suffering
from, or they may be reeling from a sickness that had its toll on them
so much so that they become frail, are allowed not to fast. Thus,
fasting is not obligatory on them.
every adverse effect on health or sickness that may be precipitated by
fast would necessarily allow non-fasting or absolve the mukallaf from
the responsibility of fasting. Therefore, common ailments, such as
headache, slight fever, mild tonsillitis, mild eye or ear infections
should not warrant breaking one’s fast. But, if such ailments take a
turn to the worse which normally cause sensible people to take
precautions against, the obligation to fast is waived.
the degree of a particular health problem is a relative matter, i.e.
it varies from one individual to the other; for example a slight rise
in the temperature of a person who is already weakened by illness may
7. Should a
person who is not feeling well be aware that fasting will not do him
any harm, neither would it delay his recovery, he is required to fast.
8. Fear of
harming oneself because of fasting may vary. You may be either sure
that harm will come your way, or you may think so, or there may be a
chance that fasting will affect your health, or there may be a less
than 50% chance of damage to one’s health; yet it is sufficient to
cause alarm, such as fearing for one’s eye sight, albeit there may
be only 30% chance of harm; or in a fifth case, there may be very
slight chance which does not pose any cause for alarm.
In the first
four examples, there is a case for not fasting. In the fifth, not
fasting is not permissible; it becomes obligatory.
9. Should the
worshippers, in the cases where non-fasting is permissible, go ahead
and fast causing harm to themselves, what would become of their fast?
In other words, would it be accepted and, therefore, absolve them from
compensatory fast, or would it be deemed batil and, therefore, require
them to fast in lieu?
A. Such a
fasting will not be accepted; the worshipper cannot be absolved of the
responsibility of fasting qadha’.
10. Should the
worshippers fast in the belief that they are not going to put their
health in harm’s way, only to find out that the damage has been
done. Would fasting in this case be accepted from them and thus
absolve them from the responsibility of compensating for it?
A. Yes, the fast
is valid; they are, therefore, not required to fast in lieu.
11. If the
worshippers fast although they had thought that going ahead with fast
would adversely affect their health, only to find out that it did not,
would their fast be accepted and, therefore, absolve them of the
responsibility of fasting qadha?
A. This fast
should be accepted and no qadha’ is required from the worshipper,
a. the sort of
harm should not be of the category which the mukallafs are debarred
from embarking on to start with, and are liable for punishment if they
flouted the law.
b. The type of
fast they observed is one that they embarked on with niyyah of qurbah,
such as they may be ignorant of the law that makes it unlawful for the
sick to fast; conversely, they cannot put this aside and make niyyah
of qurbah, although they are certain of their ill health.
worshippers may wake up after dawn has broken while they are nursing a
sickness of the sort that allows them not to fast. They did not do
anything that might have invalidated fast, only to get better during
the day. Such, worshippers are not required to make neither a fresh
niyyah, nor abstain [from food and drink]; furthermore their fast is
null and void and are therefore required to compensate for it by way
their certainty that they are well and fit to fast, worshippers were
advised by competent physicians that fasting would cause them harm.
They are required to comply with the doctor’s advice, although they
are sure that there is no cause for alarm. However, if they discover
for certainty that the doctor was in the wrong, they should ignore his
advice and go ahead with fast.
worshippers may be in a better position than that of the doctor to
judge that their ill heath could further be undermined, if they were
to fast, yet the doctor’s advice to them was assuring, in that
fasting will not cause them any harm. What should they do - act
according to their own urge, or follow the doctor’s advice?
A. They should
act according to what they think best for themselves, unless their
feeling of fear is largely misguided as is generally the case of those
who are apprehensive of the doctor’s advice.
15. f. Fasting
should not lead to putting the worshipper in an untenable situation,
so much so that it may prove a major problem of life. For example,
fasting may prevent them from going about their business or performing
their duties which is the source of their income, in that it may prove
detrimental to one’s physical health which in turn adversely affects
their capacity to work or think straight, or it might cause them
severe thirst of the sort they cannot bear, etc.
In such a case,
it is obligatory on the worshipper to seek an alternative arrangement
with a view to fasting, but without undue difficulty. It could be by
either changing one’s job, postponing it [taking leave], or
depending in sustaining oneself on one’s savings, etc. Failure to
achieve that should absolve them from fasting. However, it is
desirable for such worshippers, as a matter of voluntary obligation,
not to behave as though they are not fasting. They should make do with
the bare minimum which makes them carry out their work without great
difficulty or embarrassment; they are, though, required to compensate
for any missed periods of fast by way of fasting qadha’ where
16. f. The
worshippers should not be on a journey (musafir), or, in a more
precise expression, they should not have become liable for praying
qasr because of taking to the road, i.e. a traveler, or musafir. That
is, a traveller is, [by law], not required to fast. Should he insist
on fasting it will be in vain; consequently, he is not absolved from
the responsibility of fasting by way of qadha’, except for one case:
That is, if he
was ignorant of the law which debars travelers from fasting. Such fast
should be in order, unless they became aware of the legal requirement
during the day. But, even if by coming to know about the law, he
insists on maintaining fast, such fast is batil.
therefore, obligatory on )a( those who stay put in their domicile, )b(
the travelers who are not required to pray qasr, such as )b/1( those
who intend to observe a ten-day stay in one place, )b/2( those whose
work involves travel, )b/3( those who embark on unlawful travel )safaril
ma’siyah(, and )b/4( those who spend at least thirty days in travel
in a particular place without being able to reach a decision whether
to stay[the ten-day period ]or move on.
17. It is
permissible for the worshipper, prior to the advent of Ramadhan or
after its arrival, to embark on travel, even without the need for it
or in a bid not to fast; and although this is permissible, it is bound
to spoil the chance of the worshipper to reap a great reward.
18. Should a
person travel during the day of their fast, does he have to carry on
fasting that day?
A. Should travel
take place, from the periphery of the home town of the worshipper,
before noon, no fasting is required, yet it should be performed by way
of qadha’. This is regardless of whether the decision to travel was
taken overnight or after the breaking of dawn. Nor would it matter, if
the worshipper traveled quite a distance from his town or are still
close to it, so much so that its buildings are still within his
Should he travel
at the afternoon, his fasting that day is obligatory; he has to make
sure, though, that it is over and done.
19. Assume that
the dawn broke while the worshipper was still traveling. On arriving
at his destination, he decided to stay the ten-day period. What should
A. Had this
traveler broken his fast before getting to his hometown [destination],
he would have not been required to fast; he has though to compensate
for that day by way of qadha’ at some other time. Had he not broken
his fast before he got to their destination, he should take one
courses of action, depending on the time of day. If his arrival was
before noon, it is obligatory on him to make niyyah for fast and carry
on thus; this fast would count as obligatory one. Conversely, i.e.
arriving sometime in the afternoon, he is not required to fast and has
to compensate for the day he missed.
happen to a worshipper who starts his day at his hometown, then make a
return journey at the same day before noon?
A. It is most
desirable, as a matter of obligatory precaution, that he should make
niyyah for fasting and do fast, then resort to a measure of voluntary
precaution in fasting that day by way of qadha’.
20. There are
situations where the mukallafs know that a sort of eventuality will
arise that may prevent them from fasting the day, such as haydh, nifas,
sickness, travel, etc. Let us suppose that the mukallafs knew before
hand that such a thing will happen to them, can they not fast that day
ahead of the occurrence?
A. No, it is not
permissible. The mukallaf should embark on fast at the outset until
the development, which would usually absolve the mukallaf of
maintaining fast, actually takes place. So, if a woman knew that her
period would start after an hour, she is not permitted to break her
fast before bleeding starts. The travelers too are not allowed to
break their fast before they have embarked on their journey and
traveled some distance where they cannot see anybody from their place
of domicile, nor can anybody else see them.
21. h. Both men
and women, who have reached old age, say of seventy, that may have
caused them to be frail and consequently find it hard to fast. They
have the choice of either fasting or not observing fast. In case they
choose not to fast, they are required to give fidya, which is three
quarters of a kilo of wheat, bread or any other type of food for every
day of the month of Ramadhan they decide not to fast. This fidya
should be given to the poor. However, such old people are not required
to fast qadha’. Should they reach such a stage of frailty that it
becomes very difficult for them to fast, or that fast would put them
in harm’s way, they are free not to fast and without the need to
give fidya, nor fast in lieu.
22. i. Persons
afflicted with perpetual urge for drinking water , making it rather
difficult for them to fast, are free to fast or not to fast; should
they choose not to fast, they have to give the sort of fidya that has
already been mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Should fast
exasperate their condition, they can be exempt of fast without the
need to give fidya.
23. j. An
expecting mother, who is very close to the date of giving birth,
fearing for the safety of her unborn baby, is permitted not to fast;
she can give fidya instead and fast qadha’ for every day she had
missed. However, if potential harm, of the type which might adversely
affect the mother’s health, was envisaged, she is not required to
fast, nor give fidya, since the fifth of the general requirements of
fast is missing.
24. Just as the
pregnant mother is not required to fast, should doing so put her
unborn child in harm’s way, a nursing mother is worthy of receiving
the same treatment; she can compensate by way of giving fidya and
fasting qadha’. The same rule, of the pregnant mother, applies if
fast would lead to endangering the nursing mother’s health. However,
this is not the case with women who do not breast-feed their babies,
or the baby is bottle-fed; that is, if this was not harmful to their
Obligations During Fasting
fasting the month of Ramadhan is required to fulfill the following:
a. Niyyah; since
fast is an act of worship, there must exist an urge to embark on such
a devotion with the exclusive objective of seeking closeness to Allah,
the exalted. Adhering to the requirements of fast, be they upholding
what is required or abstaining from what is forbidden. As is the case
in other devotions, things that are haraam (forbidden)or batil are
liable to invalidate fast.
26. You may want
to ask: Assuming that niyyah is the catalyst for embarking on any
work; and the niyyah of qurbah means that the command of Allah is the
motivation for taking to such a devotion. Yet, it is rather difficult
to assume it in all the cases of fast. For example, there may be
people who, although observant of fast, they sleep most of the day,
forget about food or drink, or simply shun it altogether. Thus, it
could be said that the rationale behind such a person’s abstaining
from food and drink is not Allah’s injunctions. Would this
A. No, it would
not. It is sufficient for niyyah of qurbah to be countenanced that the
worshipper is simply taking to this act of worship in compliance with
Allah’s command that requires him to abstain from food and drink,
when he is either asleep, unaware, or averse to food and drink. That
is, so long as the worshipper is sure that he is not going to eat and
drink, even if he was not asleep, unaware, or averse to food and
drink, this is good enough a niyyah.
27. For niyyah
to be valid it suffices that the fasting person embarks on fasting the
day from dawn till sunset, provided that he does not have in mind any
type of fast - e.g. kaffarah - other than that of the month of
Ramadhan. Failure to uphold that would result in annulment of both the
28. During the
month of Ramadhan, the niyyah of the fasting person should not be
delayed beyond dawn. There is, however, a number of issues when the
worshipper fails to make niyyah until dawn has broken due to being
asleep, or because of an oversight, and so on. A- If such worshippers
have maintained their abstention from food and drink and found about
the problem before zawaal, they should make the niyyah and carry on
fasting, in which case it will be accepted from them. B- Should this
happen after zawaal, abstaining from food and drink and observing fast
should also be the norm, in which case they have, as a matter of
obligatory precaution, to compensate for the day by way of qadha’.
worshippers either inadvertently or out of ignorance break the state
of maintaining restraint from food and drink, they should act as
though they were fasting; they are therefore required to fast in lieu
Suppose that a
worshipper started his day without the intention to fast. This was a
deliberate act of rebellion against Allah’s injunctions. Later that
day, he went back to his senses and repented; what he is required to
do is to masquerade as a fasting person; accordingly, he should
compensate for that day by fasting at some other time.
29. You may ask:
If it is not permissible to delay making the niyyah until after dawn
has broken, is it permissible to bring it [niyyah] forward, say,
making it overnight?
A. If it is at
all within the capacity of the worshippers and that such a niyyah is
sufficient for them, unless they change their mind, they are permitted
to do so; fasting with such a niyyah is sound. Moreover, even if at
the inception of the month, making one niyyah for fasting the entire
month of Romadham would also do, provided they do not change their
mind. If this has been the case and the worshippers remained, for a
reason or the other, asleep for, say, two days or more, they would
still be considered fasting all the period they remained asleep.
30. Niyyah is
obligatory for fast right from the beginning; continuity is another
prerequisite. Thus, he who intended to break his fast at any day of
Ramadhan, or wavered in continuing with fast, such fast would be
deemed batil. That is, irrespective of this taking place before or
after zawaal. However, he must put a show as though he was fasting,
and fast qadha at some other time. That said, should this person
reconsider his position by going ahead with his fast, provided he did
not take to food and drink, his fast would still be in order; however,
espousing ihtiyat, in carrying on with fast and compensating for it
later, should not be abandoned.
worshipper may apply some sort of medication, say eye drops, only to
grow suspicious that it could detract from his fast. Having
equivocated, he sought advice; he came to know that using eye drops
would not do any harm to one’s fast. Would the period of
equivocation because of doubt render his fast as batil?
equivocation should not render fast null and void, so long as the
worshipper made his niyyah of fast with the belief that the eye drops
would not invalidate it.
32. It is not
necessary for the niyyah of fast that the worshipper is conversant
with all that which may invalidate fast, which he is required to
avoid. It suffices, at the time of holding niyyah, that he finds
himself capable of avoiding those things that would make him break his
fast; that is, coming to know about them gradually, or by avoiding any
thing they suspects might detract from his fast.
Being in a State
of Taharah at the Time(Dawn) of Embarking on Fast
33. b. Should
the worshippers be in a state of janabah, they must perform ghusl
before the onset of dawn (fajr). Should they deliberately and
knowingly avoid ghusl until dawn has broken, they have, as a matter of
ihtiyat, to continue their fast, make up for that day, and pay
34. The same
ruling applies to a worshipper who due to an oversight forgot to
perform ghusl, also on the basis of ihtiyat. However, in their case,
they are not required to pay kaffarah.
35. While still
awake at night, should the worshippers do that which requires them to
perform ghusl, they cannot, as a matter of ihtiyat, go to bed before
having performed ghusl. That is, unless they are used to waking up
before dawn, either as a matter of course or by way of an alarm clock,
to perform ghusl.
overnight, the worshipper was involved in a sexual activity, of the
sort that usually leads to a state of janabah, and slept without the
intention of performing ghusl, until it was dawn, they are treated as
though they deliberately avoided ghusl while still awake.
happen to persons who are not bent on taking ghusl lightly, yet they
are not of the type known to waking up, their way out is to fast as a
precaution measure in the hope that it will be accepted by the
Almighty; they should also resort to ihtiyat wujubi )obligatory
precaution( by fasting qadha’ and paying kaffarah.
happen to a person, who is used to waking up in time to have ghusl by
way of an alarm, yet he could not wake up, his fast remains valid,
i.e. nothing extra is required from him.
waking up happens in between, ]i.e. before the start of fast[, the
worshipper should not go back to sleep, unless he is absolutely sure
that he is not going to be denied the opportunity of having ghusl in
time. If by going back to sleep second time round he takes a chance of
waking up again to perform ghusl, yet this did not materialize, he has
to hold his fast and compensate for the missed day by way of fasting
qadha’, as a matter of obligatory precaution; he is not required to
pay kaffarah though. The same applies, if the waking up and going back
to sleep recurred more than twice.
37. Should the
state of janabah come about as a result of having a dream and extend
till dawn, the fast in such a case is valid. However, should the
worshippers wake up from their sleep and find out about the
occurrence, it is desirable for them, as a matter of ihtiyat, not to
go back to sleep before they performed ghusl. That is, unless they are
confident that they are not going to let the opportunity of performing
ghusl slip away.
the worse happen, in that they could not wake up second time round,
they are better advised to hold their fast and fast in lieu; they are,
though, not required to pay kaffarah.
happen to a worshipper who is not used waking up in time to do what is
required of them, his cue is [to do all three], i.e. stick to his
fast, compensate for the missed day, and pay kaffarah; that is based
couples are not allowed to engage in sexual union closer to the small
hours of the night, i.e. closest to dawn, in which case they could be
left with no time to have ghusl. Should this happen, by either
deliberately flouting the law or inadvertently, they are required to
perform tayamum instead of ghusl. In so doing their fast would be
valid; they are however not required to stay awake until the onset of
dawn. Should they neglect performing tayamum until it was dawn, they
should resort to ihtiyat by holding their fast, fasting in lieu of the
missed day, and paying kaffarah.
experiencing haydh or nifas should hasten to perform ghusl once they
know that they became clean again. If they ignore this until after
dawn, it is obligatory on them to fast qadha’. This is so, when
there is still time to perform ghusl. Otherwise, tayamum could
substitute ghusl. However, their fast would still be valid, if they
were not aware of the cessation of their haydh or nifas until after
touching a dead body before dawn warrants ghusl, yet the worshipper is
allowed to postpone it until after dawn.
40. In all the
cases where it becomes obligatory on the worshippers to have ghusl
before dawn, they are allowed to perform tayamum instead of ghusl
where the latter can endanger their health or there is not ample time
to perform ghusl. This would do for holding fast.
41. Should a
woman be experiencing a major or medium istihadha, does she have to
uphold all ghusls she is required to perform in order that her fast be
the validity of fast does not depend on such a woman’s performing
the ghusls that are required of her in a prayer context. Although it
is required for the validity of prayer, it is desirable that ihtiyat
should be applied, i.e. by performing the daily ghusls to make fasting
good. As for nightly ghusls, they have nothing to do with fast.
Things that Invalidate Fast
things that render fast invalid should be practised by the worshipper
observing fast during the fasting period as a matter of course. These
have been discussed by jurists; here I will discuss them alongside any
remarks I may deem necessary:
42. a. and b.
Food and drink, be it in big or small quantities. Whether such food
was of the usual stuff or unusual one, such as swallowing stones or
dust or drinking oil, is of irrelevance; this is based on ihtiyat
This ban covers
even the minute pieces that may be lodged between the worshipper’s
teeth. Swallowing [Inhaling] dust, be it light or heavy, is not
capable of invalidating one’s fast. That said, there is no harm in
espousing ihtiyat regarding the heavy type of dust. The same applies
to vapour and smoke; on that basis the ruling on smoking, which
although considered objectionable )haraam(, is that it is not among
the things that invalidate fast.
following pose no threat to one’s fast:
anything that has been regurgitated.
one’s saliva whether deliberately or inadvertently.
antimony or using eye/nasal drops, although the drops might find their
way to one’s stomach.
medical solution onto an open cut, having an injection on medical
grounds; if the solution is injected with the aim of feeding, it is
considered as food and drink, in which case it is not sanctioned,
hence the ban on the use of nutritive substances .
E- Consuming any
food or drink by other means, such as through one’s nostrils, should
have the same adverse result on one’s fast.
F- Feeding an
ill person through an incision in their body is also not allowed; in
short what is forbidden is supplying food and drink to the body by way
of mouth, nose, or through an incision, including intravenous feeding.
43. c. Sexual
Masturbation, irrespective of the way used to bring it about. Should
semen be passed without any activity, there is no harm in that, in
which case fast is valid. If, upon embarking on that which could lead
to ejaculation, the persons were intent on not letting it happen to
them, yet it did eventually happen, they can continue with their fast
and are not expected to take further action. If the doers were not so
confident that they would not come, yet they did come, they have to
fast qadha’ and pay kaffarah.
Concocting falsehood against Allah, His Messenger, and the Infallible
Imams (a.s. )has been considered among the actions that invalidate
fast. However, based on ihtiyat this cannot be said to invalidate
fast, although it is among the cardinal sins. That said, should the
worshipper commission such an act, it is desirable for him to perform
fast by way of qadha’.
46. f. Of things
that could invalidate fast is submerging one’s whole head in water,
be it just the head or as part of the entire body. However, strictly
speaking, it should not be considered thus. Still, one should, as a
matter of obligatory precaution, avoid doing it.
47. g. The use
of anal syringe for injecting fluid, baring solids, should, on the
basis of obligatory precaution, detract from the validity of fast.
However, using same for both man and woman reproduction organs can be
48. h. Vomiting
can upset one’s fast and eventually render it batil, as a matter of
obligatory precaution, even if it takes place on health grounds;
however, if it was pivotal to the patient’s recovery, it can be
tolerated, although the fast would still be batil.
occurs naturally, it will not adversely affect one’s fast. Even if
something is regurgitated without actually reaching the vicinity of
the mouth, it too can do no harm to one’s fast. But once this food
reaches the mouth, it must be thrown out. If it deliberately gets
swallowed, fast should, therefore, be deemed batil, and the worshipper
has to compensate for the missed day of fast and pay kaffarah.
49. These are
the things that invalidate fast. There is nothing more to them. So,
whosoever is in doubt about anything that may invalidate fast, should
consult this list carefully; if it is listed, the worshipper should
comply with the ruling so passed. Otherwise, fast remains intact.
would like to reiterate that the following are not among the things
that invalidate fast: cupping, use of injection in the urethra,
dallying with one’s wife - without sexual intercourse and
ejaculation, smelling perfume, and sitting in a tub filled with water,
even if it covers one’s whole body.
Concerning Things that Invalidate Fast
Fast should be
deemed batil, if any of the said things takes place, except the
50. a. Anything
commissioned by the worshippers unintentionally would not detract the
51. b. Should
the worshipper do anything which is included in the eight-item list,
in the belief that it is not, only to find out later that it is, this
would not affect the validity of fast.
52. If the
worshipper is involuntarily made to flout the ban, this would not
detract the fast.
to the principle of things happening to the worshippers without their
consent are the following:
a. Suppose someone fills his mouth with water
without contemplating to drink it. However, while turning the water
inside it, some of the water seeped into his stomach by accident.
Such are required, as a matter of voluntary precaution, to
compensate for the fast of the day. That is, barring this happening
as a result of the worshipper’s using the water as mouthwash as part
of wudhu for an obligatory prayer, as rinsing the mouth in this
context is mustahab, in that it can be tolerated.
b. Having embarked on playing with his woman, the
worshipper unintentionally ejaculated. He can still hold his fast,
provided that he is, at the outset, confident not to cause any
54. d. The worshippers could suspect whether dawn
has already arrived, then checked to find out the truth of the
matter. Having reached a conclusion that it had not, they ate and
drank. Afterwards, they discovered that it was already dawn time.
Their fast should still be valid.
At the other end of the spectrum is another
worshipper who, although faced with the same problem, did not bother
to check for themselves. Thus, he took to food and drink in the
belief that was not time for dawn yet. Although, he is not deemed
guilty, he could be penalized by compensating for that day by way of
qadha’, should he find out to the contrary.
The same applies
to those who break their fast prematurely in the dying moments of
daylight, believing that the day has drawn to a close after having
noticed what seemed to be darkness, despite clear skies. Their fast is
batil; they are, therefore, required to make up the day they
squandered and pay kaffarah. If the cause of the darkness was
something else other than clouds, the same rule applies as a matter of
obligatory precaution. Should there be clouded skies, the fast stands,
without the need for further action.
If there was no
darkness, and the worshippers suspected that it may be time for
breaking the fast, they are not allowed to do so. Should they go ahead
and break their fast, they would be deemed sinful, their fast batil,
and it becomes obligatory on them to repeat the fast by way of qadha’
and pay kaffarah. That is, unless it transpired to them that it really
was time for the end of fast, in which case they should not worry
about taking further action.
The same applies
to the persons who broke their fast despite the existence of plausible
evidence that it was not dark enough for anyone to break his fast.
Such people should compensate for that day by way of fasting qadha’
and pay kaffarah.
For those who
break their fast after attaining certainty that it is time to break
their fast through either personal experience or reliance on sound
proof in support of such conclusion, they cannot be deemed sinful, nor
can they be made to pay kaffarah. However, if they find out that they
were in the wrong, they have to hold their fast. And although they are
not required to repeat fasting the day by way of qadha’, espousing
ihtiyat in performing qadha’ fast should pose no harm.
worshippers, who have to observe fasting during the month of Ramadhan
yet for a reason or the other they have to abrogate it, should be
allowed to eat and drink that day. However, it is desirable that they
should behave as though they were fasting. That is, except in certain
cases where we have already ruled that abstinence should be upheld.
Whenever fast is
declared void and null, qadha’ becomes obligatory. This is so,
irrespective of whether the lapse was brought about as a result of
flouting the first condition, i.e. niyyah, or the second, i.e. ghusl,
or the third, i.e. not keeping one’s distance from the things which
render fast batil.
will not become obligatory for merely leaving out niyyah of fast or
invalidating it, although making up for any lost days of fast is
obligatory. That is, unless the worshipper commission that which would
render fast null and void, or deliberately staying asleep while in a
state of janabah until dawn breaks. Obligatory kaffarah should be
introduced in the light of the following guidelines:
57. a. The
worshipper should have, at will, done that which is bound to
invalidate their fast.
58. b. The
worshippers should not have been coerced to break their fast; in such
a case, although their fast would be batil, no kaffarah is due.
59. c. The
worshippers should not be aware that what they did was lawful;
conversely, no kaffarah should be due. That is, irrespective of
whether or not they were aware that fast is not obligatory on them
right from the start, or they mistakenly believed the Law-giver did
not rule that the thing they commissioned is among the things that
60. Kaffarah is
obligatory on him who intentionally invalidates his fast by staying in
a state of janabah overnight, i.e. by not having ghusl until its
already dawn time; this is based on ihtiyat. This covers the case of
the worshipper who missed the chance of having ghusl because of
oversleeping. That is, irrespective of the fact that he had the
intention of waking up to perform ghusl, yet was not used to waking up
In the Chapter
of Kaffarahs , we will discuss in some detail, the kinds of kaffarahs
stipulated for invalidating one’s fast during the month of Ramadhan.
61. Should the
worshippers be in a state of uncertainty as to the coming of dawn,
they may continue eating and drinking, until they are absolutely sure
that dawn has already broken, at which point they should abstain from
food and drink. They may as well depend, in determining the arrival of
dawn, on the testimony of a trustworthy person.
That said, in
trying to ascertain the time of dawn, the worshipper is not required
to personally investigate the matter. However, if they carry on eating
and drinking, only to discover that dawn has already come, they are
required to perform compensatory fast. The exception to this rule is
the case of a person reaching the conclusion that the time for dawn
did not arrive, after having checked the matter for themselves, i.e.
as discussed in (para 45).
62. Should the
worshippers be uncertain about whether or not it was time for ending
their fast at the end of the fasting day, it is not permissible for
them to do so, unless they directly, or indirectly - through the
testimony of a knowledgeable person or adhan, made sure that it was.
If they unduly hastened to break their fast, they would be liable to
perform fast by way of qadha’ as well as pay kaffarah. That is,
barring the fact that it transpired to them that they were in the
worshippers may experience unwarranted ejaculation, i.e. not of their
own making, such as having a dream while asleep during the day of
their fast. In such a case, they are not required to hasten to have
ghusl; they can go back to sleep, thus postponing having ghusl so long
there is still time for prayer.
of the Moon
New Moon’s Birth
64. Ramadhan and
Sha’ban are lunar months. They may consist of either twenty nine or
thirty days according to the cycle of the moon around the earth from
west to east.
Like the earth,
half of the moon faces the sun and the other half does not. The half
that faces the sun reflects its light; the one that does not is dark.
When the moon completes its revolution around the sun, the situation
of darkness and light on both its sides reverses.
revolution around the earth, the moon occupies such a position between
the earth and the sun that its dark side faces the earth, turning its
bright side away from it, where it completely cannot be seen. A second
position is that of the earth coming between the sun and the moon. The
third position is the one in between.
When the moon
reaches a stage where it is completely hidden to the naked eye, this
is called "waning of the moon", or moonlessness . Once the
moon starts moving away from this position, the edge (crescent), of
its side which is facing the sun begins to emerge, i.e. a new moon is
born . This sets forth the cycle of the moon around the earth. This is
called "conjunctional movement" , because its start is
determined at the point where the moon is lined up with both the earth
and the sun, taking a center position. The moment the new moon is seen
heralds the moving away of the moon from the pivotal position.
In no way can
the lunar calendar month be less than twenty nine days or more than
thirty days. As for the shari’i lunar calendar month, it too can
consist of thirty or twenty nine days, but not more, and not less.
possibility of sighting the moon, not the sighting itself, is the
basis to be reckoned with to determine the start of the month. This is
so because sighting may not be forthcoming for either the process of
sighting is not practiced, or there may be obstacles capable of
hindering sighting, such as clouded skies. Thus, the shari’i month
There is no
difference in doing the sighting, i.e. whether it was done with the
naked eye or aided by scientific devices, because both lead to the
same result, i.e. sighting the moon.
countries go their different ways in sighting or non-sighting the
moon, i.e. it could be sighted in a country but not the other. What is
the ruling in this regard?
There are two
difference in the sighting, or otherwise, of the moon could be
attributed to a simple detail, such as the presence of clouds in one
of the two countries. In such a case, the sighting of the moon in
country(a) can make up for the sighting in country (b) for the same
reasons we have just discussed in (para. 56).
b. The two
countries may vary to a great measure in relation to their respective
positions on either the longitudes or the latitudes, so much so that
sighting the moon in one is more feasible than the other, let alone
the presence, or lack of it, of any obstacle, such as clouds or fog.
This could be
expounded in two cases:
a. Suppose that
country (a)falls on a certain longitude in such a way that sunset
occurs a very long time ahead of its occurring in country (b) because
of the variance in their respective position in relation to the
As we have
already illustrated, the moment the moon is born, it starts breaking
away, only to become more visible; each night it wares off gradually
following the shape and rotation of the earth from east to west. Thus,
sunset in one country may take place minutes, or even hours, after it
has done so in another one commensurate to their respective position
on the globe. Sunset in each longitude falling to the east comes
before that falling to the west and vice versa.
sunset may take place in a country like Iraq at the same time the moon
emerges from its pivotal position between the earth and sun, i.e. a
new birth. It is impossible to sight the new moon in such a situation
because of its minuscule size. After few hours it can be possible to
sight it because the bright stretch of the moon becomes easily visible
by virtue of its breaking away from its pivotal point . Thus, when
sunset takes place, few hours later, in a country falling to the west
of Iraq, the sighting of the moon will have become readily possible.
b. The other
assumption is that of two countries occupying positions on the same
longitude, i.e. sunset takes place at the same time in both the
countries. Yet, they are apart from the equator, as they fall on two
different latitudes. As you may know, the length and shortness of the
day are also determined by the latitudes. Another factor, which has an
impact on this matter, is the period during which the crescent stays
visible in the horizon of this country or the other. Assume that its
presence in one country was so short that it could not be sighted, and
that it dwelled for a rather long spell in the other country to give
ample time to the beholder to sight it; this is how the difference in
the possibility, or otherwise, of sighting the moon could come about.
distinguishes one country from the other in relation to the
possibility of sighting the moon, could be determined by their
respective positions on the longitudes. Those occupying a westerly
position to the other country, as well as different latitude, allow a
longer spell of dwelling for the crescent to be sighted.
is bound to lead to posing the following questions:
countries experience the birth of the new moon at varying times for a
number of reasons. Should one deduce that each country should have its
own horizon for sighting the moon and therefore the start of their
lunar month? This is so because it is born in a westerly horizon
earlier than an easterly one, or should the start of the lunar month
be one for all countries, having sighted it at any point in the
b. In other
words, is the advent of the shari’i lunar month a relative one,
following the different horizons, in the same way sunrise behaves -
such as the sun rises in the sky of Detroit but not in the sky of
Damascus, making it a fact in Detroit and not so in Damascus? So, does
it follow the same logic, or is the arrival of the shari’i lunar
month is an absolute matter and an independent astronomical phenomenon
that is constant, in that it has nothing to do with the way different
countries are scattered around the globe?
A. In response
to this question, juridical research has come up with a theory; it
lends support to the second assumption. It propounds that the
inception of the month cannot be relative following where any
particular country or area is located. It further suggests that it is
wrong to judge the relativity of the start of the month by the variant
sighting of the moon in different countries.
maintains that sunrise happens as a result of this or that part of the
earth facing the sun at this or that moment in time; and since
different parts of the earth face the sun in turn by virtue of the
earth’s round shape and its rotation around its axis, it is natural
that sunrise is relative.
As for the
inception of the lunar month, it comes about as a result of the moon
breaking away from its pivotal point of its alignment with both the
earth and sun. This is a specific astronomical phenomenon concerning
the position the moon takes in relation to both the sun and the earth.
It should, therefore, follow that such a phenomenon is not bound to be
affected by this part of the earth or that; thus, neither assuming
relativity makes sense, nor suggesting that the month starts in this
part of the world on, say, a Saturday evening, and in another part on
a Sunday evening.
The latter does
not hold water too from of the methodology of research perspective.
That is, because it does not make allowance for the difference between
the natural lunar month and the shari’i one; the natural lunar month
starts with the breaking away of the moon from its pivotal position of
alignment and is not prone to be affected by any other factor. Since
this occurrence could be viewed as a specific astronomical phenomenon,
i.e. not yielding to this position or that, the theory of relativity
does not make sense
The start of the
shari’i lunar month is determined by two factors:
i.e. the point at which the moon breaks away from aligning position in
relation to both the sun and the earth , and
b. The bright
part of moon facing the earth should be visible. However, the
possibility, or otherwise, of sighting the moon could be viewed as a
relative matter, pursuant to the different areas in the globe; it
could also be construed as an absolute one, not relenting to any
So, if we mean
by "the possibility of sighting" that sighting by man in
this part or that of the globe is relative, making the start of the
shari’i lunar month a fact in every part of the globe, following the
sighting in that particular point on earth, it may start in one part
and not the other. But, if we take the "possibility of
sighting" to mean the possibility of sighting the moon even in
any part of the world, this should herald its arrival to all the
parts, and hence its absoluteness, i.e. the start remains one, despite
the variance of the areas of the world.
It is evident,
therefore, that since the birth of the shari’i lunar month is
contingent on the crescent month, in addition to the possibility, or
otherwise, of sighting it, and that such sighting can be feasible in
certain parts of the world and not the others, it is plausible that
the start of the month is relative.
methodology to ascertain whether or not the start of the shari’i
month is a relative one is by consulting the shari’a itself. It has
made the start of the month dependent on the sighting of the crescent
moon. Here, we should attempt to find out whether the shari’a made
the birth of the month in every area exclusive to that particular
area, or the sighting thereof can be taken as a benchmark for all
regions of the world.
What we can
deduce, though, from juridical evidence gives credence to the second
assumption, i.e. if the crescent is sighted in any spot of the world,
this should be taken to mean that the start of the month is one
does the sighting of the crescent moon come about?
We have already
seen that the start of the shari’i lunar month depends on two
factors: a- the breaking away of the moon , from the point which
aligns it with both the earth and the sun, and b- sighting it is
feasible. Now, we should try to explain how best these can be achieved
in a true shari’i way.
tools can be used:
67. a. Direct
sighting with the naked eye as such sighting would enable the person
carrying it out to see the crescent moon emerging and that it is
possible to see for oneself. That or modern technology gives credence
to the emerging of the moon and of the possibility of seeing it .
68 b. The
testimony of other people who have made the sighting. However, there
must exist one of two things for such testimony to be viable:
As for the first
tool: He availability of numerous and varied types of witnesses for
the news of sighting to become both commonplace and credible. However,
should there be a large number of witnesses and neither knowledge of
the sighting nor having peace of mind about it for a good reason, the
sighting of the moon shall be deemed non-existent. That is, although
the great number of witnesses may aid certainty, it is not everything
in the equation.
person must be able to take into account all that which may cast doubt
on the reliability of the witnesses. The following examples should
further explain what we are aiming at:
1. Suppose there
were forty persons, in one town, who gave evidence that they had
sighted the crescent moon. The strength of evidence of those people
are greater than that of the same number of witnesses scattered over
forty towns all over the world. This is because the chances of error
that could emanate from the forty witnesses of one town is remote,
contrary to those of the forty different towns.
2. Following on
from the previous example, the opposite may happen, in that the
witnesses of the one town may be given to emotions that are
non-existent in the case of the witnesses of the other towns.
3. Just as it is
necessary to ascertain the credibility of those who came forward and
testified that they had sighted the moon, so is it necessary to take
into consideration the number of people who, despite taking part in
the lookout for the new moon, did not manage to affirm such sighting.
The greater their numbers and clearer the weather in their respective
areas, especially if such areas were close to the[ forty-witness]town,
the greater the propensity to cast doubt over the final result.
4. The quality
of witnesses has a great impact in reaching a conclusion ]on the
sighting of the crescent moon[. That is, there is a great difference
between forty witnesses who are readily given to lying, and another
forty witnesses who are not known, and a third group who is known for
their probity in some measure.
5. A number of
testimonies, in one place, may achieve unanimity, in that a group of
people, who took it upon themselves to be on the lookout for the new
moon, all took a vantage point in relation to the horizon. Suppose one
of them managed to sight the new moon. Pointing to the direction where
he sighted it, another one managed to confirm the sighting, and so on.
Thus, the testimony of the first witness is corroborated by the
testimonies of other people in the group. Such testimonies should be
credible because the possibility of their falling prey to error is
agreement of certain details of different testimonies of a number of
witnesses in one town, such as concurrence of both the time they
sighted the moon and the time they said it disappeared, would inspire
confidence that the sighting really happened.
7. Just as
scientific tools have a positive role to play in confirming the
sighting of the new moon, so have they a negative role on the process.
That is, should there be no sighting done using such methods, this is
bound to shake the confidence of man in the testimonies of ordinary
folk no matter how great their numbers were.
8. What comes
into play as well is scientifically [astronomically]predicting the
birth of the new moon, in that it is bound to detract from any
testimony of sighting the moon prior to the predicted date/time of the
birth. This is irrespective of the fact that, although there is a
margin of error in the prediction process, it may not be farther than
the error that could tinge the testimonies. To say the least, the
scientific evidence can still delay giving credence to the veracity of
the human testimony.
69. b. The
second tool: The Evidence
Such an evidence
could be recognized when two factors become readily available:
1. Two male
witnesses, known for their probity, should testify that they have
sighted the new moon. Neither the testimony of one such man should be
relied on, nor should the testimonies of women, although they may be
of impeccable character.
of both men must be coherent.
3. There must
not be strong proof pointing to the error of the evidence of the
witnesses or that they have made a mistake. For example, two
witnesses, out of a great number of people who were keeping a vigil to
sight the new moon, could be the only two who claim to have sighted
the moon. This is bound to detract from their evidence, especially
when it is known that they were among a large number of people in the
same spot, that they all have average eyesight, and that the weather
70. c. The lapse
of thirty days of the moon of the previous month. This is because the
lunar month cannot be more than thirty days. So, even if the new moon
could not be sighted, a new lunar month should start.
71. d. The
Ruling of the Marji’. Such a ruling is enforceable and should be
complied with, even by those who had no access to the validity of the
evidence they used in reaching such an edict; this takes the following
into account though:
1. The mukallafs
have not the slightest idea about the validity, or lack of it, of the
edict of the Marji’º in such a case, they should not have any
alternative but to follow the edict.
2. The mukallafs
may have an inkling that the Marji’ may have got it wrong, despite
their knowledge and probity; in this case too, they should follow the
edict of the Marji’.
3. The mukallafs
may have reached the conclusion that the evidence the Marji’ used
was not sufficient to have made him arrive at his judgment. This could
be on the side of the witnesses who the mukallafs know are not up to
scratch, regardless of whether they may have lied. In this case, the
ruling of the Marji’ will have no enforceable power and the
mukallafs are not bound to follow it.
4. The mukallafs
may know for sure that the month has not yet started and that the
Marji’ has made an error of judgment in declaring its inception
prematurely. In this case, the mukallafs do not have to follow the
ruling of the Marji’; they are free to act upon their own
What we mean by
the "Marji’s confirming the start of the month" is the
fact that he issues a statement to this effect and urges the Muslims
to adhere to his ruling. Should the Marji’ reach such a conclusion,
yet he did not make it public, this is not sufficient for anyone to
act upon it, except for those who attain personal satisfaction.
Once the Marji’
issued a statement confirming the start of the month, all believers,
including those who do not follow him in taqleed, yet believe that he
fulfills the requirements of Marji’, must comply with his ruling.
72. e. It is not
sufficient for the scientific efforts to confirm that the crescent
moon has moved from the point of alignment with the sun and earth ,
they also have to confirm that it could be seen by the naked eye.
73. There are
circumstances where the nature of the new moon can suggest that it was
born the night before in spite of the fact that it was not sighted
then. Things like its forming a semblance of a ring, the density of
its bright side, and the length of its dwelling, so much so that it
does not set until after dusk.
realistically speaking, such phenomena of the moon cannot be espoused
as an exclusive evidence that it was born the night before. What all
this can prove that the new moon may have emerged of muhaq at an
earlier time to appear in such a look. It should then follow that it
may not be possible that it could have been sighted at the sunset of
the previous day. The length or shortness of the period the new moon
emerging from its aligned point with both the sun and the earth should
not be taken as a yardstick for determining that the moon is one night
speaking, it is not permissible to rely on guesswork in ascertaining
the birth of the new moon of the months Ramadhan and Shawwal, nor is
it permissible to rely on the computations of speculative astronomers.
74. Once the
crescent moon of the month of Ramadhan has been officially sighted,
fast becomes obligatory. Likewise, once the crescent moon of Shawwal
has been sighted the fasting season comes to an end.
point to that which confirms that the month of Ramadhan has started,
in one of the following ways, starting fast from the following day is
not obligatory. It is not permissible to fast that day with the
intention that it is part of the month, so long as its start has not
been officially declared.
However, one can
fast that day as part of the month of Sha’ban by way of voluntary
fast or a compensatory one. The worshipper may also fast the day with
a double-edge niyyah, i.e. by simply leaving it open-ended - to work
for both the possibilities: Should it later on transpire that the
hanging day was really part of the month of Ramadhan, the fast would
be accepted as such.
75. Come the
thirtieth night of the month of Ramadhan and with it the inconclusion
that the month of Shawwal has not officially arrived yet. Fasting the
following day becomes obligatory. If, however, it was found out that
the month of Shawwal has already been with us, and that it should have
been the first day of the Eid, which is unlawful to fast, there will
be no harm as long as the worshipper fasts that day fully aware that
the next month has not begin.
may reach some sort of conclusion that the following day will be the
first of Shawwal. Yet, they neither entertain the idea of breaking
their fast because of lack of conclusive lawful evidence, nor do they
want to fast, for fear it might be the start of Eid. To overcome the
impasse, they may resort to ihtiyat by way of embarking on lawful
travel; this should, however, be undertaken overnight; should they
delay it until day time, it is obligatory on them to make niyyah for
fast and abstain from food and drink until they are far away from
their place of domicile, the point at the periphery of a town where,
for example, adhan could be heard. This concerns distances to
determine whether prayer should be said tamam or qasr(, as has already
been discussed in (para. 20). One may suggest that this worshipper may
have already committed that which is unlawful by fasting that day
believing it to be a Eid day?
A. What is
unlawful is fasting the whole Eid day; fasting part of it is not.