The Outward Duties Of Fasting
Requirements and Conditions of the Duties Pertaining to Fasting
Ascertaining the Beginning of the Month of Fasting
The watch for the sighting
of the crescent moon which defines the lunar month, whose cycles are the basis for determining the months in a perfectly natural
yet synchronized fashion. Once the new moon has been sighted (i.e. the month's beginning has been determined), its "arrival"
should be proclaimed so that all may prepare to fast. Thus its proclamation as the beginning of the month of Fasting.
determination of the new moon is impossible, for whatever reason, the length of the preceding lunar month of Shaban is to
be considered thirty days, the thirty-first day being the beginning of the month of fasting and wholehearted devotion to God:
The determination of the lunar month should be by sighting the moon--it being witnessed by a Muslim known
to be truthful and trustworthy--or as some scholars have acceded, by the establishment of its "newness" by accurate and trustworthy
calculation, as is not possible through modern astronomy.
Similarly, the sighting of the new moon or determination
by caculation of Shawwal is to be witnessed by two truthful and trustworthy people as a precaution.
Once a trustworthy
witness announces that he has seen the new moon, or the new moon has accurately been determined by other means, the fast becomes
obligatory upon those whose ears it reaches, even though an Islamic judge may not have announced the arrival of the new month.
Whenever the new moon has been verified, be it in another city or country that share the same beginning of the day,
the fast becomes incumbent upon the two.
It is imperative during Ramadan to make
the intention to fast every night before the dawn of the following day, otherwise the fast is void. However, it is not the
case with voluntary fasts.
When it is unclear whether or not the following day is the first day of Ramadan one should
make the intention to fast in case it is.
The possibility of a trustworthy witness being mistaken should not affect
the intention of the person who plans to fast the following day.
If a woman anticipates the end of her menstruation
during which fasting is prohibited before dawn, she should also make the intention to fast, the following day.
of the Daily Fast
It is obligatory upon every Muslim after reaching the age of puberty to fast each
day of Ramadan and not miss any fasting day intentionally. It is obligatory to make up any days for which fasting was missed
uninentionally during Ramadan by fasting at a later date whether or not they had a valid excuse among which are menstruation,
pregnancy, nursing a baby, illness, travel and so on.
Fast days missed intentionally must be expiated by fasting
for two consecutive months.
Eating or drinking invalidates the fast as does smoking, injections, enemas etc.
Rinsing the mouth with water does not invalidate the fast, however, one must take care not to swallow or inhale as one's fast
will become void.
Care must be exercised concerning eating just before the fast is due to begin. One must also be
careful not to anticipate the arrival of evening and thereby break the fast early.
Married couples are forbidden
to have intercourse whilst they are fasting. However, it is permissible after the fast has been broken in the evening.
the event that one experiences a "wet" dream whilst sleeping and then wake up the following morning in this condition of impurity
his fast is not broken.
Deliberate seminal emission either through sexual contact or through no sexual contact
invalidates the fast.
The fast will not be broken by a kiss unless seminal fluid is discharged, however it is
discouraged unless both are able to control their feelings.
Induced vomiting invalidates the fast. However, if
one cannot help it, the fast remains valid.
Phlegm or mucus does not void the fast unless it is "collected" in
the mouth and then swallowed.
In the event that one's fasting becomes void, one should continue the practice
of those fasting - i.e. abstinence of food and drink etc.
However, if sexual intercourse occurs during the fast of
Ramadan, its expiation will be to fast for two consecutive months.
If those who indulged in intercourse are unable
to fast the two consecutive months then each should feed sixty poor people as an expiation.
In the case of a
women whose menstruation finishes during the day, there is no obligation upon her to practice the fast for the rest of that
Pregnancy & Nursing
If a woman is pregnant or breast feeding and cannot fast on
that account, fearing harm to her own health or that of her child, it is obligatory for her to fast the days that are missed
later on, and according to some scholar to atone for missing the fast by feeding the poor with the equivalent of a bushel
of wheat for each lost day.
Ill and Elderly
In the case of elderly or ill people who are
unable to fast, their expiation is also the feeding of the poor with the equivalent of a bushel of wheat for each day lost.
The traveler is not obliged to fast provided travel began before the time for the
dawn prayer, the travel entailing the distance considered a condition for shortening the prayers.
Missed fasts of
the traveler must be made up after the end of Ramadan, but need not be expiated
In the event that a person has already
started fasting, he should not break the fast when he embarks upon a journey, nor yet when he returns from a journey. There
is no obligation upon a non-fasting traveler to resume the fast upon reaching their destination before the end of the fasting
day, however it is preferable for the traveler to fast the entire day unless it incurs more than the usual hardship of fasting.
Menstruation and Lochia
If a woman is menstruating or is bleeding due to childbirth (lochia),
fasting is not valid until the menstruation ceases. Days missed by her can be made up anytime after the end of Ramadan during
the year before the next Ramadan commences.
Al-Hamdulillah, praise and peace be upon His Prophet Muhammad and on his
Companions and his Followers, inwardly and outwardly.