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How to Earn the Reward of Hajj & Umrah Everyday

“Whoever prays Fajr in congregation then sits remembering Allah until the sun rises, then prays two rak’ahs, will have a reward like that of Hajj and ‘Umrah, complete, complete, complete.” [Tirmidhi]

There’s no journey, no spiritual experience, nor such a chance to connect with Allah Almighty quite as powerful as Hajj.

Every year, Muslims from around the world gather their hard earned savings and make the epic journey towards Makkah to perform the rituals of Hajj we all know so well.

With such a journey comes plenty of sacrifice, strength, tears, joy, and of course an unimaginable amount of rewards. After all, as the Hadith says:

“Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any obscenity or commit any evil will go back (free of) sin as on the day his mother bore him” [Bukhari, Muslim]

In part of another Hadith, the Blessed Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“…an accepted Hajj brings no reward but Paradise.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

Coming back sinless like the day we were born, or having a chance to attain guaranteed Paradise are both reasons why so many of us long for the opportunity to perform Hajj. For many of us however, the time for Allah’s call may not arrive for years or even decades.

In Allah’s (swt) infinite Mercy, He has given us the chance to earn such rewards even from the comfort of our own homes. Say what?! Yes! Although there is no substitute for performing Hajj in real life – as it is an obligation upon every able Muslim at least once per lifetime – Allah (swt) has given us the opportunity to earn rewards equivalent to performing Hajj each and every single day.

But how?!

Often times we think our Deen is very difficult, and we that have to perform lots of colossal deeds to get into Paradise. But there’re actually some deeds which are so easy to do, but have massive rewards.

The following Hadith is a perfect example of this. We are taught of an act so simple, yet the rewards are mind blowing:

“Whoever prays Fajr in congregation then sits remembering Allah until the sun rises, then prays two rak’ahs, will have a reward like that of Hajj and ‘Umrah, complete, complete, complete.” [Tirmidhi]

How INCREDIBLE is that?!

Just by performing this one action, we can accumulate a huge number of deeds each day. It’s important to remember however, that performing this action is likened to one Hajj and one Umrah in terms of rewards, not in terms of fulfilling one’s obligation. If somebody is regular in performing this deed every day, it does not mean that they are no longer required to perform the blessed pilgrimage in real life. We must remember that Allah (swt) rewards us as He wills, and the physical acts of saving money, travelling long distances, bearing the hardships of travel and enduring the physical activities required during Hajj will carry their own mega rewards.

So… you may be thinking, “Well, it’s not so easy to stay awake after Fajr until sunrise. That could be hours long!”.

Here’s an easier way to carry it out:

Say for example sunrise (the time at which Fajr ends) is at 7am, you can simply delay your Fajr congregation until 6:40 or 6:45. This way, you now only have to wait 15 minutes until sunrise hits at 7am, plus an extra 15-20 minutes until the forbidden time of prayer passes. During this time you can recite the Qur’an, or recite Dhikr etc. At around 7:15-7:20am, the time of Ishraq will enter and you can now stand to pray the 2 rak’ahs.

Easy peasy – lemon squeezy!

May Allah (swt) grant us the ability to carry out this great deed every single day – Ameen!

(Don’t forget to share this post so that others may benefit).

Duties While Fasting & its Virtues

1. Hazrat Abu Huraira (Radhiyallaho anho) reported that the Apostle of Allah said: “When Ramadan comes, the doors of Heaven are opened and the doors of Hell are closed, and the devils are put in chains and the doors of Mercy are opened.”
2. The Prophet Mohammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) said: “The fragrance of the mouth of a fasting person is more pleasant to Allah than the smell of Musk.”
3. Hazrat Sahl Bin Saad (Radhiyallaho anho) reported that Prophet Mohammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) said: “In Paradise there are eight doors of which there is a door named Rayyaan. None but those that fast will enter it.
4. Hazrat Abu Huraira (Radhiyallaho anho) reported that Prophet Mohammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) said: “Whoever breaks fast on one day of Ramadan without excuse or illness, his fasting of his whole age will not compensate it.”
5. Hazrat Anas (Radhiyallaho anho) reported that Prophet Mohammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) said: “Partake of Sheri before dawn, because in this Sehri there is Barakat (blessing).”
6. Hazrat Abu Huraira (Radhiyallaho anho) reported that Prophet Mohammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) said: “Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and is hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven, and whoever stands up in Namaaz (salat) with faith and is hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven, and whoever stands up in Namaaz during the blessed night with faith and is hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven.”

THERE ARE SIX DUTIES IN FAST KNOWS AS SUNNATS

1. To partake of Sehri or predawn meals.
2. To break fast immediately after sunset.
3. To read Taraaweeh Salaat in night.
4. To feed the poor and hungry.
5. To increase the reading of the Holy Quran.
6. To observe I’tikaaf within the Masjid during last ten days of Ramada.

Fasting Teaches Sympathy For The Hungry

Fasting is the only method whereby the pangs of hunger, the ever present companion of the poor, are experienced by the rich. Thus this experience kindles a spirit of kindness to the poor and distressed. It also gives rise to the thought of how people will fare on the day of Resurrection, when the greatest urge hunger and thirst will be felt.

Don’ts of Ramadan And At All Times

1. Don’t speak without purpose.
2. Don’t be vulgar or rude.
3. Don’t be irritable.
4. Don’t tell lies.
5. Don’t backbite.
6. Don’t argue or flight.
7. Don’t be boastful & arrogant.
8. Don’t swear.
9. Don’t eat doubtful food at Iftar.
10. Don’t look at undesirable things.
11. Don’t listen to objectionable speech.
12. Don’t gossip.
13. Don’t commit any sins.

Dua for 1st 2nd 3rd Ashra of Ramadan

Dua for 1st Ashra (1-10 Ramadan)

Dua for 1st Ashra (10 days) of Ramadan

Dua for 1st Ashra (10 days) of Ramadan

اے زندہ اور قائم رب! میں تیری رحمت کے حصول کی فریاد کرتا ہوں۔

Dua for 2nd Ashra (10-20 Ramadan)

Dua for 2nd Ashra

Dua for 2nd Ashra

میرے رب! میں اپنے گناہوں کی مغفرت چاہتا ہوں اور تیری جانب پلٹتا (توبہ کرتا) ہوں۔

Dua for 3rd Ashra (20-30 Ramadan)

Dua for 3rd Ashra (10 days) of Ramadan

Dua for 3rd Ashra (10 days) of Ramadan
اے اللہ! مجھے آگ کے عذاب سے بچا لے۔

Al-Siyaam (70 Matters related to fasting)

In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious The Most Merciful

Al-Siyaam
(70 Matters Related to Fasting)
eBook by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Definition of Siyaam (fasting)
  3. Ruling on fasting
  4. The virtues of fasting
  5. The benefits of fasting
  6. Etiquette and Sunnah of fasting
  7. What should be done during this great month
  8. Some of the ahkaam (rulings) on fasting
  9. How the onset of Ramadaan is determined
  10. Who is obliged to fast?
  11. Travellers
  12. The sick
  13. The elderly
  14. Niyyah (intention) in fasting
  15. When to start and stop fasting
  16. Things that break the fast
  17. Rulings on fasting for women

Introduction

Praise be to Allaah, we praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own selves and from our evil deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides cannot be misled, and whomsoever He leaves astray cannot be guided. I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah alone, with no partner or associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

Allaah has blessed His slaves with certain seasons of goodness, in which hasanaat (rewards for good deeds) are multiplied, sayi’aat (bad deeds) are forgiven, people’s status is raised, the hearts of the believers turn to their Master, those who purify themselves attain success and those who corrupt themselves fail. Allaah has created His slaves to worship Him, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): “And I (Allaah) created not the jinns and humans except that they should worship Me (Alone).” [al-Dhaariyaat 51:56]

One of the greatest acts of worship is fasting, which Allaah has made obligatory on His slaves, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“… Observing al-sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become al-muttaqoon (the pious).” [al-Baqarah 2:183]

Allaah encourages His slaves to fast:

“… And that you fast, it is better for you, if only you know.” [al-Baqarah 2:184 – interpretation of the meaning]

He guides them to give thanks to Him for having made fasting obligatory on them:

“… that you should magnify Allaah for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.” [al-Baqarah 2:185 – interpretation of the meaning]

He has made fasting dear to them, and has made it easy so that people do not find it too hard to give up their habits and what they are used to. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“… for a fixed number of days…” [al-Baqarah 2:184]

He has mercy on them and keeps them away from difficulties and harm, as He says (interpretation of the meaning:

“… but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days…” [al-Baqarah 2:184]

No wonder then, that in this month the hearts of the believers turn to their Most Merciful Lord, fearing their Lord above them, and hoping to attain His reward and the great victory (Paradise).

As the status of this act of worship is so high, it is essential to learn the ahkaam (rulings) that have to do with the month of fasting so that the Muslim will know what is obligatory, in order to do it, what is haraam, in order to avoid it, and what is permissible, so that he need not subject himself to hardship by depriving himself of it.

This book is a summary of the rulings, etiquette and Sunnah of fasting. May Allaah make it of benefit to myself and my Muslim brothers. Praise be to Allaah, Lord of the Worlds.

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Definition of Siyaam (fasting)

(1) Siyaam in Arabic means abstaining; in Islam it means abstaining from things that break the fast, from dawn until sunset, having first made the intention (niyyah) to fast.

Ruling on fasting

(2) The ummah is agreed that fasting the month of Ramadaan is obligatory, the evidence for which is in the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Observing al-sawn (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become al-muttaqoon (the pious).” [al-Baqarah 2:183]

The Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Islam is built on five [pillars]…” among which he mentioned fasting in Ramadaan. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 1/49). Whoever breaks the fast during Ramadaan without a legitimate excuse has committed a serious major sin, The Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, describing a dream that he had seen: “… until I was at the mountain, where I heard loud voices. I asked, ‘What are these voices?’ They said, ‘This is the howling of the people of Hellfire.’ Then I was taken [to another place], and I saw people hanging from their hamstrings, with the corners of their mouths torn and dripping with blood. I said, ‘Who are these?’ They said, ‘The people who broke their fast before it was the proper time to do so,’ i.e., before the time of iftaar.” (Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/420).

Al-Haafiz al-Dhahabi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, “Among the believers it is well-established that whoever does not fast in Ramadaan without a valid excuse is worse than an adulterer or drunkard; they doubt whether he is even a Muslim at all, and they regard him as a heretic and profligate.” Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “If a person does not fast in Ramadaan knowing that it is haraam but making it halaal for himself to do so, kill him; and if he does it because he is immoral [but believes it is haraam], then punish him for not fasting.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/265).

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The virtues of fasting

(3) The virtues of fasting are great indeed, and one of the things reported in the saheeh ahaadeeth is that Allaah has chosen fasting for Himself, and He will reward it and multiply the reward without measure, as He says [in the hadeeth qudsi]: “Except for fasting which is only for My sake, and I will reward him for it.” (al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 1904; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/407). Fasting has no equal (al-Nisaa’i, 4/165; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/413), and the du’aa’ of the fasting person will not be refused (reported by al-Bayhaqi, 3/345; al-Silsilat al-Saheeh, 1797). The fasting person has two moments of joy: one when he breaks his fast and one when he meets his Lord and rejoices over his fasting (reported by Muslim, 2/807). Fasting will intercede for a person on the Day of Judgement, and will say, “O Lord, I prevented him from his food and physical desires during the day, so let me intercede for him.” (Reported by Ahmad, 2/174. Al-Haythami classed its isnaad as hasan in al-Majma’, 3/181. See also Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/411). The smell that comes from the mouth of a fasting person is better with Allaah than the scent of musk. (Muslim, 2/807). Fasting is a protection and a strong fortress that keeps a person safe from the Fire. (Reported by Ahmad, 2/402; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/411; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3880). Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allaah, Allaah will remove his face seventy years’ distance from the Fire. (Reported by Muslim, 2/808). Whoever fasts one day seeking the pleasure of Allaah, if that is the last day of his life, he will enter Paradise. (Reported by Ahmad, 5/391; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/412). In Paradise there is a gate called al-Rayyaan, through those who fast will enter, and no one will enter it except them; when they have entered it will be locked, and no-one else will enter through it.” (al-Bukhaari, Fath, no. 1797).

Ramadaan is a pillar of Islam; the Qur’aan was revealed in this month, and in it there is a night that is better than a thousand months. “When Ramadaan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are put in chains.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 3277). Fasting Ramadaan is equivalent to fasting ten months (See Musnad Ahmad, 5/280; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/421). “Whoever fasts Ramadaan out of faith and with the hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, no. 37). At the breaking of every fast, Allaah will choose people to free from Hellfire. (Reported by Ahmad, 5/256; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/419).

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The benefits of fasting

(4) There is much wisdom and many benefits in fasting, which have to do with the taqwa mentioned by Allaah in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“… that you may become al-muttaqoon (the pious).” [al-Baqarah 2:183]

The interpretation of this is that if a person refrains from halaal things hoping to earn the pleasure of Allaah and out of fear of His punishment, it will be easier for him to refrain from doing haraam things.

If a person’s stomach is hungry, this will keep many of his other faculties from feeling hunger or desires; but if his stomach is satisfied, his tongue, eye, hand and private parts will start to feel hungry. Fasting leads to the defeat of Shaytaan; it controls desires and protects one’s faculties.

When the fasting person feels the pangs of hunger, he experiences how the poor feel, so he has compassion towards them and gives them something to ward off their hunger. Hearing about them is not the same as sharing their suffering, just as a rider does not understand the hardship of walking unless he gets down and walks.

Fasting trains the will to avoid desires and keep away from sin; it helps a person to overcome his own nature and to wean himself away from his habits. It also trains a person to get used to being organized and punctual, which will solve the problem that many people have of being disorganized, if only they realized.

Fasting is also a demonstration of the unity of the Muslims, as the ummah fasts and breaks its fast at the same time.

Fasting also provides a great opportunity for those who are calling others to Allaah. In this month many people come to the mosque who are coming for the first time, or who have not been to the mosque for a long time, and their hearts are open, so we must make the most of this opportunity by preaching in a gentle manner, teaching appropriate lessons and speaking beneficial words, whilst co-operating in righteousness and good deeds. The dai’yah should not be so preoccupied with others that he forgets his own soul and becomes like a wick that lights the way for others while it is itself consumed.

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Etiquette and Sunnah of fasting

Some aspects are obligatory (waajib) and others are recommended (mustahabb).

We should make sure that we eat and drink something at suhoor, and that we delay it until just before the adhaan of Fajr. The Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Have suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing (barakah).” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 4/139). “Suhoor is blessed food, and it involves being different from the people of the Book. What a good suhoor for the believer is dates.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 2345; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/448).

Not delaying iftaar, because the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The people will be fine so long as they do not delay iftaar.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 4/198).

Breaking one’s fast in the manner described in the hadeeth narrated by Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him): “The Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if fresh dates were not available, he would eat (dried) dates; if dried dates were not available, he would have a few sips of water.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 3/79 and others. He said it is a ghareeb hasan hadeeth. Classed as saheeh in al-Irwa’, no. 922).

After iftaar, reciting the words reported in the hadeeth narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both), according to which the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), when he broke his fast, would say: “Dhahaba al-zama’, wa’btallat al-‘urooq, wa thabat al-ajru in sha Allaah (Thirst is gone, veins are flowing again, and the reward is certain, in sha Allaah).” (Reported by Abu Dawood, 2/765; its isnaad was classed as hasan by al-Daaraqutni, 2/185).

Keeping away from sin, because the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When any of you is fasting, let him not commit sin…” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 1904). The Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not stop speaking falsehood and acting in accordance with it, Allaah has no need of him giving up his food and drink.” (Al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 1903). The person who is fasting should avoid all kinds of haraam actions, such as backbiting, obscenity and lies, otherwise his reward may all be lost. The Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It may be that a fasting person gets nothing from his fast except hunger.” (Reported by Ibn Maajah, 1/539; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/453).

Among the things that can destroy one’s hasanaat (good deeds) and bring sayi’aat (bad deeds) is allowing oneself to be distracted by quiz-shows, soap operas, movies and sports matches, idle gatherings, hanging about in the streets with evil people and time-wasters, driving around for no purpose, and crowding the streets and sidewalks, so that the months of tahajjud, dhikr and worship, for many people, becomes the month of sleeping in the day so as to avoid feeling hungry, thus missing their prayers and the opportunity to pray them in congregation, then spending their nights in entertainment and indulging their desires. Some people even greet the month with feelings of annoyance, thinking only of the pleasures they will miss out on. In Ramadaan, some people travel to kaafir lands to enjoy a holiday! Even the mosques are not free from such evils as the appearance of women wearing makeup and perfume, and even the Sacred House of Allaah is not free of these ills. Some people make the month a season for begging, even though they are not in need. Some of them entertain themselves with dangerous fireworks and the like, and some of them waste their time in the markets, wandering around the shops, or sewing and following fashions. Some of them put new products and new styles in their stores during the last ten days of the month, to keep people away from earning rewards and hasanaat.

Not allowing oneself to be provoked, because the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If someone fights him or insults him, he should say, ‘I am fasting, I am fasting.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari and others. Al-Fath, no. 1894) One reason for this is to remind himself, and another reason is to remind his adversary. But anyone who looks at the conduct of many of those who fast will see something quite different. It is essential to exercise self-control and be calm, but we see the opposite among crazy drivers who speed up when they hear the adhaan for Maghrib.

(*) Not eating too much, because the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The son of Adam fills no worse vessel than his stomach.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2380; he said, this is a hasan saheeh hadeeth). The wise person wants to eat to live, not live to eat. The best type of food is that which is there to be used, not that which is there to be served. But people indulge in making all kinds of food (during Ramadaan) and treating food preparation as a virtual art form, so that housewives and servants spend all their time on making food, and this keeps them away from worship, and people spend far more on food during Ramadaan than they do ordinarily. Thus the month becomes the month of indigestion, fatness and gastric illness, where people eat like gluttons and drink like thirsty camels, and when they get up to pray Taraaweeh, they do so reluctantly, and some of them leave after the first two rak’ahs.

(*) Being generous by sharing knowledge, giving money, using one’s position of authority or physical strength to help others, and having a good attitude. Al-Bukhaari and Muslim reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was the most generous of people [in doing good], and he was most generous of all in Ramadaan when Jibreel met with him, and he used to meet him every night in Ramadaan and teach him the Qur’aan. The Messenger of Allaah [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was more generous in doing good than a blowing wind.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 6). How can people exchange generosity for stinginess and action for laziness, to the extent that they do not do their work properly and do not treat one another properly, and they use fasting as an excuse for all this.

Combining fasting with feeding the poor is one of the means of reaching Paradise, as the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “In Paradise there are rooms whose outside can be seen from the inside and the inside can be seen from the outside. Allaah has prepared them for those who feed the poor, who are gentle in speech, who fast regularly and who pray at night when people are asleep.” (Reported by Ahmad 5/343; Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 2137. Al-Albaani said in his footnote, its isnaad is hasan because of other corroborating reports). The Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever gives food to a fasting person with which to break his fast, will have a reward equal to his, without it detracting in the slightest from the reward of the fasting person.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 3/171; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/451). Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “What is meant is that he should feed him until he is satisfied.” (Al-Ikhtiyaaraat al-Fiqhiyyah, p. 109).

A number of the Salaf (may Allaah have mercy on them) preferred the poor over themselves when feeding them at the time of iftaar. Among these were ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar, Maalik ibn Deenaar, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and others. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar would not break his fast unless there were orphans and poor people with him.

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What should be done during this great month

(*) Preparing oneself and one’s environment for worship, hastening to repent and turn back to Allaah, rejoicing at the onset of the month, fasting properly, having the right frame of mind and fearing Allaah when praying Taraaweeh, not feeling tired during the middle ten days of the month, seeking Laylat al-Qadr, reading the entire Qur’aan time after time, trying to weep and trying to understand what you are reading. ‘Umrah during Ramadaan is equivalent to Hajj, and charity given during this virtuous time is multiplied, and I’tikaaf (retreat in the mosque for worship) is confirmed (as part of the Sunnah).

(*) There is nothing wrong with congratulating one another at the beginning of the month. The Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to tell his Companions the good news of the onset of Ramadaan, and urge them to make the most of it. Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘There has come to you Ramadaan, a blessed month. Allaah has made it obligatory on you to fast (this month). During it the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are locked, and the devils are chained up. In it there is a night that is better than a thousand months, and whoever is deprived of its goodness is deprived indeed.’” (Reported by al-Nisaa’i, 4/129; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/490)

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Some of the ahkaam (rulings) on fasting

(6) There is the kind of fasting that must be done on consecutive days, like fasting in Ramadaan, or fasting to expiate for killing someone by mistake, divorcing one’s wife by zihaar [a jaahili form of divorce in which a man says to his wife, “You are to me as the back of my mother” – Translator], or having intercourse during the day in Ramadaan. Also, one who makes a vow to fast consecutive days must fulfil it.

There is also the other kind of fasting which does not have to be done on consecutive days, such as making up days missed in Ramadaan, fasting ten days if one does not have a sacrifice, fasting for kafaarat yameen (according to the majority), fasting to compensate for violating the conditions of ihraam (according to the most correct opinion), and fasting in fulfilment of a vow in cases where one did not have the intention of fasting consecutive days.

(7) Voluntary fasts make up for any shortfall in obligatory fasts. Examples of voluntary fasts include ‘Aashooraa, ‘Arafaah, Ayyaam al-Beed [the 13th, 14th and 15th of the hijri months – Translator], Mondays and Thursdays, six days of Shawwaal, and fasting more during Muharram and Sha’baan.

(8) It is not permitted to single out a Friday for fasting (al-Bukhaari, Fath al-Baari, no. 1985), or to fast on a Saturday, unless it is an obligatory fast (reported and classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi, 3/111) – what is meant is singling it out without a reason. It is not permitted to fast for an entire lifetime, or to fast for two days or more without a break, i.e., to fast two or three days without a break in between.

It is haraam to fast on the two Eid days, or on the Ayyaam al-Tashreeq, which are the 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhoo’l-Hijjah, because these are the days of eating and drinking and remembering Allaah, but it is permissible for the one who does not have a sacrifice to fast them (Ayyaam al-Tashreeq) in Mina.

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How the onset of Ramadaan is determined

(9) The onset of Ramadaan is confirmed by the sighting of the new moon, or by the completion of thirty days of Sha’baan. Whoever sees the crescent of the new moon or hears about it from a trustworthy source is obliged to fast.

Using calculations to determine the onset of Ramadaan is bid’ah, because the hadeeth of the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) clearly states: “Fast when you see it (the new moon) and break your fast when you see it.” If an adult, sane, trustworthy, reliable Muslim who has good eyesight says that he has seen the crescent with his own eyes, then we should take his word for it and act accordingly (i.e., start fasting).

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Who is obliged to fast?

(10) Fasting is an obligation on every adult, sane, settled [i.e., not travelling] Muslim who is able to fast and has nothing such as hayd [menstruation] or nifaas [post-natal bleeding] to prevent him or her from doing so.

A person is deemed to have reached adulthood when any one of the following three things occur: emission of semen, whether in a wet dream or otherwise; growth of coarse pubic hair around the private parts; attainment of fifteen years of age. In the case of females, there is a fourth, namely menstruation; when a girl reaches menarche (starts her periods), she is obliged to fast even if she has not yet reached the age of ten.

(11) Children should be instructed to fast at the age of seven, if they are able to, and some scholars said that a child may be smacked at the age of ten if he does not fast, just as in the case of salaah. (See al-Mughni, 3/90). The child will be rewarded for fasting, and the parents will be rewarded for bringing him up properly and guiding him to do good. Al-Rubay’ bint Mu’awwidh (may Allaah be pleased with her) said, speaking about Ramadaan when it was made obligatory: “We used to make our children fast, and we would make them a toy made out of wool. If any one of them started to cry for food, we would give them that toy to play with until it was time to break the fast.” (al-Bukhaari, Fath, no. 1960). Some people do not think it is important to tell their children to fast; indeed, a child may be enthusiastic about fasting and may be capable of doing it, but his father or mother may tell him not to fast, out of so-called “pity” for him. They do not realize that true pity and compassion consist of making him get used to fasting. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allaah, but do that which they are commanded.” [al-Tahreem 66:6]. Extra attention must be paid to the matter of a girl’s fasting when she has just reached maturity, because she may fast when she has her period, out of shyness, and then not make up the fast later.

(12) If a kaafir becomes Muslim, or a child reaches puberty, or an insane person comes to his senses during the day, they should refrain from eating for the rest of the day, because they are now among those who are obliged to fast, but they do not have to make up for the days of Ramadaan that they have missed, because at that time they were not among those who are obliged to fast.

(13) The insane are not responsible for their deeds (their deeds are not being recorded), but if a person is insane at times and sane at other times, he must fast during his periods of sanity, and is excused during his periods of insanity. If he becomes insane during the day, this does not invalidate his fast, just as is the case if someone becomes unconscious because of illness or some other reason, because he had the intention of fasting when he was sane. (Majaalis Shahr Ramadaan by Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, p.28). A similar case is the ruling governing epileptics.

(14) If someone dies during Ramadaan, there is no “debt” on him or his heirs with regard to the remaining days of the month.

(15) If someone does not know that it is fard (obligatory) to fast Ramadaan, or that it is haraam to eat or have sexual intercourse during the day in this month, then according to the majority of scholars, this excuse is acceptable, as is also the case for a new convert to Islam, a Muslim living in Daar al-Harb (non-Muslim lands) and a Muslim who grew up among the kuffaar. But a person who grew up among the Muslims and was able to ask questions and find out, has no excuse.

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Travellers

(16) For a traveller to be allowed to break his fast, certain conditions must be met. His journey should be lengthy, or else be known as travelling (although there is a well-known difference of opinion among the scholars on this matter), and should go beyond the city and its suburbs. (The majority of scholars say that he should not break his fast before he passes the city limits. They say that a journey has not really begun until a person passes the city limits, and a person who is still in the city is “settled” and “present”. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadaan, i.e., is present at his home), he must observes sawm (fasts) that month…” [al-Baqarah 2:185]. He is not counted as a traveller until he has left the city; if he is still within the city, he is regarded as one who is settled, so he is not permitted to shorten his prayers). His journey should also not be a journey for sinful purposes (according to the majority of scholars), or for the purpose of trying to get out of having to fast.

(17) The traveller is allowed to break his fast, according to the consensus of the ummah, whether he is able to continue fasting or not, and whether is it difficult for him to fast or not. Even if his journey is easy and he has someone to serve him, he is still permitted to break his fast and shorten his prayers. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa, 25/210).

(18) Whoever is determined to travel in Ramadaan should not have the intention of breaking his fast until he is actually travelling, because something may happen to prevent him from setting out on his journey. (Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 2/278).

The traveller should not break his fast until he has passed beyond the inhabited houses of his town; once he has passed the city limits, he may break his fast. Similarly, if he is flying, once the plane has taken off and has gone beyond the city limits, he may break his fast. If the airport is outside his city, he can break his fast there, but if the airport is within his city or attached to it, he should not break his fast in the airport because he is still inside his own city.

(19) If the sun sets and he breaks his fast on the ground, then the plane takes off and he sees the sun, he does not have to stop eating, because he has already completed his day’s fasting, and there is no way to repeat an act of worship that is finished. If the plane takes off before sunset and he wants to complete that day’s fasting during the journey, he should not break his fast until the sun has set from wherever he is in the air. The pilot is not permitted to bring the plane down to an altitude from which the sun cannot be seen just for the purposes of breaking the fast, because this would just be a kind of trickery, but if he brings the plane down lower for a genuine reason, and the disk of the sun disappears as a result, then he may break his fast. (From the fataawa of Shaykh Ibn Baaz, issued verbally).

(20) Whoever travels to a place and intends to stay there for more than four days must fast, according to the majority of scholars. So if a person travels to study abroad for a period of months or years, then according to the majority of scholars – including the four imaams – he is regarded as one who is “settled” there and so he has to fast and pray his prayers in full.

If a traveller passes through a city other than his own, he does not have to fast, unless his stay there is longer than four days, in which case he must fast, because the rulings that apply to those who are settled apply also to him. (See Fataawa al-Da’wah by Ibn Baaz, 977).

(21) Whoever begins fasting while he is “settled” then embarks on a journey during the day is allowed to break his fast, because Allaah has made setting out in general a legitimate excuse not to fast. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days on which one did not observe sawm must be made up] from other days…” [al-Baqarah 2:185]

(22) A person who habitually travels is permitted not to fast if he has a home to which he returns, such as a courier who travels to serve the interests of the Muslims (and also taxi drivers, pilots and airline employees, even if their travel is daily – but they have to make up the fasts later). The same applies to sailors who have a home on land; but if a sailor has his wife and all he needs with him on the ship, and is constantly travelling, then he is not allowed to break his fast or shorten his prayers. If nomadic Bedouins are travelling from their winter home to their summer home, or vice versa, they are allowed to break their fast and shorten their prayers, but once they have settled in either their summer home or their winter home, they should not break their fast or shorten their prayers, even if they are following their flocks.(See Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn Taymiyah, 25/213).

(23) If a traveller arrives during the day, there is a well-known dispute among the scholars as to whether he should stop eating and drinking. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/212). But to be on the safe side, he should stop eating and drinking, out of respect for the month, but he has to make the day up later, whether or not he stops eating and drinking after his arrival.

(24) If he starts Ramadaan in one city, then travels to another city where the people started fasting before him or after him, then he should follow the ruling governing the people to whom he has travelled, so he should only end Ramadaan when they end Ramadaan, even if it means that he is fasting for more than thirty days, because the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Fast when everyone is fasting, and break your fast when everyone is breaking their fast.” If it means that his fast is less than twenty-nine days, he must make it up after Eid, because the hijri month cannot be less than twenty-nine days. (From Fataawa al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz: Fataawa al-Siyaam, Daar al-Watan, pp. 15-16)

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The sick

(25) In the event of any sickness that makes people feel unwell, a person is allowed not to fast. The basis for this is the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “… and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days on which one did not observe sawm must be made up] from other days…” [al-Baqarah 2:185]. But if the ailment is minor, such as a cough or headache, then it is not a reason to break one’s fast.

If there is medical proof, or a person knows from his usual experience, or he is certain, that fasting will make his illness worse or delay his recovery, he is permitted to break his fast; indeed, it is disliked (makrooh) for him to fast in such cases. If a person is seriously ill, he does not have to have the intention during the night to fast the following day, even if there is a possibility that he may be well in the morning, because what counts is the present moment.

(26) If fasting will cause unconsciousness, he should break his fast and make the fast up later on. (al-Fataawa, 25/217). If a person falls unconscious during the day and recovers before Maghrib or after, his fast is still valid, so long as he was fasting in the morning; if he is unconscious from Fajr until Maghrib, then according to the majority of scholars his fast is not valid. According to the majority of scholars, it is obligatory for a person who falls unconscious to make up his fasts later on, no matter how long he was unconscious. (Al-Mughni ma’a al-Sharh al-Kabeer, 1/412, 3/32; al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaytiyyah, 5/268). Some scholars issued fatwaas to the effect that a person who falls unconscious or takes sleeping pills or receives a general anaesthetic for a genuine reason, and becomes unconscious for three days or less, must make up the fasts later on, because he is regarded as being like one who sleeps; if he is unconscious for more than three days, he does not have to make up the fasts, because he is regarded as being like one who is insane. (From the fataawa of Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, issued verbally).

(27) If a person feels extreme hunger or thirst, and fears that he may die or that some of his faculties may be irreparably damaged, and has rational grounds for believing this to be so, he may break his fast and make up for it later on, because saving one’s life is obligatory. But it is not permissible to break one’s fast because of bearable hardship or because one feels tired or is afraid of some imagined illness. People who work in physically demanding jobs are not permitted to break their fast, and they must have the intention at night of fasting the following day. If they cannot stop working and they are afraid that some harm may befall them during the day, or they face some extreme hardship that causes them to break their fast, then they should eat only what is enough to help them bear the hardship, then they should refrain from eating until sunset, and they have to make the fast up later. Workers in physically demanding jobs, such as working with furnaces and smelting metals, should try to change their hours so that they work at night, or take their holidays during Ramadaan, or even take unpaid leave, but if this is not possible, then they should look for another job, where they can combine their religious and worldly duties. “And whoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he could never imagine.” [al-Talaaq 65:2-3 – interpretation of the meaning]. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/233, 235)

Students’ exams are no excuse for breaking one’s fast during Ramadaan, and it is not permissible to obey one’s parents in breaking the fast because of having exams, because there is no obedience to any created being if it involves disobedience to the Creator. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/241).

(28) The sick person who hopes to recover should wait until he gets better, then make up for the fasts he has missed; he is not allowed just to feed the poor. The person who is suffering from a chronic illness and has no hope of recovery and elderly people who are unable to fast should feed a poor person with half a saa’ of the staple food of his country for every day that he has missed. (Half a saa’ is roughly equivalent to one and a half kilograms of rice). It is permissible for him to do this all at once, on one day at the end of the month, or to feed one poor person every day. He has to do this by giving actual food, because of the wording of the aayah – he cannot do it by giving money to the poor (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/198). But he can give money to a trustworthy person or charitable organization to buy food and distribute it to the poor on his behalf.

If a sick person does not fast in Ramadaan, waiting to recover so that he can make the days up later, then he finds out that his sickness is chronic, he has to feed a poor person for every day that he did not fast. (From the fataawa of Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen). If a person is waiting to recover from his illness and hopes to get better, but then dies, there is no “debt” owed by him or his heirs. If a person’s sickness is considered to be chronic, so he does not fast and feeds the poor instead, then advances in medical science mean that there is now a cure, which he uses and gets better, he does not have to make up the fasts he has missed, because he did what he had to do at the time. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/195)

(29) If a person is sick, then recovers, and is able to make up the missed fasts but does not do so before he dies, then money should be taken from his estate to feed a poor person for every day that he missed. If any of his relatives want to fast on his behalf, then this is OK, because it was reported in al-Saheehayn that the Messenger of Allaah [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever dies owing some fasts, let his heir fast on his behalf.” (From Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, volume on Da’wah, 806).

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The elderly

(30) The very elderly who have lost their strength and are getting weaker every day as death approaches, do not have to fast, and they are allowed not to fast so long as fasting would be too difficult for them. Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to say, concerning the aayah (interpretation of the meaning), “And as for those who can fast with difficulty (e.g., an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a poor person (for every day)” [al-Baqarah 2:184]: “This has not been abrogated. It refers to the old man and the old woman who cannot fast, so they should feed a poor person for every day.” (Al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Tafseer, Baab Ayaaman Ma’doodaat…)

Those who have become senile and confused do not have to fast or do anything else, and their family does not have to do anything on their behalf, because such people are no longer counted as responsible. If they are of sound mind sometimes and confused at other times, they have to fast when they are OK and they do not have to fast when they are confused. (See Majaalis Shahr Ramadaan by Ibn ‘Uthyameen, p. 28).

(31) For those who are fighting an enemy or are being besieged by an enemy, if fasting would make them too weak to fight, they are allowed to break the fast, even if they are not travelling. If they need to break their fast before fighting, they can break their fast. The Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to his Companions once, before fighting: “In the morning you are going to meet your enemy and not fasting will make you stronger, so do not fast.” (Reported by Muslim, 1120, ‘Abd al-Baaqi edn. This is also the preferred opinion of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah. The scholars of Damascus also issued fatwas to the same effect when their city was attacked by the Tatars)

(32) If a person’s reason for not fasting is obvious, such as illness, there is nothing wrong with him eating or drinking openly, but if the reason is hidden, such as menstruation, it is better to eat and drink in secret, so as not to attract accusations and the like.

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Niyyah (intention) in fasting

(33) Niyyah (intention) is a required condition in fard (obligatory) fasts, and in other obligatory fasts such as making up missed fasts or fasts done as an act of expiation (kafaarah), because the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no fast for the person who did not intend to fast from the night before.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 2454. A number of the scholars, such as al-Bukhaari, al-Nisaa’i, al-Tirmidhi and others thought it was likely to be mawqoof. See Talkhees al-Hubayr, 2/188)

The intention may be made at any point during the night, even if it is just a moment before Fajr. Niyyah means the resolution in the heart to do something; speaking it aloud is bid’ah (a reprehensible innovation), and anyone who knows that tomorrow is one of the days of Ramadaan and wants to fast has made the intention. (Majmoo’ Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam, 25/215). If a person intends to break his fast during the day but does not do so, then according to the most correct opinion, his fast is not adversely affected by this; he is like a person who wants to speak during the prayer but does not speak. Some of the scholars think that he is not fasting as soon as he stops intending to fast, so to be on the safe side, he should make up that fast later on. Apostasy, however, invalidates the intention; there is no dispute on this matter.

The person who is fasting Ramadaan does not need to repeat the intention every night during Ramadaan; it is sufficient to have the intention at the beginning of the month. If the intention is interrupted by breaking the fast due to travel or sickness – for example – he has to renew the intention to fast when the reason for breaking the fast is no longer present.

(34) Making the intention the night before is not a condition of general nafl (supererogatory) fasts, because of the hadeeth narrated by ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), who said: “The Messenger of Allaah [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered upon me one day and said, ‘Do you have anything [food]?’ We said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘In that case I am fasting.’” (Reported by Muslim, 2/809, ‘Abd al-Baaqi). But in the case of specific nafl fasts such as ‘Arafaah and ‘Aashooraa’, it is better to be on the safe side and make the intention the night before.

(36) If a person embarks on an obligatory fast, such as making up for a day missed in Ramadaan, or fulfilling a vow, or fasting as an act of expiation (kafaarah), he must complete the fast, and he is not permitted to break it unless he has a valid excuse for doing so. In the case of a naafil fast, “the person who is observing a voluntary fast has the choice either to complete the fast or to break it” (reported by Ahmad, 6/342) – even if there is no reason to break it. The Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive](peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) got up fasting one morning, then he ate. (As reported in Saheeh Muslim, in the story of the al-hais (a type of food) that was given to him as a gift when he was in ‘Aa’ishah’s house; no. 1154, ‘Abd al-Baaqi). But will the person who breaks his fast for no reason be rewarded for the fasting that he has already done? Some of the scholars say that he will not be rewarded (al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 28/13), so it is better for the person who is observing a voluntary fast to complete it, unless there is a valid, pressing reason for him to stop fasting.

(36) If a person does not know that Ramadaan has started until after dawn, he has to stop eating and drinking for the rest of the day, and he has to make that day up later on, according to the majority of scholars, because the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no fasting for the one who does not have the intention to fast from the night before.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, 2454).

(37) If a prisoner or captive knows that Ramadaan has begun by sighting the moon himself or by being told by a trustworthy person, he has to fast. If he does not know when the month is beginning, he must try to work it out for himself (ijtihaad) and act according what he thinks is most likely. If he later finds out that his fasting coincided with Ramadaan, this is fine according to the majority of scholars, and if his fasting came after Ramadaan, this is fine according to the majority of fuqahaa’, but if his fasting came before Ramadaan, this is not acceptable, and he has to make up the fast. If part of his fasting coincided with Ramadaan and part of it did not, what coincided with it or came after it is fine, but what came before is not OK. If the matter never becomes clear to him, then his fasting is fine because he did the best he could, and Allaah burdens not a person beyond his scope. (Al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 28/84).

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When to start and stop fasting

(38) Once the entire disk of the sun has disappeared, the fasting person should break his fast, and not pay any attention to the red glow that remains on the horizon, because the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Once night comes from there and the day disappears from there, and the sun has set, the fasting person should break his fast.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 1954; the issue is also mentioned in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/216).

The Sunnah is to hasten in breaking the fast. The Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would not pray Maghrib until he had broken his fast, if only with a sip of water. (Reported by al-Haakim, 1/432; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 2110). If a fasting person cannot find anything with which to break his fast, he should have the intention in his heart to break his fast, and he should not suck his finger, as some of the common people do. He should beware of breaking the fast before the correct time, because the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw some people hanging from their hamstrings with blood pouring from the corners of their mouths, and when he asked about them, he was told that they were people who broke their fast before it was time to do so.” (The hadeeth is in Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 1986, and in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/420). If a person is certain, or thinks it most likely, or is not sure whether he broke the fast before the proper time, he should make up the fast later on, because the basic principle is that the day is still there and has not ended. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/287). He should beware of relying on the word of small children or untrustworthy sources, and he should also beware of the time differences between different cities and villages when he hears the adhaan on the radio and so on.

(39) When the dawn comes – which is the white light coming across the horizon in the East – the fasting person must stop eating and drinking straightaway, whether he hears the adhaan or not. If he knows that the muezzin calls the adhaan at dawn, he has to stop eating and drinking as soon as he hears his adhaan, but if the muezzin calls the adhaan before Fajr, he does not have to stop eating and drinking when he hears it. If he does not know the muezzin’s usual practice, or there are differences among the muezzins, and he cannot determine the time of dawn for himself – as is usually the case in cities because of lighting and buildings – he should take the precaution of referring to a printed timetable, so long as he is sure that the calculations on which it is based are not incorrect.

The idea of being on the safe side by stopping eating and drinking a certain time before Fajr, such as ten minutes before, is bid’ah. On some timetables you can see one heading for “imsaak” (stopping eating and drinking) and another for Fajr; this is something that is contrary to Islam.

(40) The Muslims living in cities where there is a distinct alternation of night and day in every twenty-four hour period are obliged to fast, no matter how long the day is, so long as that distinction between night and day is there. In some places there is no such distinction between night and day; Muslims in these places should fast according to the times in the nearest city in which there is a distinct alternation of night and day.

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Things that break the fast

(41) Apart from hayd (menstruation) and nifaas (post-natal bleeding), other things that can break the fast are only considered to do so if the following three conditions apply: if a person knows that it breaks the fast and is not ignorant; if he is aware of what he is doing and has not forgotten that he is fasting; if he does it of his own free will and is not forced to do it.

Among the things that break the fast are actions that involves the expulsion of bodily fluids, such as intercourse, vomiting, menstruation and cupping, and actions that involve ingesting matter, such as eating and drinking. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/148)

(42) Among the things that break the fast are things that are classified as being like eating or drinking, such as taking medicines and pills by mouth, or injections of nourishing substances, or blood transfusions.

Injections that are not given to replace food and drink but are used to administer medications such as penicillin and insulin, or tonics, or vaccinations, do not break the fast, regardless of whether they are intra-muscular or intravenous. (Fataawa Ibn Ibraaheem, 4/189). But to be on the safe side, all these injections should be given during the night.

Kidney dialysis, whereby the blood is taken out, cleaned, and put back with some chemicals or nourishing substances such as sugars and salts added, is considered to break the fast. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/190).

According to the most correct view, suppositories, eye-drops, ear-drops, having a tooth extracted and treating wounds do not break the fast. (Majmoo’ Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam, 25/233, 25/245).

Puffers used for asthma do not break the fast, because this is just compressed gas that goes to the lungs – it is not food, and it is needed at all times, in Ramadaan and at other times.

Having a blood sample taken does not break the fast and is permissible because it is something that is needed. (Fataawa al-Da’wah: Ibn Baaz, no. 979).

Medicines used by gargling do not break the fast so long as they are not swallowed. If a person has a tooth filled and feels the taste of it in his throat, this does not break his fast. (From the fataawa of Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, issued verbally).

The following things do NOT break the fast:

Having the ears syringed; nose drops and nasal sprays – so long as one avoids swallowing anything that reaches the throat.

Tablets that are placed under the tongue to treat angina and other conditions – so long as one avoids swallowing anything that reaches the throat.

Anything inserted into the vagina, such as pessaries, douches, scopes or fingers for the purpose of a medical examination.

Insertion of a scope or intra-uterine device (IUD or “coil”) and the like into the uterus.

Insertion into the urethra – for males or females – of a catheter, opaque dye for diagnostic imaging, medication or solutions for cleansing the bladder.

Dental fillings, tooth extractions, cleaning of the teeth, use of siwaak or toothbrush – so long as one avoids swallowing anything that reaches the throat.

Rinsing, gargling or applying topical mouth sprays – so long as one avoids swallowing anything that reaches the throat.

Subcutaneous, intramuscular or intravenous injections – except for those used to provide nourishment.

Oxygen.

Anaesthetic gases – so long as the patient is not given nourishing solutions.

Medications absorbed through the skin, such as creams and patches used to administer medicine and chemicals.

Insertion of a catheter into veins for diagnostic imaging or treatment of blood vessels in the heart or other organs.

Use of a laparoscope (instrument inserted through a small incision in the abdomen) to examine the abdominal cavity or to perform operations.

Taking biopsies or samples from the liver or other organs – so long as this is not accompanied by the administration of solutions.

Gastroscopy – so long as this is not accompanied by the administration of solutions or other substances.

Introduction of any instrument or medication to the brain or spinal column.

(43) Anyone who eats and drinks deliberately during the day in Ramadaan with no valid excuse has committed a grave major sin (kabeerah), and has to repent and make up for that fast later on. If he broke the fast with something haraam, such as drinking alcohol, this makes his sin even worse. Whatever the case, he has to repent sincerely and do more naafil deeds, fasting and other acts of worship, so as to avoid having any shortfall in his record of obligatory deeds, and so that Allaah might accept his repentance.

(44) “If he forgets, and eats and drinks, then let him complete his fast, for Allaah has fed him and given him to drink.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, no. 1933). According to another report, “He does not have to make the fast up later or offer expiation (kafaarah).”

If a person sees someone else who is eating because he has forgotten that he is fasting, he should remind him, because of the general meaning of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “… Help one another in righteousness and piety…” [al-Maa’idah 5:2], and the hadeeth, “if I forget, remind me”; and because of the principle that this is an evil action (munkar) that must be changed. (Majlis Shahr Ramadaan, Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, p.70)

(45) Those who need to break their fast in order to save someone whose life is in danger, may break their fast and should make it up later on. This applies in cases where someone is drowning, or when fires need to be put out.

(46) If a person is obliged to fast, but he deliberately has intercourse during the day in Ramadaan, of his own free will, where the two “circumcised parts” (genitals) come together and the tip of the penis penetrates either the front or back passage, his fast is broken, whether or not he ejaculates, and he has to repent. He should still fast for the rest of the day, but he has to make up the fast later on, and offer expiation (kafaarah), because of the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him): “Whilst we were sitting with the Messenger of Allaah [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), a man came to him and said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I am doomed!’ He said, ‘What is the matter with you?’ He said, ‘I had intercourse with my wife whilst I was fasting.’ The Messenger of Allaah [an error occurred while processing this directive] said, ‘Do you have a slave whom you could set free?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Can you fast for two consecutive months?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Do you have the wherewithal to feed sixty poor people?’ He said, ‘No’…” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 4, no. 1936). The same ruling also applies in cases of zinaa (adultery or fornication), homosexuality and bestiality.

[Translator’s Note: Having Intercourse from the back passage, adultery, homosexuality, and bestiality are major sins in Islam and are magnified if done during the day of Ramadhan.]

If a person has intercourse during the day on more than one day during Ramadaan, he must offer expiation for each day, as well as repeating the fast for each day. Not knowing that kafaarah is obligatory is no excuse. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/321).

(47) If a man wants to have intercourse with his wife but he breaks his fast by eating first, his sin is more serious, because he has violated the sanctity of the month on two counts, by eating and by having intercourse. It is even more certain in this case that expiation is obligatory, and if he tries to get out of it, that only makes matters worse. He must repent sincerely. (See Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/262).

(48) Kissing, hugging, embracing, touching and repeatedly looking at one’s wife or concubine, if a man is able to control himself, is permissible, because it is reported in al-Saheehayn from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to kiss and embrace his wives whilst he was fasting, but he was the most in control of his desire. With regard to the hadeeth qudsi, “he keeps away from his wife for My sake”, this is referring to intercourse. But if a person get aroused quickly and is unable to control himself, then it is not permissible for him to kiss or embrace his wife, because that will lead to him breaking his fast, as he cannot be sure that he will be able to avoid ejaculating or having intercourse. Allaah says in a hadeeth qudsi: “and he leaves his desire for My sake.” The Islamic guideline is that anything that leads to haraam is also haraam.

(49) If a person is engaged in the act of intercourse and dawn comes, he is obliged to withdraw, and his fast will be valid even if he ejaculates after withdrawal, but if he continues having intercourse until after dawn, he has broken his fast, and he must repent, make the fast up later, and offer expiation.

(50) If morning comes and a person is in a state of janaabah (impurity following sexual intercourse), this does not affect his fasting. He or she is permitted to delay doing ghusl, whether it is for janaabah or following menstruation or post-natal bleeding, until after the sun has come up, but it is better to hasten to do ghusl so that one can pray.

(51) If a person who is fasting sleeps and experiences a wet dream, this does not break his fast, according to scholarly consensus (ijmaa’), so he should complete his fast. Delaying doing ghusl does not break the fast, but he should hasten to do ghusl so that he can pray and so that the anegls will draw close to him.

(52) If a person ejaculates during the day in Ramadaan because of something that he could have refrained from, such as touching or repeatedly looking at a woman, he must repent to Allaah and fast for the rest of the day, but he also has to make up that fast later on. If a person starts to masturbate but then stops, and does not ejaculate, then he has to repent but he does not have to make the fast up later on, because he did not ejaculate. The person who is fasting must keep away from everything that may provoke his desire, and he must repel any bad thoughts that come to him. However, according to the most correct opinion, if he emits prostatic fluid (madhiy), this does not break his fast.

The emission of wadiy, a thick sticky substance that comes out after urination, with no sense of physical pleasure, does not break the fast, and a person does not have to do ghusl, but he does have to do istinjaa’ (clean his private parts) and do wudoo’. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/279)

(53) “Whoever vomits unintentionally does not have to make up the fast later on, but whoever vomits on purpose does have to make up the fast.” (Saheeh hadeeth narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3/89). A person who vomits deliberately, by sticking his finger down his throat or applying pressure to his stomach, or deliberately smelling a repulsive odour, or looking at something that could make him vomit, is obliged to make up the fast later on. If he feels that he is about to vomit, but then it subsides by itself, this does not break his fast, because it is not something that he can control, but if the vomit comes into his mouth and he swallows it back down, this does break the fast. If a person feels sick in his stomach, he does not have to suppress the urge to vomit, because this could cause him harm. (Majaalis Sharh Ramadaan, Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 67).

If a person unintentionally swallows something that is stuck between his teeth, or if it is so small that he could not tell it was there or spit it out, this is counted as being part of his saliva and it does not break his fast. But if it is big enough to spit out, he should spit it out. If he spits it out, this is OK, but if he swallows it, this breaks his fast. If it can be diluted in the mouth, in whole or in part, and it has an added taste or sweetness, it is haraam for him to chew it. If any of this substance reaches the throat, this breaks the fast. If a person spits out water after rinsing his mouth, his fast is not affected by any moisture or wetness that is left behind, because he cannot help it.

If a person suffers from a nosebleed, his fast is still valid, because this is something that is beyond his control. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/264).

If he has gum ulcers or his gums bleed after using the siwaak (tooth stick), it is not permissible for him to swallow the blood; he has to spit it out. However, if some blood enters his throat by accident, and he did not mean for that to happen, there is no need to worry. Similarly, if vomit rises in his throat then goes back down to his stomach without him intending for this to happen, his fast is still valid. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/254).

With regard to mucus coming from the head (nose and sinuses) and phlegm coming from the chest by coughing and clearing the throat, if it is swallowed before it reaches the mouth, this does not break a person’s fast, because it is a problem which all people have; but if it is swallowed after it reaches the mouth, this does break the fast. However, if it is swallowed unintentionally, it does not break the fast.

Inhaling water vapours, as may happen to people working in desalination plants, does not break the fast. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/276).

It is disliked (makrooh) to taste food unnecessarily, because this carries the risk that the fast may be broken. Examples of cases where it is necessary to taste food include a mother chewing food for an infant when she has no other way to feed him, tasting food to make sure that it is OK, and tasting something when making a purchase. It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “There is nothing wrong with tasting vinegar or anything that one wishes to buy.” (Classed as hasan in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 4/86; See al-Fath, commentary on Baab Ightisaal al-Saa’im, Kitaab al-Siyaam).

(54) Using siwaak is Sunnah for the one who is fasting at all times of the day, even if it is wet. If a person who is fasting uses a siwaak and detects some heat or other taste from it and swallows it, or if he takes the siwaak out of his mouth and sees saliva on it then puts it back in his mouth and swallows the saliva, this does not break his fast. (al-Fataawa al-Sa’diyyah, 245). He should avoid any substance that can be diluted, such as the green siwaak, or siwaak that has any extra flavour added to it, like lemon or mint. He should spit out any small pieces that come off the siwaak in his mouth; he should not swallow them deliberately, but if he swallows them accidentally, there is no harm done.

(55) If a fasting person is injured or suffers a nosebleed, or gets water or petrol in his mouth by accident, this does not break his fast. If he gets dust, smoke or flies in his mouth by accident, this does not break his fast either. Things that one cannot avoid swallowing, like one’s own saliva, or dust from grinding flour, do not break the fast. If a person gathers a lot of saliva in his mouth then swallows it on purpose, this does not break the fast, according to the most correct opinion. (al-Mughni by Ibn Qudaamah, 3/106).

If tears reach one’s throat, or if a person applies oil to his hair or moustache, or uses henna, and then detects the taste of it in his throat, this does not break his fast. Using henna, kohl or oil does not break the fast. (See Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/233, 25/245). This also applies to creams used to moisturize and soften the skin.

There is nothing wrong with smelling pleasant fragrances, using perfume or applying scented creams and the like. There is nothing wrong with a fasting person using bukhoor (incense), so long as he does not use it as snuff. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/314).

It is better not to use toothpaste during the day, and to leave it till night-time, because it is too strong. (Al-Majaalis, Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, p. 72).

(56) To be on the safe side, it is better for the fasting person not to be treated with cupping (hijaamah). There is a strong difference of opinion on this matter. Ibn Taymiyah suggested that the one who has cupping done breaks his fast, but the one who does it does not break his fast.

(57) Smoking breaks the fast, and it cannot be used as an excuse not to fast. How can a sin be taken as an excuse?!

(58) Immersing oneself in water or wrapping oneself in wet clothes in order to cool down does not break the fast. There is nothing wrong with pouring water over one’s head to obtain relief from heat and thirst. Swimming is disliked, because it might make one break the fast (by swallowing water). If a person’s work involves diving and he can be sure that he will not get water in his mouth, there is nothing wrong with this.

(59) If a person eats, drinks or has intercourse, thinking that it is still night, then he realizes that dawn has already broken, there is no harm done, because the aayah clearly states that it is permissible to do these things until one is sure that dawn has come. ‘Abd al-Razzaaq reported with a saheeh isnaad going back to Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he said: “Allaah has permitted you to eat and drink so long as there is any doubt in your mind.” (Fath al-Baari, 4/135; this is also the opinion of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 29/263).

(60) If a person breaks his fast, thinking that the sun has already set when it has not, he must make up the fast later on (according to the majority of scholars), because the principle is that it is still day, and a fact that is certain cannot be rejected in favour of something doubtful. (Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah thought that it was not necessary for a person in this situation to make up the fast).

If dawn breaks and a person has food or drink in his mouth, the fuqaha’ are agreed that he should spit it out, and his fast is valid. This is like the ruling on one who eats or drinks because he forgets, then remembers he is fasting – if he hastens to spit out the food or drink in his mouth, his fast is still valid.

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Rulings on fasting for women

(62) A woman who has reached the age of puberty, but is too shy to tell anyone, so she does not fast, has to repent and make up the days she has missed, as well as feeding a poor person for each day, as an act of expiation for delaying her fast, if the following Ramadaan comes and she has not yet made up those days. Her case is like that of a woman who fasts the days of her period out of shyness, and does not make them up later.

If a woman does not know exactly how many days she has missed, she should fast until she is fairly certain that she has made up the days she had missed and not made up from previous Ramadaans, and offer the expiation for delaying for each day. She can do this at the same time as fasting or separately, depending on what she is able to do

(63) A woman should not fast – except during Ramadaan – if her husband is present without his permission, but if he is travelling then it does not matter.

(64) When a menstruating woman sees the white substance – which is discharged by the uterus when the period is finished – by which a woman knows that she has now become taahir (pure), she should have the intention to fast from the night before and should fast. If she does not have a time when she knows she is taahir, she should insert a piece of cotton or something similar, and if it comes out clean, she should fast, and if she starts to bleed again, she should stop fasting, whether the blood is a flow or just spotting, because it breaks the fast as long as it comes at the time of the period. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/154).

If the cessation of bleeding continues until Maghrib, and she has fasted with the intention from the night before, then her fast is valid. If a woman feels the movement of menstrual blood inside her, but is does not come out until after the sun has set, her fast is valid and she does not have to make the day up later.

If a woman’s period or post-natal bleeding ceases during the night, and she makes the intention to fast, but dawn comes before she is able to do ghusl, according to all the scholars her fast is valid. (al-Fath, 4/148)

(65) If a woman knows that her period will come tomorrow, she should still continue her intention and keep fasting; she should not break her fast until she actually sees the blood.

(66) It is better for a menstruating woman to remain natural and accept what Allaah has decreed for her by not taking any medication to prevent her from bleeding. She should be content with what Allaah accepts from her of breaking her fast during her period and making those days up later. This is how the Mothers of the Believers and the women of the salaf were. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/151). Moreover, there is medical evidence to prove that many of the things used to prevent bleeding are in fact harmful, and many women have suffered from irregular periods as a result of taking them. However, if a woman does that and takes something to stop the bleeding, then fasts, this is OK.

(67) Istihaadah (non-menstrual vaginal bleeding) does not have any effect on the validity of the fast.

(68) If a pregnant woman miscarries and the foetus is formed or has a discernible outline of any part of the body, such as a head or hand, then her blood is nifaas; if, however, she passes something that looks like a blood clot (‘alaq) or a chewed piece of meat that has no discernible human features, her bleeding is istihaadah and she has to fast, if she is able, otherwise she can break her fast and make it up later on. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/224). Once she becomes clean after having an operation to clean the womb (D&C), she should fast. The scholars stated that the embryo is considered to start taking shape after 80 days of pregnancy.

If a woman becomes clean from nifaas before forty days, she should fast and do ghusl so that she can pray. (al-Mughni ma’a al-Sharh al-Kabeer, 1/360). If the bleeding resumes within forty days after the birth, she should stop fasting, because this is still nifaas. If the bleeding continues after the fortieth day, she should make the intention to fast and do ghusl (according to the majority of scholars), and any bleeding beyond the fortieth day is considered to be istihaadah (non-menstrual bleeding) – unless it coincides with the usual time of her period, in which case it is hayd (menstrual blood).

If a breastfeeding woman fasts during the day and sees a spot of blood during the night, although she was clean during the day, her fast is still valid. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/150)

(69) According to the most correct opinion, a woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding is regarded as being like one who is ill, so she is permitted not to fast, and she only has to make up the days that she missed, whether she fears for herself or for her child. The Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has lifted the obligation of fasting and part of the prayer from the traveller, and He has lifted the obligation of fasting from the pregnant and breastfeeding woman.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 3/85; he said (it is a) hasan hadeeth). If a pregnant woman fasts and experiences some bleeding, her fast is still valid; this does not affect her fast at all. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/225).

(70) In the case of a woman who is obliged to fast, if her husband has intercourse with her during the day in Ramadaan with her consent, then the ruling that applies to him also applies to her. If, however, he forces her to do that, she should do her best to resist him, and she does not have to offer expiation. Ibn ‘Aqeel (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “In the case of a man who has intercourse with his wife during the day in Ramadaan whilst she is sleeping, she does not have to offer expiation.” But to be on the safe side, she should make up that fast later on. (Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) was of the opinion that this did not invalidate her fast at all).

A woman who knows that her husband cannot control himself should keep away from him and not adorn herself during the day in Ramadaan.

Women have to make up the fasts that they miss during Ramadaan, even without their husbands’ knowledge. It is not a condition for an obligatory fast for a woman to have the permission of her husband. If a woman starts to observe an obligatory fast, she is not allowed to break it except for a legitimate reason. Her husband is not permitted to order her to break her fast when she is making up a day that she has missed; he is not allowed to have intercourse with her when she is making up a missed fast, and she is not allowed to obey him in that regard. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/353).

In the case of voluntary fasts, a woman is not permitted to start a non-obligatory fast when her husband is present without his permission, because of the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), according to which the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No woman should fast when her husband is present except with his permission.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 4793).

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In conclusion, this is what I was able to write about issues concerning fasting. I ask Allaah to help us to remember Him, thank Him and worship Him properly, and to end our Ramadaan with forgiveness, and to save us from the Fire.

May Allah (swt) bless our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) , and his family and companions, and grant them peace.


Ramadan Tips: Get max reward in this month

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

RAMADAN TIPS

Clean up the time:

a) Telephone: Try to minimize your chat on the telephone. If you are used to chat with your friends on a regular basis, try to make it short. Share the importance of this month & devote yourself for Ibaadah in order to get the maximum reward in this month.

b) Cooking: Try to cook something simple during Ramadan as this is a month of Ibaadah & Quraan, not a month of food. There are some husbands who push their wifes to cook different varieties of food & sisters have to spend their time in the kitchen. If its very necessary, keep a tape of Quraan in the kitchen & listen to it while you are busy in Kitchen, or keep your toungue moist with the Zikr. [Try to find out some short cut & tips to prepare the food quickly]

C) Shopping: Try to do the Eid shopping NOW. The last ten days of Ramadan when we have to be doing more Ibaadah & spend our time in doing good deeds, most of the muslims are busy in doing shopping for Eid & their kids. Sisters! These ten days, we has to exaggerate ourself in doing more ibaadah & to catch Laila-ul qadr. Try to make this Ramadan a very different from all the previous ramadaans.

D) Dinner Party/Iftaar: Iftaar parties during ramadan are getting very common now. This is the Month for you sisters. we have the rest of the full year to do parties & to get socialize. Indeed its a great reward to break someone’s fast but try to give food to people who are needy & poor. The prophet Sallalahu alaihi wasallam said, Whoever gives food to a fasting person with which to break his fast, will have a reward equal to his, without it detracting in the slightest from the reward of the fasting person. (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 3/171; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/451).

E) Sleeping: Cut less the time of sleep during this month. Its a month of Ibaadha, doing good deeds. Who knows this could be our last ramadan. try to reduce your sleeping hours. Its only one month & then you can get back to your normal routine.

F) Computer & Internet: this is my personal request.I am spending lot of time on the internet, though visiting Islamic sites & checking & sending emails. Try to spend less time on the internet.Now when we have cleaned up a big amount of time, lets schedule it for Ibaadhah.

1) Fard: Pray the Obligatory salah on time with Khushoo. Get yourself ready as soon as the salah comes in. Make duaa to Allah to give you Khushoo. & try to get rid of all the thoughts & waswaas that comes in the mind. Think of that you are standing infront of your LORD the Almighty.

2) Sunnah: If you are already praying the 12 sunnah, continue them & add the 2 rak’ah of sunnah after Zuhr. [making them 14 altogether].The prophet Sallalahu alaihi wasallam said, Whoever maintain 4 rak’ah before Zuhr & 4 rak’ah after zuhr, Allah will make the fire Haram on that person” [Ibn-Majah]4 rak’ah before Asr: The prophet Sallalahu alaihi wasallam said, “may Allah have mercy on him who prays 4 rak’ah before Asr”. [Tirmidi]Salah Al-Duha: Increase the no. of Rak’ah if you are already in a habit of praying salah al-Duha.

3) Qur’aan: Ramadan is the month of Quraan. Try to schedule it all the moments you have. If you are working, try to keep a pocket size Quraan with you & read it whenever you get the time,like, coffee break, lunch break, etc. Try to read with reflection. Read slowly in a beautiful voice & reflect on its meaning. Try to read this time, with translation & tafseer.

4) Traweeh & Qiyaam-ul-lail: Try to read the traweeh in the mosque where the Imaam is doing long Qiyaam.

5) Tahajjud: Try to get up little earlier to pray 2 rak’ah & make duaa. Its the best time for making duaa & acceptance of duaa.

6) Du’a: Write all the duaa you want to make for yourself, your children, family or any duaa that you want to make. Each day try to focus on duaa, & keep on repeating it throughout the day & at times when the duaa is accepted. Make duaa to Allah to give you Ikhlaas, khushoo, make duaa that you catch lailat-ul-Qadr. make duaa for the whole Ummah. [repeat the duaa that are important to you,during the last ten days of Ramadan]

7) Zikr: Select one zikr for a day & focus on it daily, reflecting on its meaning & thinking about its reward. [get the Duaa book “Hisn-ul-muslim or hisn-ul haseen from any store]

8) Charity: Try to give as much charity as you can, as the reward gets more during the month of ramadan. Give food to the poor & needy people & help those in need.

9) Last 10 days: Double & triple the amount of Ibaadah you are doing during the last ten days of Ramadan. Sleep less & worship more.. pray as much as you can & make a lot of duaa.Sisters and brothers! let us get ready to make this Ramadan different than all the previous ramadans. Do as much as you can & inshaAllah Allah will help you.

Ameen

Do remember us in your Duas.

Shaban – Laylatul bara’ah: Merits, Do’s and Dont’s

By Mufti Taqi Usmani

What is Shaban?

The Night of Bara’ah

– What Should be Done in this Night?

– What Should Not be Done in This Night

Fast of the 15th Shaban

What is Shaban?

Shaban is one of the meritorious months for which we find some particular instructions in the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. It is reported in the authentic ahadith that Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to fast most of the month in Shaban. These fasts were not obligatory on him but Shaban is the month immediately preceding the month of Ramadan. Therefore, some preparatory measures are suggested by Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Some of these are given below:

1. The blessed companion Anas, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports that Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was asked, “Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadan?” He replied, “Fasts of Shaban in honor of Ramadan.”

2. The blessed companion Usama ibn Zaid, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports that he asked Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam: “Messenger of Allah,I have seen you fasting in the month of Shaban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month.” Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, replied: “That (Shaban) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting.”

3. Ummul Mu’mineen ‘Aishah, Radi-Allahu anha, says, “Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to fast the whole of Shaban. I said to him, ‘Messenger of Allah, is Shaban your most favorite month for fasting?’ He said, ‘In this month Allah prescribes the list of the persons dying this year. Therefore, I like that my death comes when I am in a state of fasting.”

4. In another Tradition she says, “Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, would sometimes begin to fast continuously until we thought he would not stop fasting, and sometimes he used to stop fasting until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, fasting a complete month,except the month of Ramadan, and I have never seen him fasting in a month more frequently than he did in Shaban.”

5. In another report she says, “I never saw the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, fasting in a month so profusely as he did in the month of Shaban. He used to fast in that month leaving only a few days, rather, he used to fast almost the whole of the month.”

6. Ummul-Mu’mineen Umm Salamah, Radi-Allahu anha, says: “I have never seen the Messenger of Allah fasting for two months continuously except in the months of Shaban and Ramadan.”

These reports indicate that fasting in the month of Shaban, though not obligatory, is so meritorious that Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, did not like to miss it.

But it should be kept in mind that the fasts of Shaban are for those persons only who are capable of keeping them without causing deficiency in the obligatory fasts of Ramadan. Therefore, if one fears that after fasting in Shaban, he will lose strength or freshness for the fasts of Ramadan and will not be able to fast in it with freshness, he should not fast in Shaban, because the fasts of Ramadan, being obligatory, are more important than the optional fasts of Shaban. That is why Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, himself has forbidden the Muslims from fasting one or two days immediately before the commencement of Ramadan. The blessed Companion Abu Hurairah, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, to have said, “Do not fast after the first half of the month of Shaban is gone.”

According to another report Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam has said: “Do not precede the month of Ramadan with one or two fasts.”

The essence of the above-quoted ahadith is that Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, himself used to fast most of the month of Shaban, because he had no fear of developing weakness or weariness before the commencement of Ramadan. As for others, he ordered them not to fast after the 15th of Shaban for the fear that they would lose their strength and freshness before Ramadan starts, and would not be able to welcome the month of Ramadan with enthusiasm.

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The Night of Bara’ah

Another significant feature of the month of Shaban is that it consists of a night which is termed in Shariah as “Laylatul-bara’ah” (The night of freedom from Fire). This is the night occurring between 14th and 15th day of Shaban. There are certain traditions of Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, to prove that it is a meritorious night in which the people of the earth are attended by special Divine mercy. Some of these traditions are quoted as follows:

1. Ummul-Mu’mineen ‘Aishah, Radi-Allahu anha,is reported to have said, “Once Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, performed the Salah of the night (Tahajjud) and made a very long Sajdah until I feared that he had passed away. When I saw this, I rose (from my bed) and moved his thumb (to ascertain whether he is alive). The thumb moved, and I returned (to my place). Then I heard him saying in Sajdah: ‘I seek refuge of Your forgiveness from Your punishment, and I seek refuge of Your pleasure from Your annoyance, and I seek Your refuge from Yourself. I cannot praise You as fully as You deserve. You are exactly as You have defined Yourself.’ Thereafter, when he raised his head from Sajdah and finished his salah, he said to me: ‘Aishah, did you think that the Prophet has betrayed you?’ I said, ‘No, O Prophet of Allah, but I was afraid that your soul has been taken away because your Sajdah was very long.’ He asked me, ‘Do you know which night is this?’ I said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He said, ‘This is the night of the half of Shaban. Allah Almighty looks upon His slaves in this night and forgives those who seek forgiveness and bestows His mercy upon those who pray for mercy but keeps those who have malice (against a Muslim) as they were before, (and does not forgive them unless they relieve themselves from malice).'”

2. In another Tradition Sayyidah’ Aishah, Radi-Allahu anha, has reported that Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, has said, “Allah Almighty descends (in a manner He best knows it) in the night occurring in the middle of Shaban and forgives a large number of people more than the number of the fibers on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb.”

Kalb was a big tribe the members of which had a very large number of sheep. Therefore, the last sentence of the hadith indicates the big number of the people who are forgiven in this night by Allah Almighty.

3. In yet another Tradition, she has reported Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, to have said, “This is the middle Night of Shaban. Allah frees in it a large number of the people from Fire, more than the number of the hair growing on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb. But He does not even look at a person who associates partners with Allah, or at a person who nourishes malice in his heart (against someone), or at a person who cuts off the ties of kinship, or at a man who leaves his clothes extending beyond his ankles (as a sign of pride), or at a person who disobeys his parents, or at a person who has a habit of drinking wine.”

4. Sayyidna Mu’adh ibn Jabal, Radi-Allahu anhu,reports that Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, has said: “Allah Almighty looks upon all those created by Him in the middle Night of Shaban and forgives all those created by Him, except the one who associates partners with Him or the one who has malice in his heart (against a Muslim)”.

Although the chain of narrators of some of these traditions suffers with some minor technical defects, yet when all these traditions are combined together, it becomes clear that this night has some well founded merits, and observing this night as a sacred night is not a baseless concoction as envisaged by some modern scholars who, on the basis of these minor defects, have totally rejected to give any special importance to this night. In fact, some of these traditions have been held by some scholars of hadith as authentic and the defects in the chain of some others have been treated by them as minor technical defects which, according to the science of hadith, are curable by the variety of their ways of narration. That is why the elders of the ummah have constantly been observing this night as a night of special merits and have been spending it in worship and prayers.

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What Should be Done in this Night?

In order to observe the Night of Bara’ah, one should remain awakened in this night as much as he can. If someone has better opportunities, he should spend the whole night in worship and prayer. However, if one cannot do so for one reason or another, he can select a considerable portion of the night, preferably of the second half of it for this purpose, and should perform the following acts of worship:

(a) Salah. Salah is the most preferable act to be performed in this night. There is no particular number of Rak’at but preferably it should not be less than eight. It is also advisable that each part of the Salah like qiyam, rukoo’ and sajdah should be longer than normal. The longest surahs of the Holy Qur’an one remembers by heart should be recited in the Salah of this night. If someone does not remember the long surahs, he can also recite several short surahs in one rak’ah.

(b) Tilawa. The recitation of the Holy Qur’an is another form of worship, very beneficent in this night. After performing Salah, or at any other time, one should recite as much of the Holy Qur’an as he can.

(c) Dhikr. One should also perform dhikr (recitation of the name of Allah) in this night. Particularly the following dhikr is very useful:

One should recite Salah (durood) on Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, as many times as he can. The dhikr can also be recited while walking, lying on bed and during other hours of work or leisure.

(d) Dua. The best benefit one can draw from the blessings of this night is prayers and supplications. It is hoped that all the prayers in this night will be accepted by our Lord, insha-Allah. Prayer itself is an ‘Ibadah, and Allah Almighty gives reward on each prayer along with the fulfillment of the supplicator’s need. Even if the purpose prayed for is not achieved, one cannot be deprived of the reward of the prayer which is sometimes more precious than the mundane benefits one strives for. The prayers and supplications also strengthen one’s relation with Allah Almighty, which is the main purpose of all kinds and forms of worship.

One can pray for whatever purpose he wishes. But the best supplications are the ones made by Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. These are so comprehensive and all-encompassing prayers that all the human needs, of this world and the Hereafter, are fully covered in the eloquent expressions used in them. Actually, most of the prophetic prayers are so profound that human imagination can hardly match their greatness.

Several books in various languages are available which provide these prophetic prayers, and one should pray to Allah Almighty in accordance with them, whether by reciting their original Arabic text or by rendering their sense in one’s own language.

(e) There are some people who cannot perform any additional Salah or recitations for any reason, like illness or weakness or being engaged in some other necessary activities. Such people also should not deprive themselves completely of the blessings of this night. They should observe the following acts:

(i) To perform the Salah of Maghrib, ‘Isha’ and Fajr with Jama’ah in the mosque, or in their homes in case of their being sick.

(ii) They should keep reciting the dhikr, particularly the one mentioned in para (c) above, in whatever condition they are until they sleep.

(iii) They should pray to Allah for their forgiveness and for their other objectives. One can do so even when he is in his bed.

(f) The women during their periods cannot perform salah, nor can they recite the Qur’an, but they can recite any dhikr, tasbeeh, durood sharif and can pray to Allah for whatever purpose they like in whatever language they wish. They can also recite the Arabic prayers mentioned in the Qur’an or in the hadith with the intention of supplication (and not with the intention of recitation).

(g) According to a hadith, which is relatively less authentic, Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, went in this night to the graveyard of Baqi’ where he prayed for the Muslims buried there. On this basis, some of the fuqaha hold it as mustahabb (advisable) in this night to go to the graveyard of the Muslims and recite Fatihah or any other part of the Qur’an, and pray for the dead. But this act is neither obligatory nor should it be performed as regularly as an obligatory act.

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What Should Not be Done in This Night

1. As mentioned earlier, the Night of Bara’ah is a night in which special blessings are directed towards the Muslims. Therefore, this night should be spent in total submission to Allah Almighty, and one should refrain from all those activities, which may displease Allah. Although it is always incumbent upon every Muslim to abstain from sins, yet this abstinence becomes all the more necessary in such nights, because committing sins in this night will amount to responding to divine blessings with disobedience and felony. Such an arrogant attitude can invite nothing but the wrath of Allah. Therefore, one should strictly abstain from all the sins, particularly from those mentioned in the Hadith No. 3 quoted earlier in this article, because these sins make one devoid of the blessings of this night.

2. In this night some people indulge in some activities which they regard as necessary for the celebration of the Night of Bara’ah, like cooking some special type of meal, or illuminating houses or mosques, or improvised structures. All such activities are not only baseless and innovated in the later days by ignorant people, but in some cases they are pure imitation of some rituals performed by non-Muslim communities. Such imitation in itself is a sin; performing it in a blessed night like the Night of Bara’ah makes it worse. Muslims should strictly abstain from all such activities.

3. Some people spend this night in holding religious meetings and delivering long speeches. Such activities are also not advisable, because these acts can easily be performed in other nights. This night requires one to devote himself for the pure acts of worship only.

4. The acts of worship like Salah, recitation of the Qur’an and dhikr should be performed in this night individually, not collectively. The Nafl Salah should not be performed in Jama’ah, nor should the Muslims arrange gatherings in the mosques in order to celebrate the night in a collective manner.

On the contrary, this night is meant for worshipping Allah in solitude. It is the time to enjoy the direct contact with the Lord of the Universe, and to devote one’s attention to Him and Him alone. These are the precious hours of the night in which nobody should intervene between one and his Lord, and one should turn to Allah with total concentration, not disturbed or intermitted by any one else.

That is why Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, observed the acts of worship in this night in total seclusion, not accompanied by anyone, not even by his favorite life companion Sayyidah ‘Aishah, Radi-Allahu anha, and that is why all forms of the optional worship (Nafl Ibadah), are advised by him to be done in individual, not in collective manner.

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Fast of the 15th Shaban

On the day immediately following the Night of Bara’ah, i.e. the 15th of Shaban, it is mustahabb (advisable) to keep fast. Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is reported to have recommended this fast emphatically. Although the scholars of hadith have some doubts in the authenticity of this report, yet it is mentioned earlier that the fasts of the first half of Shaban have special merits and Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to fast most of the days in Shaban. Moreover, a large number of the elders (salaf) of the Ummah have been observing the fast of the 15th ofShaban. This constant practice indicates that they have accepted the relevant hadith as authentic.

Therefore, it is advisable to fast the 15th of Shaban as an optional (nafl) fast. One can also keep a fast of qada on this day and it is hoped that he can also benefit from the merits of this fast.

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The Hidden Gems of Fajr Salaah

For many of us, waking up for Fajr can be difficult and burdensome. However, here are some virtues that we fail to realise!
1) Oath by Fajr
As Muslims, we are not allowed to take oaths by anyone other than Allah,
But Allah, the Most Majestic can take an oath by anything he wishes.
In the beginning of Surah Fajr, the 89th Chapter of the Qur’an, Allah begins the Surah by swearing upon the dawn (Fajr),
”By the dawn”
Every oath made by Allah in the Qur’an emphasises its importance and likewise, Allah has emphasised the time of Fajr.
2) The two Sunnah Rakaats of Fajr are better than the entire world
In the Hadith of Sayyidah Aisha Radhiyallahu Anha, the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam said,
“Two Rakaats of prayer before the Fajr (Fardh) prayer are better than the world and whatever is in it. (Muslim)
3) Whoever prays the Fajr prayer comes under the protection of Allah
In the hadith reported by Jundub ibn Abdullah Radhiyallahu Anhu, the prophet Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam said,
“He who performs the Fajr will be under the protection of Allah.” (Muslim)
For the one who offers the Fardh of Fajr prayer, Allah will protect them from harm the entire day until the next Fajr prayer.
4) The recitation of Qur’an at Fajr is witnessed
Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an,
“Establish prayer at the decline of the sun until the darkness of the night and recite the Qur’an at Fajr. Indeed, the recitation of Fajr is ever witnessed.” (Surah Bani Israeel verse 78)
Who is it witnessed by?
The Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam recited this verse and said,
“It is witnessed by the angels of the night and the day.” (Tirmidhi)
Out of all the 5 obligatory prayers, our Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam made the Fajr prayer the longest because he understood this amazing virtue.
5) Remembering Allah after Fajr can earn you the reward of Hajj & Umrah
The Messenger Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam said,
“Whoever prays the morning prayer in congregation, and thereafter sits remembering Allah until the sun rises and prays two Rakahs (Duha) will have a reward similar to the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage.” (Tirmidhi)
Lastly, great emphasis has been placed upon preserving the Fajr prayer along with the Asr prayer because it is a time when deeds are taken by the angels to Allah Ta’ala.
The Messenger Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam said,
“A group of angels stay with you at night and (another group of) angels by daytime, and both groups gather at the time of the ‘Asr and Fajr prayers.
Then those angels who have stayed with you overnight, ascend and Allah asks them about you – (even though) He knows everything about you. ‘In what state did you leave My slaves?’
The angels reply, ‘When we left them, they were praying, and when we reached them they were praying.’ ” (Bukhari)
We make Dua that Allah grants us all the understanding to realise the significance of this great prayer and grants us the ability to get up and offer it regularly.

Hasan & Husayn: Principles Over Power

“These two sons of mine are the leaders of the youth in Paradise.”1
The Prophet ﷺ

Much has been claimed and said regarding the marked departure in political stances between the two grandsons of the Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his family). Quietism versus activism, leads to juxtaposing political compromise with martyrdom. A saying states, “Live like Muhammad (peace & blessings be upon him), but die like Husayn (may God be pleased with him)”, seemingly dismissive of Hasan’s (peace be upon him) decisions for unity. A previous post introduces these great personalities and the choice we need to make to love the Prophetic House. Between the critics and supporters, the commonality in higher purpose that unites these two sons of Fatima (peace be upon her) is often lost. Did the objectives of the Imams truly differ?

The key impulse for both personalities was to safeguard the sacredness and rights of faith (Haqq al Din), life (Haqq al Nafs), communal interests (Haqq al Nasl), and legitimate political determination (Haqq Al Hurriyyah), as these are all ontologically connected to the Divine. Imam Hasan (may God be pleased with him) bore these higher principles in mind when he spoke to his political adversary plainly stating this: “Leave aggression and prevent the blood of the Muslims from shedding. By Allah, you have shed much of their blood. Fear God, for you will meet Him.”2

The political adversaries were centered in the Ummayad clan. The same clan, led by Abu Sufyan, that fought the Prophet himself. It was stated by the Ummayad Marwan b. al Hakam to the Madinan Governor Al Walid,“If al-Husayn leaves you now without giving the pledge of allegiance, you will never have the same power over him until there are a great number of slain men between you and him. Imprison the man and don’t let him leave you until he has paid homage (to Yazid), or you have executed him.” Husayn sought refuge in Mecca before he feared that the sacred city would be attacked, and journeyed to supporters in Kufah. As many of you know the blessed Imam, his family, and companions were seized and massacred unjustly in the plains of Karbala.

While his historical narrative is readily known by many despite sectarian lines, few know the narrative of Imam Hasan. The great Sunni polymath, Al-Tabari, states in his History: “The people pledged allegiance to Al-Hasan b. Ali, peace be upon him. Then he went out with people till he stopped at al-Mada’in. He sent Qays b. Sa’d to lead his vanguard that was composed of twelve thousand fighters. (In the meantime) Mu’awiya (a Companion and Ummayad rival; who was previously governor of Syria) and the Syrians moved till they stopped at Maskan. While Al-Hasan had been at al-Mada’in, a caller called in the army: Qays b. Sa’d had been killed, so desert (Al-Hasan). So they deserted him, and plundered his tent to the extent that they plundered even his prayer mat from under him…So when Al-Hasan knew that the people deserted Him, he sent (a man) to Mu’awiya and asked him to make peace with him. Thus Mu’awiya sent to him Abd Allah b. Amir, and Abd al-Rahman b. Samra b. Habib b. Abd Shams. So they came to Al-Hasan at al-Mada’in, then they gave him what he wanted and made peace with him.”

Amidst accusations of acting cowardly, the Imam was asked why he did not forcefully resist. He responded, ”By God, if I had supporters I would fight day and night for justice.”3 Imam Husayn (May God be pleased with him), then and now, is also questioned over the wisdom of his decision to continue onwards towards Iraq, knowing his base of support was no longer there. With the arrival of the feared general Ubaydullah ibn Ibn Ziyad, who stripped the noted companion Nu’man Ibn Basheer (may God be pleased with him) of his governorship and instituted public executions of the Imam’s followers, support dwindled and citizens left the town. The severe political intimidation of this ilk is unfortunately alive and well in our midst today. Imam Husayn (peace be upon him) stated, “Wise decisions are not hidden from me. Yet the decree of God, the Exalted, cannot be resisted. By God, (my enemies) will not leave me till they have torn the very heart from the depths of my guts. If they do that, God will cause them to be dominated and humiliated until they become the most humiliated of the factions among nations.” Zayd b. Arqam, a venerable companion of the Prophet, scolded Ibn Ziyad and his public audience while the latter prodded the lips of the Holy Imam’s severed head:

“By God, he shall kill the best of you and enslave the most wicked among you. Perish those who accept humiliation and shame.’ Zayd then said, ‘O Ibn Ziyad, I shall tell you something that will enrage you even more. I saw the Apostle of God seating Hasan on his left leg and Husayn on his right, and say, “O God, I commend them and the most righteous of the people of faith to your trust.” How have you dealt with the trust of the Prophet, O Ibn Ziyad?’4

It would seem that the religious community of the grandfather of Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn is arguably in one of its lowest ebb of that humiliation today.

Imam Hasan is suspected to have died at the prompting of his Ummayad adversaries, as rule was to return to the Imam as part of his peace agreement.5 One of his wives is thought to have poisoned him in exchange for marriage to the ruling family.6 There is a detailed account of the events surrounding his burial in Ibn Katheer’s book Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah that is telling of the political climate:

It is narrated that Jabir bin ‘Abdullah saw Hasan ibn Ali on the day of his death. Conflict almost broke out between Hasan ibn Ali and Marwan bin al-Hakam after al-Hasan instructed his brother to bury him with the Messenger of Allah, but if some battle or mishap were to occur because of it then he should be buried in al-Baqee. Marwan objected to allowing al-Hasan to be buried with the Messenger. In fact Marwan never ceased to be the enemy of the Banu Hashim tribe until his death. As Jabar recalls: “That day I spoke to Husain bin Ali to whom I said “O Abu Abdullah! Fear Allah for your brother did not like to see conflict. Therefore bury him in al-Baqee with his mother, so he did”7

Even in death neither Imam Hasan nor Imam Husayn (peace upon them both) sought to sow centuries of rancor. Imam Hasan (may God be pleased with him) lived to his grandfather’s famous words, “Verily, this son of mine is a chief, so perhaps Allah will make peace between two large groups of Muslims through him” (An-Nasa’i ; Sahih Bukhari). Likewise, the tragic end of Imam Husayn (may God be pleased with him) was also known to the Blessed Messenger:

“The angel of rain sought the permission of his Lord to visit the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and he was granted it. It was the day of Umm Salama and the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘Observe the entrance so that no one may enter upon us.’ It was while she was standing at the door that Husayn came darting past, opened the door, and entered. He began to leap and jump on the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and grant him peace) back and the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) began kissing him. The angel asked him (Allah bless him and grant him peace), ‘Do you love him?’ He (Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied, ‘Yes.’ The angel then said, ‘Your community will kill him. If you wish I can show you the place where he will be killed.’ He (Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied, ‘Yes.’ He then grabbed a fistful from the place where he would be killed and showed it to him (Allah bless him and grant him peace), having come with reddish soil. Umm Salama then took hold of it and placed it in her garment.” [Ahmad, Musnad; Ibn Hibban, Sahih (with a sound chain according to Sh. Shua`yb Arna’ut); Tabarani, al-Kabir; Abu Ya`ala, Musnad]

Today we find scholars supporting “peace” by supporting the same sort of injustices perpetrated by the Ummayads; and on the other extreme we see a cult of political martyrdom that lacks the higher aspiration and spiritual ethics of true sacrifice.The lives and deaths of these Imams have occupied centuries and pages. They strike at the political disorder which has haunted the Prophetic faith community since its early days. Today we find scholars supporting “peace” by supporting the same sort of injustices perpetrated by the Ummayads; and on the other extreme we see a cult of political martyrdom that lacks the higher aspiration and spiritual ethics of true sacrifice. Muslims, Sunni or Shi’i, fail to contextualize their longings for dignity and justice with legal traditionalism that seeks stability at all costs. The evocation of the necessity of rule (imamat ad-darurah) allows tyranny in the absence of an ideal, and has its roots in the tribulations of the early community with the rise of the Ummayad Dynasty. We need to contemplate the maxim, “Necessity makes the unlawful lawful”(Ad-daruratu tubiyh al-mahzurah) when discussing societal change and tumult. The need for stability is what has also driven some Sunni theologians to downplay the sacrifice of Imam Hasan and Husayn (peace be upon them), and to continue to downplay the currents of change that have gripped the Arab World this decade. Syria and the post-revolutionary failures in the region are machinated out of neglect, and are used as political props to warn those who dare to improve societal ills. It is a misfortune that leading religious figures give credence to the stagnation of tyranny in the name of stability, while simultaneously denouncing the extremists. For this neo-Ummayad status quo, Imam Husayn presents a quandary that is most easily dealt with by neglect. They also look to appropriate the political reconciliations of Imam Hasan for their own ends. The truth is that the lives and actions of the grandsons of our Messenger (peace & blessing upon him and his family), although seemingly different, are in reality not. One gave up the mantle, while the other sought its rectification based upon a higher calling. Their actions and destinies are united in their concern for the preservation of faith and life. We would do well to remember that far from the nihilistic starkness of rulers and rebels alike, the truth is a higher calling clearly seen in the opacity of temporal life.

1. Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Manaqib, Manaqib Abi Muhammad al-Hasan, Hadith no. 3793, Vol. 5, Page 426.
2. Ibn Abu al-Haddid, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 12.
3. al-Tubrisi, al-Ihtijaj, p.151.
4. Ibn Hajar, p. 118.
5. See Madelung’s “Succession of Muhammad” p. 331-332.
6. Believed by the earlier historians Al Waqidi and Baladhuri to have been poisoned by a wife of Imam Hasan.
7. The Caliphate of Banu Umayyah the first phase, Ibn Katheer, taken from Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah by Ibn Katheer, Ismail Ibn Omar. Translated by Yoosuf Al-Hajj Ahmad p47.

Source: http://almadinainstitute.org/

The Fast of Ashura

By Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi

The fast of ‘Ashura was prescribed before the fasts of Ramadan. The Jews observed it and so did the people of Arabia before the dawn of Islam.

It is related by Imam Bukhari on the authority of Ibn-i-Abbas that when the Prophet came to Madinah he found that the Jews observed the fast of ‘Ashura. He enquired about it from them and was told that it was the day on which God had delivered the Children of Israel from the enemy and Moses used to keep a fast on it as an expression of gratitude to the Almighty. The Prophet thereupon, remarked that ‘Moses has a greater claim upon me than upon you,’ and he fasted on that day and instructed his followers to do the same.

It is also mentioned in Muslim that it is a most important day. On this day God had delivered Moses and his followers and drowned Pharaoh and his men. Moses fasted on it in thanksgiving. Imam Bukhari adds that it is related by Abu Bishr: “We also keep fast as a token of respect to Moses.”

But the celebrated mathematician Abu Rehan Beruni challenged the veracity of these reports on the basis of a comparative study of the Jewish and Arabian Calendars. He writes: “It is said that ‘Ashur is a Hebrew word which has become ‘Ashura in Arabic. It stands for the tenth day of the Jewish month of Tisri. The fast observed on this day is called Yom Kippur. It came to be incorporated in the Arab Calendar and the name was given to the tenth day of the first month of their year in the same way in which it denoted the tenth day of the first month of the Jewish Calendar. It was instituted as a day of fasting among the Muslims in the first year of Migration. Later, when fasting was enjoined in the month of Ramadan it was dropped. A Tradition has it that when the Prophet came to Madinah and saw that the Jews observed the fast of ‘Ashura he enquired about it and was told that it was the day on which God had drowned Pharaoh and his people and delivered Moses and his followers from them, and Moses used to fast on it in thanksgiving. The Prophet, then, remarked that Moses had a greater claim upon him than upon them and he fasted on that day and instructed his followers to do the same. When the fasts of Ramadan were prescribed, the Prophet neither enjoined the fast of ‘Ashura nor forbade it.

Ashura as mentioned in the tradition, is a day of merriment and decoration. We fast on this day as a token of respect to Prophet Musa, alayhis-sallam (Moses).

But this report is fallacious and does not stand the test of enquiry. The first day of the month of Muharram in the first year of Hijrah (Migration) was Friday, which corresponds to the 16th of Tamuz, 933 (A.E.). As against it, the first day of that year among the Jews was Sunday, the 12th of Awwal which corresponds to the 29th of Safar. Hence, the fast of Ashura should have fallen on Tuesday, the 9th of Rabi-ul-Awwal, while the Migration had taken place during the first half of that month. The two dates, at any rate, do not correspond to each other.”

He adds: “The contention that on this day God had drowned the Pharaoh, too, is not supported by what is given in the Torah. The event of the drowning of the Pharaoh had taken place, according to Torah, on the 21st of Nisan, which is the seventh day of the festival of Passover. The first Jewish fast of Passover, after the arrival of the Prophet in Madinah, occurred on Tuesday, the 22nd of Azhar 933 which corresponds to the 17th of Ramadan. This report also is, therefore, without a foundation.”

With due respect to the scholarship of Beruni, it is clear that he has built his thesis wholly on conjecture. He has, for instance, surmised that the talk reported by Ibn-i-Abbas and other Companions had taken place on the very first day of the Prophet’s arrival in Madinah as is evident from his observation, “when the sacred Prophet came to Madinah or entered it.”

This misconception is due to the ignorance of the science of Traditions and of the holy Companion’s mode of narration, innumerable instances of which are available in the Traditions. For example, it is related by Anas bin Malik: “When the Prophet came to Madinah and (saw that) there were two days which the people of that place celebrated as festivals he enquired about their significance. (The people of Madinah) told, ‘These were our days of fun and entertainment during the days of Paganism.’ The Prophet, thereupon, observed, ‘God has given you two better days in their place, ‘Id-ul-Fitr and ‘Id-ul-Adha’.”

Now, will it be proper for anyone to infer from the above Tradition that the arrival of the Prophet in Madinah took place on the same day that was the day of celebration in that town, and to proceed to question the veracity of the Tradition on the ground that it was not chronometrically possible? Similar errors of interpretation have been made in respect of other traditions as well, like the one relating to pollination in date palms.

Commenting on the argument advanced by Beruni, Allama Ibn-i-Hajr Asqallani says,
“He found it difficult to accept the tradition due to the misunderstanding that when the Prophet arrived in Madinah he saw the Jews in the state of keeping the fast of ‘Ashura while, in fact, it was in the month of Rabi-ul-Awwal that the Prophet had come to Madinah. The answer to it is that he has erred in the interpretation of the tradition. What the tradition actually means is that the Prophet came to know of the fast of ‘Ashura only when he had migrated to Madinah and made his enquiry, for the first time, after he had reached there. In other words, the Prophet, when he came to Madinah and stayed there till ‘Ashura, found that the Jews fasted on that day.”

There is left no chronological contradiction after Allama Asqallani’s explanation, in the Tradition regarding the fast of ‘Ashura.

The second misconception under which Beruni labors is that the fast of ‘Ashura mentioned in the Tradition signifies the tenth day of the Jewish month of Tisri which is also known as Yom Kippur or the Fast of Atonement and is observed by them with greater ceremony than any other fast. But there is nothing in the tradition to warrant such a conclusion, and it is also not supported by the Torah because the Fast of Atonement was instituted in expiation of a mortal sin and observed as a day of penance and mourning.

The Day of Atonement, which is the tenth day of the seventh month of Tisri, is referred to in these words in the Third Book of Moses called, Leviticus:

“And this will be a statute for ever unto you; that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger who sojourneth among you: for on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute forever” (Lev. 16:29-31)

At another place, in the same Book, it is said: “And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be a holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day; for it is a day of atonement to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God.” (Lev. 23:26-28)

Similarly, in the Book of Numbers, it is set forth: “And ye shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month a holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls; ye shall not do any work therein.”

On the other hand, it explicitly occurs in the traditions that the day of ‘Ashura (on which the Muslims are enjoined to fast) was a day of rejoicing among the Jews. As Imam Bukhari has related it on the authority of Abu Musa Ashari, the Jews regarded it to be a day of Eid and it was on seeing it that the holy Prophet advised his Companions also to keep fast on it.

In Saheeh Muslim, also, it is related from Qais bin Muslim that men of good-doing observed the fast of Ashura and celebrated it as the day of Eid, with their women wearing the best of clothes and ornaments. The Prophet, on seeing it, said to us, “You should also fast on this day.”

It is, further, related by Koraib bin S’ad from Omar bin el-Khattab that, “On the Day of Judgment God will ask you only about two fasts, the fasts of Ramadan and the fast of the day of adornment (i.e., ‘Ashura).”

In the light of the facts given above, it will be incorrect to say that ‘Ashura is the Day of Atonement. Were it so, it would have been a day of lamentation and mortification while ‘Ashura, as mentioned in the tradition, is a day of merriment and decoration.

The same fallacy is shared by a number of Western scholars as well. As for instance, Abraham Katish observes about the Day of Attonement in his book entitled, ‘Judaism in Islam,’ that “Mohammad, in the beginning, instituted it as a day of fasting for Muslims.”

The assertion of the Jews themselves about ‘Ashura that it was the day on which God had delivered the Israelites from their enemies is enough to set at rest all doubts in this connection. In the Torah it has been repeatedly mentioned as Abib which later came to be known as Nisan. About Abib, we read in Dairatul M’aarif, “it is a Hebraic word which means ‘green’. It is the name of the first month of the Hebraic year. This name was given to it by Moses and it corresponds nearly to the month of April. When the Jews were exiled in Babylon they changed its name to Nisan, meaning ‘the month of flowers.’ Their ‘Id-ul-Fateer (Passover) is also held in the middle of it.”

Beruni, also, has admitted that it is wrong to suppose that the Day of Atonement signified the day on which God had drowned Pharaoh and his men. He says, “Their contention that on this day God had drowned Pharaoh is opposed to what is stated in the Torah because the event of drowning took place on the 21st of Nisan, which is the seventh day of Ayam-ul-Fateer (Passover). It is set forth in Torah (Ex. 12: 18): ‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even’.”

We, therefore, conclude that ‘Ashura, which is mentioned in the traditions related by Ibn-i-Abbas and others and on which day the Muslims have been exhorted to fast and was included among the near-obligatory duties in Islam before the fasts of Ramadan were prescribed, corresponds, in the largest measure, to the day which falls in the middle of the Hebraic month of Abib, whose name was changed to Nisan by the Jews during the period of their exile in Babylon and was celebrated by them as an ‘Id and an event of fasting and entertainment. It was on this day that the Israelites had come out of Egypt and the Pharaoh was drowned. In the second Book of Moses it is related: “And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place; there shall no leavened bread be eaten. This day came ye out in the month of Abib.” (Ex. 13: 3-4)

In sum, the general consensus among Muslim theologians and religious scholars is that ‘Ashura fell on the tenth day of the Arab month of Muharram in the second year of Migration and that it was later annulled by Ramadan.

Besides, any attempt to make the Lunar Arabian Calendar correspond to the Solar Jewish Calendar can, at the best, be only hypothetical. The ancient custom of Nasi has also taken a hand in adding to the confusion. This practice was quite common in Arabia, both before and after the advent of Islam, till it was prohibited by the Qur’anic injunction which reads: Postponement of a month is only an excess of disbelief, whereby those who disbelieve are misled. (ix: 37)

On the occasion of the Farewell Hajj, the holy Prophet had declared, “Time has returned to the original state that obtained when the heavens and the earth were created”. These words were of Divine Inspiration for the Arab arrangement of time into days, weeks, months and years had been changed so frequently that it could not be relied upon nor restored to its original form through mathematical calculation. It is, therefore, incorrect to question the authenticity of successive Traditions merely on the basis of an erratic and inconstant Calendar.

It is also possible that the Jews of Madinah were different from the other Jewish communities where the fast of ‘Ashura was concerned and observed it with greater enthusiasm and regularity, and, in this respect, they were similar to the Arabs who, seeing that so many important events had taken place on that day, fasted on it out of reverence.

It is related by Hazrat-at Ayesha , “the Quraish fasted on the day of ‘Ashura during the period of Ignorance and the sacred Prophet also kept it.” (Muslim). Further, the fast days among the Jews living in different countries differed from one another. We have seen how in the Jewish Encyclopedia it is indicated that apart from the fixed fast-days many fasts of a local or national character had become established among the Jews from the early days, which varied from place to place. Private fasts were also common among the Jews and one could take it upon oneself to fast on certain days in memory of certain events or at the time of adversity to arouse God’s mercy. In these circumstances, it is quite possible that the fast of ‘Ashura, on the tenth day of the first month of the Arab Calendar, was peculiar to the Jews living in Arabia alone. Perhaps, it is for this reason that the Talmud and the Jewish Calendar are silent on this score. Some historians have treated it as identical! to the Fast of Atonement which all the Jews, wherever they be, consider obligatory. Thus, those who subscribe to this view are inclined to doubt the veracity of the afore-mentioned traditions. But their judgment is influenced by the ignorance of the habits and practices of the Jews living in various parts of the world, specially in Arabia where they had been settled for generations as a distinct community, possessing their own beliefs and customs and receiving local impressions in the historical course of things.

The Significance of Shawwal & 6 Nafl Fast

THE SIX NAFL FASTS OF SHAWWAL
Hazrat Abî Ayyub Radiallâhu anhu relates that Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said: “Whoever fasted the full month of Ramadhân and then follows it with six soum[fasts] of Shawwâl, is like the person who has fasted the full year.” (Sahih Muslim)

In another Hadîth it is related that by observing these six fasts after Ramadhân all defaults and sins are forgiven. The reward of every good deed is tenfold or more. The thawâb of the month of Ramadhân is equal to that of ten months and that of these six voluntary siyam are equal to that of the remaining two months to complete the full year. These fast could be kept continuously after Eid-ul‑Fitr or separately during the month of Shawwâl.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SHAWWAL
Shawwal is the tenth lunar month. During the period of ignorance Ramadhân was regarded as a blessed and sacred month. Shawwal was regarded as a cursed month and a month of ill‑omen. The people of that time never married during Shawwal. Due to this Hazrat Ayesha Radiallâhu anha expressed disappointment of the people to consider this month to be inauspicious, as she was married to Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam in this very month. The wrong beliefs of the people was clearly disproven by Hazrat Ayesha Radiallâhu anha by her marriage to Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam in the month of Shawwal which was no obstruction to her elevated position and great love Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam had for her.

To a Muslim the first day of the month of Shawwal, is of very great significance, as this is the day of Eid. On this significant day Allâh showers His glorious rewards of blessings and forgiveness to His servants who have fasted during the month of Ramadhân. It is related from Hazrat Anâs Radiallâhu anhu that Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said: “When the day of Eid appears, Allâh proudly asks in the presence of the Angels regarding his fasting servants: ‘O My Angels, what return is there for such labourers who have fully completed their duty?’ The Angels reply, ‘O Rabb they should be rewarded in full,’ then Allâh asks the Angels, ‘O My Angels what is the reward for those male and female servants who have fulfilled My divine command which was compulsory upon them, and now they have come out to beseech Me in Du’â?’ Allâh swears, ‘I take oath upon My grandeur and glory, My generosity and exaltation of My elevated position, that I will definitely accept their Du’âs.’ Thereafter Allâh says: ‘Disperse, I have forgiven you and replaced your sins with good deeds.’ Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam says they return forgiven.'”

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