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A Brief Summary Concerning Fasting

All praise is for Allah, Lord of all the Worlds (Mankind, Jinn, and the Angels) and may peace & blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon his family and all of his companions.

To Proceed:

This is a summarized treatise regarding fasting along with its rulings, the various category of people who can or cannot fast, those things which break the fast along with other points of benefit.

Oneas-Siyaam (Fasting) – is the act of worship exclusively for Allah Most High to forsake those things which break the fast from sunrise to sunset.

Two: The Fast of Ramadhaan is one of the five great pillars of Islaam based on the statement of the Prophet (the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him):

“Islaam is based upon five; the testification that there is nothing worthy of worship except for Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the prayer, giving the Alms Tax, fasting in the month of Ramadhaan, and pilgrimage to the Sacred Mosque.”

The Various Categories of People Who Can or Cannot Perform the Fast

Fasting is obligatory on every mature Muslim who possesses intelligence, who is healthy, and who is not travelling.

The non-Muslim does not fast and is not obligatory on him to do so unless he converts.
The child who has not reached the age of maturity does not have to fast but they should still be commanded to do so, so as to accustom them to it.

The mentally ill person does not have to fast nor does one have to feed another on his behalf even if the mentally ill person is of age. An example is the frail or senile elderly person who cannot decipher right from wrong.

The one who is incapable of performing the fast due to permanent conditions such as severe old age or an illness that cannot be cured must feed a poor person each day.

The sick person whose illness is temporary can break his fast if it is too hard for him to do so or he can make it up once his health is restored.

If the pregnant or nursing woman finds difficulty in fasting due to the pregnancy or while nursing or even out of fear for their infant then they can break the fast and make up the missed day when it is easier for them or when they no longer having any feeling of fear.

The menstruating woman or the woman who has postpartum bleeding does not fast while menstruating or bleeding, they are to make up the missed days when the time passes.

The one compelled to break the fast in order to save his own life such as from drowning or fire can do so to save himself and then can make it up afterwards.

The traveler can either fast or break the fast and make up the days they broke fast regardless if the journey is temporary like when going for ‘Umrah (the lesser Hajj) or permanently like the bus drivers who drive from city to city. They can break their fast if they want to or continue fasting even when in another city.

Things Which Break the Fast

The fasting person does not break his or her fast when something is eaten, drunk, or otherwise from those things which nullify fasting out of forgetfulness, ignorance, or out of dislike based on the statement of Allah Most High:

{Our Lord do not hold us accountable if we forget or when we are mistaken.}

And His statement:

{Except who dislikes it and his heart is tranquil with Imaan (Faith).}

And His statement:

{There is no harm on you if you commit a mistake only that which your hearts intended to do.}

So if the person who is fasting forgets he is fasting and eats or drinks then his fast is not broken because he forgot. And if he eats or drinks because he thought the sun had set or that the sun had not yet risen then his fast is not broken because he was ignorant of the situation. And if he inhales water through his nose while washing up and the water goes into his throat accidentally then his fast is not broken because he did not intend for this to happen. And if he has a nocturnal emission (aka; wet dream) while sleeping then his fast is not broken because he did not choose for it to occur.

The Nullifiers of Fasting are eight in number:

Sexual Intercourse; If this occurs during the daylight hours ofRamadhaan then the person fasting must still fast and make the entire day up while the binding expiation for doing so is to free a slave and if he cannot do so then he must fast for two consecutive months and if he is not able to do this then he must feed sixty poor people.

The ejaculation of semen by masturbation or caused by direct contact or by kissing or hugging or the like.

Eating or drinking whether beneficial or harmful like smoke.

Intravenous injections that although not food still nourish in the place of food and drink. As for injections that do not supply nourishment then they do not break the fast whether used in the nerves or in the veins and regardless if the taste of it is detected in the throat or not.

Blood transfusions such as when the person fasting has lost significant amounts of blood so he is then injected with blood to replace it.

The flow of menstrual or postpartum blood.

The forceful excretion of blood preformed by cupping or the like. As for the flow of blood itself like a nose bleed or due to the pulling of a tooth then it does not break the fast since it is not a form of cupping or a means of cupping.

Vomiting if intentional but if not intentional then it does not break the fast.

Points of Benefit

It is permissible for the person who is fasting to make the intention to fast while he is in a state of sexual defilement. He can then bathe after the sun has risen.

It is obligatory for the woman to purify herself in Ramadhaan from menstruation or postpartum bleeding before dawn and then to fast but if not then she can bathe after the sun has risen.

It is permissible for the person who is fasting to have his molar or other teeth pulled, treatment for a wound, or to apply drops in his eyes or ears. That will not break the fast even if he tastes the drops in his throat.

It is permissible for the person who is fasting to do those acts which will alleviate the harshness of heat and thirst such as cooling one’s self down with water or the air conditioner.

It is permissible for the person who is fasting to use Miswakthroughout the daytime after it. It is a Sunnah within its own right just like breaking the fast is.

It is permissible for the person fasting to sprinkle water in his mouth (without swallowing it) to alleviate shortness of breath caused by pressure or from other than that.

It is permissible for the person fasting to moisten his lips with water if they become dry and to rinse his mouth when it becomes dry without gargling the water.

It is Sunnah for the person who is fasting to delay the Suhoor (pre-dawn breakfast taken before fasting) before dawn and to rush the time of breaking the fast once the sun has set. He should break his fast with fresh dates but if he does not find that then with dried dates. If he does not find that then with water. If he does not find that then with whatever food that is permissible to eat. If he does not have that then he makes the intention for breaking the fast within his heart until he finds something to break his fast with.

It is Sunnah for the person who is fasting to increase in acts of obedience and to abstain from all of the things which divert one form doing so.

It is obligatory for the person who is fasting to make sure that he does all of the obligatory acts of worship and keeps away from all of the prohibited ones. He should pray the five daily prayers on time and perform them with the congregation if there is a congregational mosque.

The person fasting should leave off lying, backbiting, deceit, and transactions that involve usury in addition to every word or action that is prohibited. The Prophet (may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The one who does not leave off a statement of falsehood and acts upon it with ignorance then Allah does not have a need for him to leave off his food and drink.”

All praise is to Allah, Lord of all the Worlds, and peace & blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and his family, and all of his companions.

Written by the one in need of the Most High,
Muhammad as-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen

Translated by Aboo ‘Imraan al-Mekseekee-may Allah guide him


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