Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fasting (As-siyam)

The Fiqh of Fasting (As-siyam)

By Sayyid Sābiq

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam is His Messenger.

As-Siyam generally means "to abstain from something." For example, a verse in the Qur’ān says: "I have vowed to the Merciful to abstain - that is, from speaking. What is meant here is abstaining from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn until sunset with the explicit intention of doing so for the sake of Allāh.

1.The Virtues Of Fasting

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), saying: "Allāh said: 'Every action of the son of Adam is for him except fasting, for that is solely for Me. I give the reward for it.' The fast is a shield. If one is fasting, he should not use foul language, raise his voice, or behave foolishly. If someone reviles him or fights with him he should say, 'I am fasting,' twice. By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the [bad] breath of the one who is fasting is better in the sight of Allāh on the Day of Resurrection than the smell of musk. The one who is fasting is happy at two times: when he breaks his fast he is happy with it, and when he meets his Lord he will be happy that he has fasted." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and an-Nasā’ie.

A similar version was recorded by Al-Bukhari and Abu Dawud, but with the following addition: "He leaves his food, drink, and desires for My sake. His fasting is for Me... I will give the reward for it, and for every good deed, he will receive ten similar to it."

‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Amr (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "The fast and the Qur’ān are two intercessors for the servant of Allāh on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: 'O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.' The Qur’ān will say: 'I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.' And their intercession will be accepted." Ahmad related this hadith with a sahih chain.

Abu Umamah (radiyallāhu’anhu)  reported: "I came to the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said: 'Order me to do a deed that will allow me to enter Paradise.' Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: 'Stick to fasting, as there is no equivalent to it.' Then I came to him again and Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: 'Stick to fasting."' This hadith is related by Ahmad, an-Nasā’ie, and al-Hakim who classified it as sahih.

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (radiyallāhu’anhu)  reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allāh except that Allāh removes the hellfire seventy years further away from his face." This is related by "the group," except for Abu Dawud.

Sahl ibn Sa’d (radiyallāhu’anhu)  reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "There is a gate to Paradise that is called ar-Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: 'Where are those who fasted?' When the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked." This is related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

2.Types of Fasting (As-siyam)

There are two types of fasting: obligatory and voluntary. Obligatory can be further subdivided into the fast of Ramadhān, the fast of expiation and the fast of fulfilling a vow. Here we shall discuss the Ramadhān and voluntary fasts.

2.1.The Fast of Ramadhān

The fast of Ramadhān, according to the Qur’ān, sunnah and consensus, is obligatory.

The evidence from the Qur’ān consists of the following two verses: "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for the people before you in order for you to gain God consciousness, and, ...The month of Ramadhān, during which the Qur’ān was revealed, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance and the criterion; and whoever of you is resident, let him fast the month" [Al-Baqarah, 2: 185].

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Islam is built upon [the following] five pillars: testifying that there is no God except Allāh and that Muhammad is His Messenger, the establishment of the prayer, the giving of zakah, the fast of Ramadhān and the pilgrimage to Makkah." Talhah ibn 'Ubaidullah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that a man came to the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said: "O Messenger of Allāh, tell me what Allāh requires of me as regards fasting." He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) answered, "The month of Ramadhān." The man asked: "Is there any other [fast]?" The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) answered: "No, unless you do so voluntarily."

The fast of Ramadhān is obligatory. It is one of the pillars of Islam, and if one disputes this, he cannot be called a Muslim.

2.1.1.The Virtues of Ramadhān and the Deeds Done During It

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "The blessed month has come to you. Allāh has made fasting during it obligatory upon you. During it, the gates to Paradise are opened and the gates to hellfire are locked, and the devils are chained. There is a night [during this month] which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is really deprived [of something great]." This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasā’ie, and al-Bayhaqi.

'Arfajah testifies to this: "We were with 'Utbah ibn Farqad while he was discussing Ramadhān. A companion (radiyallahu’anhu) entered upon the scene. When 'Utbah saw him, he became shy and stopped talking. The man [the companion] spoke about Ramadhān, saying: 'I heard the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say during Ramadhān: "The gates of Hell are closed, the gates of Paradise are opened, and the devils are in chains. An angel calls out: 'O you who intend to do good deeds, have glad tidings. O you who intend to do evil, refrain, until Ramadhān is completed.'"

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying: "The time between the five prayers, two consecutive Friday prayers, and two consecutive Ramadhāns are expiations for all that has happened during that period, provided that one has avoided the grave sins." This hadith is related by Muslim.

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (radiyallāhu’anhu)  reported that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) , said: "Whoever fasts the month of Ramadhān, obeying all of its limitations and guarding himself against what is forbidden, has in fact atoned for any sins he committed before it." Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi related this hadith with a good chain.

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu)  reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadhān with faith and seeks Allāh's pleasure and reward will have his previous sins forgiven.” This hadith is related by Ahmad and the compilers of the sunan.

2.1.2.The Consequence Of Breaking The Fast Of Ramadhān

Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "The bare essence of Islam and the basics of the religion are three [acts], upon which Islam has been established. Whoever leaves one of them becomes an unbeliever and his blood may legally be spilled. [The acts are:] Testifying that there is no God except Allāh, the obligatory prayers, and the fast of Ramadhān." This hadith is related by Abu Ya'la and ad-Dailimi. Azh-Zhahabi called it sahih.

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "Whoever breaks his fast during Ramadhān without having one of the excuses that Allāh would excuse him for, then even a perpetual fast, if he were to fast it, would not make up for that day." This is related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Mājah, and at-Tirmidzi.

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) in marfu' form reported: "Whoever breaks the fast of Ramadhān without having a legitimate excuse or being ill, he cannot make up for that day, even if he were to undertake a perpetual fast." Ibn Mas’ud (radiyallāhu’anhu) has also reported this. This is related by Al-Bukhari

Azh-Zhahabi (rahimahullah) says: “According to the established believers, anyone who leaves the fast of Ramadhān without being sick is worse than a fomicator or an alcoholic. In fact, they doubt his Islam and they suspect that he might be a zandiqah and one of those who destroy [Islam].”

2.1.3.The Arrival Of Ramadhān

This event is confirmed by sighting the new moon, even if it is seen by only one just person, or by the passage of thirty days in the immediately preceding month of Sya’ban.

Ibn 'Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu)  said: "The people were looking for the new moon and when I reported to the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that I had seen it, he fasted and ordered the people to fast." This is related by Abu Dawud, al-Hakim, and Ibn Hibban, who declared it to be sahih.

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu)  reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) instructed: "Fast after you have seen it [the new crescent] and end the fast [at the end of the month] when you see it. If it is hidden from you, then wait until the thirty days of Sha’ban have passed." This is related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Commenting on these reports, At-Tirmidzi (rahimahullah) states: "Most knowledgeable people act in accordance with these reports. They say that it is correct to accept the evidence of one person to determine the beginning of the fast. This is the opinion of Ibn al-Mubarak, ash-Shaf'i’ie, and Ahmad. An-Nawawi says that it is the soundest opinion. Conceming the new moon of Shawwal [which signifies the end of the fast], it is confimmed by completing thirty days of Ramadhān, and most jurists state that the new moon must have been reported by at least two just witnesses. However, Abu Thaur does not distinguish between the new moon of Shawwal and the new moon of Ramadhān. In both cases, he accepts the evidence of only one just witness."

Ibn-Rushd (rahimahullah) comments that: "The opionion of Abu Bakr ibn al-Munzhir, which is also that of Abu Thaur and, I suspect, that of the Zhahiri school of thought, is supported by the following argument given by Abu Bakr al-Munzhiri: there is complete agreement that breaking the fast is obligatory, that abstaining from eating is based on one person's report, and that the situation must be like that for the beginning of the month and for the ending of the month, as both of them are simply the signs that differentiate the time of fasting from the time of not fasting."

Ash-Shawkani (rahimahullah) observes: "If there is nothing authentic recorded that states that one may only accept two witnesses for the end of the month, then it is apparent, by analogy, that one witness is sufficient, as it is sufficient for the beginning of the month. Furthemmore, worship based on the acceptance of one report points to the fact that such singular reports are accepted in every matter unless there is some evidence that specifies the peculiarity of specific cases, such as the number of witnesses conceming matters of wealth, and so on. Apparently this is the opinion of Abu Thaur."

2.1.4.Different Locations

According to the majority of scholars, it does not matter if the new moon has been sighted in a different location. In other words, after the new moon is seen anywhere in the world, it becomes obligatory for all Muslims to begin fasting, as the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)said: "Fast due to its sighting and break the fast due to its sighting." This hadith is a general address directed to the whole Muslim world - that is, "if any one of you sees the moon in any place, then that will be a sighting for all of the people."

According to 'Ikrimah, al-Qasim ibn Muhammad, Salim, Ishaq, the correct opinion among the Hanafiyyah, and the chosen opinion among the Shaf'iyyah, every "country" (or territory) is to take into consideration its own sighting and not necessarily to follow the sighting of others. This is based on what Kuraib said: "While I was in ash-Sham, the new moon of Ramadhānappeared on Thursday night. I retumed to Madinah at the end of the month. There, Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu)  asked me: 'When did you people see the new moon?' I said: 'We saw it on Thursday night.' He said: 'Did you see it yourself?' I said: 'Yes, the people saw it, and they and Mu'awiyyyah fasted.' He said: 'But we saw it on Friday night. We will not stop fasting until we complete thirty days or until we see the new moon.' I said: 'Isn't Mu'awiyyah's sighting and fasting sufficient for you?' He said: 'No . . . This is the order of the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam).' " This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and at-Tirmidzi.

About the hadith, At-Tirmidzi (rahimahullah) says: "It is hassan sahih ghareeb. Scholars act in accordance with this hadith. Every land has its sighting." In Fath al-'Alam Sharh Bulugh al-Maram, it is stated: The [opinion] closest [to the truth] is that each land follows its sighting, as well as the areas that are connected to it."

2.1.5. Sighting Of The Crescent By One Person

The scholars of fiqh agree that if only one person sees the new moon, he is to fast. 'Ata differs and says that he is not to fast until someone else also sights the new moon with him. The correct position is that he is to break the fast, as ash-Shaf'i’ie and Abu Thaur have ruled. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has based the fast and its breaking on the sighting of the moon. One's own sight is enough for him and there is no need for another person's sighting.

2.1.6. The Essential Elements Of The Fast

The fast has two essential elements (literally, "pillars") that must be fulfilled for it to be valid and acceptable. They are:

2.1.6.1.Abstaining From Acts That Break The Fast

This point is based on the Qur’ānic verse: "Eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. Then strictly observe the fast until nightfall."

This is also based on the following hadith: "When the verse 'Eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you...' was revealed, I took a black thread and a white thread and placed them underneath my pillow. During the night I looked at them to see if I could distinguish between them. In the morning I went to the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)and mentioned that to him and he said: 'It is the black of the night and the white of the day.'"


Allāh instructs in the Qur’ān: "And they are ordained nothing else than to serve Allāh, keeping religion pure for Him." The Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "Actions are judged according to the intention behind them, and for everyone is what he intended." [Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The intention must be made before fajr and during every night of Ramadhān. This point is based on the hadith of Hafsah (radiyallāhu’anha)  which reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever does not determine to fast before fajr will have no fast" (that is, it won't be accepted). This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasā’ie, at-Tirmidzi, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Majah. Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Hibban have classified it as sahih.

The intention is valid during any part of the night. It need not be spoken, as it is in reality an act of the heart which does not involve the tongue. It will be fulfilled by one's intention to fast out of obedience to Allāh and for seeking His pleasure.

If one eats one's pre-dawn meal (sahur) with the intention of fasting and to get closer to Allāh by such abstinence, then one has performed the intention. If one determines that one will fast on the next day solely for the sake of Allāh, then one has performed the intention even if a pre-dawn meal was not consumed.

According to many of the jurists, the intention for a voluntary fast may be made at any time before any food is consumed. This opinion is based on ‘Aishah's hadith: "The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came to us one day and said: 'Do you have any [food]?' We said, 'No.' He said: 'Therefore, I am fasting." This is related by Muslim and Abu Dawud.

The Hanafiyyah and Shaf'iyyah schools of Jurisprudence stipulate that the intention must be made before noon (for voluntary fasts). The apparent opinion of Ibn Mas'ud and Ahmad is that the intention may be made before or after noon.


All scholars agree that fasting is obligatory upon every sane, adult, healthy Muslim male who is not traveling at that time. As for a woman, she must not be menstruating or having post-childbirth bleeding. People who are insane, minors, and those who are traveling, menstruating, or going through post-childbirth bleeding, and the elderly and breast-feeding or pregnant women do not need to observe the fast.

For some, the fast is not obligatory at all, for example, the insane. In the case of young people, their parents or guardians should order them to fast. Some are to break the fast and make up the missed days of fasting at a later date, while others are to break the fast and pay a "ransom" (in which case, they are not obliged to make up the days they missed). We shall discuss each group in more detail.


Fasting is not obligatory for the insane because of their inability to understand what they are doing. 'Ali bi Abi Talib (radiyallāhu’anhu)  reported that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "The pen is raised for three groups [of people]--that is, they will not be responsible for their actions: the insane until they become sane, those who are sleeping until they awaken, and the young until they reach puberty." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and at-Tirmidzi.


Though the young are not required to fast, it is proper for their guardians to encourage them to fast so they will become accustomed to it at an early age. They may fast as long as they are able to and then may break it. Ar-Rabi'a bint Mu'awiyyah reported: "The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sent a man, on the morning of the day of 'Ashurah, to the residences of the Ansar, saying: 'Whoever has spent the morning fasting is to complete his fast. Whoever has not spent this morning fasting should fast for the remainder of the day.' We fasted after that announcement, as did our young children. We would go to the mosque and make toys stuffed with cotton for them to play with. If one of them started crying due to hunger, we would give them a toy to play with until it was time to eat." This is related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.


Elderly men and women are permitted to break their fasts, as are the chronically ill, and those who have to perform difficult jobs under harsh circumstances and who could not find any other way to support themselves. All of these people are allowed to break their fast, because such a practice would place too much hardship on them during any part of the year. They are obliged to feed one poor person [miskin] a day (for every day of fasting that they do not perform). The scholars differ over how much food is to be supplied, for example, a sa', half a sa', or a madd. There is nothing in the sunnah that mentions exactly how much is to be given.

Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: "An elderly man is permitted to break his fast, but he must feed a poor person daily. If he does this, he does not have to make up the days that he did not fast. This is related by ad-Daraqutni and by al-Hakim, who said it is sahih. Al-Bukhari recorded that 'Ata heard Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu)  recite the 'ayah: "And for those who can fast [but do not], there is a "ransom': the feeding of a person in need" [Al-Baqarah,2:185]. Then Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) continued: "It has not been abrogated. [Its ruling applies] to elderly men and women who are not able to fast. Instead, they must feed one poor person on a daily basis."

The same is true for one who is chronically ill and as such cannot fast, and for one who is forced to work under harsh circumstances and as such cannot endure the additional burden of fasting. Both groups must also feed one poor person daily.

Commenting on al-Baqarah's 'ayah, Sheikh Muhammad 'Abduh says: "What is meant by those who can fast' [(but do not) in the Qur’ānic verse] is the weak elderly people, the chronically ill, and so on, and similarly, those workers who are working under severe conditions, such as coal miners. The same applies to criminals who are sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor. They have to pay the 'ransom' if they have the means to do so."

Pregnant and breast-feeding women, if they fear for themselves or for the baby, can break the fast and pay the "ransom." They do not have to make up the days missed. Abu Dawud related from 'Ikrimah that Ibn 'Abbas said concerning the 'ayah "And for those who can fast [but do not],": "This is a concession for the elderly, as they can fast. They are to break the fast and feed one poor person a day. Pregnant or breast-feeding women, if they fear for the child, can do likewise." This is related by al-Bazzar. At the end of the report, there is the addition: "Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) used to say to his wives who were pregnant: 'You are in the same situation as those who can fast [but do not]. You are to pay the "ransom" and do not have to make up the days later.' " Of its chain, ad-Daraqutni says it is sahih.

Nafi' reported that Ibn 'Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu) was asked about a pregnant woman who feared for her unborn baby. He replied: "She is to break the fast and to feed one poor person a day one madd of barley."

There is also a hadith that states: "Allāh has relieved the travelers of fasting and half of the prayer, and the pregnant and the breast-feeding women of the fast." According to the Hanafiyyah, Abu Ubaid, and Abu Thaur, such women are only to make up the missed days of fasting, and they are not supposed to feed one poor person a day. According to Ahmad and ash-Shaf'i’ie, if such women fear only for the baby, they must pay the "ransom" and make up the days later. If they fear only for themselves or for themselves and the baby, then they are only to make up the missed days at a later date.


It is allowed for those who are (not chronically) ill and for travelers to break their fasts during Ramadhān, but they must make up the days they missed. Allāh says in the Qur’ān: "And [for] him who is sick among you or on a journey, [the same] number of other days."

Mu'adz bin Jabal (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: "Verily, Allāh made the fast obligatory upon the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) by revealing: 'O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you...' until the words, 'And for those who can fast [but do not] there is a "ransom" payment...' Then, whoever wished to do so would fast and whoever wished to do so would feed a poor person, and that was sufficient for them. Then Allāh revealed another verse: 'The month of Ramadhān in which the Qur’ān was revealed...' to the words: 'Whoever is resident among you during this month is to fast.' [By this verse,] the fast was established for those who were resident and healthy. A concession was made for the sick and travelers, and the feeding of the poor by the elderly who could not fast was [left] confirmed." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and al-Bayhaqi with a sahih chain.

A sick person may break his fast which, if continued, would only aggravate the illness or delay its cure.In al-Mughni it is stated: "It is related from some of the early scholars that any type of illness allows one to break the fast, even an injury to the finger or a toothache. They based their opinion on the following:

1- the wording of the verse is general and applies to all types of illness, and
2 - a traveler is allowed to break his fast even if he does not need to and, therefore, the same must be the case for one who is sick." This was also the opinion of al-Bukhari, 'Ata, and the Zhahiri school of thought.

One who is healthy but fears that he will become ill if he fasts can break the fast, as can the person who is overcome by hunger and or thirst and fears that he may die because of it, even if he is resident and healthy. He must make up the days of fasting that he missed. The following two Qur’ānic 'ayahs support this point: "And do not kill yourselves, Lo! Allāh is ever Merciful to you," and "He has not laid upon you in your religion any hardship."

If a sick person fasts and withstands the hardships of the fast, his fast will be valid but disliked, for he did not accept the concession Allāh gave him, thereby causing himself much hardship. Some of the companions would fast during the Prophet's lifetime while others would not (that is, if they were ill), thereby following the verdict of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Hamzah al-Aslami (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: "O Messenger of Allāh, I find within me the strength to fast while traveling. Would there be any blame upon me if I were to do so?" The Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), answered: "It is a concession from Allāh. Whoever takes it has done well. Whoever likes to fast, there is no blame upon him." This is related by Muslim.

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: "We traveled with the Messenger of Allāh to Makkah while we were fasting. We stopped at a place and the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: 'You are coming close to your enemies. You will be stronger if you break the fast.' That was a concession and some of us fasted and some of us broke our fasts. Then we came to another place and the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: 'In the morning you will face your enemy. Breaking the fast will give you more strength.' So we broke our fast, taking that as the best course of action. After that, you could see some of us fasting with the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) while traveling." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and Abu Dawud.

In another report, Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: "We fought under the leadership of the Messenger of Allāh(Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) during Ramadhān. Some of us fasted and some of us did not. The ones who fasted did not find any fault with those who did not fast, and those who did not fast found no fault with those who fasted. They knew that if one had the strength to fast he could do so and it was good, and that if one was weak, he was allowed to break his fast, and that was good." This is related by Ahmad and Muslim.

The jurists differ over what is preferred (that is, to fast or not to fast while traveling). Abu Hanifah, ash-Shaf'i’ie, and Malik are of the opinion that if one has the ability to fast, it is better for him to do so, and if one does not have the ability to fast, it is better for him to break the fast. Ahmad said that it is best to break the fast. 'Umar ibn 'Abdulaziz says: "The best of the two acts is the easier of the two. If it is easier for one to fast than to make up the day later on, then, in his case, to fast is better."

Ash-Shawkani (rahimahullāh has concluded that if it is difficult for an individual to fast or to reject the concession, then it is best for him not to fast (while traveling). Similarly, if one fears that one's fasting during travel will look like showing off, then in this case, breaking the fast would be preferred. If one is not faced with such conditions, then fasting would be preferred.

If a traveler makes the intention (to fast) during the night, he can still break his fast during the day. Jabir ibn ‘Abdullāh (radiyallāhu’anhu)  reported:"The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) left for Makkah during the year of the conquest [of Makkah] and he and the people with him fasted until he reached a certain valley. He then called for a cup of water, which he elevated so that the people could see it, and then he drank. Afterwards, he was told that some people had continued to fast, and he said: 'Those are disobedient ones, those are disobedient ones.' " This is related by Muslim, at-Tirmidzi, and an-Nasā’ie. At-Tirmidzi called it sahih.

If one has already made the intention to fast while resident but then decided to travel during the day, the majority of scholars maintain that he must fast. Ahmad and Ishaq say that he may break the fast. This opinion is based on the report of Muhammad ibn Ka'ab who said: "I came to Anas ibn Malik (radiyallāhu’anhu)  during Ramadhān while he was planning on traveling. His mount was prepared for him, and he was wearing his clothes for traveling. He asked for some food and ate. I said to him: 'Is this a sunnah?' He said, 'Yes.' Then he mounted his animal and left." This is related by At-Tirmidzi, who called it hassan.'Ubaid ibn Jubair said: "During Ramadhān, I rode on a ship with Abu Basra al-Ghafari from al-Fustat. He prepared his food and said, "Come [and eat]." I said: "Are we not still among the houses [of the city - that is, they had not left yet]?" Abu Basra asked: "Are you turning away from the sunnah of the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)?" This is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud. Its narrators are trustworthy.

Ash-Shawkani (rahimahullāh) contends: "These two hadith prove that a traveler may break his fast before he begins his joumey. Of its credentials, Ibn al-'Arabi says: 'Concerning the hadith of Anas (radiyallāhu’anhu) , it is sahih and proves that one can break the fast when he is prepared to travel.'" This is the correct position.

The type of travel that allows one to break his fast is the same as the traveling which allows one to shorten the prayers. We have discussed all of the opinions on this point under the section Shortening the Prayers, and we have also recorded Ibn al-Qayyim's conclusions on this question.

Ahmad, Abu Dawud, al-Bayhaqi, and at-Tahawi recorded from Mansur al-Kalbi that Dihya ibn Khalifah traveled a distance of one farsakh during Ramadhān. When he broke his fast, some of the people accompanying him did likewise. Some of them did not agree with this action. On his return to his city, Dihya said: "I saw something today that I did not suspect I would ever see. The people tumed away the Messenger of Allāh's guidance and that of his companions." He said that about the people who had fasted. Then he said: "O Allāh, take [my soul] to you." All of its narrators are trustworthy, except for Mansur al-Kalbi... although al-'Ijli affirms his credibility.


The scholars agree that it is obligatory for menstruating women and women with postchildbirth bleeding to break the fast and to make up the missed days later on. Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded that 'Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha)  said: "When we would have our menses during the lifetime of the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)  we were ordered to make up the days of fasting that we had missed but were not ordered to make up the prayers that we had missed.

2.1.8.The Forbidden Days to Fast


All scholars agree that such a fast is prohibited. It does not matter if the fast is obligatory or voluntary. 'Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu) testifies: "The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has forbidden fasting on these two days. Concerning the 'Eid of breaking the fast, it is for you to break your fast [of Ramadhān]. On the 'id of sacrifice, you should eat from what you sacrifice." This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasā’ie, At-Tirmidzi, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Majah.


It is not permissible to fast during the three days following the 'Eid al-Adha. Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), sent ‘Abdullāh  ibn Huzhaqah to announce at Mina: "You are not to fast these days. They are days of eating and drinking and remembering Allāh." This is related by Ahmad with a good chain.

Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), sent a person to announce:"Do not fast on these days, as they are days of eating, drinking and rejoicing with one's family." At-Tabarani related it in al-'Awsat.

The Shaf'iyyah allow fasting on the days of tashreeq if there is some reason for the fasting - that is, if it is due to an oath, for expiation, or for making up a missed day of Ramadhān. Those fasts that have no special reason behind them are not allowed, and there is no disagreement on this point. The Shaf'iyyah applied the same reasoning that they used in saying that prayers that are performed for a specific reason are allowed to be performed during the prohibited times of prayer [for example, the prayer of salutation to the mosque, and so on].


The day of Friday is a kind of weekly 'Eid for Muslims and, therefore, it is prohibited to fast on that day. Most scholars say that this prohibition is one of dislike, not one of complete forbiddance.

If one fasts on the day before or after it, or if it is a day that one customarily fasts on (for example, the 13th, 14th, or 15th of the month), or if it is the day of 'Arafah or 'Ashurah, then it is not disliked to fast on such a Friday.

‘Abdullāh  ibn 'Amr (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) entered the room of Juwairiyah bint al-Harith (radiyallāhu’anha) while she was fasting on a Friday. He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked her: "Did you fast yesterday?" She answered, "No." He said: "Do you plan to fast tomorrow?" She answered, "No." Therefore he (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Then break your fast." This is related by Ahmad and an-Nasā’ie with a good chain.

'Amr al-'Ashari (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that he heard the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say: "Verily, Friday is an 'id for you, so do not fast on it unless you fast the day before or after it." This is related by al-Bazzar with a good chain.

'Ali counseled: "He who wants to [fast] voluntarily should fast on Thursday instead of Friday, for Friday is a day of eating, drinking, and remembrance." This is related by Ibn Abu Shaibah with a good chain.

In the two Sahih (those of Al-Bukhari and Muslim), Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Do not fast on Friday unless you fast on it together with the day before or the day after."Muslim's version states: "Do not exclusively choose the night of Friday [Thursday night in English] as a special night for performing the night prayers. Also, do not exclusively choose Friday as a day of fasting unless it occurs on a day that you regularly fast."

2.1.8.4.Prohibited To Single Out Saturday As A Day Of Fasting

Busr as-Salmi related from his sister as-Sama' that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "Do not fast on Saturdays unless it is an obligatory fast. [You should not fast] even if you do not find anything [to eat] save some grape peelings or a branch of a tree to chew on."This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasā’ie, at-Tirmidzi, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim. Al-Hakim said that it is sahih according to the conditions of Muslim, while At-Tirmidzi called it hassan. At-Tirmidzi said that what is disliked here is for a person to exclusively choose Saturday as a day of fasting, as it is the day that the Jews honor.

In contradiction with the preceding report, Umm Salamah (radiyallāhu’anha) claims: "The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to fast more often on Saturdays and Sundays than on the other days. He would say: 'They are the 'Eids of the polytheists, and I love to differ from them.' " This is related by Ahmad, Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Hakim, and Ibn Khuzaimah who called it sahih.

The Hanafiyyah, Shaf'iyyah, and Hanbaliyyah say it is disliked to fast on Saturday by itself due to the preceding evidence. Malik differs from them, but the hadith is proof against him.

2.1.8.5.On the "Day of Doubt"

'Ammar ibn Yasir (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: "Whoever fasts the 'day of doubt has disobeyed Abu al-Qasim [the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)]." This is related by an-Nasā’ie, at-Tirmidzi, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Majah.

Of its status, At-Tirmidzi says: "It is a hassan sahih hadith. Most of the knowledgeable people act in accordance with it. It is the opinion of Sufyan ath-Thawri, Malik ibn Anas, ‘Abdullāh  ibn al-Mubarak, ash-Shaf'i’ie, Ahmad, and Ishaq. They all hate that one fasts on a 'day of doubt.' Most of them believe that if one fasts on such a day and it turns out to be Ramadhān, then that day still has to be made up later. If such a day occurs during one's regular fasting period, then it is permissible to fast on such a day."

As related by "the group," Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Do not precede Ramadhān by fasting the day or two before it unless it is a day on which the person usually fasts."

About this hadith, At-Tirmidzi says: "The hadith is hassan sahih and the scholars act in accordance with it. They dislike that a person should hasten Ramadhān by fasting on the day before it. If a person usually fasts on a day and 'the day of doubt' occurs on that day, then there is no problem with his fasting on that day, in their opinion."

2.1.8.6. Every Day Of The Year

It is forbidden to do so because there are certain days of the year on which one is not allowed to fast. The Messenger of Allāh(Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "There is no [reward for] fasting for the one who perpetually fasts." This is related by Ahrnad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim.

If one breaks his fast during the days of 'id and the days of tashreeq, then his perpetual fasting would no longer be considered disliked. In his comments on this issue, At-Tirmidzi says: "A group of scholars dislike fasting every day if it includes the 'ids ['id al-Fitr, 'id al-Azha] and the days of tashreeq. If one breaks his fast on those days, his action is no longer disliked, as he is no longer fasting the whole year." The scholars are Malik, ash-Shaf'i’ie, Ahrnad, and Ishaq.

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)  approved of Hamzah al-Aslami's nurnerous fasts when he told him: "Fast if you wish and break your fast if you wish." This hadith was mentioned earlier.

2.1.8.7. Woman To Fast While Her Husband Is Present Except With His Permission

The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade a woman to fast if her husband was present until he gave her his perrnission to do so. Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu)  reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "A woman is not to fast [even] for one day while her husband is present except with his permission, unless it is during Ramadhān." This is related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim. The scholars have interpreted this prohibition as one of forbiddance, and they allow the husband to end his wife's fasting if she fasted without his perrnission and he seeks his right [to sex] from her. This is also true, obviously, for days other than those of Ramadhān in which case she does not need her husband's permission. Similarly, if she fasted without his permission because he was not present, he has the right to end her fast when he retums.

If the husband is sick or incapable of intercourse, it is permissible for the woman to fast without his perrnission--that is, it is similar to the case of where the husband is not present.

2.1.8.8.Consecutive Days Without Eating At All [Al-Wisal]
Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "Do not perforrn al-wisal." He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that three times and the people said to him: "But you perform al-wisal, O Messenger of Allāh!" He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "You are not like me in that matter. I spend the night in such a state that Allāh feeds me and gives me to drink. Devote yourselves to the deeds which you can perform." This is related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

The scholars say this prohibition implies that the act is disliked. Ahmad and Ishaq say that it is allowed to fast until the time of the pre-dawn meal as long as it is not a hardship on the one fasting. This opinion is based on what Al-Bukhari recorded on the authority of Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (radiyallāhu’anhu): "The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: 'Do not make al-wisal. If one of you insists on making al-wisal, he may continue his fast [after sunset] until the time of the pre-dawn

2.2.Voluntary Fasts

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has exhorted us to fast during the following days: six days of the month of Shawwal, first ten days of Dzul-Hijjah for those not performing the pilgrimage, month of Muharram.

2.2.1.Six Days Of The Month Of Shawwal

Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (radiyallāhu’anhu)  reported that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "Whoever fasts during the month of Ramadhān and then follows it with six days of Shawwal will be [rewarded] as if he had fasted the entire year." This is related by "the group," except for Al-Bukhari and an-Nasa'ie.

According to Ahmad, one may fast on these days consecutively or nonconsecutively, as neither practice is preferred over the other. Hanafiyyah and Shaf'iyyah maintain that it is preferable to fast on consecutive days after the 'Eid.

2.2.2.The First Ten Days Of Dzul-Hijjah, Especially The Day Of Arafah, For Those Who Are Not Performing The Pilgrimage

1- Abu Qatadah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Fasting on the day of 'Arafah is an expiation for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it. Fasting the day of 'Ashurah is an expiation for the year preceding it." This is related by "the group," except for Al-Bukhari and at-Tirmidzi.

2- Hafsah bint ‘Umar (radiyallāhu’anha) reported: "There are five things that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) never abandoned: fasting the day of 'Ashurah, fasting the [first] ten [days of Dzul-Hijjah], fasting three days of every month and praying two rak'ah before the dawn prayer." This is related by Ahmad and an-Nasā’ie.

3- 'Uqbah ibn 'Amr (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "The day of 'Arafah, the day of sacrifice, and the days of tashreeq are 'ids for us--the people of Islam--and they are days of eating and drinking." This is related by "the five," except for Ibn Majah. At-Tirmidzi grades it sahih.

4 - Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) stated: "The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade fasting on the day of 'Arafah for one who is actually at 'Arafah." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasā’ie, and Ibn Majah.

At-Tirmidzi comments: "The scholars prefer that the day of 'Arafah be fasted unless one is actually at 'Arafah."

5- Umm al-Fadl (radiyallāhu’anha)  said: "The people were in doubt over whether or not the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was fasting on the day of 'Arafah. I sent him some milk, and he drank it while he was delivering an address to the people at 'Arafah." This is related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), sent a person to announce:"Do not fast on these days, as they are days of eating, drinking and rejoicing with one's family." At-Tabarani related it in al-'Awsat.

2.2.3. Fasting During The Month Of Muharram, Especially The Day Of 'Ashurah And The Days Immediately Preceding And Following It

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: "I asked the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam): 'Which prayer is the best after the obligatory prayers?' He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: 'Prayer during the middle of the night.' I asked: 'Which fast is the best after the fast of Rarnadhan?' He said, 'The month of Allāh that you call Muharram.' " This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and Abu Dawud.

Mu'awiyyah ibn Abu Sufyan reported that he heard the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say: "Concerning the day of 'Ashurah, it is not obligatory upon you to fast on it as I do. Whoever wishes may fast and whoever does not wish to is not obliged to do so." This is related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

'Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) stated: "The tribe of Quraish used to fast on the day of 'Ashurah in the days before Islam, as did the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). When he came to Madinah, he still fasted on it and ordered the people to do likewise. Then, when fasting during the month of Ramadhān becam obligatory, he said: 'Whoever wishes may fast ['Ashurah] and whoever wishes may leave it." This is related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: "The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came to Madinah and found the Jews fasting on the day of 'Ashurah. He said to them: 'What is this fast?' They said: 'A great day. Allāh saved Moses (‘alayhissalam) and the tribes of Israel from their enemies on this day and therefore, Moses fasted on this day.' The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: 'We have more of a right to Moses than you,' so he fasted on that day also and ordered the people to fast on that day." This is recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

According to Al-Bukhari and Muslim, Musa al-Ash'ari (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: "The Jews would honor the day of 'Ashurah as an 'id. The Prophet( Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: 'You [Muslims] are to fast on it.'"

Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: "The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) fasted on the day of 'Ashurah and ordered the people to fast on it. The people said: 'O Messenger of Allāh, it is a day that the Jews and Christians honor.'The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)said, 'When the following year comes--Allāh willing--we shall fast on the ninth.' The death of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came before the following year." This is recorded by Muslim and Abu Dawud. In one version the wording is: "If I remain until next year, we shall fast the ninth," meaning, the tenth. This is related by Muslim and Abu Dawud.

The scholars have mentioned that the fast of 'Ashurah is of three levels:

1- fasting three days--that is, on the 9th, 10th, and 11th of Muharram;
2- fasting on the 9th and 10th; and
3- fasting only on the 10th.

2.2.4.Being Generous In Providing Household Provisions On The Day Of 'Arafah

Jabir bin Abdullah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever is generous to himself and to his family on the day of 'Ashurah will have Allāh's generosity bestowed on him for the rest of the year." This is related by Al-Bayhaqi in ash-Shu'ab and by Ibn 'Abdul-Barr. The hadith has other chains, but they are all weak; however, strung together these chains strengthen the rank of the hadith, as as-Sakhawi (rahimahullah) said.

2.2.5. Fasting Most Of The Month Of Sya’ban (The Month Preceding Ramadhān)

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would fast most of the month of Sya’ban. 'Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) said: "I never saw the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) fast a complete month save for Ramadhān, and I have never seen him fast more in a month than he did in Sya’ban." This is related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Usamah ibn Zaid (radiyallāhu’anhu) inquired: "O Messenger of Allāh, I never find you fasting in any month like you do during the month of Sya’ban." The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) responded: "That is a month the people neglect. It comes between Rajab and Ramadhān. It is a month in which the deeds are raised to the Lord of the Worlds. I love that my deeds be raised while I am fasting." This is related by Abu Dawud, an-Nasā’ie, and by Ibn Khuzaimah in his Sahih.

Some people fast on the 15th of Sya’ban in particular, thinking that that day contains more virtues than the other days. This is an unsubstantiated claim.

2.2.6. Fasting during the "forbidden" months

The "forbidden" months (during which killing is forbidden) are Dzul-Qaedah, Zhul-Hijjah, Muharram, and Rajab. It is preferred to fast a lot during these months.

A man from Bahila came to the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said: "O Messenger of Allāh, I am the man who came to you during the first year." The Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "What has changed you? You used to be much more handsome!" He answered: "I did not eat save during the night since I left you." The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked: "Why did you punish yourself? Fast during the month of patience [that is, Ramadhān] and then one day of every month." The man said: "Add something to that for me, for I have more strength than that." The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) responded: "Fast two days [a month]." The man said: "Add more for me." The Prophet said three times: "Fast from the forbidden months, then leave fasting." He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) pointed with three of his fingers by clenching them and releasing them. This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and al-Bayhaqi with a good chain.

Fasting during Rajab contains no more virtue than during any other month. There is no sound report from the sunnah that states that it has a special reward. All that has been related concerning it is not strong enough to be used as a proof. Ibn Hajr says: "There is no authentic hadith related to its virtues, not fasting during it or on certain days of it, nor concerning exclusively making night prayers during that month."

2.2.7. Fasting Mondays And Thursdays

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the most the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would fast would be Monday and Thursday. He was asked about that and he said: "The actions are presented on every Monday and Thursday. Allāh forgives every Muslim or every believer, except for those who are boycotting each other. He says [about them]: 'Leave them.' " This is related by Ahmad with a sahih chain. It is recorded in Sahih Muslim that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when asked about fasting on Monday, said: "That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I received revelations."

2.2.8. Fasting Three Days Of Every Month

Abu Dzarr al-Ghafari (radiyallāhu’anhu)  reported: "The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)ordered us to fast for three days of every month--that is, on the days of the full moon (the 13th, 14th, and 15th of the lunar month). And he said: 'It is like fasting the whole year.' " This is related by an-Nasā’ie and by Ibn Hibban, who called it sahih.

It is related that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would fast on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of one month and on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the next month. He would also fast for three days at the beginning of the month, or on the first Thursday and the next two Mondays of the month.

2.2.9. Fasting One Day And Not Fasting The Next
Abu Salama ibn 'Abdurrahman (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported from ‘Abdullāh  ibn 'Amr (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Prophet(Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said to him: 'I have been informed that you stay up in prayer during the night and fast during the day. ‘Abdullāh  answered: "Yes, O Messenger of Allāh." The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)said: "Fast and do not fast, pray and sleep, for your body, your wife, and your guests have a right upon you. It is sufficient for you to fast three days a month." ‘Abdullāh  said: "I wanted to be stricter on myself and I said: "O Messenger of Allāh, I have the strength to do more." The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)said: "Then fast three days a week." ‘Abdullāh  said: "I have the strength to do more!" The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)said: "Fast the fast of the Prophet David (‘alayhissalam) and do not do more than that!" ‘Abdullāh  inquired: "And what was the fast of David?" The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)replied: "He would fast one day and then not fast the next." This is recorded by Ahmad and others.

Ahmad also related from ‘Abdullāh  ibn 'Amr (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "The fast most loved by Allāh is the fast of David, and the most loved prayer is the prayer of David. He would sleep half the night, pray for a third of the night, and then sleep during the last sixth of the night. He would also fast one day and then eat on the next."

2.2.10. It Is Permissible For One Who Is Performing A Voluntary Fast To Break His Fast

Umm Hani (radiyallāhu’anha) reported that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), entered her room during the day of the conquest of Makkah. He was offered something to drink and he drank from it. Then he offered it to Umm Hani (radiyallāhu’anha) and she said: "I am fasting." The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "The one who is fasting voluntarily is in charge of himself. If you wish you may fast and if you wish you may break your fast." This is recounted by Ahmad, ad-Daraqutni, and al-Bayhaqi. Al-Hakim also related it and said that its chain is sahih. The version he recorded states: "And if one wishes he may fast and if he wishes he may break his fast."

Abu Juhaifah (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: "The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) established the bond of brotherhood between Salman and Abu ad-Darda(radiyallāhu’anhum). Once, Salman visited Abu ad-Darda and saw Umm ad-Darda (radiyallāhu’anha) wearing very plain clothes. He said to her: 'What's happening to you?' She said: 'Your brother Abu ad-Darda has no need in this world.' When Abu ad-Darda came, he prepared some food for Salman and said: 'Eat, for I am fasting.' Salman said: 'I shall not eat until you eat.' So he ate. When it was night, Abu ad-Darda got up to pray and Salman said, 'Sleep,' and he did so. Toward the end of the night Salman woke Abu ad-Darda and said, Pray now.' And they prayed. Salman told him: 'Your Lord has a right upon you, you have a right upon yourself, and so does your wife. Give each one its due right.' Abu ad-Darda went to the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and told him what Salman had said. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: 'Salman has said the truth.' " This is related by Al-Bukhari and at-Tirmidzi.

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: “I prepared food for the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). He came to me with some of his companions (radiyallahu’anhum). When the food was laid out, one of the men said: ‘I am fasting.’ The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Your brother has invited you and incurred expenses in your behalf.’ Then he (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked [him], ‘Break your fast and fast another day in its place if you wish’.” This is related by al-Bayhaqi. Al-Hafizh says it has a hassan chain.

Most scholars maintain that one who is performing a voluntary fast can break it. It is, however, preferred to make up that day later on. The preceding view is clear and authentic hadith are support for that position.

3.The Manners Of Fasting

3.1.Eating A Pre-Dawn Meal (Sahur)

All Muslims agree that it is preferred to eat a pre-dawn meal and that there is no sin upon one who does not do so. Anas reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Eat a pre-dawn meal, for there are blessings in it." This is related by alBukhari and Muslim.

Al-Miqdam ibn Madyakrib (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "You should eat this pre-dawn meal for it is a blessed nourishment." This is related by an-Nasā’ie with a good chain. The reason why it is a blessing is that it strengthens the fasting person, makes him more energetic, and makes the fast easier for him.

3.2.What Would Fulfill The Sunnah Of Eating A Pre-Dawn Meal

The sunnah would be fulfilled by eating a small or large quantity of food, or even just by drinking a sip of water. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "The pre-dawn meal is blessed, so do not neglect it even if you only take a sip of water. Verily, Allāh and the angels pray for those who have pre-dawn meals." This is related by Ahmad.

3.3. The Time For The Pre-Dawn Meal

The time for the pre-dawn meal is between the middle of the night and dawn. It is considered best to delay it (that is, as close to dawn a possible). Zaid ibn Thabit (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: "We ate the pre-dawn meal with the Messenger of Allāh(Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and then we got up for the prayer. He was asked: 'What was the amount of time between the two?' He responded: '[The time it would take to recite] fifty verses.' " This is recounted by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

'Amr ibn Maimun adds: "The companions of Muhammad, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), would be the first to break the fast and the last to eat their pre-dawn meals." This is recorded by al-Bayhaqi with a sahih chain.

Abu Dzarr al-Ghafari (radiyallāhu’anhu) related that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "My nation will always retain some goodness as long as they hasten breaking the fast and delay eating the pre-dawn meal." This hadith has in its chain one Sulaim ibn Abu Uthman who is unknown.

3.4. Doubt Concerning The Time Of Fajr

If one is in doubt whether or not the time of fajr has begun or not, he may continue to eat and drink until he is certain that it is fajr. He should not base his action on doubt or suspicion. Allāh has made the signs for beginning the daily fast very clear and unambiguous. Allāh enjoins (upon the believers) in the Qur’ān: "Eat and drink until the white thread of the dawn becomes distinct from the black thread [of the night]."

A man said to Ibn 'Abbas(radiyallāhu’anhu): "I eat until I suspect that its time has ended so I stop. Ibn 'Abbas observed: "Continue to eat until you are certain about the time." Abu Dawud reported that Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: "If you have some doubt about fajr, eat until you are sure dawn has come." This is the opinion of Ibn 'Abbas, 'Ata, al'Auza'ie, and Ahmad.

An-Nawawi (rahimahullah) informs that: "The followers of ash-Shafi’ie agree that one may eat if he is uncertain whether dawn has come or not."

3.5. Hastening In Breaking The Fast

It is preferred for the fasting person to hasten in breaking the fast when the sun has set. Sahl ibn Sad reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)said: "The people will always be with the good as long as they hasten in breaking the fast." This is related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

The fast should be broken with an odd number of dates or, if that is not available, with some water. Anas bin Malik (radiyallāhu’anhu)  reported: "The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would break his fast with ripe dates before he would pray. If those were not available, he would eat dried dates. If those were not available, he would drink some water." This hadith is related by Abu Dawud and by al-Hakim, who called it sahih, and by at-Tirmidzi, who called it hassan.

Sulaiman ibn 'Amr (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "If one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates. If dates are not available, then with water, for water is purifying." This is related by Ahmad and by at-Tirmidzi, who called it hassan sahih.

The preceding hadith also shows that it is preferred to break the fast in the above manner before praying. After the prayer, the person may continue to eat, but if the evening meal is ready, one may begin with that. Anas bin Malik (radiyallāhu’anhu)  reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "If the food is already presented, eat before the sunset prayer and do not eat your meals in haste." This is related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

3.6.Supplications While Breaking The Fast And While Fasting

Ibn Majah related from ‘Abdullāh  ibn 'Amr ibn al-'Aas (radiyallāhu’anhum) that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "A fasting person, upon breaking his fast, has a supplication that will not be rejected. When ‘Abdullāh  broke his fast he would say: "O Allāh, I ask of You, by Your mercy that encompasses everything, to forgive me."

It is confirmed that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would say: The thirst has gone, the glands are wet and, Allāh willing, the reward is confirmed. In mursal form, it is reported that he would say: "O Allāh, for You I have fasted and with Your provisions do I break my fast."

At-Tirmidzi recorded, with a good chain, that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Three people will not have their supplications rejected: a fasting person until he breaks his fast, a just ruler, and an oppressed person."

3.7. Refraining From Performing Any Actions That Do Not Befit The Fasting

Fasting is a type of worship that draws one closer to Allāh. Allāh has prescribed it to purify the soul and to train it in good deeds. The fasting person must be on guard against any act that may cause him to lose the benefits of his fast. Thus, his fast will increase his God-consciousness, and Allāh says in the Qur’ān: "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so perchance you may attain God consciousness."

Fasting is not just refraining from eating and drinking, but it is also refraining from everything else that Allāh has forbidden. Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Fasting is not [abstaining] from eating and drinking only, but also from vain speech and foul language. If one of you is being cursed or annoyed, he should say: "I am fasting, I am fasting." This is related by Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban, and al-Hakim. The latter said that it is sahih according to Muslim's criterion.

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) also reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "Allāh does not need the fast of one who does not abandon false speech or acting according to his false speech." This is related by the group, except for Muslim.

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Perhaps a fasting person will get nothing from his fast save hunger, and perhaps the one who stands to pray at night will get nothing from his standing except sleeplessness." This is related by an-Nasā’ie, Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim. The latter said that it is sahih according to alBukhari's criterion.


It is preferred for the fasting person to use a tooth stick or a brush. There is no difference if he uses it at the beginning or the ending of the day. At-Tirmidzi affirms that: "Ash-Shafi’ie did not see anything wrong with using a tooth stick [brush] during the beginning or the ending of the day." The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would use his tooth stick [brush] while fasting.

3.9. Being Generous And Studying The Qur’ān

Being generous and studying the Qur’ān is recommended during any time, but it is especially stressed during the month of Ramadhān. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: "The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was the most generous of people, but he would be his most generous during Ramadhān when he would meet with [the angel] Gabriel. He would meet with him every night and recite the Qur’ān. When Gabriel met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind."

3.10. Striving To Perform As Many Acts Of Worship As Possible During The Last Ten Days Of Ramadhān

Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from 'Aishah that during the last ten days of Ramadhān, the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)would wake his wives up during the night and then remain apart from them (that is, being busy in acts of worship). A version in Muslim states: "He would strive [to do acts of worship] during the last ten days of Ramadhān more than he would at any other time." At-Tirmidzi also recorded this from 'Ali bin Abi Talib(radiyallāhu’anhu).

4.The Permissible Acts For The Fasting Person:

4.1.Pouring Water Over One's Self And Submersing One's Self In Water

Abu Bakr ibn 'Abdurrahman reported from a number of companions that they had seen Allāh's Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) pour water over his head while he was fasting due to thirst or extreme heat. This is related by Ahmad, Malik, and Abu Dawud with a sahih chain.

In the two Sahih of Al-Bukhari and Muslim, it is related from 'Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would rise in the morning on a fasting day and then would perform ghusl (a complete bath). If during the bath some water is swallowed unintentionally, the fast is still valid.

4.2.Applying Kohl Or Eyedrops Or Anything Else To The Eyes

These acts are all permissible, even if some taste from it finds its way to the throat, as the eyes are not a passageway to the stomach. Anas reported that he would apply kohl while he was fasting. This is the opinion of the Shaf'iyyah. Ibn al-Munzhir records the same opinion from 'Ata, al-Hassan, an-Nakha'ie, al-Ausza'i, Abu Hanifah, Abu Thaur, and Dawud. It is related from the following companions: Ibn 'Umar, Anas, and Ibn Abu 'Aufa. According to at-Tirmidzi, nothing authentic has been related from the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) concerning this question.

4.3.Kissing For One Who Has The Ability To Control Himself

It is confirmed that 'Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) said: "The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)would kiss and embrace while he was fasting, for he had the most control of all of you over his desires." 'Umar said: "I was excited one time and I kissed [my wife] while I was fasting. I went to the Prophet and said: 'Today I committed a horrendous act--I kissed while I was fasting.' The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked: 'What do you think of rinsing with water while fasting?' I said: 'There is nothing wrong with that.' The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: 'Then what is the question about?'"

Ibn al-Munzhir says: " 'Umar, Ibn 'Abbas, Abu Hurayrah, 'Aishah, 'Ata, ash-Sha'bi, al-Hassan, Ahmad, and Ishaq permit kissing. The Hanafiyyah and Shaf'iyyah say that it is disliked if it incites one's desires. If it does not do so, it is not disliked although it is better to avoid it." There is no difference between an old man or a young man in this matter. The question is whether or not the kiss excites one's desires. If it does, it is disliked. If it does not, it is not disliked although it is best to avoid it. It does not matter if the kiss was on the cheek or on the lips, and so on. Touching with the hand or embracing follow the same ruling as kissing.

4.4.Any Type Of Injection

Injections do not break the fast whether they are for feeding the person or just medicine. It does not matter if the injection was intraveinous or underneath the skin. It also does not matter if what was injected reaches the stomach, as it does not reach the stomach through the customary manner (that food does).

4.5. Cupping to drain blood

The Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), was cupped while he was fasting. However, if doing this weakens the fasting person, it is disliked. Thabit al-Bunani asked Anas: "Did you dislike cupping for a fasting person during the time of the Prophet(Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)?" He answered: "No [we did not], unless it made someone weak." This is related by Al-Bukhari and others. Vivisection follows the same ruling as cupping.

4.6.Rinsing The Mouth And Nose

These acts are allowed in general, but it is disliked to exaggerate (that is, use a lot of water and put the water deep into the mouth or nose while fasting). Laqit ibn Sabra (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Exaggerate when rinsing your nose unless you are fasting." This is related by an-Nasā’ie, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidzi, and Ibn Majah. At-Tirmidzi called it hassan sahih.

Scholars dislike using nose drops (that is, applying medicine through the nose) while one is fasting, for they are of the opinion that it breaks the fast. There is a hadith that supports their opinion.

Ibn Qudamah sums up the various opinions on the subject: "If while gargling or rinsing the nose for the sake of purifying one's self [for example, for prayer] water reaches the throat unintentionally and not due to exaggeration, there is no problem. This is according to al-Awza'ie, Ishaq, and one statement from ash-Shaf'i’ie, which is related from Ibn 'Abbas. Malik and Abu Hanifah hold that it breaks the fast because that water reaches the stomach. If he was aware that he was fasting, it breaks his fast, as if he would have drunk intentionally. The first opinion is stronger, since [the water] reached the throat without intention or exaggeration. It is similar to having a fly enter the mouth and proceed to the throat. That differentiates it from an intentional act."

4.7.Those things which one could not protect one's self from, such as swallowing one's saliva, the dust of the road, sifting flour and so on are all overlooked

Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) ruling is that: "There is no problem with tasting liquid food or something you wish to purchase." Al-Hassan used to chew the walnuts for his grandson while he was fasting. Ibrahim also permitted that.

Chewing gum (unlike the one in vogue in the West, it has no sweetness or fragrance) is disliked. The gum must not break into pieces. Those who say that it is disliked include ash-Sha'bi, an-Nakha'ie, the Hanafiyyah, the Shaf'iyyah, and the Hanbaliyyah. 'Aishah and 'Ata permit chewing, as nothing reaches the stomach and it is just like putting pebbles into one's mouth provided it does not break into parts. If a part of it breaks off and enters the stomach, it will break the fast.

Ibn Taimiyyah says: "Smelling perfumes does not harm the fast." Enlarging upon the subject, he says: "As for kohl, injections, drops dropped into the urethra [that is, enemas for medicinal purposes], and treatment for brain and stomach injuries, there is some dispute among the scholars. Some say that none of these break the fast, some say that all except kohl would break the fast, while others say all except the drops break the fast, or that the kohl or drops do not break the fast but that the rest do." Ibn Taimiyyah continues: "The first opinion on this question is preferred. The most apparent conclusion is that none of them break the fast. The fast is part of the religion of Islam. Both the layman and specialist must be knowledgeable about it. If the preceding actions were forbidden by Allāh and His Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)to the fasting person because they would ruin the fast, then it would have been obligatory upon the Messenger to clarify that fact. If he had done so, his companions would have known about it and would have passed it on to the rest of the Muslims. Since no one has related that not from the Prophet(Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), not with an authentic or a weak hadith, nor in mursal or musnad form then it must be the case that such acts do not void [the fast]." He also says: "If the ruling is one that would affect everyone or everyday matters, then the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would have clarified it to a general audience. It is well-known that kohl was in common use as were oils, washing, incense, and perfume. If they broke the fast, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would have mentioned them, as he mentioned other things [that break the fast]. Since he did not do so, they belong to the class of perfumes, incense, and dyes. Incense goes through the nose and enters the head and lands on the body. Dyes or oils are absorbed by the skin and the body is refreshened by it. The case of perfumes is similar. Since these have not been [explicitly] prohibited to the fasting person, it points to the fact that using them is permissible for the fasting person and so is kohl. The Muslims during the time of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would injure themselves, either from jihad or otherwise, and would injure their stomachs or skulls. If that would have ended their fasts, it would have been made clear to them [by the Prophet(Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)].

Since that was not prohibited for the fasting person, it must not break the fast." Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimallah) continues: "No one eats kohl and no one causes it to enter his stomach--neither through his nose nor through his mouth. Anal enemas are also not taken as food. Indeed, it helps the body to release whatever is in the intestines and it does not reach the stomach. Any medicine that is used to treat stomach wounds or head injuries [that is taken orally] is not considered similar to food. Allāhsays in the Qur’ān: 'Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you.' The Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: 'Fasting is a shield,' and, Verily, Satan rushes through the body like the flowing of the blood [in the body]. You should constrict his rushing by hunger and fasting.' To increase his Allāh-consciousness a fasting person must not eat or drink because food and drink cause the veins to fill up with blood in which Satan circulates [in one's body]. They become easier for Satan through eating and drinking, not from enemas, kohl, or medicines applied through the penis or used to treat stomach and brain injuries."

4.8.The Fasting Person Can Eat, Drink, And Perform Sexual Intercourse Until Fajr

If someone has food in his mouth when fajr is beginning, he should spit it out. If he is having intercourse (with his wife) at that time, he should immediately stop. If he does so, his fast will still be valid. If he continues in these actions at that time, he will have broken his fast. Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Bilal makes the call to prayer while it is still night; therefore, eat and drink until Ibn Umm Maktum makes the call to prayer."

4.9.It Is Permissible For The Fasting Person To Be Sexually Defiled In The Morning (That Is, A Person Is Not Required To Perform Ghusl Before Fajr)

The hadith from 'Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) on this point has already been mentioned.

4.10.Menstruating or post-childbirth bleeding women

If the blood of a menstruating woman or of a woman with post-childbirth bleeding stops during the night, she can delay ghusl until the morning and still fast but, she must perform ghusl before the morning prayer.

5. Actions That Void The Fast

The actions that void the fast may be divided into two types:

1- those which void the fast and require that the day be made up later, and
2- those which void the fast and, in addition to being made up, also require an act of expiation.

5.1.Intentional Eating Or Drinking

If one eats due to forgetfulness, a mistake, or coercion, then he does not have to make up the day later or perform any expiation. Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever forgets he is fasting, and eats or drinks is to complete his fast, as it was Allāh who fed him and gave him something to drink." This is related by the group.

Commenting on it, At-Tirmidzi says: "Most of the scholars act according to this hadith. It is the opinion of Sufyan ath-Thauri, ash-Shaf'i’ie, Ahrnad, and Ishaq."

Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever breaks his fast during Ramadhān due to forgetfulness is not to make up the day later or to perform any expiation." This is related by ad-Daraqutni, al-Bayhaqi, and al-Hakim, who says that it is sahih according to Muslim's criterion. Ibn Hajr says that its chain is sahih.

Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Allāh will not hold anyone of this nation responsible for what is done in error, forgetfulness or under coercion." This is recounted by Ibn Majah, at-Tabarani, and al-Hakim.

5.2.Intentional Vomiting

If one is overcome and vomits unintentionally, he does not have to make up the day later on or perform the acts of expiation. Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "Whoever is overcome and vomits is not to make up the day." Whoever vomits intentionally must make up the day." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidzi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, ad-Daraqutni, and al-Hakim. The latter called it sahih.

Of the report's credibility, al-Khattabi says: "I do not know of any difference of opinion among the scholars on this point. If one vomits unintentionally he is not in need of making up the day, while one who vomits intentionally must make up the day later."

5.3. The Menses And Post-Childbirth Bleeding

Even if such bleeding begins just before the sunset, the fast of that day is rendered void and the day must be made up. There is a consensus of scholars on this point.

5.4. Ejaculation Of Sperm

Ejaculation voids the fast even if it was just due to kissing, hugging, or masturbation, and the day must be made up. If the ejaculation was due to looking at or thinking about something, then it is like having a wet dream during the day and it, therefore, does not void the fast nor is there any requirement on the person. Similarly, ejaculation of seminal fluid does not harm the fast in any way.

5.5.Eating Something That Is Not Nourishing, Such As Salt

Someone who uses a lot of salt for a reason other than eating, in which it goes down to the stomach, breaks the fast according to most scholars.

5.6.If One Has The Intention, While He Is Fasting, To Break The Fast, He In Effect Voids The Fast Even If He Does Not Actually Eat Anything

This is because the intention is one of the pillars of the fast and, if one changes his intention, he has nullified his fast.

5.7. If One Eats, Drinks, Or Has Intercourse, Thinking That The Sun Has Set Or That Fajr Has Not Occurred

In such cases, according to most scholars and the four imams, that person is to make up that day. However, there is a difference of opinion on this point. Ishaq, Dawud, Ibn Hazm, 'Ata, 'Urwah, al-Hassan al-Basri, and Mujahid maintain that such a fast is sound and that the person need not make up the day later. They base their opinion on the fact that Allāh says in the Qur’ān: "And there is no sin for you in the mistakes you make unintentionally, but what your hearts purpose [that will be a sin for you]."

6.Unintentional Mistakes

The Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "Allāh will not hold anyone of this nation responsible for what is done by mistake . . ."

'Abdurrazaq related that Mamar reported from al-Amash that Zaid ibn Wahb said: "The people broke their fast during the time of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab. I saw a big pot being brought from Hafsah's house and the people drank. Then the sun appeared from behind the clouds and this distressed the people. They said: 'We have to make up this day.' 'Umar asked: 'Why? By Allāh, we have not involved ourselves in any sin.' "

Al-Bukhari records that Asma' bint Abu Bakar (radiyallāhu’anha)said: "We broke the fast of Ramadhān when it was cloudy during the time of the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)  and then the sun appeared again."

Commenting on the subject, Ibn Taimiyyah says: "This points to two things:

1- that it is not preferred for one to delay breaking the fast until one is absolutely certain that the sun has set . . . and
2 - that it is not necessary to make up such a day. If the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would have ordered them to make up that day, it would have become public knowledge. The fact that it has been related that they broke their fast [and that it has not been related that they were ordered to make up that day] points to the fact that they were not ordered to make up that day."

The only action, according to most scholars, which requires that both the day be made up and the act of expiation be performed is having sexual intercourse during a day of Ramadhān.

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that a man came to the Messenger of Allāh and said: "I am destroyed, O Messenger of Allāh!" The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked: "What has destroyed you?" He said, "I had intercourse with my wife during a day of Ramadhān." The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)asked: "Are you able to free a slave?" He said, "No". The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)asked: "Is it possible for you to fast for two consecutive months?" He said, "No." The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked: "Is it possible for you to feed sixty poor people?" He said, "No." The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Then sit." A basket of dates was brought to the Prophet and he said to the man: Give this in charity. The man said: "To someone poorer than us? There is no one in this city who is poorer than us!" The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) laughed until his molar teeth could be seen and said: "Go and feed your family with it." This is related by the group.

Most scholars say that both men and women have to perform the acts of expiation if they intentionally have intercourse during a day of Ramadhān on which they had intended to fast. If they had intercourse out of forgetfulness or not due to choice--that is, due to coercion, or they did not have the intention to fast, then the expiation is not obligatory on either one of them. If the woman was forced to have intercourse by the man, the expiation will be obligatory only upon the man.

According to ash-Shaf'i’ie, the expiation is not obligatory upon the woman in any case--that is, regardless if it was due to choice or coercion, and she need only make up the day of fasting that she voided. An-Nawawi says: "The most authentic opinion, in general, is that the expiation is obligatory upon the man only and that there is nothing upon the woman. There is nothing obligatory on her in relation to this matter, as it is a matter of [paying] money [due to something related to] sexual intercourse and this refers to the duty of the man and not the woman. [In this way,] it is similar to the case of dowry."

Abu Dawud says: "Ahmad was asked about someone who had sex during Ramadhān: 'Is there any expiation upon the woman?' He said: 'I have not heard of any.' " In al-Mughni it is stated: "This refers to the fact that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ordered the man who had had sexual intercourse to free a slave. He did not order the woman to do anything, although he obviously knew that she was a partner in the act."

According to most scholars, acts of expiation must be performed in the order that was mentioned in the hadith. The first command is to free a slave. If this is not possible, the person is to fast for two consecutive months. If that is not possible, the person is to feed sixty poor people with meals that are similar to an average meal in his household. The person cannot jump from one act to another unless he is not able to perform the prior order commanded. According to the Malikiyyah and a narration from Ahmad, the person is free to choose any of the above three acts and that will be sufficient for him.

This latter opinion is based on the report from Malik and Ibn Juraij on the authority of Humaid ibn 'Abdurrahman who reported that Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that a man broke his fast during Ramadhān and the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ordered him, as an expiation, to free a slave or fast two months consecutively or to feed sixty poor people. This is related by Muslim.

In the preceding hadith, the word "or" implies choice, but according to some, the reason for the expiation to be performed was different and therefore the person could choose, as in the case of the expiation for breaking an oath. Ash-Shawkani says: "In the different narrations, there is evidence that the expiation is to be performed in order or according to one's choice. Those who relate it to be in order are more in number. Al-Muhallab and al-Qurtubi combined the narrations and said that the event [of someone breaking the fast] occurred more than once."

Al-Hafizh differs: "This is not correct. It was just one event and the parts are all united. So the crux of the matter is that there was not more than one event. Some combine the reports and say that following the order is preferred, but that one may choose. Others say the opposite."

Whoever has sexual intercourse (with his wife) on a day of Ramadhān and, before he performs the act of expiation, has intercourse on another day of Ramadhān, need only perform one act of expiation according to a narration from Ahmad and the Hanafiyyah. This is because there is a punishment for acts that are repeated, and if the expiation or punishment is not carried out, all the acts are taken together as one. According to Malik, ash-Shaf'ii’e, and Ahmad, the person must perform the expiation twice, as each day of Ramadhān is a separate act of worship. If the expiation is obligatory because the person voided the fast, the separate acts are not combined together.

All scholars agree that if the person intentionally had intercourse during a day of Ramadhān and has performed the expiation and then has intercourse on another day of Ramadhān, then another expiation becomes obligatory upon him. Similarly, they are in agreement that if one has intercourse twice during a day, before performing the expiation for the first act, then he need only perform one act of expiation. If he has performed the expiation for the first one, then he need not perform an act of expiation for the second, according to most scholars. Ahmad says that in such a case, he must perform a total of two acts of expiation.

7.Making Up Missed Days of Ramadhān

Making up missed days of Ramadhān is an obligation that need not be fulfilled immediately because the time for fulfilling is very wide and one may perform it at any time. This is also the case with the fast of expiation. It has been authentically reported that 'Aishah would make up her missed days during the month of Sya'ban (the month preceding Ramadhān), and that she did not perform them immediately even if she had the ability to do so.

Observing the fast of Ramadhān and making up the days are the same with respect to the fact that if one day of Ramadhān is missed, then only one day needs to be made up. There is no additional penalty. They differ about the fact that when a person makes up the missed days he need not do so on consecutive days. This is because Allāh says: "For him who is sick or on a journey, [the same] number of other days"--that is, whoever is sick or traveling and breaks the fast must fast the same number of days that he missed, consecutively or unconsecutively.

Allāh has ordered the fast in a general manner without any restricting clauses.

As for making up the missed days of Ramadhān, ad-Daraqutni recorded from Ibn 'Umar that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "If you wish, make them on nonconsecutive days and if you wish on consecutive days."

If one delays performing the missed days of fasting until the next Ramadhān comes, he is to fast the present Ramadhān and then make up the days from the previous Ramadhān. There is no ransom payment to be made, regardless of whether the person delayed the fasting due to some acceptable excuse or not. This is the opinion of the Hanafiyyah and al-Hassan al-Basri. Malik, ash-Shaf'i’ie, Ahmad, and Ishaq agree that there is no ransom payment if the fasting was delayed due to some excuse, but they differ when the fasting was delayed without any acceptable excuse. In such a case, according to them, the person should fast the present Ramadhān and then make up the days he missed from the previous Ramadhān along with a ransom payment of a mudd of food given in charity each day. It should be noted that they have no acceptable evidence for that opinion. Apparently, the correct opinion is that of the Hanafiyyah, as there is no lawmaking without an authentic legal text to support it (that is, a Qur’ānic verse or hadith).

8.Whoever Dies And Still Had Some Days Of Ramadhān To Make Up

The scholars agree that if an individual dies and has missed some prayers during his life, his guardian or heir is not to perform those prayers on his behalf. Similarly, if one does not have the ability to fast, no one is to fast for him while he is alive. There is a difference of opinion over the case of one who dies and has not made up some days of fasting although he had the ability to do so.

Most scholars, including Abu Hanifah, Malik, and the Shaf'iyyah, say that the guardian or heir is not to fast on such a person's behalf, but is to feed one person a day for the missed days. The chosen opinion, however, among the Shaf'iyyah is that it is preferred for the guardian to fast on the deceased's behalf, thus fulfilling his duty. There is therefore no need for him to feed anyone.

The meaning of guardian is near relative, whether it be an agnate or an heir or someone else. If a non-relative fasts for the deceased, it will only be valid if he got the permission of the guardian.

The proof for the preceding is what Ahmad, al-Bukhari, and Muslim recorded from 'Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha). The Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "If one dies and has some fasts to make up, then his guardian' should fast on his behalf." Al-Bazzar added the words: "If he wishes to do so, while Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) related that a man came to the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)and said: "O Messenger of Allāh, my mother died and a month's fasting was due from her. Should I fast on her behalf?" The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked: "If your mother had a debt would you fulfill it for her?" He said, "Yes." The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) observed: "A debt to Allāh has more of a right to be fulfilled." This is related by Ahmad, atTirmidzi, an-Nasā’ie, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Majah.

An-Nawawi [one of the most knowledgeable of the Shaf'iyyah] says: "That statement is the most authentic one, and we follow it. This is the opinion that has been determined to be correct according to our companions in both hadith and fiqh."

9.Places Where The Day Is Extremely Long And The Night Is Short

Scholars differ about what the Muslims who are in areas where the day is extremely long and the night is short should do. What timings should they follow? Some say they should follow the norms of the areas where the Islamic legislation took place--that is, Makkah or Madinah. Others say they should follow the timings of the area that is closest to them which has normal days and nights.

10. Seeking Laylatul Qadar (Night Of Qadr)

10.1.Its Virtue Of Night Of Qadr

The Night Of Qadr is the most virtuous night of the year. All
āh says in the Qur’ān: “Indeed, We sent the Qur'an down during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. [Al-Qadr,97:1-5] Any action therein, for example, reciting the Qur’ān, making remembrance of Allāh, and so on, is better than acting for one thousand months which do not contain the night of qadr.

10.2.It Is Preferred To Seek This Night Of Qadr

It is preferred to seek this night during the last ten nights of Ramadhān, as the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) strove his best in seeking it during that time. We have already mentioned that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would stay up during the last ten nights, would wake his wives, and then would remain apart from them to worship.

10.3.Which Night Is It?

Scholars hold different opinions as to the night which is The Night Of Qadr. Some are of the opinion that it is the 21st, some say the 23rd, others say the 25th and still others say it is the 29th. Some say that it varies from year to year but it is always among the last ten nights of Ramadhān. Most scholars, though, vouch for the 27th.

Ahmad recorded, with a sahih chain, from ‘Abdullah Ibn 'Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "He who likes to seek that night should do so on the 27th. Ubayy ibn K'ab (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: By Allāh, and there is no God but Him, it is during Ramadhān--and He swore to that--and by Allāh, I know what night it is. It is the night during which the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ordered us to make prayers, the night of the 27th. Its sign is that the sun rises in the morning white and without any rays." This is related by Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ahmad, and by at-Tirmidzi who called it sahih.

10.4.Praying And Making Supplications During The Night Of Qadr

Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu)  that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "Whoever prays during the night of qadr with faith and hoping for its reward will have all of his previous sins forgiven."

As to the supplication during The Night Of Qadr, 'Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) said: "I asked the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) : 'O Messenger of Allāh, if I know what night is The Night Of Qadr, what should I say during it?' He said: 'Say: “Allāhummainna Ka 'afuw Wun Tuhibbul 'Afwa Fa’fu 'Anna (O Allāh! You are Forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive us) ”. This is related by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and by at-Tirmidzi, who called it sahih.

11.I'tikaf Or Seclusion In The Mosque

I'tikaf means to stick to something, whether good or bad, and to block out everything else. Allāh says in the Qur’ān: "What then are images that you pay devotion [akifun] to them?" [Al-Anbia'21: 52]--that is, what they devoted themselves to in worship. What is meant here is the seclusion and staying in the mosque inI'tikaf.

11.1.Legitimacy Of I'tikaf.

All scholars agree on its legitimacy. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would perform i'tikaf for ten days every Ramadhān. In the year that he died, he performed it for twenty days. This is related by Al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud, and ibn-Majah. The Prophet's companions and wives (radiyalhu’anhuM) performed i'tikaf with him and continued to do so after his death. Even though it is an act which is done to get closer to Allāh, there is no sound hadith concerning its merits. Abu Dawud (rahimahullah) states: "I said to Ahmad, 'Are you aware of anything concerning the virtues of i'tikaf?' He answered: 'No, except for some weak [reports].' "

11.2.The Different Types Of I'tikaf

I'tikaf is of two types: sunnah and obligatory. The sunnah i'tikaf is that which the Muslim performs to get closer to Allāh by following the actions of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), especially during the last ten days of Ramadhān.

The obligatory i'tikaf is that which the person makes obligatory upon himself. This may be done, for example, by an oath: "For Allāh I must make i'tikaf," or by a conditional oath: "If Allāh cures me, I shall make i'tikaf ..." In Sahih Al-Bukhari it is reported that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "Whoever makes an oath to obey Allāh should be obedient to Him." 'Umar ibn AlKhattab (radiyallahu’anhu) said: "O Messenger of Allāh, I made an oath to perform i'tikaf one night in the mosque at Makkah." The Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: "Fulfill your oath."

11.3.The Length Of I'tikaf

The obligatory i'tikaf is to be as long as the oath states it to be. If one makes an oath to make i'tikaf for one day or more, he is to fulfill that length of time.

11.4.The Sunnah Or Preferred I'tikaf Has No Specific Time Limit

It can be fulfilled by staying in the mosque with the intention of making i'tikaf for a long or short time. The reward will be according to how long one stays in the mosque. If one leaves the mosque and then returns, he should renew his intention to perform i'tikaf.

Ya'la ibn Umayyah said: "I secluded myself in the mosque for some time for i'tikaf." 'Ata told him: "That is i'tikaf, as long as you secluded yourself there. If you sit in the mosque hoping for good, it is i'tikaf. Otherwise, it is not." One who is performing the non obligatory i'tikaf may end his i'tikaf at any time, even if it is before the period he intended to stay.

'Aishah (radiyallahu’anha) related that if the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) intended to make i'tikaf, he would pray the morning prayer and begin it. One time he wanted to make i'tikaf during the last ten nights of Ramadhān, and he ordered his tent to be set up. Aishah (radiyallahu’anha) reported: "When I saw that, I ordered my tent to be set up, and some of the Prophets wives followed suit. When he [the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)] prayed the morning prayer, he saw all of the tents, and said: "What is this?" They said: "We are seeking obedience [to Allāh and His Messenger]." Then he ordered his tent and those of his wives to be taken down, and he delayed his i'tikaf to the first ten days [of Shawwal]."

The fact that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ordered his wives' tents to be struck down and asked them to leave the i'tikaf after they have made the intention for it shows that they discarded the i'tikaf after they had begun it. The hadith also shows that a man may prevent his wife from preforming i'tikaf if she did not get his permission to perform it. There is a difference of opinion over the case of the man granting permission to his wife and then rescinding it. According to Ash-Shaf'i’ie, Ahmad, and Dawud, this is permissible for the husband, and the wife must leave her i'tikaf in such case.

11.5.The Condition For I'tikaf

The one who preforms i'tikaf must be a Muslim adult, a discerning child who is free of sexual defilement, or an adolescent who is free of menstrual or childbirth bleeding. I'tikaf is not acceptable from an unbeliever, a non-discerning child, a sexually defiled person, a menstruating woman with post-childbirth bleeding.

11.6.The Principles Of I'tikaf

I'tikaf will be fulfilled if a person stays in the mosque with the intention of becoming closer to Allāh. If the person is not in the mosque or did not do it with the intention to please Allāh, it is not i'tikaf. The fact that the intention is obligatory is proven by Allāh words: "They are ordained nothing else than to serve Allāh, keeping religion pure for Him." The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Every action is according to the intention [behind it] and for everyone is what he intended."

Certainly, i'tikaf must be done in the mosque, as Allāh says: "And do not touch and be at your devotions in the mosque” [Al-Baqarah.2: 178]. This 'ayah proves that if it were proper for i'tikaf to be performed elsewhere, why would Allāh exclusively disallow coming to one's wife during i'tikaf. The answer is that since such an act would nullify i'tikaf (no matter where it is peformed), it is clear that i'tikaf itself must be in the mosque.

11.7.The Opinion Of The Jurists Concerning The Mosques In Which The I'tikaf Is To Be Performed

There is a difference of opinion among the jurists concerning what mosques are acceptable for i'tikaf. According to Abu Hanifah, Ahmad, Ishaq, and Abu Thaur, i'tikaf is valid in any mosque in which the five prayers are held and which has a congregation. This is based on the hadith of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam): "Every mosque that has a caller to prayer and an imam is acceptable for i'tikaf." This is related by ad-Daraqutni, but the hadith is mursal and weak and cannot be used as a proof.

Malik, Ash-Shafi’ie, and Dawud say that it is acceptable in any mosque, as there is no proof that restricts it to any particular mosques. The Shaf'iyyah say it is better to perform i'tikaf in a congregational mosque, as the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), performed i'tikaf in such a mosque, and because the nwnber of those who attend the prayers in such a mosque is greater. If the period of i'tikaf includes the time for the Friday prayer, then one must perform it in the congregational mosque in order not to miss the Friday prayer.

The person making i'tikaf may make the call to prayer if the place from whence the call is made is either the door of the mosque or its interior courtyard. He may also go to the roof of the mosque, as all of that is considered part of the mosque. If the place for the call to prayer is outside of the mosque, and the mu'takif makes the call, he will void his i'tikaf. The exterior courtyard is considered part of the mosque according to the Hanafiyyah and Shaf'iyyah and one narration from Ahmad. According to Malik and another narration, it is not part of the mosque and the person making i'tikaf should not go there.

Most scholars say that it is not correct for a woman to make i'tikaf in the mosque in her house (that is, the special place of her house where she performs her prayers) because the mosque in her house usually does not fall in the category of mosques and can be sold. There is no difference of opinion on this point. The wives of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)always performed their i'tikaf in the Prophet's mosque.

11.8.The Beginning And Ending Of I'tikaf

The voluntary i'tikaf does not have any specific time period. Nevertheless, whenever a person enters the mosque and makes the intention of becoming closer to Allāh by staying there, he will be peforming i'tikaf until he leaves.

If one has the intention to perform i'tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadhān, one should begin it before the sun sets (maghrib) of the 20th. Al-Bukhari records from Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri (radiyallahu’anu) that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: Whoever makes i'tikaf with me is to make i'tikaf during the last ten [nights].” The ten refers to the last ten nights which begin on the night [maghrib]of the the 20th.

Concerning the statement that when the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) desired to make i'tikaf he would pray the morning [of the 20th] and then go to the place of his i'tikaf, it means that he used to enter the place which he had prepared for his seclusion, but the actual time that he entered the mosque for his seclusion was during the beginning of the night (maghrib) of 21st.

According to Abu Hanifah and Ash-Shafi’ie, whoever performs i'tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadhāmust leave the mosque after sunset on the last day of the month. Malik and Ahmad say that it is acceptable to leave after sunset, but they prefer for the person to remain in the mosque until the time for the 'Eid prayer.

Al-'Athram records from Abu Ayyub that Abu Qulabah would stay in the mosque on the night before the 'Eid prayer and would then go to the 'Eid prayer. During his i'tikaf, he had no mat or prayer carpet to sit on. He used to sit like anyone else. Abu Ayyub said: "I came to him on the day of Eid and on his lap was Juwairiyah Muzinah. I thought it was one of his daughters, but it was a slave that he had freed, and he came that way to the 'Eid prayer." Ibrahim said: "The people preferred that one who performed i'tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadhān stay in the mosque on the night of 'Eid and then proceed to the 'Eid prayer from the mosque.

If an individual makes a vow to perform i'tikaf for a specific period of days, or he wants to do so voluntarily, then he should begin his i'tikaf before dawn (fajar) and leave when all the sun's light has gone, regardless of whether that be during Ramadhān or at another time. If he vowed to perform i'tikaf for a night or a specified number of nights, or if he wants to do so voluntarily, then he should begin his i'tikaf before the sun has completely set and may leave when it is clear that dawn has begun. Ibn Hazm says: "The night begins when the sun sets and ends with dawn. The day begins with dawn and is completed by sunset. This is not a condition upon anyone unless he desires or intends to fulfill it. If one vows or wants to make i'tikaf voluntarily for a month, he should begin during the first night of the month. He should enter the mosque before the sun has completely set and may leave after the sun has completely set at the end of the month--regardless of whether it is Ramadhān or otherwise."

12.What Is Preferred For The Person Who Is Fasting And What Is Disliked For Him?

It is preferred for the one who is making i'tikaf to perform many supererogatory acts of worship and to occupy himself with prayers, reciting the Qur’ān, glorifying and praising Allāh, extolling His oneness and His greatness, asking His forgiveness, sending salutations on the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and supplicating Allāh--that is, all actions that bring one closer to Allāh. Included among these actions is studying and reading books of tafsir and hadith, books on the lives of the Prophets, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), books of fiqh, and so on. It is also preferred to set up a small tent in the courtyard of the mosque as the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did.

It is disliked for one to engage himself in affairs that do not concern him. At-Tirmidzi and Ibn Majah record on the authority of Abu Basrah that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Part of a man's good observance of Islam is that he leave alone that which does not concern him." It is, however, disliked for a person to think that he can draw closer to Allāh by not speaking. Al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Majah record from Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) that while the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was delivering a speech, he saw a man standing and asked about him. The people said: "He is Abu Israel. He has vowed to stand and not to sit, and not to speak, and to fast." The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Order him to speak, go to the shade, to sit, and to complete his fast." Abu Dawud related from 'Ali bin Abi Talib (radiyallahu’anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "There is no orphanhood after one has passed the age of maturity, and there is no non-speaking for a day until the nightfall."

12.1. Fasting While Performing I'tikaf

It is good for the person performing i'tikaf to fast, but he is not under any obligation to do so. Al-Bukhari records from Ibn 'Umar that 'Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallahu’anhum) said: "O Messenger of Allāh, during the days of ignorance I vowed to perform i'tikaf one night in the mosque at Makkah. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: 'Fulfill your vow.' " This statement of the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), shows that fasting is not a condition for i'tikaf; otherwise, performing i'tikaf at night would not be valid. Sa'id ibn Mansur records that Abu Sahl said: "One of my wives was to perform i'tikaf, so I asked 'Umar ibn 'Abdul Aziz about it. He said: 'She need not fast, unless she imposes it upon herself.' Az-Zuhri said: 'There is no i'tikaf save while fasting.' 'Umar asked: 'Is this from the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam)?' Az-Zuhri answered, 'No.' 'Umar asked, 'From Abu Bakr?' Az-Zuhri said,'No.' 'Umar asked [again], 'From 'Umar [ibn al-Khattab]?' Az-Zuhri said, 'No.' 'Umar said: 'I suspect he said it from 'Uthman?' Az-Zuhri said, 'No.' I [Abu Sahl] left them and met 'Ata and Tawus and asked them about it. Tawus said: 'A person would see that he did not have to fast unless he imposed it on himself.'"

Al-Khattabi acknowledges [the differences on the issue]: "There is a difference of opinion among the people on this point."

Al-Hassan al-Basri holds: "Performing i'tikaf without fasting suffices. That is also the opinion of ash-Shaf'i'ie."

'Ali bin Abi Talib and Ibn Mas'ud (radiyallahu’anhum) maintain: "If one wishes, one may fast and if one does not wish to, one does not have to."

Al-Awza'ie and Malik hold: "There is no i'tikaf without fasting, and that is the conclusion of the people of opinion. That has been related from Ibn 'Umar, Ibn 'Abbas, and 'Aishah, and it is the opinion of Sa'eed ibn al-Musayyeb, 'Urwah ibn az-Zubair, and az-Zuhri."

12.2.Permisible Acts For The Mu'takif

The following acts are perrnissible for one who is making i'tikaf:

1- The person may leave his place of i'tikaf to bid farewell to his wife. Safiyyah (radiyallahu’anha) reported: "The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was performing i'tikaf and I went to visit him during the night. I talked to him and then I got up to go. He got up with me and accompanied me to my house. (Her residence was in the house of Usamah ibn Zaid. Two men of the Ansar passed by them and when they saw the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) they quickened their pace.) The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: 'Hold on, she is Safiyyah bint Haya.' They said: 'Glory be to Allāh, O Messenger of Allāh twe did not have any doubt about you].' The Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said: 'Shaytan flows in the person like blood. I feared that he might have whispered some [slander] into your heart.'" This is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Dawud.

2- Combing and cutting one's hair, clipping one's nails, cleaning one's body, wearing nice clothes or wearing perfume are all permissible. 'Aishah (radiyallahu’anha) reported: "The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was performing i'tikaf and he would put his head out through the opening to my room and I would clean [or comb in one narration] his hair. I was menstruating at the time." This is related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Dawud.

3- The person may go out for some need that he must perform. 'Aishah (radiyallahu’anha) reported: "When the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) performed i'tikaf, he brought his head close to me so I could comb his hair, and he would not enter the house except to fulfill the needs a person has." This is related by al-Bukhari, Muslim, and others.

Ibn al-Munzhir says: "The scholars agree that the one who performs i'tikaf may leave the mosque in order to answer the call of nature, for this is something that he personally must perform, and he cannot do it in the mosque. Also, if he needs to eat or drink and there is no one to bring him his food, he may leave to get it. If one needs to vomit, he may leave the mosque to do so. For anything that he must do but cannot do in the mosque, he can leave it, and such acts will not void his i'tikaf, even if they take a long time. Examples of these types of acts would include washing one's self from sexual defilement and cleaning his body or clothes from impurities."

Sa'id ibn Mansur records that 'Ali said: "If a person is performing i'tikaf, he is to attend the Friday congregational prayer, be present at funerals, visit the ill and go to see his family about matters that are necesssary, but he is to remain standing [while visiting them]." 'Ali helped his nephew by giving him 700 dirhams to buy a servant and the nephew said: "I am performing i'tikaf ". 'Ali said: "What blame would there be upon you if you go to the market to buy one?" Qatadah used to permit the person who was performing i'tikaf to follow the funeral procession and to visit the sick, but not to sit while doing so. Ibrahim an-Nakha'ie says that they preferred that the person who was performing i'tikaf do the following deeds and he was allowed to do them even if he did not do them to visit the sick, to attend the Friday prayers, to witness the funerals, to go out to meet his needs, and not to enter a place that has a ceiling. He said: "The one who is performing i'tikaf should not enter a roofed place unless there is a need to do so." Al-Khattabi says: "A group of people say that the person performing i'tikaf may attend the Friday prayer, visit the ill, and witness funerals. This has been related from 'Ali, and it is the opinion of Sa'id ibn Jubair, al-Hassan al-Basri, and an-Nakha'ie." Abu Dawud records from 'Aishah (radiyallahu’anha) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would visit the sick while performing i'tikaf. He would visit them without steering away from his path. It has also been related from her that it is sunnah for the person not to leave his place of i'tikaf and visit the sick. This means that the person is not to leave his place of i'tikaf with the sole intention of visiting the sick, but if he passes by him, he may ask about him provided it is not out of his way.

4- The person may eat, drink, and sleep in the mosque, and he should also keep it clean. He may make contracts for marriage, buying, selling, and so on.


12.3.Actions That Nullify The I'tikaf


If a person performs one of the following acts, his i 'tikaf will be nullified:

1 - Intentionally leaving the mosque without any need to do so, even if it is for just a short time. In such a case, one would not be staying in the mosque, which is one of the principles of i'tikaf.

2 - Abandoning belief in Islam, as this would nullify all acts of worship. If you ascribe a partner to Allāh, your work will fail and you will be among the losers.

3 - Losing one's reason due to insanity or drunkenness, or the onset of menstruation or post-childbirth bleeding, all of which disqualifies a person for i'tikaf.

4 - Sexual intercourse. Allāh says: "But touch them not [that is, your wives] and be at your devotions in the mosque."

However, one may touch his wife without there being any desires. One of the Prophet's wives would comb his hair while he was performing i'tikaf. As for kissing or touching due to desire, Abu Hanifah and Ahmad say that it is not desirable, for it leads to something that is forbidden for the one performing i'tikaf. However, it does not nullify it unless one ejaculates. Malik (rahimahullah) says that it nullifies the i'tikaf, for it is an illegal touch regardless of whether the person involved ejaculates or not. From ash-Shafi’ie (rahimahullah) there are two reports that correspond to the two preceding opinions.

Ibn Rushd (rahimahullah) explains that: "The reason for their differences of opinion is [the (fact) that] if a word has more than one meaning, one being literal and the other figurative, does the word apply at one time to all of them or not? This is one of the types of words that have more than one meaning. Those who say that it carries both meanings interpret 'touch' in the 'ayah . . . 'and touch them not and be at your devotions in the mosque' in the unrestrictive sense--that is, covering both sexual intercourse and also actions [of touching] that are less than that. Those who don't say it carries all of its meanings and they are the majority say that the 'ayah points to sexual intercourse or to touching that is less than intercourse. If we say that it refers to sexual intercourse by consensus, then this nullifies the possibility of it referring to actions less than intercourse, as one [single] word could not be taken in its literal and figurative meaning [at the same time]. Those who say that what is less than sexual intercourse is included say so because it falls under the literal meaning of the verse. Those who differ do not take the word in its literal and figurative meaning at the same time.

12.4.Making Up I'tikaf

In the case if an individual intends to perform a voluntary i'tikaf and then ends it before he completes it, he should make up that i'tikaf later. Some say that it is obligatory to do so.

Writing on the subject, At-Tirmidzi says: "There is a difference of opinion about a person who ends his i'tikaf before his intended time has expired."

Imam Malik (rahimahullah) holds: "If he ends his i'tikaf [early], it is obligatory upon him to make it up. Imam Malik (rahimahullah) uses as proof the hadith which states that when the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) abandoned his i'tikaf, he made it up during the following month of Shawwal."

Imam Ash-Shaf'i’ie (rahimahullah) states: "If he did not vow to perform i'tikaf or he did not make it obligatory upon himself, and then he left it early, he does not have to make it up unless he chooses to do so." He continues: "One does not have to undertake this act. If he did and then left it, he need not make it up [since it was voluntary], except for the case of hajj and 'umrah." Notwithstanding this, the imams agree that if one makes a vow to perform i'tikaf for a day or a number of days and then voids his i'tikaf, it is obligatory upon him to make it up whenever he can. If he dies before he makes it up, then no one is obliged to make it up on his behalf.

On the other hand, Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) argues: "It is obligatory on his inheritors to make it up on his behalf. 'Abdur Razzaq related from 'Abdul Karim ibn Umayyah who said he heard ‘Abdullāh  ibn ‘Abdullāh  ibn 'Utbah say: "Our mother died while she still had some i'tikaf to perform. I asked Ibn 'Abbas (radiyallahu’anhu) and he said: 'Perform i'tikaf on her behalf and fast.'" Sa'id ibn Mansur recorded that 'Aishah (radiyallahu’anha) performed i'tikaf on behalf of her brother after his death.

12.5.Retiring Of The Mu'takif To The Mosque And Setting Up Of A Tent

Ibn M
ājah recorded from Ibn 'Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) made i'tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadhān. Nafi' reported: "Ibn 'Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu) showed me the place where the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would perform his i'tikaf."

Ibn 'Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu)also reported that when the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) performed i'tikaf, he would spread out his bed behind the repentance pole (that is, the pole that a companion had tied himself to until Allāh accepted his repentance).

Abu Sa'id (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) performed i'tikaf under a Turkish tent which had something over its openings.

12.6.Making A Vow To Perform I'tikaf In A Specific Mosque

If someone makes a vow to perform i'tikaf in the Masjid al-Haram (in Makkah), the Prophet's Mosque (in Madinah), or in the Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem), he is to fulfill his vow, as the Prophet (Sallall
āhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “One should not undertake journeys except to three mosques: the Masjid al-Haram, the Aqsa mosque, or this mosque.”

If someone vows to perform i'tikaf in another mosque, it is not obligatory on him to fulfill it and he may perform that i'tikaf in any mosque, for Allāh did not specify any particular place for His worship, and there is no superiority of one mosque over another (with the exception of the three mosques mentioned earlier). It has been confirmed that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “A prayer in my mosque is superior to one thousand prayers in any other mosque but the Masjid al-Haram, and a prayer in that mosque is superior to a prayer in my mosque by one hundred prayers.”

Thus, if someone makes a vow to perform i 'tikaf in the Prophet's mosque, he may fulfill it in the Masjid al-Haram since that one is superior to the Prophet's mosque.

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

[An excerpt from Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3: “Fasting (As-siyam)”  By Sayyid Sābiq Via http://ymsite.com/home/]