The Rulings On Fasting
The first issue: Intention:
A Muslim should recall the intention in obligatory fasting before dawn if the
crescent of Ramadan was ascertained or the country declared the beginning of
because of Allah's Saying: "And they were commanded not, but that they should
worship Allâh, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing
partners to Him)." [Surat Al Bayyinah: 5].
And because of the Prophet's saying: "Actions are based on intention and a
person will get the reward according to his intention." [Reported by Al
Bukhari 1/ 9 and Muslim 1907].
And because of the Prophet's saying : "He who does not determine to fast
before dawn does not fast." [Reported by An-Nasa'y and Al Bayhaqy, authentic].
And because of the Prophet's saying: "He who does not have the intention of
fasting before dawn does not fast." [Reported by Abu Dawud 7/ 122, Ibn
Khuzaymah 1933, and An-Nasa'y 4/ 196, authentic].
These proofs confirm that intention is a pre-condition in fasting as well as
other acts of worship as the Shaykh of Islam, Ibn Taymiyah, said: "Scholars
have agreed that the act of worship which is ordained for the purpose of
worship is not valid without intention."
Intention should be recalled in the heart, and it is not permissible to
pronounce it because it is a Bid'ah (innovation in religion). Whoever thinks
about fasting the next day has already recalled the intention. Likewise those
who have the pre-dawn meal (Suhur) because it is an indication to fasting; and
intention is the real decisive factor between the acts of worship and customs.
Recalling the intention is assigned only for the obligatory fasting, whereas
in voluntary fasting it is permissible to have the intention during the
daylight because the Messenger (peace be upon him) used to go to 'A'ishah (may
Allah be pleased with her) in times other than Ramadan and say: Do you have
any food? [When he does not find any, he would say: Then I am fasting."
[Reported by Muslim 1154].
The second issue is: Abstaining from things that break the fast:
From dawn break to sun setting because of Allah's Saying: "So, now have sexual
relations with them and seek that which Allâh has ordained for you
(offspring), and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears
to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your
Saum (fast) till the nightfall. And do not have sexual relations with them
(your wives) while you are in I'tikâf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for
prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques. These
are the limits (set) by Allâh, so approach them not. Thus does Allâh make
clear His Ayât (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, revelations, verses, laws,
legal and illegal things, Allâh's set limits, orders, etc.) to mankind that
they may become Al-Muttaqűn (the pious)." [Surat Al Baqarah: 187].
So, Allah permitted eating and drinking till the break of the second dawn then
commanded with the completion of fasting till the night [sunset].
The meaning of eating and drinking is to deliver food and drink through the
mouth or the nose or snuffing in the nose because of the Prophet's saying:
"And sniff water deep into the nose except when you are observing fast.'' [Sahih
Abu Dawud of Al Albany 2/ 450].
A Muslim should know that dawn is divided into two types: The true and the
false dawn. The true dawn which prohibits eating and drinking, and at which a
person should begin fasting.
The false dawn is the vertical whiteness in the sky. The true dawn is: The
vertical redness that appears at the tops of mountains, in the streets, ways,
Samurah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah
(peace be upon him) said: "Do not be tricked by the Adhan of Bilal nor that
vertical whiteness like a pillar." [Reported by Muslim 1094]. When the fasting
person is sure about the beginning of dawn, he should abstain from eating and
drinking, however if he has a glass of water in his hand, it is permissible
for him to drink it because it is a concession from Allah (may He be Exalted)
even if he had heard the Adhan
because of the Prophet's saying: "When any of you hears the summons to prayer
while he has a vessel in his hand, he should not lay it down till he fulfils
his need." [Sahih Abu Dawud of Al Albany 2/ 447, reported by Al Hakim and
The meaning of the call is the second call of dawn [the true dawn] according
to the addition of Imam Ahmad and Ibn Jarir after the Hadith: "While the
Muezzin was pronouncing the Adhan of Fajr."
Imsakiyyah is an innovation:
Dear Muslim, let it be known that what is called the precautionary abstention
from food or drink before Adhan is an innovation, and Al Hafizh ibn Hajar
warned against it in his book Fathul-Bary (4/ 199).
The innovation of Imsakiyyah (a small flayer in which the times of Salah are
recorded in addition to the time of the predawn meal and the preferred
abstention time), so the owners of charitable societies and foundation should
pay attention to that and beware not to spread this innovation which has no
proof or basis.