The Rulings On Fasting

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

Ahmad 'Abdul-Rahman

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 Ramadan

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, and houses.

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 Ahmad].

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.

EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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