(According to the FATAWA of Ayatullah Al-Uzma Seyyid Ali-Husaini Seestani Dama-Dhilluhu)
Compiled by Yusuf G. Kermalli
Fasting is a protection from the fire and the alms (zakaat) of the body,
and through it a servant enters Paradise.
The sleep of the person fasting is worship, his breath and his silence are glorification of Allah (tasbih), his actions are accepted and his supplication is answered.
The odor of his mouth, in the sight of Allah, the Exalted, is sweeter than the fragrance of musk.
The angels pray for him until he breaks his fast, and he has two joys – the joy when he breaks the fast and the joy when he will meet Allah, the Exalted. (Minhaaj Al-Salihin of Ayatullah Al-Sistani Dama-Dhilluhu) ___________________________________________________________________________________
FASTING ON “YAUMUL SHAK”
(Doubtful whether it is the last day of Shaaban or the first day of Ramadhan)
If one doubts whether it is the last day of Sha’baan or the first day of Ramadhan then the fast on that day is not obligatory. However, if one wants to fast on that day he cannot do so with the intention of observing the Ramadhan fast, but if he makes an intention that if it is Ramadhan then it is the Ramadhan fast and if it is not Ramadhan then it is qadha’ fast or some other fast like that, his fast will be valid. But it is better to observe the fast with the intention of qadha’ fast or some other fast,and if it is known later that it was Ramadhan then it will automatically be Ramadhan fast. And if he learns on the same day before Maghrib that it is the first day of Ramadhan, then he should convert the intention to the Ramadhan fast.
If you are NOT fasting on the 30th day Shaaban, then you are required to act as follows:
- If you get the news after sunset of 30th Shaaban or later that the moon was sighted on 29th Shaaban, then you have to keep qadha of 1st Ramadhan after the month of Ramadhan.
- If you get the news of moon sighting after zawal time (Islamic mid-day), then you should observe precaution by abstaining from eating for the rest of the day with the intention of absolute nearness (qurbat), and perform its qadha after the month of Ramadhan.
- If you get the news of moon sighting before zawal time (Islamic mid-day), then:
a) if you have not eaten or drunk anything or done anything which breaks fast, you must immediately do the niyyah of fasting of Ramadhan for that day.
b) if you have eaten or drunk something or have done anything which breaks fast, then you should observe precaution by abstaining from eating for the rest of the day with the intention of absolute nearness (qurbat), and perform its qadha after that.
1) PEOPLE ON WHOM FASTING IS NOT OBLIGATORY DURING THE MONTH OF RAMADHAN
(a) A person who cannot fast because of old age, or for whom fasting causes extreme hardship. But in the latter case, he should give one mudd (¾ kg. [750 gms.] of food-stuff, like, wheat or barley or bread, etc.) to a poor person for every fast. However, if he becomes capable of fasting later, he should, on the basis of recommended precaution, give the qadha.
(b) A person who suffers from a disease which causes excessive thirst, making it unbearable, or full of hardship. But in the latter case, that is, hardship, he should give one mudd of food to a poor person for every fast. At the same time, as a recommended precaution, such a person may not drink water in a quantity more than essential. If he recovers later, enabling him to fast, then as a recommended precaution, he should give qadha.
Note: Weakness is not a sufficient excuse for the permissibility of not fasting, even if excessive, unless it is distressing. In that case breaking the fast is permissible and it is obligatory to perform its qadha after the month of Ramadhan. Similarly if the weakness leads to the inability of doing the work necessary to earn one’s living and one is unable to do any other work, or if the worker cannot continue with the fast due to being overcome by thirst. It is necessarily more prudent for them to restrict their eating and drinking to the necessary amount and restrain themselves from eating more than necessary.
(c) A woman who is in advanced stage of pregnancy, for whom fasting is harmful or for the child she carries. For every day, however, she should give one mudd (3/4 kg. [750 gms.]) of food to poor. In both the cases, she has to give qadha for the fasts left out.
(d) If a woman is suckling a child and the quantity of her milk is small, and if fasting is harmful to her or to the child. But she will give one mudd of food per day to poor. In both the cases, she will later giveqadha for the fasts left out.
Note: This rule is specifically applicable in a circumstance where this is the only way of feeding milk to the child (as an obligatory precaution). But if there is an alternative, like, when more than one woman offer to suckle the child, then establishing this rule is a matter of ishkal.
(e) A woman who is in the state of Haidh or Nifas. She has to give qadha for the fasts left out.
(f) If a person knows that fasting is not harmful to him, he should fast and his fast will be valid even if his doctor advises him that it is harmful. And if a person is certain or has a strong feeling that fasting is harmful to him, he should not fast even if the doctor advises for it. He/she is required to give qadha for the fasts left out.
It is permissible to break the fast on the basis of a doctor’s statement, if it induces the presumption (zann) or possibility of harm resulting in actual fear. If it is not so, then it is not permissible to break the fast based on his statement. If the doctor says that there is no harm in fasting and the person under an obligation to fast is afraid, then it is permissible for him to break the fast. In fact, it is obligatory if the suspected harm is to a forbidden degree. Otherwise it is permissible for him to fast in the hope of divine acceptance (raja’), and to be content with it if it later becomes evident that it was not harmful.
Note: It is permissible to give the fidya of several days of one month and several months to one person.
It is not sufficient to give the value of the redemption (fidya). Rather, the goods must be given i.e. the food.
2) INVALID0ATING A FAST OF MAHE RAMADHAN INTENTIONALLY
If the fast has been invalidated deliberately, then it makes no difference whether it was done by one who had knowledge of the rulings or was ignorant of them. If a person intentionally and voluntarily commits an act which invalidates fast, his/her fast becomes void and besides giving qadha, he/she is also required to givekaffara. However, if a person who is fasting eats or drinks something forgetfully, his/her fast remains valid.
The kaffarah of leaving out a fast of Mahe Ramadhan intentionally without any shari’i valid excuse is, besides giving qadha of the missed fast, he is required to:
- free a slave, or
- fast for consecutively two months, or
- feed sixty poor people to their fill or give one mudd (3/4 kg.) of food-stuff, like, wheat or barley or bread, etc. to each of them. For the Kaffarah it is not sufficient to feed one person twice or more, or to give him 2 mudd or more. Rather it must be 60 people.
If a person breaks his/her fast with something haraam it is not obligatory for him/her to observe all the threekaffarah. However, as a recommended precaution he/she should do so. The kaffarah of emancipating a slave is waived when it is no more possible.
Note: If it is not possible for him/her to fulfill any of the above, he/she should give sadaqa according to his/her means and seek Divine forgiveness. And the obligatory precaution is that he/she should give kaffarah as and when he/she is capable to do so.
4) NIYYAT FOR FASTING.
(a) Fasting means that a person must, in obedience to the commands of Allah, from the time of adhan forfajr prayers up to the time of adhan for maghrib prayers, avoid nine things for nearness to Allah, the Exalted (qurbatan ila’llāh).
(b) It is not necessary for a person to pass the niyyat for fasting through his mind or to say that he would be fasting on the following day. In fact, it is sufficient for him to decide that in obedience to the command of Allah he will not perform from the time of adhan for fajr prayers up to the time of adhan for maghrib prayers, any act which may invalidate the fast. And in order to ensure that he has been fasting throughout this time he should begin abstaining earlier than the time of adhan for fajr prayers, and continue to refrain for some time after the adhan for maghrib prayers from acts which invalidate a fast.
(c) A person can make niyyat every night of the holy month of Ramadhan that he would be fasting on the following day, and it is better to make niyyat on the first night of Ramadhan that he would fast throughout that month.
(d) The last time for making niyyat to observe a fast of Ramadhan for a conscious person, is moments before the time of adhan for fajr prayers.
(e) If a person sleeps before the time for fajr prayers in Ramadhan without making a niyyat, and wakes up before zuhr to make a niyyat of fast, his fast will be in order. But if he wakes up after Zuhr, as a precaution, he should continue with the abstinence with the niyyat of qurbat and then give its qadha’ also.
(f) It is obligatory to continue the intention of fasting till the end of the day. If somebody is undecided in his niyyat whether to break the fast or not in Ramadhan, or decides to do so, immediately his fast becomes invalid even if he does not actually break it or is repentant of his intention.
(g) If a person makes a niyyat before the time of Adhan for Fajr prayers to observe a fast, and then goes to sleep, and wakes up after Maghrib his fast is in order.
(h) If a child reaches the age of puberty before the time of adhan for fajr prayers in the month of Ramadhan he/she should keep fast, and if he/she reaches the age puberty after the adhan for fajr prayers, the fast on that day is not obligatory for him/her.
(i) If a patient recovers from his illness before zuhr in the month of Ramadhan, and if he has not done anything to invalidate the fast, he should make niyyat and fast. But if he recovers after zuhr, it will not be obligatory on him to fast on that day.
5) THINGS WHICH MAKES A FAST VOID.
There are nine acts which invalidate fasts:
(i) Eating and drinking.
(ii) Sexual intercourse.
(iii) Istimna which means self abuse, resulting in ejaculation.
(iv) Ascribing false things to Almighty Allah, or His Prophet or to the successors of the Holy Prophet.
(v) Swallowing thick dust.
(vi) Immersing one’s head completely in water according to the common opinion (among Jurists).
(vii) Remaining in Janabat or Haidh or Nifas till the Adhan for Fajr prayers.
(viii) Enema with liquids.
Details of these acts will be explained in the following articles:
(i) EATING AND DRINKING.
(a) If a person eats or drinks something intentionally, while being conscious of fasting, his fast becomes void, irrespective of whether the thing which he ate or drank was something normally eaten or drunk or whether it was small or large amount; even if a person, who is fasting, takes the tooth brush out of his mouth and then puts it back into his mouth, swallowing its liquid, his fast will be void, unless the moisture in the tooth brush mixes up with the saliva in such a way that it may no longer be called an external wetness.
(b) If a person who is fasting eats or drinks something forgetfully, his fast does not become invalid but the moment he realizes he should immediately throw out the food or drink from his mouth.
(c) If a person observing fast intentionally swallows something which remained in between his teeth, his fast will be invalidated.
Note: If a person knows that some particles of food which has remained in between his teeth, will go down into his stomach during the day, then he must clean his teeth with toothpick.
(d) Swallowing saliva does not invalidate a fast, although it may have collected in one’s mouth owing to thoughts about sour things, etc..
(e) There is no harm in swallowing one’s phlegm or mucous from head and chest as long as it does not come up to one’s mouth. However, if it reaches one’s mouth, the recommended precaution is that one should not swallow it.
(f) Putting water in the mouth for gargling etc., in order to ease one’s thirst, and it happens to enter the stomach. It necessitates qadha without kaffarah. If one forgets and swallows the water, then there is no qadha.
Note: Brushing the teeth using toothpaste does not invalidate the fast as long as the person does not swallow the saliva that has mixed with the toothpaste. However, the lingering flavor or taste of the paste that mixes with saliva does not affect the fasting.
(ii) SEXUAL INTERCOURSE.
(a) Sexual intercourse invalidates the fast, even if the penetration of the male organ was only up to the point of circumcision, and even if there has been no ejaculation.
(b) If a fasting person indulges in courtship without the intention of allowing semen to be discharged, and also, if he is sure that semen will not be discharged, his fast is in order, even if semen may be discharged unexpectedly. However, if he is not sure about the discharge and it takes place, then his fast is void.
(iii) ISTIMNA (self abuse, resulting in ejaculation).
(a) If a person, who is observing fast, performs Istimna, his fast becomes void.
(b) If a person involves himself in Istimna with the intention of allowing semen to be discharged, even if he does not discharge, his fast will be void.
(c) If semen is discharged from the body of a person involuntarily, his fast does not become void.
(iv) ASCRIBING LIES TO ALLAH, HIS PROPHET [SAWW] AND TO
THE SUCCESSORS OF THE HOLY PROPHET [SAWW].
(a) If a person who is observing fast, intentionally ascribes something false to Allah, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) or his vicegerents (a.s.), verbally or in writing or by making a sign, his fast becomes void, even if he may at once retract and say that he has uttered a lie or may repent for it. And, as a recommended precaution, he should refrain from imputing lies to Bibi Fatema Zahra (a.s.) and the rest of the Prophets and their successors.
(b) If a person quotes something as the word of Allah or of the Holy Prophet with the belief that it is true, but realizes later that it is false, his fast does not become void.
(v) LETTING DUST REACH ONE’S THROAT.
(a) On the basis of obligatory precaution, allowing thick dust to reach one’s throat makes one’s fast void, whether the dust is of something which is halal to eat, like flour, or something which is haraam to consume like dust or earth.
(b) Allowing thin dust to reach one’s throat will not invalidate the fast.
(c) As an obligatory precaution, a person who is observing fast, should not allow the smoke of cigarettes, tobacco, and other similar things to reach his throat.
(d) Allergy sufferers are allowed to use an apparatus called “inhalator” to assist them in easy breathing.
(e) Q] Would the use of the nozzle spray that facilitates breathing invalidate the fast?
A] If the spray that comes out of the nozzle enters respiratory tract and not the passage of food and drink, it does not invalidate the fast.
(vi) IMMERSING ONE’S HEAD IN WATER.
(a) If a fasting person intentionally immerses his entire head in the water, his fast is known to be void according to the common opinion (among Jurists), even if the rest of his body remains out of water. But, according to the ruling of Ayatullah As-Seestani Dama Dhilluhu, this act does not invalidate the fast; it is an extremely makrooh act, and as a measure of precaution, should be avoided.
(b) If a fasting person immerses his head under water with the niyyat of ghusl, both his fast and ghuslwill be in order.
(vii) REMAINING IN JANABAT OR HAIDH OR NIFAS TILL FAJR TIME.
Intentionally remaining in a state of Janabat until dawn. What is more apparent is that it is specifically for the month of Ramadan and its Qadha fasts. It does not impair other obligatory or recommended fasts.
If a person in janabat does not take ghusl intentionally till the time of fajr prayers, his/her fast becomes void. And if a person, whose obligation is to do tayammum, willfully does not do it, his/her fast will also be void.
(a) If a person gets into the state of janabat during a night in the month of Ramadhan, and does not take ghusl intentionally till the time left before Adhan is short, he/she should perform tayammum and observe the fast. However, it is a recommended precaution that its qadha is also given.
(b) If a person is in janabat during a night in Ramadhan and knows that if he goes to sleep he will not wake up till fajr, he should not sleep before performing ghusl and if he sleeps without performing ghusl and does not wake up till fajr, his fast is void, and qadha and kaffarah become obligatory on him.
(c) When a person in janabat goes to sleep in a night of Ramadhan and then wakes up, the obligatory precaution is that if he is not sure about waking up again, he should not go to sleep before performingghusl, even if he has a faint hope that he might wake up before fajr if he sleeps again.
(d) If a person in janabat in the night of Ramadhan feels certain or fairly hopeful that if he goes to sleep he will wake up before the time of fajr prayers, and is determined to do ghusl upon waking up, and oversleeps with that determination till the time of fajr prayers, his fast will be in order.
(e) If a person in janabat sleeps and wakes up during a night of Ramadhan and is certain or fairly hopeful that if he sleeps again, he will wake up before the time of fajr prayers, with full determination to do ghusl after waking up, and oversleeps till the time of fajr, he should observe the qadha of the fast of that day. And if he wakes up from his second sleep and goes to sleep for the third time and does not wake up till the time of fajr prayers, it is obligatory on him to observe the qadha as well as give thekaffarah, as a recommended precaution.
(f) When a person becomes mohtalim during sleep, the first, second and third sleep means the sleep after waking up; and the sleep in which he became mohtalim will not be reckoned to be the first sleep.
(g) If a person observing fast becomes mohtalim during day time, it is not obligatory on him to do ghusl at once.
(h) When a person wakes up in the month of Ramadhan after the fajr prayers and finds that he has become mohtalim his fast is in order, even if he knows that he became mohtalim before the fajrprayers.
(i) If a person whose obligation is tayammum after getting into the state of janabat, after performing tayammum it is not necessary for him/her to stay awake till the time of fajr prayers.
(j) A person who has touched a dead body can observe fast without having done ghusl for touching a dead body, and his fast does not become void even if he touches the dead body during the fast.
FOR WOMEN ONLY
(a) If a woman becomes paak from haidh or nifas before the time of fajr prayers in the month of Ramadhan and does not do ghusl before fajr - or in the case of time being short, tayammum - intentionally, her fast will be void.
(b) If a woman becomes paak from haidh or nifas just near the time of fajr prayers in the month of Ramadhan, and has no time left for ghusl or tayammum, her fast is valid.
(c) If a woman becomes paak from haidh or nifas after the fajr or if haidh or nifas begins during the day, even just before the maghrib time, her fast is void.
(d) If a woman forgets to do ghusl for haidh or nifas and remembers it after a day or more, the fasts that she has observed will be valid.
(e) If a woman is in a sate of medium or excessive istihadha, her fast will be valid even if she does not carry out the rules of ghusls she is normally required to undertake when she is in the state of medium or excessive istihadha.
(a) If liquid enema is taken by a fasting person, his fast becomes void even if he/she is obliged to take it for the sake of treatment. There is no harm in taking an enema with a dry substance but it is makruh to do so.
(a) If a fasting person vomits intentionally his fast becomes void, though he may have been obliged to do so on account of sickness. However, the fast does not become void, if one vomits forgetfully or involuntarily.
(b) If a fasting person is certain that if he belches, something will come out from the throat, he should not, as a precaution, belch intentionally, but there is no harm in his belching if he is not certain about it.
(c) If a fasting person belches and something comes from his throat into the mouth, he should throw it out, and if it is swallowed unintentionally, his fast is in order. If he swallows it voluntarily, his fast is invalid and he must give Kaffarah,
6) FASTING BY A TRAVELLER.
(a) It is permissible to travel during the month of Ramadan, voluntarily, even if in order to escape fasting, but it is Makruh.
(b) A traveler for whom it is obligatory to shorten a four rak’ats prayers to two rak’ats, should not fast. However, a traveler who offers full prayers, like, a person who is a traveler by profession or who goes on a journey for a haraam purpose, should fast while traveling.
(c) If a person does not know that the fast of a traveler is invalid and observes fast while journeying, and learns about the rule during the day, his fast becomes void, but if he does not learn about the rule till maghrib, his fast is valid.
(d) If a person forgets that he is a traveler or forgets that the fast of a traveler is void, and observes fast while journeying, his fast is invalid.
(e) If a fasting person travels after zuhr, he should, as a precaution, complete his fast.
(f) If a fasting person travels before zuhr and had an intention from the previous night to do so, he cannot fast on that day. As a precaution, he cannot fast on that day even if he had no intention to travel from the previous night.
(g) A traveler is not permitted to break his fast until he reaches the limit of Tarakhkhus. If he breaks it before that, knowing the rule, then it is obligatory for him to give the Kaffarah.
(h) If a traveler reaches his hometown or a place where he intends to stay for ten days or more before Zuhr, and if he has not committed an act which invalidates a fast, he should fast on that day. But if he reaches after Zuhr, he cannot fast on that day.
Note: What is apparent is that the beginning of the journey before or after Zawal, and similarly the return from the journey, is dependent on the town and not the limit of Tarakhkhus. Yes, the traveler is not permitted to break his fast unless he reaches the limit of Tarakhkhus. If he breaks it before that, knowing the rule, then it is obligatory for him to give the Kaffarah.
7) RULES FOR THE QADHA FASTS OF MAHE RAMADHAN
(a) It is not obligatory to perform the Qada fasts immediately, although it is more prudent – commendably – not to delay performing the Qada of the month of Ramadan until the next Ramadan.
(b) It is obligatory, according to what is more prudent, for the guardian of the deceased – the eldest son – to perform the Qadha fasts missed by his father due to an excuse, if the Qadha was obligatory for him. This is if he was not incapable at the time of his death – due to insanity or being a minor.
Note: As regards those fasts that the deceased missed intentionally or performed incorrectly, there is ishkal and in fact prohibition in attaching them to those missed by him due to an excuse. If the deceased missed fasts whose Qadha is not obligatory for him, such as if he died during his illness, it is not necessary to perform the Qadha.
(c) If a person misses all or some of the fasts of the month of Ramadan due to an illness, and that illness continues till the following Ramadan, his Qadha fasts are annulled. Instead, he should give charity of one Mudd for each fast he missed. But if he missed the fasts due to an excuse other than illness, the Qadha is obligatory on him and he must also give the redemption (fidya). It is the same if the fasts have been missed due to illness and the excuse for the delay in performing the Qadha is travelling, and the reverse.
(d) If the illness continues for 3 Ramadhans it is obligatory to give the fidya once for the first and once for the second. So also if it continues for 4 Ramadhans it is obligatory to give a third time for the third Ramadan, and so on.
(e) If a person, without any shari’i reason does not observe qadha of the fasts left out during Mahe Ramadhan till next Ramadhan, then in addition to offering the qadha of the fasts he/she left , on the basis of obligatory precaution, he/she will give one mudd of food to poor for each fast left out.