Ramadan Is (Almost) Here!: Part 4 – Requirements and Conditions

Please read the disclaimer before reading the post!

Assalamu3alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu! :D

Less than 20 days are left for Ramadaan to commence inshaAllah! I feel so excited and nervous about this Ramadaan! Firstly because the lecture series that I’d attended was such an eye-opener that I felt obliged to share the details of the lecture with you guys.

Also, as a side note I’d like to point out that the same lecture series will be conducted on the 30th of June. I have already added the details before this post so do spread the word and make maximum use of the seminar if you are able to!

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Commencement of Ramadaan

There are two points that we need to keep in mind in order to start fasting for Ramadan. These are:

1) Sighting the new moon

OR

2) On the completion of Sha’baan’s 30 days.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Observe Saum (fast) on sighting the crescent and terminate it on sighting it (the new moon), but if the sky is cloudy before you, then complete the number (thirty days) of the month.”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim, Riyadh As Saliheen]. (1)

Simply put, if one can sight the moon of Ramadaan on the 29th of Sha’baan, then we should commence fasting. But if one finds it difficult to sight or if it is cloudy then we must fast after the completion of Sha’baan’s 30 days.

Even though most of the countries nowadays have their own moon-sighting committees and with the advancement of technology, we need to know how the system works don’t we? :)

Conditions for Fasting

1) Intention (Niyyah)

As we all know, most of the deeds or things that we do in our lives are based on our intentions. Our intentions are imperative to almost every aspect of our daily lives whether religious or otherwise.

Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab:

I heard Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) saying, “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. (Sahih Al Bukhari) (2)

With this hadith we need to understand why making the niyyah is wajib (obligatory), not just for fasting in Ramadan but for any thing that we do for the sake of Allah! Intentions are not uttered from the mouth therefore if you or your parents read this out loud -> “Allahumma inni nawaito laka sauma ramadhan/Wa bi saumi ghadin nawaito min shahri ramadhan/or any other variant” please make note that this is considered a bid’ah (innovation) and there has been no authentic reports of the Sahabah or the Prophet (PBUH) practising this in their times. We should amend our ways and strive to do only what Allah has asked us to do!

Without the intention, Allah will not accept our fast! Hence one should intend to fast (in our hearts) before the the fast commences.

The intention to fast is to be made before Fajr athaan or preferably the night before.

Hamzah bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar narrated that his father said:

“Hafsah, the wife of the Prophet said: ‘There is no fast for the one who does not intend (to fast) before dawn.”‘ (Sahih Sunan an Nasa’i) (3)

2) Islam

The fasting person should be a Muslim. Self explanatory.

3) Buloogh (Maturity)

  • Fasting is waajib (obligatory) on every sane man or woman who are of age.
  • Children who are not yet mature are exempt from fasting but parents should train and educate their children as early as possible about fasting. Forcing a child to fast only after he or she has reached maturity/puberty without proper training will not help them and this might have some negative consequences on the child. A parent/guardian should instill the teachings of Ramadan and the reasons of fasting to the child so that once he reaches the age of maturity, he is ready to embrace the responsibility of fasting in Ramadan and by Allah’s will does not find it difficult or does it simply because he is forced to. Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) orders parents to make children start praying at the age of 7 just so that they can get into the habit of it when it does become obligatory on their maturity! So shouldn’t fasting in Ramadan be treated similarly?

4) ‘Aqal (Sanity)

  • Any mentally-disabled individual who does not have any control over his actions/thoughts is exempt from fasting.
  • Senile old people too are exempt from fasting.
  • Individuals falling in these categories DO NOT have to make up for missed fasts (qa’dha) or give Fidya as expiations for missed fasts.
It was narrated from ‘Aishah that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“The pen* has been lifted from three: From the sleeper until he wakes up, from the minor until he grows up, and from the insane until he comes back to his senses or recovers.” (Classed as Hasan, Sunan An Nasa’i) (4)

*The pen here refers to our deeds being recorded (hisaab).

5) Qudrat (The Ability to Fast)

(Note: The following point mentions fidya. I realize many of you will not be aware of what it means but I will deal with Fidya extensively (expiation of fast) in the next blog post insha’Allah)

This point is divided into:

a) The sick

b) Old people who are not senile

c) Pregnant and Breastfeeding women

d) The traveler

2:184

[Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] – a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew. (Baqarah 2:184) (5)

We will first deal with

a) The Ability of a Sick Person

  • This person is of age
  • This person has a sane, working mind.

We will further examine the cases of those individuals who fall sick for a few days and have the ability to make up the fasts later:

http://myroadtoakhirah.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/aa.png?w=416

Since it is already established that people with perpetual illness cannot fast at all, they should give fidiya as an expiation for missed fasts.

We will now further investigate the case of those individuals who fall ill for a specified period AND have the ability to fast later.

  1. Fasting is haraam (prohibited) on those individuals who may face severe physical harm if they try to fast at all.
  2. Fasting is makrooh (disliked) on those individuals who may face some physical harm (less severe than previous condition) if they try to fast at all.
  3. Fasting is wajib (obligatory)on those individuals who will not face any physical harm if they fast at all.

Note: If an individual falling in the ‘haraam/makrooh’ category does fast and finds it difficult to continue it, he can break the fast during the day.

b) Old people who are not senile

  • Aged individuals do not need to fast but are required to give Fidiya for missed fasts.

c) Pregnant and Breastfeeding women.

  • Imam Ibn Baz and major scholars are in the verdict of such women to only make up for their fast once they have the ability to do so, and not give Fidiya.

d) The Traveler

Any individual traveling can make up for missed fasts.

There are 3 conditions:

  • Fasting is haraam for the traveler who may face physical harm if he fasts.
    It was narrated from Jabir bin ‘Abdullah that:

    the Messenger of Allah saw some people gathered around a man, so he asked (what was happening) and they said: “It is a man who is exhausted because of fasting.” The Messenger of Allah said: “It is not righteousness to fast when traveling.” (Sahih Sunan An-Nasa’i) (6)

  • Fasting is makrooh for the traveler who may face physical harm (not as severe as the condition above) if he fasts.
    Ibn `Abbas said, “Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) travelled in the month of Ramadan and he fasted till he reached (a place called) ‘Usfan, then he asked for a tumbler of water and drank it by the daytime so that the people might see him. He broke his fast till he reached Mecca.” Ibn `Abbas used to say, “Allah’s Apostle fasted and sometimes did not fast while traveling, so one may fast or may not (on journeys)” (Sahih Bukhari) (7) 

    It was narrated that Jabir said:“The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) went out to Makkah in the year of the Conquest in Ramadan. He fasted until he reached Kura Al-Ghamim, and the people fast, so he called for a vessel of water after ‘Asr and drank it while the people were looking on. Then some of the people broke their fast and some continued to fast. He heard that some people were still fasting and he said: ‘Those are the disobedient ones. (Sahih Sunan An-Nasa’i) (8)

  • Fasting is wajib for the traveler who may not face physical harm in his condiiton.
    If the traveler breaks his fast out of difficulty he needs to make up for his missed fasts.

6) Women in Nifas or Haydh’

A woman need not fast in Ramadan (but needs to make up for the missed fasts later) if she is in a state of:

  • Haydh’ (Menstruation)
  • Nifas (Post-natal bleeding)
    It was narrated that ‘Aishah said:
    “We used to menstruate at the time of the Prophet (PBUH), and he would order us to make up for the (missed) fasts.’” (Classed as ‘Hasan’, Sunan Ibn Majah) (9)

***

Please note that for individual issues one needs to address an ‘Aalim, not blog posts :)

The next post will cover Fidya in detail!

Jazakallah Khair

References

1) http://sunnah.com/riyadussaliheen/9/231
2) http://sunnah.com/bukhari/1#1
3) http://sunnah.com/nasai/22/2474) http://sunnah.com/nasai/27/44
5) http://quran.com/2/184
6) http://sunnah.com/nasai/22/168
7) http://sunnah.com/bukhari/64/313
8) http://sunnah.com/nasai/22/174
9) http://sunnah.com/urn/1270730

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