Fiqh, Kitaab us Saum / Sunday, September 7th, 2008

There are two categories of Saum, viz.,

1. Wajib

2. Nafl


The word ‘Wajib’ here means ‘essential’ or ‘necessary’. It does not refer to the technical meaning of the Fiqhi term, Wajib, the definition of which appears at the end of this book under the title: Necessary Technical Terms of Fiqh.

The category of Wajib Saum includes all forms of compulsory fasts -both Fardh and Wajib.

The Wajib category is sub-divided into two classes of Saum, viz.

1. Saum related to time.

2. Saum which devolves upon one as an obligation.


This type of Saum comes into effect when the occasion or time for its observance arrives. This type of Saum comprises:

1. The Saum of Ramadhan.

2. The Saum of Nathrul Muayyan.

Nathrul Muayyan refers to a vow in which it was stipulated that a particular day/s will be fasted upon materialization of one’s wish or dua.


It is perferable to make the Niyyat for this Wajib category of Saum during the night, i.e. prior to the entry of Subah Sadiq when the fast starts.

If the Niyyat was not made during the night, the Saum will be valid if the Niyyat is made approximately one hour before Zawwal. One hour before Zawwal is an approximate time taken as a precautionary measure. The exact time limit for the validity of the Niyyat for Saum is before the time of Nisfun-Nahar, i.e. mid-day in terms of the Shariah.

Nisfun-Nahar is determined by dividing by two the time duration from Subah Sadiq to sunset, and adding the result to Subah Sadiq time.


Subah Sadiq 5:30 a. m.

Sunset 5:35 p. m.

Time duration from Subah Sadiq to Sunset:

12 hrs. 5 mins divided by 2

=6 hrs. 2 mins. Add this result to Subah Sadiq:

5:30 + 6:02 = 11.32 a.m. = Nisfun Nahar

If Niyyat is made for the Saum before 11:32 a.m. (in this example), the Wajib-Saum will be valid.

It is not essential that any particular Niyyat formula be recited. Niyyat merely means to intend that one will be fasting, or is fasting. The Niyyat could also be made verbally in any language, e.g. one may say:

‘O Allah! Tomorrow I shall be fasting for You’. Or one may recite in Arabic e.g.

“Nawaitu bi saum-il yauma min shahar-i-Ramadhan”.

“I intend to fast for this day in the month of Ramadhan (for the sake of Allah only)”.

Remaining without food and drink the whole day will not render such abstention a Saum if no Niyyat was made.

During the month of Ramadhan only Niyyat of the existing Ramadhan Saum will be valid. Even if a Niyyat for any other Saum, is made during Ramadhan, then too only the Saum, of the existing Ramadhan will be discharged and not the Saurn for which Niyyat was made.


This is the second category of Wajib Saum (stated earlier). Examples of Saum in this category are:

(1.) Qadha of Ramadhan

(ii) Nathrul Mutlaq which is a vow made to fast any number of days without stipulating any particular day or date in the vow.

1. Kaffarat.

2. Saum, of Zihar


This type of fast will be valid only if niyyat was made during the night, i.e. before Subah Sadiq.

If niyyat for this type of Saum was made after Subah Sadiq, then the Wajib Saum of this category, will not be discharged, and the Saum thus kept will be a Nafl fast.


(1) All classes of Nafl Saum are valid with a niyyat made prior to Nisfun-Nahar. It is preferable to make the Niyyat at night; however, as said, it will be valid even if not made at night. The sunnat fasts also fall in the Nafl category.

(2) Thus, for Saum belonging to the first category of Wajib (see page 3 ) and for Nafl Saum, a niyyat made prior to Nisfun-Nahar will suffice.

(3) Once a Nafl Saum has been commenced, it to Incumbent to complete It.

(4) It is not permissible to nullify a Nafl fast without valid reason.

(5) If a Nafl fast is broken, it is obligatory to make Qadha of it.

(6) A Mutlaq (i.e. without any descriptive condition) niyyat suffices for the validity of Nafl Saum. Thus, the Niyyat: ‘I shall be fasting,’ suffices.

(7) A riiyyat made for Nafl Saum during the night may be cancelled before Subah Sadiq, and qadha for the intended Nafl Saum will not be obligatory.

(8) A niyyat made for Nafl Saum after Subah Sadiq, but before Nisfun-Nahar, makes the fast incumbent. If the fast is broken, qadha becomes obligatory.

(9) It is permissible to end a Nafl Saum to honor one’s guests by participating in meals with them. The Saum thus broken should be made qadha.

(10) When the husband is present, it is not permissible for the wife to engage in Nafl Saum without his consent. If she kept a Nafl Saum without his consent, it will be permissible for her to break it if he instructs her to do so. She has to make qadha of the fast whenever her husband gives her the permission to do so.

(11) The incidence of haidh (menses) during a Nafl fast will necessitate qadha. If during the day when a woman is keeping a Nafl fast she menstruates, the Saum will be broken. Qadha of the day is necessary.

(12) A Qadha fast was commenced. However, niyyat for the Qadha was not made during the night as is required by the Shariah. The niyyat was made only after Subah Sadiq. The qadha is not valid. However, this fast will be a Nafl one. The fast should not be broken. If it is broken qadha will have to be made.


The Masnoon (Sunnat) fasts are all classified in the Nafl category (see page 5 ). The following are the Sunnat fasts for which the Shariah promises great thawab (reward):

(1) The 10th of Muharram – the Day of Ashura. Along with the 10th, either the 9th or the 11th should also be kept.

(2) The 9th of Zil-haj.

(3) The 15th of Sha’ban.

(4) Six days during the month of Shawwal. These six Saum may be kept consecutively (in succession) or spread over the month.

(5) The 13th, 14th and 15th of every Islamic month.

(6) Every Monday and Thursday.

(7) The first nine days of Zil-haj.

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