THE SAUM OF RAMADHAN


Beliefs & Practices, Fiqh, Kitaab us Saum / Monday, September 8th, 2008

(1) The Saum of Ramadhan is Fardh. One who denies the fardhiyat (being Fardh) of the Saum of Ramadhan becomes a kaafir while one who accepts its fardhiyat but neglects its observance is described as a Fassiq.

(2) The Saum of Ramadhan commences when the sighting of the Ramadhan hilal (crescent moon) has been confirmed in accordance with the rules of the Shariah.

Niyyat for the Saum of Ramadhan should be renewed each day. A single niyyat at the beginning of Ramadhan will not suffice for the Saum of the entire month. Partaking of the Sahri meal will be an adequate niyyat for the validity of the Saum. While it is better to recite a verbal niyyat as well, the mere act of rising from sleep to participate in Sahri with the intention of fasting constitutes the actual niyyat.

(3) The the niyyat for the Ramadhan fasting can be made up until Nisfun Nahar. However, there is greater merit in making the niyyat at night, i.e. before Subah Sadiq.

(4) A mutlaq (i.e. without any descriptive condition) niyyat will suffice for the Saum. of Ramadhan. Thus, it is not incumbent to say: ‘I am fasting the Saum of Ramadhan or Fardh Saum’. It will suffice to intend that one is just fasting.

(5) During the month of Ramadhan only the Saum of the prevalent Ramadhan can be kept. No other Saum is valid in the month of Ramadhan. Thus, previous Qadha fasts, Kaffarah fasts, Nafl fasts etc. are not discharged during the month of Ramadhan. Even if the niyyat of other Saum is made during Ramadhan, such niyyat will not, be valid and only the Saum of the existing Ramadhan will be discharged. By the niyyat not being valid here, means that in regard to other fasts the niyyat will not operate. In terms of the Shariah this niyyat, although made for other Saum will operate as valid for only the Saum of the existing Ramadhan.

(6) If on account of a reason accepted as valid by the Shariah, one does not fast during Ramadhan, one should not eat in the presence of others.

(7) If one’s Saum is nullified by error, e.g. water slips down the throat while rinsing the mouth; one should remain the whole day as a fasting person although qadha is incumbent. It will be sinful to indulge in eating once the fast is erroneously broken.

(8) If haidh begins during the course of the fasting day, the fast is not valid. It is not incumbent to abstain from eating during the remaining part of the day. However, she should not eat in the presence of others.

(9) A woman whose haidh ends during the course of the day (i.e. during Ramadhan) should compulsorily abstain from eating, etc. Her fast on the particular day her haidh ended is not valid; hence she has to make qadha In spite of having to refrain from eating etc. on that day.

(10) A fast of Ramadhan broken deliberately without valid reason, after having made the niyyat for fasting during the night, brings about the penalty of Kaffarah.

(11) A musafir is permitted to refrain from Saum although it is meritorious for him/her to fast if the journey is not a difficult one. However, the Shariah allows a musafir to refrain from fasting during Ramadhan even if he/she encounters no difficulty on the journey. The musafir shall make qadha of all Saum omitted during the journey.

(12) A musafir ceases to be a musafir on returning to his hometown or on forming a niyyat of staying fifteen days or more at any place along the journey. The non-musafir is termed a muqeem. When a musafir becomes a muqeem, he has to compulsorily abstain from eating, etc. If he becomes a muqeem prior to Nisfun Nahar and he has yet not committed any act witch nullifies Saum, then his niyyat for the day’s fast will be valid. However, if he has already eaten, etc. prior to becoming a muqeem, then although his fast will now not be valid, nevertheless, he has to compulsorily abstain from eating, etc. for the rest of the day. In addition he has to make qadha of that day.

(13) A muqeem (one who is not a musafir) who has started fasting and then goes on a journey should continue with the fast. It is not permissible for this person who has become a musafir to break the fast.

(14) A musafir who returns home (becomes a muqeem) and dies before having obtained a sufficient number of days to make qadha of the fasts which he/she missed while on the journey, is liable for the qadha of only the number of days he/she remained alive and capable of fasting. Example: The musafir did not fast for 20 days. On returning home he/she died after 12 days, but did not make any qadha Inspite of having had the opportunity to do so, he/she is, therefore, liable for only 12 days of qadha, not for 20 days which were missed while on the journey. He/she has thus to make wasiyyat (a bequest) for the payment of Fidyah for the Saum which could no longer be discharged.

(15) The same rule, viz. 14. will apply to a sick person who regained health after Ramadhan, but did not live a sufficient number of days to discharge all the Saum missed.

(16) If a musafir dies along the journey or the sick person dies without having regained sufficient health to fast, the Saum is waived. They are not required to make wasiyyat for payment of Fidyah.

(17) When a pregnant woman has a genuine fear for either her own life or the life of the child she is bearing, it will be permissible for her to refrain from Saum. She will have to make qadha of the Saum she misses as a result. Should she break her Saum during the course of the day, i.e. after having started it, the penalty of kaffarah does not apply to her. She is liable for only qadha. She cannot compensate the missed fasts with Fidyah as long as she has the ability to fast. Qadha is necessary.

Fear in this context will mean a genuine fear supported by either previous experience or by the advice of a pious Muslim physician. The word of a kaafir doctor or of a Muslim fassiq doctor is not valid grounds for her neither to break her fast nor to abstain from fasting.

(18) If a mother who breast-feeds her baby genuinely fears for her baby if she fasts – that the baby will suffer by her milk drying up during the fast, then it will be permissible for her to refrain from fasting. She has to make qadha of the missed fasts. She too cannot compensate the omitted fasts by means of Fidyah.

(19) A very old person who is truly unable to fast, is permitted to refrain from Saum. He has to offer compensation by means of paying the Fidyah.

(20) When a child (a na-baligh-one who has not attained the age of puberty) becomes baligh during the course of the day in Ramadhan, he/she has to compulsorily refrain from eating the rest of that day although there is no qadha for that day.

(21) When a non-Muslim embraces Islam during the course of the day in Ramadhan, he/she has to refrain from eating the rest of the day although there is no qadha for that day.

(22) If the child mentioned in mas’alah 20 and the Muslim mentioned in mas’alah 2 1, eats during that particular day, there will be no kaffarah on them although their action of eating is sinful.

(23) The saum of a person who becomes unconscious after having commenced the fast, remains valid as long as medicine was not administered to him via his/her mouth.

(24) A person who lapsed into unconsciousness before having made niyyat for Saum during the night or before Nisfun-Nahar, shall make qadha of that day, i.e. if he/she had no intention of fasting that day.

(25) A person lapsed into unconsciousness before commencement of Ramadhan, and remained in this state the entire month. After regaining consciousness, qadha of the whole month is obligatory.

(26) When a person lapses into unconsciousness on the first night of Ramadhan and remained in this state the entire month or for a number of days, then qadha of the first day is not obligatory. Qadha of all the subsequent days- viz. the days after the day when unconsciousness started, is compulsory.

(27) If a person becomes insane prior to Ramadhan and the insanity endures until after Ramadhan, the saum of the whole of Ramadhan is waived even if sanity is regained.

(28) An insane person who regains sanity during Ramadhan has to make qadha of the fasts missed during the duration of insanity.

(29) If a non-Muslim embraces Islam during Ramadhan and learns of the obligation of fasting only after Ramadhan, then qadha is not compulsory on him.

(30) When a child reaches the age of seven years, he/she should be ordered to observe Saum. However, there is no qadha if the child breaks the fast. By the age of ten, the child should be compelled to keep the Ramadhan fasts. This is the normal rule. Parents should use their discretion and introduce their children to Saum according to their health and strength.

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