Fiqh of Fasting: How to Make the Fast Last

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Fiqh of Fasting: How to Make the Fast Last (Part 1)

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani covers the key points of performing a sound and valid fast in Ramadan, through explaining the fiqh of fasting.

http://seekershub.org/podcast/?powerpress_pinw=11857-podcast

Fiqh of Fasting: How to Make the Fast Last (Part 2)

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani addresses some of the common issues and questions that come up regarding fasting. This lesson is the second of a two part talk Shaykh Faraz delivered on the fiqh of fasting.

http://seekershub.org/podcast/?powerpress_pinw=11858-podcast

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Ten Ways to Prepare for Ramadan From Now

With Ramadan just around the corner, many of us are looking for ways to make sure that this will be the year we change, writes Nour Merza. With this in mind, here are ten ways to prepare yourself for Ramadan.
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1. Make the right intention
Beginning right now, make an intention that this Ramadan will be a time of great spiritual effort and sincerity. To help turn that intention into reality, make checklists of both daily goals for Ramadan (read a section of Quran or a beneficial lecture every day, etc.) and goals for the overall month (visit a home for the elderly, invite two non-Muslim friends for a chance to experience iftar, etc.).
2. Prepare your body
Make sure you are up to par physically by adjusting the amount and quality of your food intake. Start by eliminating snacks and have smaller meals in the weeks leading up to Ramadan. Also reduce your caffeine intake so that the lack of your morning coffee or afternoon tea doesn’t debilitate you in the first few days of the holy month. Of course, if you’re fasting during the month of Sha’baan, you’re halfway there.
3. Review all medical situations before Ramadan
Make sure to get your medical business in order before Ramadan arrives. If you suffer from a particular illness, check with a doctor, preferably one who understands the importance of fasting, on whether fasting is a reasonable option for you. If you are taking medication, ask your doctor if you can take your doses during non-fasting hours instead of during the day. Also, check if there are options to take your medication via injection instead of orally, as in the Hanafi school injections do not break your fast.
4. Observe voluntary fasts
Voluntary (nafl) fasts are a great way to help prepare the mind, body and soul for Ramadan. If you can do it, follow the Prophetic sunna and fast the month of Shaaban, which comes just before Ramadan. If that proves too difficult, try to implement some of these other sunnas: fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, or fasting on the ‘white days’ of each Islamic month: the 13th, 14th and 15th.
5. Increase Quran recitation
Many people aim to do a complete reading of the Quran at least once during Ramadan. If you don’t have a habit of reading the Quran daily, take this as an opportunity to incorporate that habit into your life. This will enable you to read longer sections of the book during Ramadan. Even if doing a complete reading of the Quran during Ramadan is too difficult, making a habit of reading one page or even a few verses a day will bring many blessings during the holy month and afterwards, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The most beloved of actions to Allah are the most consistent ones, even if in little amount.”
6. Perform extra prayers
If you have no missed obligatory prayers to make up, start to pray voluntary sunna prayers to prepare yourself for the extra prayers that take place in Ramadan. If you do have missed obligatory prayers, use the time you would give to the sunna prayers to make some of them up. Don’t feel that you are missing out on the opportunity to do voluntary sunnas, because God says in the famous Hadith Hazrat Jibreel (AS), “My servant draws near to Me by nothing more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory on him.”
7. Give charity
Use the weeks leading up to Ramadan to increase your acts of charity, be that in the form of giving money to needy people or worthy causes.Giving charity is a way to purify your wealth, and you can enter the month of Ramadan in a greater state of purity. It also opens doors for great good in your life, for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has told us, “Allah says, ‘Spend, O son of Adam, you will also be spent on.’”
8. Engage in service (khidma)
Spend some time before Ramadan to find a local charity or community service opportunity to work with, whether it be in an Islamic environment or in the wider community. If you begin well before Ramadan starts, you will adjust to the environment before you begin fasting, so that you can explain to co-workers why you can’t join them for a coffee break or a meal.
9. Focus on your character
Imam al-Ghazali (rah) discusses the inner dimensions of the fast in his Revival of the Religious Sciences , which you can observe before Ramadan arrives. He mentioned that one must learn to fast with all the limbs, from all that harms the heart. You can, for example, avoid certain television shows to keep the eyes from seeing nudity, leave particular conversations to keep the ears from hearing foul language, and control the ego to keep the tongue from argument or backbiting. The inner fast is among the most important aspects of fasting Ramadan and is often more difficult than the physical fast from food, water and sexual relations, so the earlier you begin to practice this, the better.
10. Organize your life to minimize waste, over consumption and the ills that come with this
One of the major concerns about how Muslims practice Ramadan today is the high level of over consumption and waste that takes place during the holy month – a reality which is completely antithetical to the Prophetic tradition. Imam Zaid Shakir and others have spoken about ‘greening’ Ramadan as practiced today in the Muslim community, while Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad has suggested that Muslims use Ramadan to support ethical, fairtrade companies.
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Article taken from seekershub.org

An Introduction to Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It is a time for Muslims to submit themselves further to Almighty Allah whole-heartedly by way of fasting and worship. It is ultimately the month of divine guidance and mercy. The Arabic term ramadan literally means heat & dryness, which could be attributed to the struggle of fasting or sawm. Sawm of Ramadan was first prescribed in the second year of hijri.

Allah says: “Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may attain righteous.” [Qur’an 2:183]

And He, Most High, says: “That whoso of you find this month, necessarily, he should fast in it…” [Qur’an 2:185]

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Ramadan is also the month wherein the first revelation or wahi of the Qur’an was sent down to the Beloved Messenger of Allahﷺ, thus assigning the duty of Prophethood to him so the truth of la ilaha illallah, ‘there is no God but Allah’, could be established.

“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an…” [Qur’an 2:185]

The first verse to have been revealed is: “Read, in the name of your Lord who created.” [Qur’an 96:1] It is interesting to note how the first word revealed of the Holy Qur’an was ‘Iqra’ meaning, ‘Read’. In this is a command for the people to read, to seek, to obtain knowledge. In this word alone is a great command of faith, and the verses following it confirm the guidance of Allah upon mankind:

“Read, in the name of your Lord, Who created; Created man, out of a clot of congealed blood: Read, and your Lord is Most Bountiful, He Who taught you to write, Taught man that which he knew not.”[Qur’an 96:1-5]

In this blessed month also comes that night of excellence i.e. Laylat al Qadr, or the Night of Power, which is the actual night when the firsr wahi was sent down to the Messenger of Allah whilst he meditated in the cave of Hira.

Allah says: “Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree.” [Qur’an 97:1]
The significance of this night is so immense that it excels in virtue even a thousand months. Allah Most High says:

“We have indeed revealed this in the Night of Power, And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.” [Qur’an 97:1-3]

This is part of the spiritual treasures of the blessed month of Ramadan. The gates of Allah’s Mercy are opened to the believers in a way unlike any other time of year. Allah’s love for His servants is so apparent in Ramadan that goodness is merited in abundance; with the duration of the believer’s fast, with the beginning of the fast (suhoor), with the breaking of the fast (iftaar), and even in the breath of the fasting believer. Anyone who ponders upon the love for Allah towards His believing servants should reflect upon the manifestations of this love during Ramadan.

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The Messenger of Allahﷺ said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell emitting from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. (Allah says about the fasting person): He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times.” [Muslim]

Ramadan is ultimately a time for reflection, forgiveness and seeking Allah’s Pleasure. It is a time to clear the heart of the distractions and weaknesses which have accumulated over the year, and renew the strength of the believer’s faith. Ramadan also brings communities together in a truly loving and harmonious way, strengthening the brotherhood of the Muslim Ummah. It is the time of year when every masjid is full, and every pure heart is quenching its thirst to please Allah. The believers share with each other in not just food and gifts, but in faith, in love and in good-hearted company.

The aspect of self-restraint during Ramadan is not just from food and drink. Sayyidina Abu Hurayra (May Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Beloved Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Fasting is a shield (or a screen/shelter). So the person observing fasting should avoid sexual relation with his wife and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, ‘I am fasting (Arabic: inni sa’im, inni sa’im).’” [Muslim]

Ramadan is a time for, as the above hadith indicates, sincere striving towards goodness and away from wrongdoing. Sawm or fasting screens us from ills, as it increases our awareness of Allah and inclines us towards only doing that which is pleasing to Him. This is why we are advised to react calmly to one who provokes us especially when we are fasting, by saying: “I am fasting.” This reminder is first and foremost for ourselves when we are being provoked into anger, as a way to restrain our temper and keep our fasting pure from evil.

A catalyst for personal development and the strengthening of community ties, Ramadan is also a huge asset for the believer striving for both external and internal purity. The act of sawm, packed with great spiritual virtue, is also a great medical aid which allows the body to detox and cleanse itself of excess and impurity. The 13th century Islamic scholar and sufi, Mawlana Jalal uddin Rumi (Alaihi Rahma) said, “Fasting is the first principle of medicine.”

Sawm also allows us to empathise with the struggle and difficulties of our impoverished brothers and sisters around the world, many of whom barely manage a meal a day due to circumstances. During Ramadan, many of us fast and look forward to a lavish iftaar yet the same cannot be said for those in deprived circumstances who cannot even break their fast at all. Sawm addresses us with the harsh reality of those less fortunate than us, causing us to humble ourselves and reflect upon how utterly dependant we are upon the generosity of Allah towards us. It opens our eyes to the truth of suffering and poverty which we are otherwise so oblivious to, commanding us to undergo a small share of this struggle first-hand. Through it, we may be humble before our Creator, and through it, we may be grateful to Him for our sustenance.

Due to the generosity of our Creator, this struggle does not go unrewarded. His kindness upon the fasting believer extends, as mentioned above, to meriting even the breath of the one observing sawm. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell emitting from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk.” [Muslim]

This is usually interpreted as: Allah’s love for his fasting servant is so immense that even the smell of his breath is sweeter and more fragrant to Almighty Allah than the scent of musk. It is also interpreted in two other ways; the second interpretation is that Allah will reward the fasting servant with breath as fragrant as musk, and the third interpretation is that Allah will cause the fasting servant to rise with breath as fragrant as musk on the Day of Judgement.

Sayyidina Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Beloved Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, also said: “When there comes the month of Ramadan, the gates of Mercy are opened, and the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained.” [Muslim]

The hadith above elaborates further on the other favors bestowed upon us by our Lord in the month of Ramadan, mainly:

“The gates of Mercy are opened…”: indicates that, for those seeking forgiveness and mercy from Allah, is the opportunity to ask for it and to strive towards it so that they may be blessed with it through the open gates. Therefore, mercy and forgiveness is granted to those in search of it.

“…the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained”: indicates that the devils are locked up during this month so that the believer is protected from their evil. Some scholars say that the major devils are chained; others believe that all the devils are chained.

However this point often raises a curious question; if the devils are chained, why is evil still committed during this holy month? This is easily explained; those who have acquired the characteristics and ways of evil are not chained themselves. The ego or nafs is still present within each person, so the evil of it is still present. This is the battle which remains for each believer, the only battle which he must fight during the auspicious month. This struggle is completely within oneself. The devils may be locked up but the character and the ways of the people are still present with them.

This month should be spent in sincere effort to better ourselves, abandon bad habits and to improve our characters in accordance with the sunnah of the Prophet of Mercy, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. True, this striving is not just for Ramadan, yet Ramadan is a perfect opportunity with which Allah has favoured His servants so that they may use it as a means to strengthen their faith further and turn their lives completely towards His Pleasure. It is up to us, as individuals, to accept this Divine Gift.

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The Merits of Rajab

By the bounty of Allah we have entered the blessed month of Rajab. Rajab is one of the four sacred months. It stands alone, unlike the other three which come one after the other. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha`ban is my month, and Ramadan is the month of my Ummah.”

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Rajab is the key to the months of goodness which follow it. For that reason Imam Abu Bakr al-Warraq said: “In the month of Rajab you sow the seeds, in Sha`ban you irrigate them and in Ramadan you reap the harvest.” He also said: “Rajab is like a wind, Sha`ban is like a cloud and Ramadan is like rain.”

Good Deeds in Rajab

The reward of our good actions is multiplied in the sacred months, so it is recommended to do as many good deeds as possible. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ recommended fasting at least some days in each of the sacred months. Some of the Companions, among them Sayyiduna `Umar and his son `Abdullah and al-Sayyidah `A’ishah, liked to make `Umrah in Rajab. (may Allah be pleased with them all)

At the same time bad deeds are also more serious in the sacred months so we must do our utmost to avoid any wrongdoings.

A sacred month is similar to a sacred place. It is recommended to bathe and purify oneself before entering the haram of Makkah and while in it one is more conscious of the weight of one’s actions. Likewise with a sacred month – we try to enter it in a state of purity and we try to maintain that purity throughout through doing good and avoiding evil.

O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Sha`ban and enable us to reach Ramadan. Peace and blessings upon the one who guided us to all good and warned us of all evil, our Master Muhammad and his blessed family and Companions and all those that follow his guidance until the end of time.

Rajab, the Month of Istighfar

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The best way of preparing the heart to receive divine gifts is purification and repentance. It has been narrated: “Seek much forgiveness from Allah in Rajab because in every hour (of the month) Allah frees people from the Fire.” For this reason the scholars say that Rajab is the month of seeking forgiveness, Sha`ban is the month of bestowing prayers upon the Prophet, and Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an. Thus it is recommended to seek much forgiveness in Rajab.

The following is a compilation of istighfar, known in Hadramawt as Istighfar Rajab, compiled by Habib Hasan, the son of Imam `Abdullah bin `Alawi al-Haddad. It is traditionally read every night in the month of Rajab.

Download Link: Istighfar Rajab


 

Getting the Most out of Rajab

Advice from Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).
There are a number of ways to get the most out of Rajab. Some of the most important are as follows:

1. Seeking forgiveness in abundance and making sincere repentance;
2. Making a sincere resolve to seek to approach Allah through performing acts of obedience and avoiding acts of disobedience;
3. Assessing your state, rectifying it and striving to follow the Prophet ﷺin all that you do
4. Improving your performance of the prayer by making sure that you implement the sunnahs pertaining to the prayer and pray with presence of heart. Also strive to pray in congregation in the first row without missing the opening takbir;
5. Improving your relationship with the Qur’an by increasing the amount you read and reflect upon daily and seeking to acting upon it;
6. Being consistent in reading your adhkar in the morning and evening, after the prayer and in your varying states (such as eating, entering the house and preparing for sleep);
7. Improving your interaction with your family, friends, relatives, neighbours and with Allah’s slaves in general and the elect of His slaves specifically;
8. Fasting whatever days you are able to, especially Monday and Thursday and the White Days (13th, 14th and 15th days of the month);
9. Giving a portion of charity and doing what you can to help those in need and treating them kindly;
10. Worshipping Allah in these nights, especially in the last portion of the night. Improve your state at this time so as to enter into those who Allah praises in the Qur’an: Those who spend their wealth (in charity) and seek forgiveness in the last portion of the night.

We ask Allah to give us a great portion of the gifts bestowed in this month and that He makes us among those who attain acceptance and felicity in this life and the next.

O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Sha`ban, allow us to reach Ramadan and assist us in fasting and praying in the night.

UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS IS ONE NOT OBLIGED TO FAST?

Islam is a religion that makes our life easier. Allah the Exalted does not hold His subjects responsible of the things they are not capable of. This condition holds for fasting as well. It is a sin not to fast during the month of Ramadan without an excuse. However, in some cases, it is permissible not to fast or break the fast that has   already started. After Ramadan, the fasts that are not performed are repaid as qada as soon as possible.

The following are the conditions that our religion considers valid excuses for not fasting or for breaking the fast in Ramadan:

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– Excerpt from the book,”My beautiful Religion: According to the Hanafi School”

The nullifiers of fast

We will discuss the acts nullifying the fast under two categories:

  • Actions that require both Kaffara and Qada.
  • Fast-breaking actions that require Fasting as Qada only.

1. Actions that require both Kaffara and Qada.

It is a sin to break our fast or not fast without an excuse during the month of Ramadan. When we are fasting, if we break the fast knowingly, we must seek forgiveness of Allah due to this sin. As a penalty, we must fast for two months (kaffara) and one additional day to make up the broken fast.

Nullify fasts

2. Fast-breaking actions that require Fasting as Qada only.

Our fast can also be broken accidentally or due to an excuse. In this case, we only fast for those days that we have missed.

Some of the fast-breaking actions that require only qada (without kaffara) include:

Some of the fast-breaking actions that require only qada (without kaffara) include:

1. Eating or drinking does not break the fast if is done through forgetfulness. However, one should immediately stop ea- ting or drinking upon remembering. In this case, the fast is not nullified. That person washes his mouth and continues to fast. Fast breaks if anything goes down one’s throat after remembering that one was fasting. If he does not stop eating or drinking upon remembrance, the fast is nullified and he has to make qada instead.


ACTIONS THAT DO NOT NULLIFY THE FAST

Our beloved Prophet ﷺ says:

“Whosoever eats and drinks while fasting due to forgetfulness, he should complete his fast. That is because Allah made him eat or drink.”

(Bukhari, Sawm, 26)

1. In tooth extraction, the spray-on morphine does not break the fast, but the injection of morphine does break the fast.  2. To taste a food without swallowing it is an objectionable act (makruh).

1. In tooth extraction, the spray-on morphine does not break the fast, but the injection of morphine does break the fast.
2. To taste a food without swallowing it is an objectionable act (makruh).

– Excerpt from the book,”My beautiful Religion: According to the Hanafi School” 

TYPES OF FASTING

Fasting is to abstain from eating, drinking, and sexual activity from dawn to sunset.

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 TYPES OF FASTING

OBLIGATORY FASTS

  • Fasting during the month of Ramadan,
  • Fasting to make up (Qada) the missed Ramadan fasting,
  • Fasting as expiation (Kaffara) for the missed Ramadan fasting.

FASTING AS MAKE-UP (QADA)

What is the qada fast?
Fast to make up an accidentally nullified fast or a fast that is not fulfilled due to an excuse.
When is fasting as qada fulfilled?
It can be performed on any day after the month of Ramadan, except the days that are mak- ruh tahriman to fast.
FASTING AS EXPIATION (KAFFARA)

What is fasting as expiation (Kaffara)?
One must atone for a fast nullified knowingly by fasting consecutively without skipping a single day, for two months. This fast, which is performed as a penalty, is called “Kaffara.”
How many days is quaffer fasts?

The length of the Kaffara is two lunar months. This is usually sixty days. When one additional day to make up the nullified fast is added to this, it becomes sixty-one. For this reason, this fasting is also popularly referred to as “sixty-one.”


REQUIRED FASTS

  • Vowed fast,
  • Fasting to make up (Qada) the missed supererogatory (Nafilah) fasting.

SUNNAH FASTS

Our Prophet used to fast outside of the Ramadan and used to recommend this to his Companions as well.

Some of these fasts are:

  • Fasting on the ninth and tenth days or tenth and eleventh days of the month of Muharram,
  • Fasting six days on the month of Shawwal following the month of Ramadan,
  • Fasting on Mondays and Thursdays,
  • Fasting on the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth days of the lunar months,
  • Fasting one day and skipping the other day in days other than Ramadan (Fasting of Prophet David).

OBJECTIONABLE (MAKRUH) FASTINGS

These are the fasts that are considered objectionable (makruh) for various reasons. Those fasts are of two kinds:

1. Makruh Tahriman (Disliked but closer to forbidden) Fast

  • Fasting on the first day of the Ramadan Feast (Eid al-Fitr),
  • Fasting during all of the four days of the Sacrifice Feast (Eid al-Adha, and three days after `Eid al-Adha).

2. Makruh Tanzihan (Disliked but closer to Permissible) Fast 

  • Fasting on only the tenth day of Muharram- Ashura, without fasting the day before or the day after.
  • Fasting on only Friday or Saturday.

#(If a person who wants to fast on Ashura, Friday, or Saturday fasts the day before or the day after, then the fasting is not considered makruh.)

– Excerpt from the book, “My beautiful Religion: ACCORDING TO THE HANAFI SCHOOL”