THOSE WHO MUST FAST BY SHAYKH SAALIH AL `UTHAIMEEN
InnalhamdaLillaahinahmaduhuwanasta’eenahu wa nastaghfiruhu, wa na’oodhubillaahi min shuroorianfusinaa wa min sayi’aatia’maalinaa. Man yahdihIllaahufalaamudillalahuwa man yudlilfalaahaadiyalahu. Waashhadu an laailaaha ill-Allah wahdahu la sharikalahu wa ashhaduannaMuhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluhusallalahualayhi wa alaalihiwasallam.
إِنَّ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ نَحْمَدُهُ وَنَسْتَعِينُهُ وَنَسْتَغْفِرُهُ وَنَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ شُرُورِ أَنْفُسِنَا وَمِنْ سَيِّئَاتِ أَعْمَالِنَا مَنْ يَهْدِهِ اللَّهُ فَلَا مُضِلَّ لَهُ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلْ فَلَا هَادِيَ لَهُ وَأَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ
(Praise be to Allah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the One, having no partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger).
]يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُون[
O you who believe! Fear Allaah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islaam. Soorat-ul-Aal-i-'Imran ayah 102
]يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمِ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ مِنْ نَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا[
O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah , through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer. Sooratun- Nisaa' ayah 1
]يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا]
O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice.He will [then] amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.Soorat-ul-Ahzaabayaat 70-71 
Praise be to Allah. We praise him and seek His help and forgiveness. We turn to Him in repentance. We seek Allah’s protection from the evils of our souls and our bad deeds. Whoever Allah guides can never be misguided and whoever misguided by Allah can never be guided. I testify that there is no god but Allah, with Whom there is no associate. I testify that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. May Allah bless him, his family, his Companions, and those who will follow them until the Day of Resurrection.
O people! Praise Allah and thank Him for what He has granted you of blessed seasons, blessings and gifts. Observe these seasons with due care by performing obligations and good deeds and by avoiding prohibitions and sinful acts. These times are but to obliterate sins, to increase good deeds and to lift people in ranks.
O worshippers of Allah! You are witnessing a blessed month and great season in which Allah guides us to the good deeds. Ramadan is the (month) in which Qur'an was sent down, as clear guidance and judgment to all people. In this month there is a night which is better than one thousand months. Allah has enjoined fasting during the day as a pillar of Islam and made the prayer during the night voluntary to complete other obligations. If anyone observes fasting believing in its obligation and anticipating its reward, all his previous sins are obliterated. Anyone who observes ‘Umrah, his‘Umrah is equal to the reward of pilgrimage. In this month, the gates of paradise are opened and faithful people increase good deeds. The gates of Hell are shut and sinful acts reduced. Devils are chained, so they are no longer able to affect faithful people as they do in other times.
O people! You should start fasting in the month of Ramadan on seeing the crescent of the month of Ramadan. Do not precede Ramadan by fasting a day or two before it as the Prophet was reported to have ordered his companions not to fast on such days unless it is a day in which the person usually fasts like the Sunnah of fasting Monday and Thursday, then if the day before Ramadan happens to be Monday or Thursday, he is allowed to fast such days. He is also allowed to fast on these days if he has to make up missed days in the previous month of Ramadan. You should not also fast the day of doubt (the thirtieth day of Sha’aban) if the sky is overcast (and you cannot see it). Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar: Allah's Apostle (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) mentioned Ramadan and said, "Do not fast unless you see the crescent (of Ramadan), and do not give up fasting till you see the crescent (of Shawwal), but if the sky is overcast (if you cannot see it), then act on estimation (i.e. count Sha’aban as thirty days). Sahih al-Bukhari 1906
Narrated Abu Hurrairah: The Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, "Start fasting on seeing the crescent (of Ramadan), and give up fasting on seeing the crescent (of Shawwal), and if the sky is overcast (and you cannot see it), complete thirty days of Sha'aban".Sahih al-Bukhari 1909 ‘Ammar bin Yasser said that who fasts the day of doubt is regarded as disobedient to the Sunnah of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). Anyone who sees the crescent of the month of Ramadan should tell the responsible persons about it. If the concerned responsible persons announce seeing the crescent of Ramadan, you should start fasting, and if they announce seeing the crescent of Shawwal, you should give up fasting because their announcement is a proof that should be relied upon.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the rites of Islam and made as an obligation by Allah and anyone who does not believe in its obligation is regarded as a disbeliever because he denies the command of Allah and His Messenger (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) and goes against the consensus of Muslims. Almighty Allah says which translates as: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint,” (Al-Baqarah: 183) and “Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also Clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.”(Al-Baqarah: 185).
Fasting is obligatory upon every sane healthy Muslim, who is not traveling at that time, whether man or woman unless she is in menstruation period or having post-childbirth bleeding. Fasting is not obligatory upon a non-Muslim and if he embraces Islam during the month of Ramadan, he is not obliged to make up the previous days of the month. As to the day on which he reverts, he should fast till the end of the day with other people and is not obliged to make up this day. Fasting is not due upon minors but if they can tolerate fasting, they should fast to get use to its hardships. The companions of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) used to encourage their children to observe fasting and when they weep out of hunger and thirst, they gave them toys to play with it until sunset. The young boy becomes an adult by three features. The first of which is to reach the age of fifteen and the second is seeing the pubic hair and the third is seeing the sperm during a ‘wet dream’ or by any other method. In addition to these conditions, which are applied to the boy, the girl becomes an adult when she experiences menstruation. Fasting becomes obligatory by meeting any of the previous conditions.
As to the insane and feeble-minded person, fasting is not obligatory and s/he is not obliged to make up any days or to pay ransom, nor s/he is required to observe purification or prayer because of his/her inability to understand what they are doing. Fasting is not obligatory upon those who are totally unable to fast like the elderly and chronically ill people but they are obliged to feed one poor person (Miskin) a day (for every day of fasting that they do not observe), a quarter of sa’a for every day, i.e. for every four days a sa’a for four poor persons. It is better to provide some fatty ingredients and shortening with barley. If the person is not chronically ill and can tolerate fasting and no harm results, then he must fast. If he can fast but difficulty in fasting and there is some harm, fasting is disliked. If some harm is the consequence of fasting, it is prohibited to observe fasting in such a case. On recovering, he should make up all missed days but if he died, nothing is required. As for the Pregnant and breast-feeding women, if they fear for themselves or for the baby, both are allowed to break their fast and to make up missed days afterwards or feed miskin.
As for the traveler, if he intends his traveling only as a concession for him to break his fast, fasting is obligatory. However, in the case where he travels not to enjoy the concession, fasting is optional i.e. he is allowed to break his fast and to make up the days he missed and he is also allowed to observe fasting. If fasting and breaking fast are equal to him, observing fast is better than breaking the fast because it was the tradition of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) and faster in terms of observing the obligation and easier than making up the missed days. If fasting will result in hardships because of traveling, scholars disliked fasting. If traveling results in grave hardships, fasting is held prohibited because when the Messenger of Allah left for Makkah during the year of the conquest [of Makkah] and he (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) and the people with him fasted until he reached a certain valley. He was told that the people were experiencing hardship fasting while traveling. He then called for a cup of water, which he elevated so that the people could see it, and then he drank. Afterwards, he was told that some people had continued to fast, and he said: “Those are disobedient ones, those are disobedient ones.” This ruling is applied whether he travels for a need or it is continuous travel during the whole year like taxi drivers or other cars that go out of their cities. They enjoy the same concession granted to the traveler like breaking the fast and shortening obligatory prayers. If breaking fast is preferred as it is easier than fasting then they must make up all the days they missed. When those people are out of their original cities, they are regarded as travelers and consequently are subject to the same rulings. If one travels during the day, it is preferred to complete the day in fast, but if he faces hardships, he is allowed to break his fast then he must make up the fast afterwards. There is no specific period for traveling, so it does not matter if the period is long or short as long as he is out of his country and it is not for the sake of escaping the obligation of fasting. In case the intention is for the latter, he is not allowed to break his fast because fasting is one of Allah’s obligations, which cannot be given up based on whimsical reasons.
Fasting is not obligatory on women during menses and post-childbirth bleeding and isn’t accepted from them except after purification even if a moment before the dawn then she must fast that day. They must make up missed days.
O Muslims! The Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) exhorted us to perform night prayer in this month as he is reported to have said: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan, believing in its obligation and anticipating its reward, will have his previous sins forgiven.” Tarawih prayer is a part of night prayer, so observe it in the proper way with your Imam and never leave him until he finishes it because whoever performs night prayer with the Imam until he finishes it, he is rewarded with the reward of a full night prayer even if he is on his bed. On the other hand, the Imams should fear Allah while performing the night prayer by performing it in a tranquil way to let those who behind them get the pleasure of approaching Allah and they should not be hasty like the movement of the raven, the way which make the Imam and those behind him lose the true benefit and spirit of such prayers. Almighty Allah says which translates as: “Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also Clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you in difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful” (Quran Surah Baqrah: 185)
Praise be to Allah Who has explained the lawful and unlawful things for His slaves and ordained for them limits that are clear and beyond any doubt or confusion. I testify that there is no god worthy of worship than Allah with whom there is no associate. To Him belongs the kingdom and He is the Great and the most High. I testify that Muhammad (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) is His Slave and Messenger. Among His worshipers he is the most righteous and sincere one in both sayings and deeds. May Allah bless him, his family, his companions and those who will follow them until the Day of Judgment.
O people! Fear Allah and thank Him for the bounty of clarifying the rules of religion. Be always obedient and righteous which was the life of all prophets and messengers. Almighty Allah has prescribed obligations, which you should not neglect, and ordained limits, which you should not go beyond. Among the obligations which Allah has prescribed and explained its rulings, is fasting, which is one of the pillars of Islam. Allah has informed us about the signs by which fasting during the month of Ramadan is to begin and end and when we start and end fasting on every day during the month. As to the start of the month, Almighty Allah says:“Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also Clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.” (Al-Baqarah: 185)
In this regard the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said: “Start fasting on seeing the crescent (of Ramadan), and give up fasting on seeing the crescent (of Shawwal), and if the sky is overcast (and you cannot see it), complete thirty days of Sha’aban.” As to the day, Almighty Allah says which translates as: “Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your wives. They are your garments and ye are their garments. Allah knoweth what ye used to do secretly among yourselves; but He turned to you and forgave you; so now associate with them, and seek what Allah hath ordained for you, and eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread; then complete your fast till the night appears; but do not associate with your wives while ye are in retreat in the mosques. Those are limits (set by) Allah: approach not nigh thereto. Thus doth Allah make clear His Signs to men: that they may learn self-restraint.” (Al-Baqarah: 187).
So when the time of the dawn begins and the people know that whether by hearing the caller to prayer or by any other way, the day begins and people must observe fasting till sunset. In this regard the Prophet was reported to have said to his companions: “Bilal would pronounce Adhan (at the far end of the night in order to inform the people about the time of the Suhur). So you eat and drink till you hear the Adhan of Ibn Umm Maktum (which was pronounced at the conclusion of the Suhur and the commencement of the fast) who didn’t call the Adhan except at the time of dawn”Sahih al-Bukhari 7248and Sahih Muslim 1092 He also added, “When the night comes from this side, pointing to east, and the day leaves from this side, pointing to the west and sun sets, then the fasting person is allowed to break his fast”
The first is to have sexual intercourse, which is grievous action during fasting. Whoever performs sexual intercourse during the day of Ramadan is subject to expiation. At first he must set free a slave and if he could not, he must observe fasting during two consecutive months. If he could not fast, he must provide food for sixty poor persons.
The second thing that voids fast is ejaculating sperms intentionally even if it was just due to kissing, hugging, or masturbation or by any other way. If it is due to a ‘wet dream’, it does not invalidate the fast because he is sleeping and not responsible for what happens during sleep.
The third is the intentional eating and drinking, be it lawful or unlawful, harmful or good, or through the mouth or the nose. The Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said: “Exaggerate when rinsing your nose unless you are fasting.” This indicates that whatever enters through the nose is like the mouth. As regards smell, it does not invalidate fasting because it has no volume that may enter the body.
The fourth is that which takes the rule of food like injection used for feeding because it is used instead of eating and drinking. If it is not used for the sake of feeding like medicine, it does not invalidate the fast whether intravenous or underneath the skin because it is not like food and drink.
The fifth thing, which invalidates a fast, is intentional vomiting. If he vomits intentionally, his fast is invalid but if he vomits unintentionally, his fast is still intact. In this regard the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said: “Whoever is overcome and vomits is not to make up the day and whoever vomits intentionally must make up the day.”
Fasting is invalidated by the previous causes only when the person is knowledgeable of them. If he is ignorant or eats, drinks, or has intercourse, thinking that the sun has set or that Fajr has not occurred, the fast is sound and there is no need to make up the fast on such day. Almighty Allah says: “Call them by (the names of) their fathers: that is more just in the sight of Allah. But if you know not their father's (names, call them) your Brothers in Faith, or your Mawalikum (freed slaves). But there is no blame on you if you make a mistake therein: (what counts is) the intention of your hearts: and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”(Al-Ahzab: 5).
In Sahih Al-Bukhari Asma bint Abi Bakr said, "We broke our fast during the lifetime of the Prophet on a cloudy day and then the sun appeared and she didn’t mention that the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) ordered them to make up that day”. Sahih al-Bukhari 1959If he knows that the sun has not yet set, he must stop breaking the fast but in case he does not give eating and drinking, his fast is invalid. The fast is not invalid if one forgets that he is fasting as Almighty Allah says: “On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Pray:) "Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which Thou didst lay on those before us; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; help us against those who stand against Faith."” (Al-Baqarah: 286).
The Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said: “Whoever forgets he is fasting, and eats or drinks is to complete his fast, as it was Allah who fed him and gave him something to drink.”Sahih al-Bukhari 6669 and Sahih Muslim 1155. Once he remembers that he is fasting, he must give up eating and drinking and if he continues, his fast is invalid even if he swallows what in his mouth only. If anyone noticed anyone eating or drinking, he should remind him as means of cooperating with each other in what is good and righteous. The fast is not invalidated by anything that might enter his stomach unintentionally when rinsing the mouth or the nose.
The sixth thing that invalidates the fast is menstruation and post-childbirth bleeding even if a moment just before sunset. If she feels it before sunset and the blood does not appear before sunset, her fast is sound.
It is permissible to apply kohl and eye drops or eardrops while fasting. It is also permissible to heal wounds and to smell perfumes but s/he should not sniff frankincense to let it enter his/her body. It is also permissible to apply things that might calm his thirst like the wetting of his clothes. In this regard Imam Malik reported that some companions of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) saw the prophet pouring water upon his head out of thirst while fasting. It was also reported that Ibn ‘Umar wetted his clothes and wore it. It is permissible to the fasting person to use the tooth stick at the beginning of the day and its end because it is theSunnah of the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). It is recommended to use it before prayer, ablution, getting up and when entering the home. The Sunnah is to break the fast by eating ripe dates or dry dates and any food if dates are not available and any drink if food is not available. If the sun has set and he is in a place where there is nothing to break the fast, he should intend breaking the fast but not sucking the finger like some ignorant people.
O Muslims! Keep your fast away from obscenity, falsehood and its application because whoever does not abandon falsehood and its application and foolish behavior, Allah will be in no need that he abandons food and drink. Perform the obligatory prayers in the regular times in congregational manner. Perform as much prayer, remembrance of Allah, reciting the Holy Qur’an and give charity as you can. Beware of all that Allah has prohibited you to do like backbiting, cheating, telling lies andvain speech and foul language and if one of you is being cursed or annoyed, he should say, I am fasting. Be on guard against listening to music from the radio or any other means because fasting, in the first place, is a guard against sins to escape the Hellfire. Whoever commits prohibitions and neglects obligations during fast, his reward will be subject to reduction. “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint,”(Al-Baqarah: 183)
May Allah guide us to get the blessings of the holy Qur’an.