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Ramadan is the Best Month of the Year PDF Print Email
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 29 May 2017 18:14

Ramadan is the Best Month of the Year

Fasting the month of Ramadan is an obligation and a great worship.  It is among the best acts of obedience and among the greatest deeds, and in Fasting there is great reward.  Imam al-Bukhariyy related the Qudsiyy hadith that the Prophet said Allah said:  <<The reward of every good deed is multiplied from ten up to seven-hundred times--except that of the Fasting--which is usually done in sincerity and will be multiplied by as many times as Allah wills.>>  One of the doors of Paradise, named ar-Rayyan, is specified for those Muslims who used to fast in this world.  On the Day of Judgment it will be opened, and those who used to fast in obedience to Allah will be called to enter through that door.  Then ar-Rayyan will be closed, and no others will enter through it.

WHO MUST FAST

AND

WHO IS EXCUSED FROM FASTING

The first condition for one to be obligated to fast is to be Muslim.  In this world the non-Muslim is not requested to fast; however, in the Hereafter, he will be punished for neglecting to fast--as he will be punished for his blasphemy.  Rather, the obligation on the non-Muslim is to embrace Islam, then afterwards, to fast Ramadan.

Secondly, it is the pubescent Muslim who is obligated to fast.  The child is not obligated to fast.  However it is an obligation on the parents or the guardian of the boy or girl to order him to fast once he is 7 (lunar) years old, with the condition that the child’s body can withstand that fasting, and he would not be harmed by it.

Also, for one to be obligated to fast, he must be of sound mind.  Fasting is not obligatory on the insane person.

Fasting is not obligatory on a person whose body cannot tolerate fasting, either due to old age or because of a severe illness.  Moreover, if a person would be harmed by fasting, that is, as a result of his fasting his sickness would get worse or he would die, then fasting is prohibited for him.  The one who does not fast because of old age or an illness he is not hopeful to be cured of, does not have to make up the missed days of fasting.  Instead, he pays an expiation to a poor Muslim for every day of fasting he missed.  The expiation is two cupped (average-sized) handfuls of the most common staple food of the country.   In the United States, for example, the most common staple food is wheat.

Fasting is not obligatory on the menstruating woman or the woman who is in her postpartum bleeding period.  It is unlawful for them to fast.  The woman who missed days of fasting during Ramadan for these reasons has to make up each missed day.

In addition to the aforementioned, the pregnant woman is allowed not to fast if she fears  harm would come to her or her baby from her fasting.  This includes the breast-feeding woman as well.  She is allowed not to fast if she fears harm would come to her or her baby from her fasting.  Both must make up every missed day of fasting.  If the reason a woman did not fast was solely the fear of harming her baby, then in addition to making up the missed days of fasting, she must pay an expiation  This expiation is two cupped, average-sized handfuls of the most common staple food of the country, for each day they missed.

The one who is traveling a distance of two or more walking days is allowed not to fast--provided his traveling is not sinful.  Two or more walking days distance is about 80 miles.  This traveler is permitted to break his fast even though he would not encounter hardship during his trip--as would be the case if he crossed this distance quickly, by plane, or comfortably, in a car or a train.  The matter of traveling is not based on the hardship;  rather, it has to do with the distance.  This facility for the traveler was mentioned in the Qur’an in Surat al-Baqarah, Verse 184.

INTEGRALS OF FASTING

The integrals of fasting are two:

1.         Each night to make the intention to fast the following day of Ramadan:

2.         To abstain from sexual intercourse, masturbation, and inserting anything with a volume into the head or the body cavity through an open inlet, excluding one’s pure, tahir saliva while still inside the mouth--during the time from the dawn until the sunset.

Making the intention at night to fast the following day of Ramadan means to have the intention in one’s heart to fast during the night preceding the fasting day, i.e., after the sunset and before the dawn of the following day.  Sometime  during that time the person must make the intention to fast the following day, and this must be done each night for the following day of fasting.

The intention is in the heart, and does not have to  be uttered with the tongue.  The one who slept at night without having had the intention to fast and woke up after the dawn missed the time of the intention.  Although fasting is not valid for him that day, he is obligated to abstain from whatever a fasting person would abstain from that day, and then fast a make up for that day.  If the menstrual or postpartum bleeding of a woman stopped at night, then she must intend to fast the following day.  The purificatory bath is not required for her to start fasting, but rather to start praying.

The intention for any obligatory fasting for Ramadan must take place the night before the fast.  However, for the one who is fasting an optional fast, it is not a condition that he must intend to do so the preceding night.  It is valid for him to have the intention to fast that same day--if he made his intention during the morning, before the sun moves from the center of the sky towards the west--as long as he had not committed any of the invalidators of fasting since the dawn appeared.

2.  The fasting person must abstain from taking into his body cavity any material that has a tangible volume from an open inlet, whether this material was food or drink or other than that.  One’s fast is invalidated if he intentionally takes into his body cavity any material that has a tangible volume during the fasting day, while remembering he is fasting and knowing that it is unlawful to do so, and not because another threatened to kill him (or the like) if he did not break his fast.  This person must make up the fast day(s) he invalidated without an excuse.  The open inlets of the body are like the mouth, nose, anus, vagina, and other than that.  Materials which are absorbed by the pores of the skin do not invalidate the fast because the pores of the skin are not considered to be an open inlet to the body cavity.  For example, rubbing oil into the skin does not invalidate the fast.

One’s own pure saliva, while still inside the mouth, if swallowed, does not invalidate the fast.   If some saliva was spit outside the mouth,  and it  separated from the tongue--even to the lips--then was taken back in and swallowed, this would invalidate the fast.  In addition, if the saliva is mixed with something else, whether pure or not, then swallowed, this invalidates the fast.

One’s fast is not invalidated by what  is too hard to protect oneself from swallowing.  This includes the dust of the street, the dust of the flour, and the like.  Although smoking a cigarette breaks the fast of the smoker himself, it does not break the fast of the person next to him who breathes in some of that smoke.  It also does not break the fast for one to breathe in what is other than a physical entity, like the odor of incense or other fragrances.

Also among the conditions for the validity of fasting is for one to abstain from sexual intercourse during the day of fasting.  If the person did not know one must abstain from sexual intercourse during the fasting day, or he forgot that he was fasting and performed this act, then it does not invalidate his fast.  However the man or woman who performs sexual intercourse during the day of fasting while knowing this is unlawful and remembering he/she is fasting, would invalidate his/her fast  by that.  There is an expiation due for invalidating one’s fasting by sexual intercourse.

Masturbation or making the maniyy (sexual discharge from the man or the woman) come out of one by using the hand or the like invalidates one’s fasting--whether one used his own hand or the hand of his wife, because of a kiss, or because of other physical contact.  If, however, one experienced a wet dream or maniyy exited from him because of certain thoughts, one’s fast is not invalidated.

One’s fasting is invalidated by forcing himself to vomit, either by inserting the finger into the mouth or other than that.  In the case when the person forces himself to vomit, whether or not he swallows some of his vomit, his fast is invalidated and he has to make up that invalidated day of fast.  However, the one who vomited involuntarily--without purposely forcing himself to do so--does not break his fast as long as he does not swallow any of the vomit or saliva mixed with the najas-filth.

There are different sayings regarding the phlegm or congestion that drips from the head into the throat.  According to Imam ash-Shafi^iyy, if the phlegm reached to the part of the throat above where the exit of the letter ha is, and the person swallowed it, this would invalidate his fasting.  However, according to Imam Abu Hanifah, even if the phlegm reached to the tongue and the person swallowed it, his fasting is not invalidated--as long as he does not swallow it after it separates from his mouth.  .

ZAKAH OF FITR

The Zakah of Fitr is due on every Muslim who is alive part of Ramadan and part of Shawwal (the month after Ramadan.)  The due Zakah for each is a sa^” or four times the fill of two cupped, average-sized handfuls of the most common staple food of that country.  It is an obligation upon the Muslim to pay the due Zakah for himself and his Muslim dependents if on the day of the Feast of Fitr (^Id-ul-Fitr) and the night after it he has enough to meet his debts, clothing, lodging, and sustenance, and the sustenance of those whom he must support.

The man must pay for his wife, his non-pubescent children, his slaves, and   his poor Muslim parents.   He may not pay for his pubescent children or solvent parents without their permission.  It is permissible to pay the Zakat of Fitr any time during Ramadan, even the first night, however, it is recommended to pay the Zakat during the day of the Feast, and before the prayer of the ^Id, because this mends the hearts of the poor people before the prayer. It is prohibited to delay paying the Zakah of Fitr until after the sunset of the day of the Feast without an excuse.

RECIPIENTS OF ZAKAH

For all types of Zakah, the intention is obligatory upon setting one's Zakah aside.  Zakah must be paid to the Muslims among the eight categories of people deserving of Zakah as mentioned explicitly in the Qur’an.  It is neither permissible nor valid to pay Zakah to other than those eight types of people specifically mentioned.  That is why it is not valid to pay Zakah for every charitable project.

DEEDS RECOMMENDED WHILE FASTING

It is recommended (sunnah) to break one’s fast as soon as one is sure the maghrib has begun.  It is good to break one’s fast on dates, and if not available, then by drinking water.  It is good to say the following statement after breaking one’s fast:

which means:  <<O Allah, for Your sake I fasted, and with Your sustenance I broke my fast.>>  It was narrated from Abu Dawud that the Prophet used to say this supplication after breaking his fast.  It  is also good to delay the suhur meal until a time close to the dawn--but to stop eating before the dawn.

Refraining from backbiting, cursing a Muslim, and other sins, is more emphasized while fasting.  In committing some sins, the reward of one’s fasting might be lessened or lost.  If someone curses another, let the one cursed abstain from responding with a similar curse.  Instead, let him say,  “I am fasting.  I am fasting.”

Paying the optional charity to the poor; reciting the Qur’an; staying in the mosque with the intention of i^tikaf, especially during the last ten days of Ramadan;  praying the Tarawih prayer;  and inviting others to break their fast on food which you provided are all rewardable acts.

The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity for the person to gain a great deal of reward.  Reward is earned because of performing this obligation in worship and obedience to Allah, and by performing a lot of the sunnah deeds.  Let the person not waste his time during this blessed month.