There are three fards in fasting:
1– To make a niyyat (intention)
2– To make the niyyat between the time of beginning of fasting and that of its end.
3– To avoid the nullifiers of fast during the nehâr-i-shar’î (daytime in Islamic tems), and ends at sunset. The time of imsâk is when the whiteness called fajr-i-sâdiq is sighted immediately over the line of ufq-i-zâhirî (apparent horizon). A person who avoids the nullifiers of fast until evening without having made niyyat (intention) for fasting (within the time dictated by Islam) will not have fasted that day. He will have to make qadâ of only that day’s fast.
There are seven conditions to be fulfilled for its being farz for a person to fast:
1– To be a Muslim. 2– To have reached the age of puberty. 3– A child’s fasting is sahîh. 4– To have reached the age of discretion. 5– For a Muslim living in the dâr-ul-harb to have heard that it is farz to fast (in Ramadân). 6– To be muqîm (stationary, i.e. not making a long-distance journey. Please see the fifteenth chapter of the fourth fascicle of Endless Bliss.) 7– (For a woman or a girl) not to be in a state of haid (menstruation). 8– (For a woman) not to be in a state of nifâs (lochia, puerperium).
There are six nullifiers of fasting: To eat food; to drink something to drink; haid; nifâs; to vomit a mouthful. Lying, backbiting, nemîma, i.e. talebearing among Muslims, and perjury are not among nullifiers of fasting. However, such acts will eliminate the thawâb to be earned by fasting.
Seven people (are entitled to) discontinue fasting:
1– An invalid; 2– A musâfir [the following day]; (A musâfir is a person making a long-distance journey called safar. He is also called a safarî person, versus the aforesaid muqîm person.) 3– (A woman going through her monthly period called) haid; 4– A woman in (her puerperal period called) nifâs; 5– A pregnant woman, if she is too weak to fast; 6– A woman in her period of lactation, if her fasting will be harmful to the baby; 7– A (person called) pîr-i-fânî (and who is too old and too weak to fast).
It is necessary to make niyyat (intention) daily for fasting. It is written in Fatâwâ-i-Hindiyya: “Niyyat is made with the heart. To get up for the (late-night meal called) Sahûr means to make niyyat.” There are two kinds of niyyat for fasting: The first kind of niyyat is the niyyat that is made daily in the month of Ramadân, or for a fast that is nâfila (supererogatory) or for a fast that is performed for the fulfilment of a certain vow, and which has to be made between the previous day’s sunset and the current day’s time of dahwa-i-kubrâ. Dahwa-i-kubrâ is half the shar’î daytime, i.e. half the daily duration of fasting, which is calculated as follows in terms of azânî time:
Fajr+[(24-Fajr)/2] or Fajr+12-(Fajr/2)=12+(Fajr/2).
That means to say that the time of dahwa-i-kubrâ is half the number indicating the time of fajr in terms of azânî time. It is before zawâl (midday) by as long as the difference between half the shar’î daytime and that of the solar daytime in terms of standard time; that difference is equal to half the hissa-i-fajr, which in turn is the duration of time between sunrise and fajr, or time of imsâk. You fast by making niyyat by as late as the time of Dahwa-i-kubrâ – if you have not eaten or drunk anything (after the time of imsâk). It is not permissible to make niyyat at the time of Dahwa. The niyyat to be made before fajr should be as follows: “I make niyyat to fast tomorrow,” whereas the niyyat to be made after fajr should be: “I make niyyat to fast today.”
The second kind of niyyat is for qadâ or for kaffârat or for kaffârat or for nazr-i-mutlaq. These three kinds of fasting require the same kind of niyyat, i.e. the second kind of niyyat. Its earliest time is the previous day’s sunset, and its latest time is immediately before the fajr-i-sâdiq, i.e. before whiteness on the horizon is sighted. Niyyat after dawn –for any one of these three kinds of fasting– is not permissible. It is written in Ibni ’Âbidîn, at the final part of the chapter wherein namâz of qadâ is dealt with, that as you make qadâ of several days’ fast that you failed to perform in the month of Ramadân of a certain past year you do not have to state the days with respect to their names or order of precedence. There are three grades of fasting, depending on the people who fast: Unlearned people’s fasting; learned people’s fasting; and fasting performed by Enbiyâ (Prophets) and by Awliyâ (blessed people who have attained love of Allâhu ta’âlâ). When unlearned people fast, they do not eat or drink or have sexual intercourse. But they commit other wrong acts. Learned people do not commit other wrong acts, either. The Enbiyâ and the Awliyâ avoid all sorts of doubtful acts as they fast.
There are three kinds of ’Iyd, depending on the people who celebrate it after fasting: ’Iyd of unlearned people; ’Iyd of learned people; and ’Iyd of Enbiyâ and Awliyâ. Unlearned people (break their fast and) have (the meal called) iftâr in the evening, eating and drinking whatsoever they like, and say, “This is our ’Iyd.” Learned people as well have iftâr in the evening, but they say, “It is our ’Iyd if Allâhu ’adhîm-ush-shân is pleased with our fasting.” And they think pensively, “What will become of us if He is not pleased with our performance!” The ’Iyd of Enbiyâ and Awliyâ is ru’yetullah. They have deserved the grace of Allâhu ‘adhîm-ush-shân.
There are five kinds of ’Iyd for all Believers:
1st. one is when the angel on a Believer’s left hand side cannot find anything in the name of evil acts.
2nd one is when, during a Believer’s agony of death (sekerât-ul-mevt), angels of glad tidings come onto him and greet him and give him the good news that he is a Believer and bound for Paradise.
3rd one is when a Believer arrives in his grave and finds himself in one of the Gardens of Paradise.
4th one is when a Believer finds himself sitting with Enbiyâ and Awliyâ and ’Ulamâ and Sulehâ in the shade under the ’Arsh-ur-Rahmân on the day of Rising.
5th one is when a Believer has answered all the questions that he shall be asked at seven places throughout his trek along the bridge called ‘Sirât’, which is thinner than a hair, sharper than a sword, and darker than a night’s darkness, and which is a way of a thousand years downhill, a thousand years uphill, and a thousand years level. If he fails to answer the questions, he shall be tormented for a thousand years for each failure. Of the seven questions, the first one shall be on îmân, the second one shall be on namâz, the third one shall be on fasting, the fourth one shall be on hajj, the fifth one shall be on zakât, the sixth one shall be on rights of creatures, and the seventh one shall be one ghusl, on istinjâ, and on ablution. (Istinjâ means cleaning one’s front or back after urination or defecation, which is explained in detail in the sixth chapter of the fourth fascicle of Endless Bliss.)
If a person intentionally breaks (before sunset) his fast for which he made niyyat before the time of imsâk, he will have to make both kaffârat and qadâ. (Breaking) a supererogatory fast or a fast of qadâ (within the distance) does not necessitate kaffârat.
For making kaffârat, a slave is manumitted. A person who cannot afford it fasts for sixty days running and outside of the days of Ramadân and the five days on which it is harâm to fast. In addition, he fasts with the intention of qadâ for as many days as the number of days whereon he broke his fast (prematurely). [It is harâm to fast on the first day of the ’Iyd of Ramadân or on any of the four days of the ’Iyd of Qurbân.] A person who cannot afford it, either, he feeds sixty poor people twice daily for one day or one poor person twice daily for sixty days. Or he gives each and every one of them property whose amount is equal to that which is paid as fitra.
For making qadâ of one day’s fast, you fast for one day.
Five people do not have to make kaffârat. The first one is an ailing person. The second one is a musâfir, (i.e. one who is on a long-distance journey called safar.) The third one is a woman undergoing lactation and who did not fast lest it should be harmful. The fourth one is a pîr-i-fânî. The fifth one is a person who fears dying of hunger or thirst.
When their ’udhrs no longer exist, these people will have to make qadâ only a day for a day.
As for niyyat for a yevm-i-shekk, [It means a doubtful day, lexically. In the Islamic terminology, it means a day that is not certainly known to be the first day of Ramadân or the last day of Sha’bân.] there are a few kinds of it: For a yevm-i-shekk it is permissible, although with kerâhat, to make niyyat (to fast) for a day in Ramadân or for another fast that is wâjib or to make niyyat to fast for a day in Ramadân, if it is Ramadân, or for a fast that is nâfila (supererogatory) or which is not wâjib, if it is not (a day in) Ramadân. Another kind of niyyat is one that is without kerâhat and which is made for sheer fasting or for (a fast in) Sha’bân, which means to make niyyat for a nâfila fast. (Kerâhat means something, e.g. a manner, a time, wherein it is not liked or advised by our blessed Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ to perform a certain act such as an act of worship. If that act is a supererogatory one, it should not be done within a time of kerâhat. If it is an act that is farz and which you have not done it although it has to be done before its prescribed time is over, you have to do it even at the cost of having done something with kerâhat. Please see ‘times of kerâhat’ towards the end of the tenth chapter of the fourth fascicle of Endless Bliss.)
A kind of fasting that is never permissible is one which is performed by making niyyat like this: “I make niyyat for fasting if the month (we are in) is Ramadân; if not, I am without a niyyat.”
Supposing a person does not make niyyat for fasting till after fajr, i.e. till after whiteness appears on the eastern horizon, in Ramadân, and eats something before noon; this person does not have to make kaffârat, (which means to fast for sixty days running after Ramadân,) according to Imâm A’zam Abû Hanîfa. According to the Imâmeyn, however, this person has to make kaffârat. For, he has eaten while it was possible for him to make niyyat and perform his fasting. If he eats in the afternoon, he does not have to make kaffârat – according to the unanimous ijtihâd.
Supposing a person violated the latest two or three months of Ramadân, breaking his fast prematurely once in each of the blessed months, does he have to make kaffârat for each violation separately, or will it be sufficient to make kaffârat once for all two or three violations? This matter is controversial (among Islamic scholars). It will be prudent to make kaffârat for each violation separately. Supposing a person has debt(s) of fast belonging to Ramadân; according to some scholarly statements, that person becomes sinful if one year elapses and that person still has not paid his debt(s) by fasting for the day(s) owed.
Supposing the time of one of the two yearly ’Iyds, i.e. the ’Iyd of Ramadân-i-sherîf or the ’Iyd of Qurbân, comes as a person makes kaffârat, i.e. as he performs the successive sixty-day fasting for kaffârat, –as is known, it is harâm to fast on the days of ’Iyd, whatsoever the reason for fasting–, he will have to resume his fasting for kaffârat from the beginning. His former fasts will not be added (so as to complement the sixty-day fasting).
If a person breaks his fast without having made his niyyat for a safar (long-distance journey) and thereafter makes his niyyat for a safar and leaves, he will have to make both qadâ and kaffârat, (i.e. he will have to fast for that one day of violated fast and also for sixty successive days for the penalty called kaffârat.) A long-distance journey does not make it mubâh (an allowed act) to break a fast. When a person leaves for a safar, it is wâjib for him not to break his fast during that day. If a musâfir makes his niyyat (for fasting) by night or any time before the time called Dahwa-i-kubrâ, it is not halâl for him to break his fast during that day. If he breaks his fast, he will only have to make qadâ of it, (i.e. he will have to fast for one day after the blessed month of Ramadân.) What a long-distance journey makes mubâh is: ‘not to start a (daily) fast’.
If a person loses his mind during Ramadân, so that he cannot fast, and recovers afterwards, he makes qadâ of the days whereon he failed to fast. If he does not recover throughout Ramadân, so that his mental disorder lingers, then he becomes absolved from that Ramadân’s fast.
If a person forgets that he is observing fast and breaks his fast, his fast does not become fâsid (nullified). If he remembers that he is observing fast but goes on eating because he thinks that his fast has become fâsid, then he will have to make qadâ of it (after Ramadân). Kaffârat will not be necessary. However, if he goes on eating although he knows that his fast has not become fâsid, then he will have to make both qadâ and kaffârat.
If a fasting person swallows his own sweat or chews a dyed piece of string and then swallows the dye on it or swallows someone else’s saliva or swallows his own saliva after having let it leave his mouth or swallows a food remain between his teeth and bigger than a chickpea or injects himself with a hypodermic medicine, his fast becomes nullified and he will only have to make qadâ.
If a person eats a piece of paper or a handful of salt or swallows a grain of raw wheat or rice, his fast becomes nullified. However, he will only have to make qadâ. For, it is not customary to eat a handful of salt, neither as food, nor as medicine. It is like a handful of soil. On the other hand, if the salt eaten is a small amount, then kaffârat also will be necessary. This is written in the book entitled Eshbâh. For, a small amount of salt is used both as food and as medicine.
If a worker knows that he will fall ill as he works for a living, it (still) is not permissible for him to break his fast before he becomes ill. If he breaks his fast (before the time of iftâr), he will have to make kaffârat. To avoid (having to make) kaffârat, he should swallow a piece of paper first, (i.e. before eating something.) If a pregnant woman or a breastfeeding woman feels too weak (–with hunger, thirst, etc.– to go the distance with her fasting) eats (or drinks), she will only have to make qadâ. A person who eats and drinks floutingly without an ’udhr to do so on a day of Ramadân becomes a murtadd (renegade, apostate). (Fatâwâ-i-Feyziyya.)
If a person only chews a grain of sesame, his fast does not become fâsid. However, if he swallows it, regardless of whether he chewed it or not, his fast becomes fâsid. It will be necessary to make qadâ of it.
There are fifteen kinds of fast: three of them are farz, three of them are wâjib, five of them are harâm, and four of them are sunnat. Fasts that are farz are: fasting in Ramadân, fasting for making qadâ, and fasting for kaffârat.
Fasts that are wâjib are: fasting for a nazr-i-mu’ayyen, fasting for a nazr-i-mutlaq, and to carry on a nâfila fast until sunset once you have started performing it.
Fasts that are harâm are: fasting on the first day of the ’Iyd of Ramadân and on any of all four days of the ’Iyd of Qurbân. It is harâm to fast on any of these five days.
Fasts that are sunnat are: Fasting on the eyyâm-i-beydhî of every (Arabic) month, on the days called sawm-i-Dâwûd, on Mondays, on Thursdays, on the ’Ashûra day, on the ’Arafa day, and on similar blessed days. The fourteenth and fifteenth and sixteenth days of Arabic months are called eyyam-i-beydhî. Fasting every other day, and not fasting on the days in between, yearly, is called sawm-i-Dâwûd. (The ’Ashûra day is the tenth day of Muharram, the first Arabic month. The ’Arafa day is the ninth day of the Arabic month Du’l-hijja, i.e. the day previous to the first day of the ’Iyd of Qurbân.)
There are eleven benefits in fasting:
1– It shields you against Hell.
2– It causes other acts of worship (which you have performed) to be accepted (by Allâhu ta’âlâ).
3– It is a dhikr performed by one’s body.
4– It breaks one’s kibr (arrogance, conceit, vanity).
5– It breaks one’s ’ujb (egoism, taking pride in one’s acts of worship).
6– It enhances khushû’ (fear of Allâhu ta’âlâ).
7– The thawâb earned for it will be on the mîzân (balance to weigh one’s good deeds in the Hereafter).
8– Allâhu is pleased with His (fasting) slave.
9– If one dies with îmân, it, (i.e. one’s fasting,) will cause one to enter Paradise early.
10– One’s heart becomes brilliant with nûr. 11– One’s mind becomes enlightened with nûr.
When the Sun sets on the twenty-ninth day of Sha’bân, it is wâjib to look for Ramadân’s new moon on the western apparent horizon. When a Muslim who is ’âdil, i.e. who does not commit a grave sin, and who is in the Madhhab of Ahl as-sunnat, sees the new moon in an overcast sky, he notifies the law court judge or the governor. Ramadân commences upon a Muslim’s sighting the new moon. Information offered by a person who holds a bid’at or who is fâsiq is not taken into account. In clear weather several notifiers are needed (as eye-witnesses in determining the beginning of Ramadân). If the new moon is not sighted, the month of Sha’bân (of the current year) is accepted to consist of thirty days, and the day thereafter is, admittedly, (the first day of the month of) Ramadân. Beginning of Ramadân is not determined with a calendar or by way of astronomical calculations. It is written in the books entitled Bahr-ur-râiq and Fatâwâ-i-Hindiyya and Qâdikhân: “If a slave living in the Dâr-ul-harb and unaware about the beginning of Ramadân uses the information on a calendar and fasts for one month, he may have started to fast one day earlier than the first day of Ramadân or on the second day or exactly on the first day of Ramadân. In the first case he has observed fast one day before Ramadân and celebrated the ’Iyd on the last day of Ramadân. In the second case he has not observed fast on the first day of Ramadân, and observed fast on the ’Iyd day with the intention of fasting on the last day of Ramadân. In either case he has observed fast on twenty-eight of the days of Ramadân; therefore he will have to fast for two days with the intention of qadâ after the ’Iyd. In the third case, it is doubtful whether the first and last days of a month wherein he has observed fast coincide with Ramadân. Since fast observed on days doubtful to be within Ramadân will not be sahîh, he will have to make qadâ of fast for two days in this case as well.” Hence, people who begin their fasting for Ramadân not after sighting the new moon in the sky but under the guidance of previously prepared calendars will have to fast for two days with the intention of qadâ after the ’Iyd of Ramadân. How to calculate the first day of Ramadân is explained at length in the tenth chapter of the fourth fascicle of Endless Bliss.
[Ibni ’Âbidîn ‘rahima-hullâhu ta’âlâ’ states: “In overcast weather iftâr should not be made, (i.e. fast should not be broken,) unless one is convinced that the Sun has set, even if the azân (to annouce the time of evening prayer [and that of iftâr]) has been performed, (i.e. called.) As long as one makes iftâr before the (time called) ishtibâk-un-nujûm, i.e. by the time most of the stars appear in the sky, one has carried out the act of mustahab called ‘ta’jîl’ (and which means ‘making haste for the iftâr). When sunset is observed and iftâr is made at a certain location, a person who is at an elevated place, e.g. one who is on a minaret, should not make iftâr unless he knows that the Sun has set. This rule applies also to morning prayer and sahûr.” In the tabulated lists of Tamkin in books of Astronomy, height is one of the variables of the length of time called tamkin, (which is defined and explained in detail in the tenth chapter of the fourth fascicle of Endless Bliss.) As all prayer times are being calculated, a single time of tamkin is used for a certain location, i.e. the time of tamkin commensurate with the highest place of that location. (Please see appendix V of the fourth fascicle of Endless Bliss for the table of tamkins.) Calendars prepared without the periods of tamkin being taken into account provide sunset times a few minutes earlier (than times of sunset in the calculation of which the periods of tamkin has been taken into consideration). The Sun does not appear to have set at the time of sunset (written on those calendars). Fast performed by people who make iftâr in keeping with calendars without tamkins becomes fasid.]