Fasting is one of the rituals in Islam which becomes obligatory during the holy month of Ramadan. It has many spiritual, physical and social effects on us. in this episode we will discuss the Islamic laws related to fasting.
Simply put, fasting means avoiding certain things from the time of Fajr till Maghrib. These things are:
- Number one, to avoid deliberately eating, drinking and smoking, including through a medical feeding device. This restriction also applies to the consumption of non-edible things like dust, for example.
- Number two, vomiting intentionally.
- Number three, deliberately entering the state of Janabah which happens by full sexual intercourse or by semen ejaculation.
- Number four, deliberately staying in the state of Janabah, Haidh or Nifas till the Adhan of Fajr.
- Number five, to lose the intention for fasting, like deciding to break the fast will void the fasting even if nothing is eaten.
- Number six, according to some of our scholars, immersing the entire head under water will void one’s fast.
- Number seven, ascribing lies to Allah, the Prophet and the holy progeny, peace be upon them, such as quoting something they’ve never said.
- Number Eight, taking liquid enema will void the fast. But for IV drips, vascular and intramuscular injection, the views of jurists vary. to know your Marja’s ruling on this, please refer to the books of Islamic law.
Now, to perform the fasting one should:
- Make his intention to fast before the Fajr Adhan. It’s sufficient to make your intention to fast for the entire month of Ramadhan at once.
- A person in the state of Janabah, Haidh or Nifas should perform Tahara before the Fajr Adhan.
- One should avoid doing what voids the fasting from the time of Fajr Adhan till the Adhan of Maghrib. And also, one should know the exact time of these two Adhans to start and end fasting. Otherwise, a few minutes should be taken as precaution, just to be on the safe side.
There are few conditions under which fasting is not allowed:
- Ladies in the state of Haidh and Nifas should not fast.
- In some cases, a traveler should not fast. For more information, refer to the travelers’ episode.
- Also, fasting is not allowed for the one it could harm or cause extreme hardship to.
Note that it’s one’s own responsibility to decide on this issue and he might need to consult a doctor or expert to help him in making the decision.
We shouldn’t forget that the act of fasting in itself has some difficulties and we are not allowed to avoid fasting just because of it’s being tough.
Our jurists have mentioned a few examples of people with specific conditions who are excused from fasting, such as:
- Elderly people who can’t fast
- Pregnant ladies or suckling mothers where fasting might harm their baby.
Note: in some cases where the person is excused from fasting, he or she should eat and drink as much as is necessary, and avoid excess consumption.
Good, so what about those who didn’t fast during the month of Ramadhan?
There are three categories depending on their reason for not fasting:
- First, those who were able to fast, but had a legal excuse not to.
- Second, those who are able to fast, but had no legal excuse.
- Third, those who are not able to fast at all.
Now, we will explain each category briefly:
- First: those who are able to fast but due to a legal excuse didn’t fast. For example, an ill person, a traveler or a lady in the state of Haidh. People in this category have to compensate by fasting later. And if they postpone it until the next Ramadhan arrives, in addition to the fasting, they also have to give Fidyah to the poor.
The Fidyah is about 750 grams of basic food-stuff, like, wheat or bread, for each day of fasting they missed.
- Second: if one intentionally and with no legal excuse did not fast, he has to compensate by fasting and by paying the Kaffarah for that day. The Kaffarah is to fast for two consecutive months, or, to feed sixty poor for each day.
Note: if one’s intention becomes not to fast anymore, his fast will become void, even if he doesn’t eat or do any other invalidating act. in this case, he only has to compensate by fasting without the need to pay the Kaffarah.
- Third, are those who can’t fast at all like the weak elderly. They only have to give the Fidyah. The same goes for the person who was sick during Ramadhan and stayed sick all year till the next Ramadhan. This person also has to give the Fidyah only without the need to compensate with fasting.
to give Fidyah or pay Kaffarah, you can refer to your Marjaa -jurist- or his representative. He can accept to take the money from you and buy and distribute the food to the poor on your behalf.
OK, the Eid of Fitr at the end of the month of Ramadan is declared by sighting the new crescent moon or by passing 30 days of the month of Ramadhan. There are many rules regarding this issue which can be watched in the episode regarding this issue.
Now, finally to pay the Zakat al-Fitra.
what is it?
The Zakat al-Fitra is a uniform payment obligatory on behalf of every person – whether child or adult, believer or non-believer, even non-Muslims – that should be paid for the Eid of Fitr.
How much is it?
it’s three kilograms of the common food-stuff or its cash equivalent.
Who pays it?
it’s the responsibility of the family breadwinner, if he’s not poor, to pay it. He has to pay on his own behalf as well as on behalf of all those who are his dependents on the nightfall of Eid al-Fitr.
Guests on this night should also be counted as they are temporarily under his provision.
Note, if the family breadwinner is poor, then it becomes the duty of the dependents, if they are capable, to pay it.
When should it be paid?
At the time of sunset on the night preceding Eid day till the next morning before the Eid prayer. If the prayer of the Eid not performed, it can be paid by noon.
To whom should it be paid?
Our poor believers, and if none are found, then it can be paid to any poor Muslim except the Nasibis. It also can be paid to the Marjas’ representative to distribute it according to the law.
Taqabllah! May Allah accept your fasting and Eid Mubarak to you and your family!