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The guidance of the Prophet (pbuh) regarding i’tikaaf


Praise be to Allaah.

The guidance of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) with regard to i’tikaaf was the most perfect and moderate of guidance.

Once he observed i’tikaaf in the first ten days of Ramadaan, then in the middle ten days, seeking Laylat al-Qadr. Then he was told that it is in the last ten days, so then he always observed i’tikaaf during the last ten days, until he met his Lord.

On one occasion he did not observe i’tikaaf during the last ten days, so he made it up in Shawwaal and observed i’tikaaf during the first ten days thereof. This was narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

In the year in which he died, he observed i’tikaaf for twenty days. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2040.

It was said that the reason for that is that he knew his life was drawing to a close, so he wanted to increase his good deeds, to show his ummah how to strive hard in doing good deeds when the opportunity for doing so drew to close, so that they could meet Allaah in the best way. And it was said that the reason was that Jibreel used to review the Qur’aan with him once each Ramadaan, but in the year in which he died, he reviewed it with him twice, which is why his i’tikaaf was twice as long as usual.

A more likely reason is that he observed i’tikaaf for twenty days in that year because the year before he had been traveling. This is indicated by the report narrated by al-Nasaa’i and Abu Dawood, and classed as saheeh by Ibn Hibbaan and others, from Ubayy ibn Ka’b who said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to observe i’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadaan, but he travelled one year and did not observe i’tikaaf, so the following year he observed i’tikaaf for twenty days. Fath al-Baari.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to order that a kind of tent be pitched for him in the mosque, and he would stay in it, keeping away from people and turning to his Lord, so he could be on his own with his Lord in a true sense of the word.

On one occasion he observed i’tikaaf in a small tent, and put a reed mat over the door. Narrated by Muslim, 1167.

Ibn al-Qayyim said in Zaad al-Ma’aad, 2/90:

All of this to achieve the spirit and purpose of i’tikaaf, and is the opposite of what the ignorant do, whereby the place of i’tikaaf becomes a place of gathering and meeting with people and chatting to them. This is one thing, and i’tikaaf as observed by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is something else.

He used to stay in the mosque the whole time, and not leave it except to relieve himself. ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “He would not enter his house for anything except for a need when he was observing i’tikaaf.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2029; Muslim, 297.

According to a report narrated by Muslim: “Except for human needs.” Al-Zuhri interpreted this as referring to urination and defecation.

He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made sure he remained clean. He would lean his head out of the mosque into ‘Aa’ishah’s apartment so that she should wash his head and comb his hair.

Al-Bukhaari (2028) and Muslim (297) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to lean his head towards me when he was observing i’tikaaf in the mosque, and I would comb his hair, when I was menstruating.”

According to a report also narrated by al-Bukhaari: “And I would wash it.”

Al-Haafiz said:

This hadeeth indicates that it is permissible to clean oneself, put on perfume, wash oneself, comb one’s hair etc (when in i’tikaaf). The majority of scholars are of the view that nothing is makrooh except that which it is makrooh to do in the mosque.

When he was in i’tikaaf, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not visit the sick or attend funerals. This was so that he could concentrate fully on conversing with Allaah and achieving the purpose of i’tikaaf, which is to cut oneself off from people and turn to Allaah.

‘Aa’ishah said: The Sunnah is for the person in i’tikaaf not to visit the sick or attend funerals, or to be intimate with his wife. But there is nothing wrong with his going out for essential needs.

Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2473; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

“or to be intimate with his wife” means intercourse. This was stated by al-Shawkaani in Nayl al-Awtaar.

Some of his wives used to visit him when he was in i’tikaaf. When she stood up to leave, he would take her home – that was at night.

It was narrated from Safiyyah the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that she came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and visited him when he was in i’tikaaf in the mosque, during the last ten days of Ramadaan. She spoke with him for a while, then she stood up to leave. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up with her to take her home. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2035; Muslim, 2175.

In conclusion, his i’tikaaf was moderate and not harsh. He spent all his time remembering Allaah and turning to Him in worship, seeking Laylat al-Qadr.

See:  Zaad al-Ma’aad by Ibn al-Qayyim, 2/90; al-I’tikaaf Nazrah Tarbawiyyah by Dr ‘Abd al-Lateef Balto.

What Would You Do if You Knew This Was Your Last Ramadan? A Reminder for Us!!


We have 30 days of Ramadan each year. Some of us look forward it because of its bountiful benefits to our spiritual self. It makes us stronger inwardly and this helps us face another new year.
But sometimes, even though we know of its many benefits, we still feel weary and tired of fasting and keeping up with our many spiritual obligations from praying to reading and studying the Quran daily, and even watching how we speak and interact with people. No one ever said that fasting would be easy – it is not simply abstaining from food and water from daybreak to sunset. It is a whole lot more. Most of us know this.

And yet, being human, we start consciously or unconsciously slacking off, be it from duties such as praying or reading the Quran. Instead, we spend our day sleeping, might eating and talking instead of prayer and relection. If we feel guilty, then we tell ourselves that we will fast “properly” the next day. In some cases, when a bad cycle begins, it can be difficult to break it. And before we know it, Ramadan has ended. We celebrate Eid and another year begins. Well, maybe next year, we’ll do it “properly”.

But what if we do not get another chance to fast “properrly” so that God forgives all of our sins? We may be healthy and fit right now, but what is the guarantee that we will remain healthy and fit tomorrow? If you knew that this was your last Ramadan, that something might prevent you from ever experiencing Ramadan again, would you not want to observe it the right way today, the best you can? So that you can reap of its benefits while you are still able to?

One of our writers’ relative suffered a small stroke while fasting recently. The stroke was not fatal, nor will it be permanently damaging. But it was serious enough that she is not expected to be able to fast the rest of the month. Perhaps since she is of advanced age, she might not be able to fast any more for the rest of her life.

But that should give us all pause. We do not know what the future holds. We may be young and healthy, and have all of bodily and mental functions intact. But that can change in an instant. It is only when we think of our own mortality that we know how limiting we as human beings actually are. And how precious time is.

Do not waste your time. Use it well. And make this Ramadan count because we do not know what the future holds, if we are lucky enough to observe another one.

“Man does not weary of asking for good (things), but if ill touches him, he gives up all hope (and) is lost in despair.”

When we give him a taste of some Mercy from Ourselves, after some adversity has touched him, he is sure to say, “This is due to my (merit): I think not that the Hour (of Judgment) will (ever) be established; but if I am brought back to my Lord, I have (much) good (stored) in His sight!” But We will show the Unbelievers the truth of all that they did, and We shall give them the taste of a severe Penalty.

When We bestow favours on man, he turns away, and gets himself remote on his side (instead of coming to Us); and when evil seizes him, (he comes) full of prolonged prayer!”

(Quran, 41:49-51)

If we were to step back a moment and realize that this is the last Ramadan we will see in our lifetime, how would we spend it? Death we know can come to us at any time, yet we still remain so ignorant of the time now given to us to be utilized by Allah the Almighty.

I pray Allah gives, first of all me, and all Muslims the ability to utilize the month of Ramadan..May this Ramadan be our best so far, for we know not if we will witness the next, Aameen..

Jazaak Allah Khairan for reading.

What is the virtue of Taraaweeh prayers?


Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly: 

Taraaweeh prayer is Sunnah mustahabbah (i.e., recommended) according to scholarly consensus, and comes under the heading of qiyaam al-layl (night prayers). It is supported by the evidence of the Qur’aan and Sunnah which encourages qiyaam al-layl and describes its virtues.

Secondly:

Praying qiyaam in Ramadaan is one of the greatest acts of worship by means of which a person can draw closer to his Lord in this month. Al-Haafiz Ibn Rajab said: Note that in the month of Ramadaan the believer engages in jihad al-nafs on two fronts: during the day by fasting and during the night by praying qiyaam. Whoever combines these two types of jihad will be given reward without limit.

There are some ahaadeeth which speak specifically about praying qiyaam in Ramadaan and describe the virtue of so doing. For example:

Al-Bukhaari (37) and Muslim (759) narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever prays qiyaam in Ramadaan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” 

“Whoever prays qiyaam in Ramadaan” means spends its nights in prayer.

“Out of faith” means, believing in Allaah’s promise of reward.

“And in the hope of reward” means, seeking the reward and with no other intention such as showing off etc.

“Will be forgiven his previous sins”:

Ibn al-Mundhir was certain that this includes both minor and major sins, but al-Nawawi said: What is known among the fuqaha’ is that this applies only to forgiveness of minor sins, not major sins. Some of them said: It may mean that the burden of major sins is reduced, so long as so long as there are no minor sins.

From Fath al-Baari.

Thirdly: 

The believer should be keen to strive in worship in the last ten nights of Ramadaan more than at other times, because in these ten nights is Laylat al-Qadr, of which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“The Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months”

[al-Qadr 97:3]

Concerning the reward of qiyaam on this night, it is narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever spends Laylat al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1768; Muslim, 1268.

Hence the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to strive hard in worship in the last ten nights as he did not do at other times.

Narrated by Muslim, 1175.

Al-Bukhaari (2024) and Muslim (1174) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “When the last ten days began, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would tie his lower garment (izaar) tight and stay up at night, and wake his family.”

“The last ten days” means the last ten days of Ramadaan.

“tie his lower garment (izaar) tight” – it was said that this is a metaphor for striving hard in worship, or for keeping away from his wives, and it may be that it includes both meanings.

“stay up at night” means staying up and praying and doing other acts of worship.

“and wake his family” means, he would wake them up to pray at night.

Al-Nawawi said:

This hadeeth indicates that it is mustahabb to do more acts of worship during the last ten nights of Ramadaan, and to stay up at night to worship.

Fourthly: 

We should be keen to pray qiyaam al-layl in Ramadaan in congregation, and to stay with the imam until he finishes praying. In this way the worshipper will attain the reward for praying the whole night, even if he only spends a short part of the night in prayer. And Allaah is the Owner of great bounty.

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

The scholars are agreed that it is mustahabb to pray Taraaweeh, but they differed as to whether it is better for a person to pray on his own at home or in congregation in the mosque. Al-Shaafa’i and most of his companions, Abu Haneefah, Ahmad and some of the Maalikis and others said that it is better to pray it in congregation, as ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab and the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) did and as the Muslims continued to do.

Al-Tirmidhi (806) narrated that Abu Dharr said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever prays qiyaam with the imam until he finishes, will be recorded as having spent the whole night in prayer.”

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

And Allaah knows best

Important Lessons to be learnt from Ramadaan


Allah – the Most High – said:

“The month of Ramadhan in which the Qur’an was revealed, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance of the Criterion between right and wrong. So whosoever of you sights the crescent for the month of Ramadhan, he must fast that month.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2:185].

Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“lslam is built upon five: Testifying that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and the Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the Prayer, giving the Zakah, performing Hajj to the House, and fasting in Ramadhan.”

He sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also said:
“There has come to you Ramadhan, a blessed month, in which Allah has made it obligatory to fast. During it the gates of paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained. In it is a night (Laylatul-Qadr) which is better than a thousand months. He who is deprived of its good has truly been deprived.”

From the many important lessons to be learnt from fasting are:-

1: GAINING TAQWA

Fasting has been legislated in order that we may gain taqwa, as Allah – the Most High – said:

“O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed upon those before you in order that you may attain taqwa.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2:183].

Talq ibn Habib (d.100H) – rahimahullah – said:
“When fitnah (trial and tribulation) appears then extinguish it with taqwa.” So he was asked as to what taqwa was, so he replied: “Taqwa is to act in obedience to Allah, upon a light (i.e. iman, faith) from Allah, hoping in the Mercy of Allah. And taqwa is leaving acts of disobedience to Allah, upon a light from Allah, due to the fear of Allah.”

“This is one of the best definitions of taqwa. For every action must have both a starting point and a goal. And an action will not be considered as an act of obedience, or nearness to Allah, unless it starts from pure iman (faith in Allah). Thus, it is pure iman – and not habits, desires, nor seeking praise or fame, nor its like – that should be what initiates an action. And the goal of the action should be to earn the reward of Allah and to seek His good pleasure.”

So fasting is a means of attaining taqwa, since it helps prevent a person from many sins that one is prone to. Due to this, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Fasting is a shield with which the servant protects himself from the Fire.”

So we should ask ourselves, after each day of fasting: Has this fasting made us more fearful and obedient to Allah? Has it aided us in distancing ourselves from sins and disobedience?

2: SEEKING NEARNESS TO ALLAH

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“Allah said: Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, I shall be at war with him. My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the obligatory duties that I have placed upon him. My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with optional deeds so that I shall love him.”

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“Whosoever reaches the month of Ramadhan and does not have his sins forgiven, and so enters the Fire, then may Allah distance him.”

So drawing closer to Allah – the Most Perfect – in this blessed month, can be achieved by fulfilling one’s obligatory duties; and also reciting the Qur’an and reflecting upon its meanings, increasing in kindness and in giving charity, in making du’a (supplication) to Allah, attending the tarawih Prayer, seeking out Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Power and Pre-Decree), a night which is better than a thousand months, attending gatherings of knowledge, and striving in there actions that will cause the heart to draw closer to its Lord and to gain His forgiveness. Our level of striving in this blessed month should be greater than our striving to worship Allah in any other month, due to the excellence and rewards that Allah has placed in it. Likewise from the great means of seeking nearness to Allah in this month is making i’tikaf (seclusion in the mosque in order to worship Allah) – for whoever is able.

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (d.751H)- rahimahullah – laid:

“Allah also prescribed i’tikaf for them, the objective being that the heart becomes fully preoccupied with Allah – the Mort High – concentrated upon Him alone, and cut-off from being preoccupied with the creation. Rather, the heart is only engrossed with Allah – the Most Perfect – such that loving Him, remembering Him, and turning to Him takes the place of all the heart’s anxieties and worries, so that he is able to overcome them. Thus all his concerns are for Allah, and his thoughts are all directed towards remembering Him and thinking of how to attain His Pleasure and what will cause nearness to Him. This leads him to feel contented with Allah, instead of people. This in turn prepares him for being at peace with Allah alone, on the day of loneliness in the grave, when there will be no one else to give comfort, nor anyone to grant solace, except Him. So this is the greater goal of i’tikaf.”

 

3: ACQUIRING PATIENCE

Imam Ahmad (d.241H) – rahimahullah – said:
“Allah has mentioned sabr (patience) in over ninety places in His Book.”

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“The month of Patience, and the three days of every month, are times for fasting.”

Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr (d.464H)- rahimahullah – said:
“What is meant by the month of Patience is the month of Ramadhan … So fasting is called patience because it restrains the soul from eating, drinking, conjugal relations and sexual desires.”

He sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“O youths! Whoever amongst you is able to marry, then let him do so; for it restrains the eyes and protects the private parts. But whoever is unable, then let him fast, because it will be a shield for him.”

So fasting is a means of learning self restraint and patience. With patience we are able to strengthen our resolve to worship Allah alone, with sincerity, and also cope with life’s ups and downs. So – for example – with patience we are able to perform our Prayers calmly and correctly, without being hasty, and without merely pecking the ground several times! With patience we are able to restrain our souls from greed and stinginess and thus give part of our surplus wealth in Zakah (obligatory charity). With patience we are able to subdue the soul’s ill temperament, and thus endure the ordeal and hardships of Hajj, without losing tempers and behaving badly. Likewise, with patience we are able to stand firm and fight jihad against the disbelievers, hypocrites and heretics – withstanding their constant onslaught, without wavering and buckling, without despairing or being complacent, and without becoming hasty and impatient at the first signs of hardship.

Allah – the Most High – said:O Prophet, urge the Believers to fight … So if there are one hundred who are patient, they shall overcome two hundred; and if there be one thousand, they shall overcome two thousand, by the permission of Allah. And Allah is with the patient ones.” [Surah al-Anfal 8:65-66].

Thus, without knowledge and patience, nothing remains, except zeal and uncontrolled emotions, shouts and hollow slogans, speech that doer not strengthen, but rather weakens, and actions that do not build, but rather destroy! So in this month, we should strive to develop a firm resolve for doing acts of obedience, and to adorn ourselves with patience – having certainty in the laying of our Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: “And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship.”

4: CULTIVATING GOOD MANNERS

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
Whosoever doer not abandon falsehood in speech and action, then Allah the Mighty and Majestic has no need that he should leave his food and drink.

He sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also said:
“Fasting is not merely abstaining from eating and drinking. Rather, it is also abstaining from ignorant and indecent speech. So if anyone abuses or behaves ignorantly with you, then ray: I am fasting, I am fasting.”

There narrations point towards the importance of truthfulness and good manners. Thus, this blessed month teacher us not only to abstain from food and drink, but to also abstain from such statements and actions that may be the cause of harming people and violating their rights – since the Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said whilst describing the true Believer:A Muslim is one from whom other Muslims are safe from his tongue and his hand.

Thus it is upon us as individuals, to examine the shortcomings in our character, and to then seek to improve them – modelling ourselves upon the character of the last of the Prophets and Messengers, and their leader, Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – aspiring also for the excellence which he mentioned in his saying: “I am a guarantor for a house on the outskirts of Paradise for whosoever leaves off arguing, even if he is in the right; and a house in the centre of Paradise for whosoever abandons falsehood, even when joking; and a house in the upper-mort part of Paradise for whosoever makes his character good.”

So by shunning oppression, shamelessness, harbouring hatred towards Muslims, back-biting, slandering, tale-carrying, and other types of falsehood, we can be saved from nullifying the rewards of our fasting – as Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “It may be that a fasting person receives nothing from his fast, except hunger and thirst.

5: SENSING MUSLIM UNITY

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“Fast when they fast, and break your fast when they break their fast, and sacrifice the day they sacrifice.

Imam at-Tirmidhi (d.275H) – rahimahullah – said:
“Some of the People of Knowledge explained this hadith by saying: Its meaning is to fast and break the fast along with the jama’ah and the majority of people.”

Thus, in this blessed month we can sense an increased feeling of unity and of being a single Ummah due to our fasting and breaking our fast collectively. We also feel an increased awareness about the state of affairs of the Muslims and of the hardships that they endure, because: “During the fast, a Muslim feels and experiences what his needy and hungry brothers and sisters feel, who are forced to go without food and drink for many many days – as occurs today to many of the Muslims in Africa.”

Indeed, the units of the Muslims – and their aiding and assisting one another – is one of the great fundamentals upon which the Religion of Islam is built, as Allah – the Mort High – said: And hold fast altogether to the rope of Allah and do not be divided.” [Surah al-‘lmran 3:103].  Allah – the Most High – also said: “The Believers – men and women – and friends and protectors to one another.” [Surah al-Towbah 9:44].

Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H)- rahimahullah – said:
“The welfare of people will not be complete – neither in this world, nor in the Hereafter – except with ijtima’ (collectiveness), ta’awun (mutual cooperation), and tanasur (mutual help); mutual-co-operation in order to secure benefits, and mutual help in order to ward off harm. It is for this reason that man is said to be social and civil by nature.

Thus we see that Islam lays great importance in bringing hearts together and encouraging ijtima’ (collectiveness). This is not only reflected in the month of Ramadhan, but also in the other acts of worship as well. So, for example, we have been ordered by the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to pray the five daily Prayers in congregation, and that it has been made twenty-seven times more rewardful than praying it individually. Likewise, this similar collective spirit is demonstrated in the act of Hajj (Pilgrimage). Even in learning knowledge and studying it, blessings have been placed in collectiveness, as Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “No people gather together in a house from the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it amongst themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy envelops them, the angels surround them, and Allah mentions them to there that are with Him.”

Likewise, even in our everyday actions such, as eating, Islam teacher us collectiveness. Thus, when some of the Companions of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to him: O Messenger of Allah, we eat but do not become satisfied. He replied: “Perhaps you eat individually?” They replied: Yes! So he said: “Eat collectively and mention the name of Allah. There will then be blessings for you in it.”

Indeed, even in the etiquettes of sitting the spirit of collectiveness is demonstrated. So, one day the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came across the Companions who were sitting in separate circles, so he said to them: “Why do I see you sitting separately!”

Similarly, Abu Tha’labah al-Khurhani radiallahu ‘anhu said: Whenever the people used to encamp, they used to split-up into the mountain passes and valley’s. So Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Indeed your being split-up in there mountain passes and valley’s is from Shaytan.”  Thereafter, whenever they used to encamp, they used to keep very close together, to such an extent that it was said: If a cloth were to be spread over them, it would cover them all.

Thus, Ramadhan is a time to increase our sense of unity and brotherhood, and our commitment to Allah and His Religion. And there is no doubt that this sense of unity necessitates that: “We all work together as required by Islam as sincere brothers – not due to hizbiyyah (bigotted party spirit), nor sectarianism – in order to realise that which is of benefit to the Islamic Ummah and to establish the Islamic society that every Muslim aspirer for – so that the Shari’ah (Prescribed Law) of Allah is applied upon His earth.”  So we must examine ourselves during the month of Ramadhan and ask: What is my role – and each of us has a role – in helping this precious Ummah to regain its honour, and return to the Ummah its comprehensive unity and strength, and victory that has been promised to it! Likewise, we should reflect upon our own character and actions and ask. Are they aiding the process of unity and brotherhood, or are they a harm and a hindrance to it!

So we ask Allah to grant us the ability to change ourselves for the better, during this blessed month, and not to be of there who are prevented from His Mercy and Forgiveness. Indeed He is the One who Hears and He is the One to Respond.

Source: Al-Istiqaamah Magazine, Issue No.5 ,Jan 1997

Things which invalidate the Fasting


It is obligatory for the Muslim to know of all that invalidates the fast so as to be aware of them.

That which invalidates the fast:

1) Sexual intercourse: Whenever the fasting person has sexual intercourse, his fast is invalidated. Subsequently, he is required to make up the fast for that day in which he had sexual intercourse in addition to paying a penalty (kaffaarah) which is to free a slave. If he is unable to find a slave or funds that are equal to that, then he is required to fast consecutively for two months. If he is unable to fast for two months, due to an Islaamically acceptable reason, he is to feed 60 poor people half a saa’ each from the food common in that land.

2) Excretion of semen as a result of kissing, touching with desire, masturbation or persistently looking at that which arouses the desire. In this case, the fast is invalidated and he is required to make up for that day without paying a penalty (kaffaarah), since paying a penalty is specific to having had sexual intercourse.

3) Intentionally eating and drinking, due to that which Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala) says:

{…and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your Sawm (fast) till the nightfall}, [Soorah al-Baqarah, Aayah 187]

As for he who eats and drinks out of forgetfulness, then this does not affect his fast as is mentioned in the following hadeeth:

(Whoever forgetfully eats or drinks, then he should complete his fast, for indeed it was Allaah who provided him the food and drink)

And from that which breaks the fast is water and other such substances to pass his throat via his nose. This is known as as-Sa’oof. Likewise, taking a nutritional injection directly into the vein and taking a blood transfusion whilst fasting. All of these invalidate the fast, as it constitutes nutrition for the body.

As regards a non-nutritional injection, then it is better for one who is fasting to avoid this so as to protect his fast. The Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:

Leave that which you are doubtful (about) for that which are not doubtful (about)

And as such delay it until after having broken the fast at the time of Maghrib.

4) As for extracting blood via cupping or opening a vein or donating blood for medical reasons, then all of this invalidates the fast. As regards giving a small blood sample for testing purposes, then this does not affect the fast. Likewise, this applies to the unintentional flow of blood resulting from a nose bleed, injury or having a tooth removed. All of these do not affect the fast.

5) Intentional vomiting also invalidates the fast. However, the fast is not affected if he is overcome and is forced to vomit without intending so. This is based upon the statement of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam):

Whoever is overcome (and forced) to vomit, then he is not required to make up (the fast for that day) and whoever intentionally vomits then he must make up (the fast for that day.

The fasting person should not exert himself whilst gargling and sniffing water up his nose (when making wudhoo.) because it is quite possible the water may pass his throat and thereby enter his stomach. The Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:

Whilst making wudhoo, exert yourself in sniffing water up the nose except if you are fasting.

Using the miswaak (tooth-stick) does not affect the fast, rather it is recommended, whether fasting or not, throughout the day.

His fast is not affected if any dust or even a fly was to reach his throat.

It is obligatory for the fasting person to refrain from lying, backbiting and swearing, even if someone was to swear at him. If this is the case, he should say:

(indeed), I am fasting

Certainly, some people find it easy to abstain from food and drink but find it difficult to abandon that which has become a habit for them from evil speech and actions. This is why some of the Pious Predecessors have said:

The easiest (type of) fast is abstaining from food and drink.

So it is upon the Muslim to fear Allaah and be aware of Him and His Greatness and the fact that He Sees all that we do, such that absolutely nothing remains hidden from him. In doing this, he should protect his fast from all that invalidates it or reduces it’s reward so that his fast remains correct and, inshaa.-Allaah, is accepted by Allaah.

It is befitting for the fasting person to busy himself in the remembrance of Allaah, reciting the Qur.aan and increasing in the performance of naafilah (voluntary) prayers.

It used to be that when the Pious Predecessors would fast, they would sit in the masaajid and they would say:

We shall protect our fast and not backbite anyone.

The Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:

Whoever does not abandon evil speech and actions, then Allaah is not in need of him having left his food and drink (i.e. fasting).

This is because seeking nearness to Allaah is not complete simply by leaving our personal desires (of eating and drinking, etc). Rather, it is by leaving that which Allaah has prohibited at all times in terms of lying, oppression and the like. In a narration, Abu Hurayrah said:

The fast is accepted as worship so long as no Muslim has been backbitten or harmed.

And it is narrated by Anas, who said: The one who has backbitten the people whilst fasting has not really fasted.

Reference:
Shaykh Ibn Fowzaan
al-Mulakhkhas al-Fiqhee – Volume 1, Pages 268-270


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