Published in  
October 8, 2020

Umdat Al-Talib | Book of Fasting

- Imam Ibn Qudamah states that fasting is a special act of worship and has qualities that are not found in other acts. It is something that has been ascribed to Allah without an explicit reward. This ascription to Allah raises this act to a position of higher nobility.

– The virtue of fasting is due to 2 things:

  1. It is a secret inner action which the creation cannot see. It does not have riyaa as it cannot be witnessed.
  2. It subdues and weakens the enemy of Allah. The avenue of the enemy of Allah is through carnal desires and doubts. Fasting subdues the desires because desires are fueled by food and drink.

– Suhoor is the meal eater prior to commencing one’s fast. It’s root word indicates magic but what it really means is hidden and concealment. It is a meal that is eaten in the depths of the night and hidden from the eyes of the people. Suhoor should be delayed to as much as possible.

كتاب الصيام

يجب صوم رمضان برؤيةِ هِلالِه، فإنْ لم يُر مع صَحْوٍ ليلةَ الثَّلاثين أَفْطروا، وإنْ حال دُونه غَيْمٌ أو قَتَرٌ أو نحوه وَجَبَ صومُه بنيَّة رمضان احتياطًا ويُجزئُ إنْ ظهر منه، وإذا رُئي في بلدٍ لزم الصومُ جميعَ الناس

ويُصام برؤية عدلٍ ولو عبدًا أو أنثى، وإنْ صاموا برؤيةِ واحدٍ أو لغيمِ ثلاثينَ يومًا ولم يُر الهلالُ لم يُفطروا، ومَنْ رآه وحده فَرُدَّ، أو رأى هلالَ شوالٍ وحده صامَ

وإن ثبتتْ نهارًا أَمْسكوا وقَضوا كمَنْ بلغَ أو أسلمَ أو طهرتْ من حيضٍ أو نفاسٍ أو قَدِمَ مِنْ سَفَرٍ مُفطرًا

ويُؤمر به صغيرٌ يُطيقه ليعتادَه، ومَنْ عَجَزَ عنه لِكبرٍ أو مرضٍ لا يُرجى بُرؤه أَطْعم لكلِّ يومٍ مِسْكينًا

وسُنَّ لمريضٍ يَضرُّه ومسافرٍ يَقْصرُ: فِطرٌ، وإنْ نوى حاضرٌ صومَ يومٍ ثم
سافر فيه فله الفطرُ

Book of Fasting

– Fasting was legislated in 2AH. Imam Ibn Hajr said that it was obligated in the month of Shaban. The Prophet fasted 9 complete Ramadan’s in his lifetime as per the consensus of the scholars.

– Fasting is legislated on sighting the crescent. Imam Buhuti mentions that it is better to address this blessed month as the ‘Month of Ramadan’ instead of just Ramadan, because this is how Allah addressed it in the Quran in Surah al-Baqarah:

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ

– If the crescent is not seen clearly under a clear sky on the 30 night of Shaban just before Maghrib then one does not fast. It is generally a 3-5 minute window where the crescent can be sighted. However, if the place of rising of the crescent is obscured, then it is obligated to fast as a precautionary ruling with the intention of the next day being Ramadan. This opinion if from the mufradat (unique opinion) of the Hanabila. This opinion was also held by Umar Ibn al-Khattab, Aisha, Asma, Abdullah Ibn Umar, Amr Ibn al-Aas, Abu Hurairah, Anas, and Muawiyah among others. Why?

Narrated Ibn Umar: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying,

إِذَا رَأَيْتُمُوهُ فَصُومُوا، وَإِذَا رَأَيْتُمُوهُ فَأَفْطِرُوا، فَإِنْ غُمَّ عَلَيْكُمْ فَاقْدُرُوا لَهُ

“When you see the crescent (of the month of Ramadan), start fasting, and when you see the crescent (of the month of Shawwal), stop fasting; and if the sky is overcast (and you can’t see it) then regard the month of Ramadan as of 30 days.” [Bukhari]
There is a difference of opinion based on the word ‘فَاقْدُرُوا’ in the hadith. This word is explained in Surah Fajr, when Allah says,

وَأَمَّا إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ فَقَدَرَ عَلَيْهِ رِزْقَهُ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَهَانَنِ

But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, “My Lord has humiliated me.” [16] Based on this we restrict the month to 29 days and fast as a precaution. Abdullah Ibn Umar used to fast a day before if the horizon was obscured.

– If the moon is seen at any place, then it is upon everyone else to fast. Global sighting is generally a minority opinion. Fasting can be commenced by the witness of just 1 person even if that person is a slave. So, to end Ramadan we need 2 witnesses, but to begin Ramadan just the testimony of 1 person will suffice. Generally, it requires 2 witnesses.

– If the fasting commenced because of the testimony of 1 witness or because of an obscured horizon; and now 30 days have been completed, then we treat the starting day as a false start. If a person finds out in the day that Ramadan has begun, then he fasts the remainder of the day and makes that day up later.

– If one doesn’t fast due to old age or chronic illness, then they feed one poor person for every day the amount equivalent to kafarah; which is 1 mudd of wheat or 1/2 sa’a of any other staple food. 1 mudd is basically of what can fit in your two palms and 1/2 sa’a is the double of that. This is based on the explanation of Ibn Abbas as found in Sahih al-Bukhari.
Imam Ibn Qaid says that anyone suffering from a chronic illness takes the ruling of an elderly person. If either are travelling, then they are not required to pay the kafarah or make up that day as being in a state of travel is a concession.

– It is considered makruh for an ill person whose illness will be aggravated and a travelling person to fast. The concession for a travelling person is irrespective of the ease or difficulty with it.
A resident who has intended to fast is permitted to break the fast because of travel provided that the travel takes him away from the populated areas of the city. Basically, actual travel. In this case, it is best not to break the fast if possible.

وإنْ أفطرت حاملٌ أو مرضعٌ خوفًا على ولدهما قَضَتَا وأَطْعَمَ وَليُّه، وعلى أنفسهما قَضَتَا فقط

ومَنْ نوى صومًا ثم جُنَّ أو أُغمي عليه جَميعَ نهاره لم يصحَّ صومُه لا إنْ أفاق جزءًا منه أو نامَ جميعَه، ويقضي مُغْمىً عليه

ويجبُ تعيينُ النيَّةِ من الليل لصومِ كلِّ يومٍ واجبٍ لا نيَّة الفرضيَّة، ويصحُّ نفلٌ بنيةٍ من النَّهار ولو بعد الزَّوال، وإنْ نوى الإفطارَ أفطر، ومَنْ قال: إنْ كان غدًا مِنْ رمضان فَفَرْضي لم يصحَّ إلا ليلةَ الثلاثينَ من رمضان.

– A pregnant or breast-feeding woman is permitted to break the fast out of fear for her child and make up for it later. This fear has to be legitimate and backed by a Muslim doctor. The guardian has to pay the expiation (feeding one poor person) on behalf of the mother for every day that she misses. If she fears only for herself, then she only has to make up for that day and she doesn’t need to pay an expiation for it as she falls under the category of an ill person.
Daleel: [Surah al-Baqarah, 184] Abu Dawud records that Ibn Abbas says that this ayah proves as a concession for the elderly as well as the pregnant and breastfeeding women who fear for their children.

– It is permitted to break the fast to save a life.

– Pending fasts from previous Ramadan or fasts for an expiation cannot be fasted in that ongoing month of Ramadan.

– Sleeping the entire day does not invalidate the fast. The fast still counts as they haven’t lost their consciousness completely, but they will be sinful and held accountable for missing out on the prayers etc.

– A certain intention to fast should be made every night before the day begins. Fasting is an obligation anyways so it (the obligation) shouldn’t be intended. For an involuntary fast that is commenced later in the day, the reward is for the portion that is fasted and not for the whole day. Fasting is based on an active intention. The fast can be concluded or broken by intention alone as well.

بابٌ في مفسدات الصوم

يَفسُد صومُ مَنْ أَكَلَ أو شَرِب أو اسْتَعَطَ أو احْتقنَ أو اكْتحلَ بما وصل إلى حَلْقه، أو أَدْخَلَ جَوْفَه شيئًا من أيِّ محلٍّ كان، أو اسْتقاء فقاءَ، أو اسْتمنَى أو باشرَ فأَمْنى أو أَمْذى، أو كَرَّر النظرَ فأَمْنى أو حَجَمَ أو احْتَجَمَ وظهر دمٌ عامدًا ذاكرًا لصومه لا ناسيًا أو مُكرهًا.

ولا إنْ طار إلى حلقه ذبابٌ أو غبارٌ أو فكَّر فأنزلَ، أو احْتلم، أو قَطَرَ في
إِحْلِيلِه شَيئًا أو أصبحَ وفي فمه طعامٌ فلَفَظَهُ، ولا إنِ اغتسل أو تَمضمض أوِ استنشق فدخل الماءُ حَلْقه، ولو بالغَ أو زاد على ثلاثٍ.

وإنْ أَكَلَ ونحوه شاكَّاً في طلوع فجرٍ صَحَّ صومُه لا في غروب شمسٍ، وإنِ اعتقده ليلاً فبانَ نهارًا قضى.

Invalidators of Fasting

– Whoever forgetfully eats or drinks, then they continue to fast.

– Anything reaching the brain or back of the throat invalidates the fast. Eye drops, fine powders etc which reach the throat through the eye ducts also invalidates the fast. This needs to be taken care of because the eyes, ears, and nose are connected in a certain manner.

– Inserting anything into the body, even if it is removed later invalidates the fast except for the urethra.

– Whoever induces vomiting needs to make it up. Unintentional vomiting does not break the fast.

– Masturbation and foreplay etc which falls under physical stimulation results in pre-seminal fluid (madhi) or ejaculation (mani) then this invalidates the fast. Visual stimulation that produces orgasmic fluid breaks the fast, but if it is only madhi, then it doesn’t break the fast.

– Getting hijamah done, or doing it on another, the kind that draws blood breaks the fast. Nose bleed etc doesn’t break the fast. Hijamah is something exceptional in this matter. We do not employ qiyas in this matter.

– Inhaling a fly, smoke, or dust from the road etc does not break the fast. Thinking (mental stimulation) that leads to ejaculation does not invalidate the fast. Imam Ibn Qaid says that this is lower than repeated visual stimulation. Sensual thoughts can be something very difficult to control as compared to one’s repeated vision which in reality can be controlled. Hence, they cannot be equated together.

– Wet dreams and something entering the body through the urethra even if it reaches the bladder doesn’t break the fast.
– Waking up with food in the mouth that is spat out doesn’t invalidate the fast. Accidentally swallowing it also does not break the fast. The fast is broken if it is done deliberately.

– Absorbing something from the foot (some forms of homeopathy) that might lead to taste in the mouth, doesn’t break the fast.

– Unintentional ingestion of water during ghusl or wudhu even if it was done more than 3 times or excessively doesn’t break the fast. It is considered to be disliked to do so in the state of fasting. Activities like swimming etc which opens one to the possibility of accidentally ingesting water are considered to be makruh.

– The fasting of a person who is eating, drinking or committing intercourse while uncertain of sunrise is valid. The standard ruling is that it is night until it is proven that it is day. But if a person comes to know that it was day and they were doing any of the above actions, then the fast is to be made up. Similarly for sunset, one cannot break the fast till they are sure that the day has come to an end. Certainty is not removed by doubt.


ومَنْ جامع في نهار رمضان، ولو في يومٍ لزمه إمساكه، أو دُبُر فعليه القضاءُ والكفارةُ، وإنْ كان دون الفرج فأنزل، أو عُذِرت المرأة فالقضاء فقط كمسافرٍ جامعَ في صومه.

وإنْ جامع في يومين فكفارتان، وإنْ أعاده في يومه فواحدة إن لم يكن كفَّر للأول، ومَنْ جامعَ ثم مَرِضَ أو جُنَّ أو سافر ونحوه لم تسقط، ولا كفارةَ بغير الجماع في نهار رمضان.

وهي: عتق رقبة [مؤمنة]، فإنْ لم يجد فصيامُ شهرين متتابعين، فإنْ لم يستطع فإطعامُ ستين مسكينًا، فإن عجزَ سقطتْ


– Whoever has intercourse and this refers to when the male organ is completely inserted into genuine female organs during daylight hours of fasting invalidates the fast. This rules out hermaphrodites and anal intercourse. To have intercourse just before the adhan of Fajr is also disliked. A traveler returning home or someone ill who has recovered during the day, has to abstain from intercourse and fast the rest of the day.

– As long as intercourse occurs, irrespective of ejaculation, the person has to make it up later and pay an expiation for it. This is considered as a major sin. If the state of mani or madhi is reached through foreplay, then this does not require an expiation but the fast has to be made up. A woman is excused due to ignorance, heedlessness or coercion. The fast is to be made up without an expiation.

– People who were permitted to break their fast, like a traveller on a journey where the prayer can be shortened or an ill person; decide to have intercourse during the day, then they have to only make up for that day of Ramadan. Why? Their fasting is considered as voluntary fasting in this case.

– Expiation is to be paid for each day separately. If one indulges in intercourse more than once in a day, then expiation is paid only once, provided that it hasn’t been paid before having intercourse again on the same day. If not, then another expiation is due on it. If one has intercourse and then falls ill, loses their aql, or travels, they still have to pay the expiation for it. Intercourse is the only thing in Ramadan that necessitates an expiation.

– The expiation is to free an able bodied believing slave. If one servant is not available, then the person has to fast 60 days consecutively. If this is not possible, then the person feeds 60 people each a measurement of 1 mudd of wheat or 1/2 sa’a of dates, raisins, barley etc. If this is not possible, then the expiation is voided.

فصلٌ في المكروهات والمسنونات في الصيام

كُره لصائمٍ جَمْعُ ريقه فيبلعه، وذَوْقُ طعامٍ وعِلْكٍ قويِّ، فإنْ وَجَدَ طَعْمَهُمَا بِحَلْقه أفطر، وحرُم مضغُ عِلْكٍ يتحلَّل مطلقًا، وبلعُ نُخامةٍ ويفطر بها، وتُكره قُبْلةٌ ودواعي وَطْء لمن تُحرِّكُ شهوتَه، ويجب اجتنابُ كذبٍ وغيبةٍ وشَتْمٍ

وسُنَّ لمن شُتم قولُ: “إني صائم”، وتأخيرُ سحورٍ، وتعجيلُ فطرٍ، وكونُه على رطبٍ، فإنْ لم يكن فتمرٌ، وإلاَّ فماءٌ، وقوله عنده: “اللَّهم لك صُمْتُ، وعلى رزقك أفطرتُ، سبحانك وبحمدك، اللَّهمَّ تقبَّل منِّي إنك أنت السميع العليم

Preferred and Disliked Acts while Fasting

– It is disliked for one to gather saliva in their mouth and then swallow it. Some scholars even consider it to invalidate the fast.

– It is also disliked to taste food (even if there is a need) and strong gum. The gum here is the traditional gum, which is different as compared to our times, which is mostly sugars and flavour agents. The gum being mentioned generally leads to production of saliva and aggravates thirst. If the flavour of the food or gum reaches the throat, then the fast is broken. Dissolvable gum is impermissible irrespective of the saliva etc.

– Swallowing phlegm breaks the fast irrespective of its place of origin, be it the chest or nasal cavity etc. Phlegm does not originate in the mouth like the saliva. Saliva is very difficult to deal with. Swallowing blood and vomit takes the same ruling based on the above. If any of the above comes up, even in small quantities, then it needs to be spat out.

– Caressing, kissing, foreplay, repeated glances etc that stir a person’s desires are disliked. These acts could potentially lead to breaking one’s fast. If it is assumed that ejaculation might occur then it becomes impermissible to do these actions.

– It is obligatory to stay away from lying, backbiting, and cursing. Imam Ahmad and Imam Bukhari record, the Prophet (ﷺ) said,

مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ الزُّورِ وَالْعَمَلَ بِهِ فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ فِي أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ

“Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)”
Fasting entails abstaining from misconduct and impermissible behaviour. Technically, it will not break your fast but it will diminish the rewards. Imam Ahmad says that a person must look after their tongue and not fall into argumentation while fasting. The fast needs to be protected. The salaf would keep to the masajid to save themselves from falling into sins.

– It is preferred to increase in the recitation of the Quran, dhikr, and sadaqah while fasting. Restraining the tongue and to audibly say, “I am fasting” if provoked is recommended. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

إِذَا أَصْبَحَ أَحَدُكُمْ يَوْمًا صَائِمًا فَلَا يَرْفُثْ وَلَا يَجْهَلْ فَإِنْ امْرُؤٌ شَاتَمَهُ أَوْ قَاتَلَهُ فَلْيَقُلْ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ

When one of you awakes in the morning for fasting, then he should not use obscene language or behave ignorantly. If anyone slanders him or tries to argue with him, he should say: Indeed, I am fasting. Indeed, I am fasting. [Muslim]

– Delaying the pre-dawn meal (suhur) is recommended as long as the sun rise isn’t too close. If you fear that the adhan would be called or the time will enter while you are eating, then you have delayed far too long and this would actually be disliked.

Zaid bin Thabit said, “We took the Suhur with the Prophet (ﷺ) . Then he stood for the prayer.” I asked, “What was the interval between the Suhur and the Adhan?” He replied, “The interval was sufficient to recite fifty verses of the Qur’an.” [Bukhari]
Similar to eating, it is disliked to engage in intercourse when in doubt about or very close to the time of Fajr.

– It is preferred to hasten to break the fast at the adhan of Maghrib.
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said,

لاَ يَزَالُ النَّاسُ بِخَيْرٍ مَا عَجَّلُوا الْفِطْرَ

“The people will remain on the right path as long as they hasten the breaking of the fast.” [Bukhari]
It is preferred to break the fast with ripe dates (moist) or water if that is unavailable.

– While breaking the fast it is recommended to say,

اللَّهم لك صُمْتُ، وعلى رزقك أفطرتُ، سبحانك وبحمدك، اللَّهمَّ تقبَّل منِّي إنك أنت السميع العليم

“Oh Allah, For you I have fasted, broken my fast with Your provision, glory and praise belong to You. Oh Allah, Accept it from me for you are All Hearing, All Knowing”.

قضاء رمضان

ومَنْ فاته رمضانُ قضى عددَ أيامِه، وسُن فورًا متتابعًا، ويحرمُ تأخيرُه إلى رمضان آخر بلا عذرٍ، فإنْ فعلَ أطعمَ لكلِّ يومٍ مسكينًا مع القضاء، وإنْ ماتَ
أُطعم عنه، ومَنْ مات وعليه نذرُ صلاةٍ أو صومٍ أو حجٍّ ونحوه فُعل مِنْ تَرِكَتِهِ، فإن لم تكن سُنَّ لِوليِّه

Making Up The Fasts of Ramadan

– Whoever has missed the days of Ramadan, needs to make up for it. It is preferred to do so immediately and in a consecutive manner. This is because the fasts of Ramadan are done consecutively. Since it is an obligation to be made up, it is best to fulfil it as soon as possible. The fasts are made up in this manner irrespective if the fast was missed/invalidated by a valid or invalid reason.

– It is impermissible to delay it till the next Ramadan without a valid excuse.
It was narrated that ‘Aishah said: “I would own fasts from Ramadan and I would not make them up until Shaban came.” [Sunan an-Nasai]

– A person has to be determined to make up the fast and cannot be negligent about it. If so, it must be made up and the person needs to feed a poor person for each day that is pending. The expiation is 1 mudd of wheat or 1/2 sa’a of dates or any staple food. If the delay is because of a legitimate excuse, then the expiation of feeding isn’t required.

– If a person is to pass away, then food is to be given on their behalf. If the person has delayed their fast because of a valid reason and passes away in this scenario, then the expiation is waived. The cost of the expiation is taken from the person’s estate/inheritance. If money is insufficient, then it is recommended that the heirs do so on the behalf of their benefactor.

Narrated Ibn Abbas: A man came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! My mother died and she ought to have fasted one month (for her missed Ramadan). Shall I fast on her behalf?” The Prophet (ﷺ) replied in the affirmative and said,

فَدَيْنُ اللَّهِ أَحَقُّ أَنْ يُقْضَى

“Allah’s debts have more right to be paid.” [Bukhari]

فصلٌ في صيام التطوع وما يُكره أو يحرم صومه

أفضلُ صومِ التطوع يومٌ ويومٌ، ويُسن ثلاثةٌ من كل شهرٍ، وكونها البيضَ، وَالإثنينُ والخميسُ، وستٌّ من شوال، والأفضلُ عقب العيد متواليةً، وشهرُ الله المُحرَّمُ، وآكدُه عاشوراءُ، ثم تاسوعاءُ، وتسعُ ذِي الحِجَّةِ، وأفضلُه يومُ عرفةَ لغيرِ حاجٍّ بها، ثم يومُ التَّروية

وكُره إفرادُ رجبٍ والسبتِ والجمعةِ وعيدٍ لكُفَّارٍ بصوم، ويومُ شكٍّ إنْ كان ليلته صَحْوٌ

ويحرمُ صومُ يومِ عيدٍ مطلقًا، وأيامِ تشريقٍ إلا عن دمِ مُتْعةٍ أو قِرانٍ

ومَنْ دخل في فرضٍ حَرُمَ قَطْعُه، ولا يلزمُ إتمامُ نفلٍ، ولا قضاءُ فاسِده غيرَ حجٍّ وعمرةٍ

Voluntary, Disliked, Impermissible Fasting

– The best voluntary fasts are those done every alternate day. This is known as the Fasting of Dawud.
It was narrated that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr said:
“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

أَفْضَلُ الصِّيَامِ صِيَامُ دَاوُدَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ كَانَ يَصُومُ يَوْمًا وَيُفْطِرُ يَوْمًا

“The best of fasting is the fast of Dawud, peace be upon him. He used to fast for one day and break his fast for one day.”‘ ‘Ata said: “someone who heard him told me that Ibn ‘Umar (said) that the Prophet said: ‘Whoever fasts every day of his life, then he has not fasted.” [Nasai]
The condition that needs to be met for doing such a type of fasting is that it does not weaken the body to do that which is obligatory or fulfilling some other required rights.

– The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ يَقُولُ كُلُّ حَسَنَةٍ بِعَشْرِ أَمْثَالِهَا إِلَى سَبْعِمِائَةِ ضِعْفٍ وَالصَّوْمُ لِي وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ الصَّوْمُ جُنَّةٌ مِنَ النَّارِ وَلَخُلُوفُ فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ وَإِنْ جَهِلَ عَلَى أَحَدِكُمْ جَاهِلٌ وَهُوَ صَائِمٌ فَلْيَقُلْ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ

“Indeed your Lord said: ‘Every good deed is rewarded with ten of the same up to seven hundred times over. Fasting is for Me, and I shall reward for it.’ Fasting is a shield from the Fire. The smell coming from the mouth of the one fasting is more pleasant to Allah than the scent of musk. If one of you is abused by an ignorant person while fasting, then let him say: ‘Indeed I am fasting.'” [Tirmidhi]
All deeds are for Allah, but this shows us the special status of fasting.

– It is recommended to fast three days of every month, especially the 3 white days. They are called the white days because of the whiteness of the full moon during the night. Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,

‏إذا صمت من الشهر ثلاثًا، فصم ثلاث عشرة، وأربع عشرة وخمس عشرة

“If you want to observe a fast on three days in a month, then fast on the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth of the (lunar) month.” [Tirmidhi].

– It is recommended to fast Mondays and Thursdays of every week. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,

تعرض الأعمال يوم الاثنين والخميس، فأحب أن يعرض عملي وأنا صائم

“Deeds of people are presented (to Allah) on Mondays and Thursdays. So I like that my actions be presented while I am fasting.” [Tirmidhi].

– It is recommended to fast 6 days of Shawwal; consecutively after Eid. It is permissible to also break them up. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ, ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَهُ سِتًّا مِنْ شَوَّالٍ كَانَ كَصِيَامِ اَلدَّهْرِ

“Whoever fasts during the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of Shawwal will be (rewarded) as if he had fasted the entire year.” [Muslim].

– It is recommended to fast the month of Muharram. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,

‏أفضل الصيام بعد رمضان‏:‏ شهر الله المحرم، وأفضل الصلاة بعد الفريضة‏:‏ صلاة الليل

“The best month for observing Saum (fasting) next after Ramadan is the month of Allah, the Muharram; and the best Salat (prayer) next after the prescribed Salat is Salat at night (Tahajjud prayers).” [Muslim].
The most stressed upon day in this month is the 10th (Ashura) and then the 9th. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,

لئن بقيت إلى قابل لأصومن التاسع

“If I remain alive till the next year, I shall also observe fast on the ninth of Muharram.” [Muslim].
Based on this Imam Ahmad said that if it is difficult to determine the beginning of the month, one should fast 3 days to make sure that they have fasted the 9th and 10th. The Prophet ﷺ said:

صِيَامُ يَوْمِ عَاشُورَاءَ إِنِّي أَحْتَسِبُ عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُكَفِّرَ السَّنَةَ الَّتِي قَبْلَهُ

“Fast the Day of Ashura, for indeed I anticipate that Allah will forgive (the sins of) the year before it.” [Tirmidhi]
It is also recommended to spend on the family in these days like it was Eid.

– It is recommended to fast the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,

ما من أيام العمل الصالح فيها أحب إلى الله من هذه الأيام‏”‏ يعني أيام العشر

“There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah than these days (i.e., the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).”
He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah?” He (ﷺ) replied,

‏ولا الجهاد في سبيل الله، إلا رجل خرج بنفسه، وماله فلم يرجع من ذلك بشيء

“Not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah, except in case one goes forth with his life and his property and does not return with either of it.” [Al- Bukhari]. The best of these days is the Day of Arafat for the non-pilgrim followed by the Day of Tarwiyah (8th Dhul Hijjah). The Prophet ﷺ said:

صِيَامُ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ إِنِّي أَحْتَسِبُ عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُكَفِّرَ السَّنَةَ الَّتِي قَبْلَهُ وَالسَّنَةَ الَّتِي بَعْدَهُ

“Fast the Day of Arafah, for indeed I anticipate that Allah will forgive (the sins) of the year after it, and the year before it.” [Tirmidhi]

– It is disliked to single out Rajab to fast entirely because it revives pre-Islamic practices. But if it is fasted with another month joint with it, then that is permissible.

– It is disliked to single out the day of Friday to fast.
Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, “None of you should fast on Friday unless he fasts a day before or after it.” [Bukhari]

– It is disliked to single out the day of Saturday to fast. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

لَا تَصُومُوا يَوْمَ اَلسَّبْتِ, إِلَّا فِيمَا اِفْتُرِضَ عَلَيْكُمْ, فَإِنْ لَمْ يَجِدْ أَحَدُكُمْ إِلَّا لِحَاءَ عِنَبٍ, أَوْ عُودَ شَجَرَةٍ فَلْيَمْضُغْهَا

“Do not fast on Saturday unless it is an obligatory fast. (Do not fast) even if you do not find anything (to eat) except for some grape peelings or the branch of a tree, in that case he should chew on it.” Related by the five Imams and its narrators are reliable. Imam Malik disapproved this narration, and Abu Dawud said that this narration is abrogated.

– It is disliked to fast on non-Muslim holidays, or a day that is singled out for veneration. Imam Ibn Taymiyyah deemed fasting such days to be impermissible. It is disliked to fast the day of doubt on a clear night.

– It is impermissible to fast the Days of Eid. No fasts can be made up on these days. Scholars have an ijma on this matter. ”

– It is impermissible to fast the Days of Tashriq. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

أَيَّامُ اَلتَّشْرِيقِ أَيَّامُ أَكْلٍ وَشُرْبٍ, وَذِكْرٍ لِلَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

“The days of Tashriq (the three days following Eid al-Adha, i.e. 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul Hijjah) are days of eating, drinking and remembering (dhikr) of Allah, the Most Great and Glorious.” [Muslim]. These days can only be fasted if it is a replacement for Mut’ah or Qiran’s blood sacrifice. Those doing Hajj Tamattu or Qiran, then those without a sacrificial animal can fast on these days as a replacement for the animal.
Narrated Ibn Umar: Fasting for those who perform ,Hajj-at-Tamattu (in lieu of the Hadi which they cannot afford) may be performed up to the day of `Arafat. And if one does not get a Hadi and has not fasted (before the `Id) then one should fast of the days of Mina. (11, 12 and 13th of Dhul Hajja). [Bukhari]

– It is impermissible to abruptly end an obligatory act of worship without a valid excuse, but it is not required to complete a voluntary act. There is no need to make it up, except in the case of a voluntary Hajj or Umrah.
A’isha, the Mother of the Believers, reported: The Apostle of Allah (ﷺ) came to me one day and said: Is there anything with you (to eat)? I said: No. Thereupon he said: I shall then be fasting. Then he came to us another day and we said: Messenger of Allah, hais has been offered to us as a gift. Thereupon he said: Show that to me; I had been fasting since morning. He then ate it. [Muslim]

تحري ليلة القدر

وتُرجى ليلةُ القدر في العشرِ الأخير من رمضان، وأوتارُه آكدُ، وأبلَغُها ليلةُ سبعٍ وعشرين، ويكون من دُعائه فيها: “اللَّهم إنَّك عفوٌّ تحبُّ العفوَ فاعفُ عنِّي”

The Night of Decree

– It is hoped that the Night of Decree happens in the last ten nights of Ramadan especially on the odd nights where 27th night is stressed upon.

Narrated Ibn Umar: Some people were shown the Night of Qadr as being in the last seven days (of the month of Ramadan). The Prophet (ﷺ) said,

الْتَمِسُوهَا فِي السَّبْعِ الأَوَاخِرِ

“Seek it in the last seven days (of Ramadan). [Bukhari]
Imam Ibn Qaid lists 3 reasons why this Night is called Laylatul Qadr:

  • When the decree is written for the entire year.
  • The Night has an important degree or a station with Allah.
  • The obedience/acts of worship on that Night has a high reward, that is of a 1000 months worth.

The wisdom of it being hidden is that one strives hard to seek it out in the entire ten nights instead of just on the 27th etc.

– The following supplication is to be recited on that night – Aishah reported: I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! If I realize Lailat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree), what should I supplicate in it?” He (ﷺ) replied,

قولي‏:‏ اللهم إنك عفو تحب العفو فاعفُ عني

“You should supplicate: O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love forgiveness; so forgive me).” [Ahmad, Tirmidhi].

باب الإعتكاف

الإعتكافُ مسنونٌ كُلَّ وقتٍ، وفي رمضان آكدُ خصوصًا عَشْرَهُ الأخيرَ، ويصحُّ بلا صومٍ، لا بِلا نيَّةٍ، ويلزمُ بنذرٍ، ولا يصحُّ إلا في مسجدٍ، ولا ممَّن تلزمهُ الجماعةُ إلا حيثُ تُقامُ

وأفضلُ المساجد: الحرامُ، فمسجدُ المدينة، فالأقصى، فإنْ عيَّن أحدَها لم يُجْزِ مَا دُونه، وعَكْسُه بِعَكْسِه، وإنْ عيَّن مسجدًا غير الثلاثة لم يَتعيَّن، ومَنْ نَذَرَ زمنًا معينًا دخل مُعْتَكَفَه قَبْلَه بيسيرٍ، وخرج بعد آخِرِه

ولا يخرج مُعتكفٌ إلا لما لا بدَّ له منه، ولا يَعودُ مريضًا، ولا يَشهد جنازةً إلا أن يَشترطه

ويفسدُ اعتكافٌ بِوطء في فرجٍ، وسُكْرٍ، وخروجٍ بلا حاجةٍ

ويُسنُّ اشتغاله بالقُرَب واجتنابُ ما لا يَعنيه

Chapter of I’tikaf

– I’tikaf linguistically means to be attached to something. Allah showcases the linguistic usage in the Quran,

وَجَاوَزْنَا بِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْبَحْرَ فَأَتَوْا عَلَىٰ قَوْمٍ يَعْكُفُونَ عَلَىٰ أَصْنَامٍ لَّهُمْ

And We took the Children of Israel across the sea; then they came upon a people intent in devotion (يَعْكُفُونَ) to [some] idols of theirs. [Surah al-A’araf, 138]
As per the Shariah, it refers to a devotional state where the person doesn’t require ghusl. The person is of sound mind even if below the age of discernment. Their devotion to the masjid for the purpose of worshipping Allah.

– I’tikaf is not invalidated by loss of consciousness. It is recommended at all times as per ijma and proven by the practice of the Messenger both alone and with his wives. It can be initiated at any time and is not restricted by Ramadan. That being said, the stressed upon time, are the days of Ramadan, especially in the last 10.

– Fasting is not a condition for the validity of I’tikaf. It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: “Umar had made a vow to spend a night in ‘Itikaf in Al-Masjid Al-Haram. He asked the Messenger of Allah about that, and he ordered him to perform the ‘Itikaf.” [Nasai]
Fuqaha state that if fasting was a condition, then he couldn’t have fasted in the night.

– I’tikaf is not valid without an intention. A person needs to intend that they are entering the state of I’tikaf even if its for a small period of time after the obligatory prayers. I’tikaf is obligated upon the one who has made an oath to do so.

– I’tikaf is invalid if not in the Masjid. Allah says in the Quran,

وَلَا تُبَاشِرُوهُنَّ وَأَنتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ تِ

And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. [Surah al-Baqarah, 187]
Masjid is any place that has been established for prayer. But I’tikaf is invalid in such a place where congregational prayer is not established. This would lead to constantly leaving the place to pray and leaving in such a manner would invalidate the I’tikaf. I’tikaf of women and bonds-women is also valid in the masjid.

– The best places for I’tikaf is Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, Masjid al-Nabawi in Madinah, Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem. If one of these 3 masajid is specified in an oath for I’tikaf or prayer etc, then doing so in a lesser masjid does not suffice. The opposite of this however is valid. What does lesser masjid in this context mean?
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

صَلَاةٌ فِي مَسْجِدِي هَذَا أَفْضَلُ مِنْ أَلْفِ صَلَاةٍ فِيمَا سِوَاهُ إِلَّا اَلْمَسْجِدَ اَلْحَرَامَ , وَصَلَاةٌ فِي اَلْمَسْجِدِ اَلْحَرَامِ أَفْضَلُ مِنْ صَلَاةٍ فِي مَسْجِدِي بِمِائَةِ صَلَاةٍ

“Offering prayer in my mosque (in Madinah) is better than one thousand prayers elsewhere, save for those offered prayer in al-Masjid al-Haram (in Makkah). And prayer offered in al-Masjid al-Haram is better than prayer offered in my mosque by one hundred prayers.” [Ahmad]
If another masjid other than these 3 is specified in an oath, then it is not obligatory to follow this principle of a greater masjid shown above. Why?
The Prophet (ﷺ) said,

اَ تُشَدُّ الرِّحَالُ إِلاَّ إِلَى ثَلاَثَةِ مَسَاجِدَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ، وَمَسْجِدِ الرَّسُولِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَى

“Do not set out on a journey except for three Mosques i.e. Al-Masjid-AI-Haram, the Mosque of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) , and the Mosque of Al-Aqsa” [Bukhari]

– Whoever specifies a particular day or time, then they need to enter the Masjid just before sunset of that day and to leave after the sunset of the last day.

– One should not leave the masjid unless absolutely necessary. One can leave to get food if there is no one to provide it, for obligatory washing, to attend Jumuah if it is not established in your masjid, or to provide witness in a case. One is not allowed to visit the sick or attend a funeral in the state of I’tikaf unless stipulated in the intention made prior to entering the state of I’tikaf.

– Intimacy, drunkenness’, and leaving the masjid without a need invalidates the I’tikaf. One should stress upon doing acts of worship and avoid unimportant matters, business etc while in this state.

Based on the Hanbali primer, Umdat al-Talib authored by Imam Mansur Ibn Yunus al-Buhuti al-Hanbali as taught by Sheikh Abu Ibrahim John Starling حفظه الله

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