Question: What is the niyyah of fasting? How should one make niyyah of fasting?
Answer: It is not necessary for a person to pass the niyyah for fasting through his mind or to say that he would be fasting on the following day. In fact, it is sufficient for him to decide that in obedience to the command of Allah he will not perform from the time of Adhan for Fajr prayers up to Maghrib, any act which may invalidate the fast. If a person forgot that it was the month of Ramadhan, and takes notice of this before Zuhr and if he has not performed some act which will invalidates a fast and he makes niyyah, his fast is valid. But if he takes notice of this after Zuhr, he should not perform any act till Maghrib which invalidates a fast and should, as an obligatory precaution, also observe qadha of that fast after Ramadhan.
Answer: It is not necessary to utter the niyah (intention) verbally. To pass it through your mind or to simply have the intention to perform it would suffice.
Answer: If fasting prevents him from doing work as the sole source of earning of his livelihood i.e. it causes him weakness to the extent that he is unable to fast or causes excessive thirst, making it unbearable for him to fast, hence, if it is possible to change his work or to leave work during the month of Ramadhan using his savings or borrowing money from someone, he should make niyyah of fasting at dawn and should abstain from eating and drinking until it becomes extremely difficult to fast in which case it is permissible to eat or drink at the time of extreme hunger and thirst, respectively, and the precaution is that he should suffice to the necessary amount (of food or water). He should continue fasting for the rest of the day, and he should also observe the qadha of that day after the month of Ramadhan and he will not be liable to any kaffara (compensation).
Question: I have a daughter who has attained the age of puberty and she must fast according to Islamic law but she is too weak to fast. How should she go about fasting?
Answer: A person cannot abandon fast on account of weakness. However, if she is so weak that fasting becomes totally unbearable, there is no objection to her breaking the fast. However, the necessary precaution is that she should suffice to eating and drinking to the extent of necessity only and she should also observe the qadha after the month of Ramadhan and she will not be liable to any kaffara.
Question: I am a student and have to attend my classes in the month of Ramadhan. I also have important exams in this month. If I have to fast, I will not be able to concentrate on my studies. Given the adverse effects of fasting on my exams, should I still fast?
Answer: Attending your classes and studying in the month of Ramadhan is not a valid excuse to escape fasting. Of course, if one is left with one of the two options i.e. he should attend his class or observe fast and that not attending his classes will put him into such difficulty that is not bearable normally, he should make niyyah of fasting at dawn and should abstain from eating and drinking until it becomes extremely difficult to fast in which case it is permissible to eat or drink at the time of extreme hunger and thirst sufficing to the necessary amount (of food or water). He should observe the qadha of that day after the month of Ramadhan and he will not be liable to any kaffara.
If a person has the means and can go out of the city with the intention to travel as far as 44 kilometers, he can go on a short journey and break his fast during the journey and come back to his hometown to attend his classes or exams.
One should travel 44 kilometers to break his fast. If the outward and return distances make 44 km, he should break his fast. Remember, the beginning of 8 farsakh (44 km) should be calculated from a point beyond which he will be deemed a traveler, and this point is represented by the last boundary of a city. In certain very big cities, it would be probably reckoned from the end of locality.
Answer: It is obligatory to observe fast and it is not permissible to break it for the said reason. However, it is permissible to go out of the city with the intention of traveling as far as 44 kilometers which is the required distance for a traveler to break his fast. He should observe the qadha of that day after the month of Ramadhan and there is no kaffara for breaking the fast.
One should travel 44 kilometers to break his fast. If the outward and return distances make 44 km, he should break his fast. Remember, the beginning of 8 farsakh (44 km) should be calculated from a point beyond which he will be deemed a traveler, and this point is represented by the last boundary of a city.
Question: I become extremely thirsty while fasting. Can that be an excuse for breaking my fast?
Answer: If a person who is observing fast becomes thirsty and it is feared on his part that fasting might be harmful to him or it is extremely difficult for him that it is not bearable normally, it is permissible for him to drink at the time of extreme thirst to the extent of necessity only in which case his fast becomes void and he should not eat or drink more than that out of respect for the month of Ramadhan and should continue to restrain himself for the rest of the day, as an obligatory precaution. He should observe the qadha of that day after the month of Ramadhan. If he is not fasting in the month Ramadhan and he has enough time to perform the Qadha of his missed fast, he can break his fast.
Question: What is the Islamic law about someone who cannot fast due to old age?
Answer: Fasting is not obligatory on a person who cannot fast because of old age, or for whom fasting causes extreme hardship. He or she should give one mudd (750 grams) of food stuffs to a poor Shia Muslim for every fast.
Fasting is not obligatory on a person who suffers from a disease which causes excessive thirst, making it unbearable, or full of hardship. But in the latter case, that is, of hardship, he should give one mudd of food to poor, for every fast.
Question: What is the Islamic ruling about someone who is suffering from a disease? How should he go about fasting?
Answer: He who fears for himself of falling ill as a result of fasting is not required to fast. Nor is he who believes that fasting would worsen his poor state of health in any way, be it hampering his recovery or increasing his pain. This should, however, be commensurate with what is generally accepted in these circumstances. If he fears that fasting might be harmful to him, it is permissible to break his fast. And if his illness continues until the next Ramadhan, Qadha is not obligatory but he should give 750 grams of food (wheat, flour or bread or any kind of food) for each day to poor Shiites. If he recovers within the same year, only Qadha is obligatory on him and he will not have to pay kaffara.
As for a patient whose health is not affected by fasting, he must fast and his fasting is in order.
Answer: You cannot fast in the said case. If your problem continues until the next Ramadhan, Qadha is also not obligatory either; you should give one mudd of food stuffs as fidya for each day. One mudd is equal to 750 grams.
Question: I am pregnant and would like to know whether I should fast or not.
Answer: Fasting is not obligatory on a woman in an advanced stage of pregnancy, for whom fasting is harmful or for the child she carries. For every day, however, she should give one mudd (750 grams) of food to poor. In both the cases, she has to give qadha for the fasts which are left out.
Also, if a woman who is not in an advanced stage of pregnancy but fasting is harmful or unbearably difficult, fasting is not wajib on her. She must keep the qadha later and there is no kaffara on her.
In both case, if a woman fails to observe the Qadha of the missed fast until next Ramadhan, she must, as an obligatory precaution, give another kaffara because of delaying the Qadha.
Question: There is a woman who is breastfeeding her child and the child is dependent on the milk it is receiving from its mother. Can the mother break her fast since she fears for her child? Is it permissible for her not to fast?
Answer: If a woman is suckling a child, whether she is the mother or a nurse, or suckles it free, and the quantity of her milk is small, and if fasting is harmful to her or to the child, it will not be obligatory on her to fast. And she should give one mudd of food stuffs (wheat or flour or noodles) per day to poor.
In both the cases, she will later give qadha for the fasts left out. But this rule is specifically applicable in a circumstance where this is the only way of feeding milk to the child – (as an obligatory precaution). But if there is an alternative, like, when more than one woman offer to suckle the child, then establishing this rule is a matter of Ishkal.
Question: What is the Islamic ruling about someone who does not fast intentionally or breaks his fast deliberately?
Answer: He should repent and seek divine forgiveness and it is necessary for him to observe the Qadha of the fasts which he has left out. As for kaffara (penalty), the details are as follows:
If a person breaks his fast by eating or drinking or sexual intercourse without knowing that he must fast or was certain that fasting is not obligatory on him or broke his fast due to inculpable ignorance (ignorance out of innocence), it is not obligatory to give kaffarah (penalty). In case, however, he was guilty of not learning the rules, then kaffara is obligatory on him, as an obligatory precaution.
In case he broke his fast and was fully conscious of his duty to observe fast or that he was aware that what he is doing invalidates the fast, kaffara becomes obligatory. The kaffara is to feed sixty poor even if he has broken his fast with something haram.
If he knew that it was necessary to observe Qadha in the same year but he did not observe the Qadha till next Ramadhan, he should give 750 grams of food stuffs (such as flour, bread, noodles or date etc.) as kaffara for each day.
If a person cannot observe the Qadha due to illness or other problems that hinder him from observing the Qadha, he should leave a Will asking his relatives to observe the Qadha on his behalf.
Question: What is the Islam ruling in regards to someone who attained the age of puberty but he/she did not fast? Does he/she have to give kaffara in addition to the Qadha of the fasts?
Answer: If he thinks that he did not know the meaning of taklif (obligation) at that time or considers probable that he was certain that eating was allowed, observing the Qadha of the skipped fast only is sufficient.
Answer: Puberty in males could be confirmed if one of three signs was present.
First: Completion of fifteen lunar calendar years of age (equal to 14 years and seven months and fifteen days of the solar calendar).
Second: Ejaculation through sexual intercourse, or seminal discharge while awake or asleep.
3.Third: The presence of pubic hair, of the rough type, similar to head hair.
Fourth: The presence of hair on the face and above the lips.
Answer: She is considered adult at the completion of nine lunar years (equal to eight years and eight months and twenty days of the solar calendar).
Question: I masturbated in Ramadhan and I did not know that masturbation is haram. How should I go about my previous fasts?
Answer: If you knew in the beginning that masturbation is haram and that it invalidates fasting, you should observe qadha and give kaffara. The kaffara is to either feed sixty poor and needy Shia people or fast for sixty days (31 days in a row). If you did not know the hukm (ruling) and masturbated due to inculpable (innocent) ignorance, your fast is in order and qadha is not necessary.
Answer: If a person masturbates with the intention of ejaculating and actually ejaculates, his fast is rendered invalid and he must make it up by way of qadha as well as pay the penalty (kaffara) which is fasting for two successive months or feeding sixty poor people. If he masturbates with the intention of ejaculating but does not ejaculate, he must complete the fast with the intention of pleasing the Almighty and then do it qadha.
If he masturbates without the intention of ejaculating and he does not normally ejaculate, knowing that discharge is probable and it actually happens —he has to do qadha without the penalty. However, if such a person was confident that no discharge would take place and it actually happens — no qadha is required. In all these cases, there is no difference between a man and a woman.
Question: If a person indulges in foreplay without the intention of allowing the semen to be discharged, will his fast become void?
Answer: If a fasting person indulges in courtship without the intention of allowing the semen to be discharged, and also, if he is sure that semen will not be discharged, his fast is in order, even if semen may be discharged unexpectedly. However, if he is not sure about the discharge and it takes place, then his fast is void.
Question: A believer fasts but does not know that intentionally getting into state of janabat invalidates fasting—what should he do [when he finds out]?
Answer: It is obligatory on him to make up those fasts; however, there is no penalty on him as long as he was [erroneously] convinced that being in a state of janabah does not invalidate fast or was unaware of that ruling.
Answer: If a person observing fast knows that if he sleeps during the day time he will become Mohtalim (i.e. semen will be discharged from his body during sleep) it is permissible for him to sleep, even if he may not be inconvenienced by not sleeping. And if he becomes Mohtalim, his fast does not become void.
Answer: The fluid which a woman feels during foreplay or lustful thinking but it is not much to spread to other parts, is clean. Ghusl does not become obligatory in this case and it does not make wudhu void either but if there is much fluid and is called ejaculation and the fluid spreads to the underwear and this normally takes place during orgasm and full satisfaction, the fluid is najis (impure) and in this case ghusl becomes obligatory. In fact, if emission takes place without orgasm, the necessary precaution is that it is najis and it causes janabah.
Hence, if a woman enters the state of janabah intentionally with the details mentioned above, both Qadha and kaffara become obligatory on her. The obligatory precaution is that she should restrain from eating and drinking for the rest of the day.
1Question: You are requested to let us know the rules of fasting in the month of Ramadhan for those who are living in northern hemisphere keeping in view the following scenarios:
Where there is either night or day during 24 hours throughout the month of Ramadhan. There is no sunset or sunrise in the entire month.
Where there is day or night during 24 hours but there is no dawn which precedes sunrise and is the starting time for fasting. In fact, when then sun disappears behind the horizon, the brightness is still there and it continues until the sun rises once again.
Where there is day and night during 24 hours and there is dawn also but the days are very long i.e. it is for twenty hours which make fasting very difficult.
Answer: 1. As for the first case, it is obligatory for a duty-bound [mukallaf] to move during the month of Ramadhan to a place with ‘normal’ day and night so that he can start fasting, if not, he should move after that month to fast as qadha (making up the missed fast).
When it comes to the second scenario, in case the darkness recedes (decreases) little by little after sunset and then it starts increasing once again – be it after two or three hours –, when it starts increasing, it is then the starting time for fasting. And if the darkness or brightness presumably remains the same from the time of sunset until sunrise, the precaution is to take the middle point as the starting time for fasting and abstention from eating and drinking. The duty-bound can get rid of this precaution by moving to another city or place where regular dawn precedes sunrise. He should observe fast there or else he must go on a journey and observe the qadha of missed fast later.
As for the third case, it is still obligatory on the duty-bound [mukallaf] to fast from dawn to dusk, if he has the ability to do so and if it does not put him to difficulty which is normally unbearable. He can also go on a journey so that he may not have to observe fast during the month but he will have to observe the qadha later. If fasting is not possible for him, he should either travel or should make niyyah of fasting at dawn and should abstain from eating and drinking until it becomes extremely difficult to fast in which case it is permissible to eat or drink at the time of extreme hunger and thirst, respectively, and the precaution is that he should suffice to the necessary amount (of food or water). He should continue fasting for the rest of the day, and he should also observe the qadha of that day after the month of Ramadhan and he will not be liable to any kaffara. God knows best.