Let’s know about Ramadan.
Ramadan is the 9th month of Islamic calendar. It is called the month of freedom and expiation. It means the sins will be expiated and the person becomes free of sins. It is the 4th pillar of Islam. The fasting of complete one month is obligatory upon everyone who is Muslim, sane, attained the age of puberty and has sound health. Whoever denies dissipates or disputes cannot be called a Muslim.
يآأيها الذين ءأمنوأ كتب عليكم الصيام كما كتب على الذين من قبلكم لعلكم تتقون .
“O you who believe, the fast is decreed for you and those who preceded you perhaps then you will become venerators.”
(The Holy Qur’an 2:183)
As-Siyam means fasting or ‘to abstain from something’. Fasting in the month of Ramadan means abstaining from eating, drinking, sexual intercourse from dawn until sunset with the explicit intention of doing so (for the sake of Allah).
The main aims of this ordinance are to encourage ‘piety’ among the people and to show gratitude to Allah for the revelation of the Holy Qur’an.
‘Piety’ means goodness or god-fearing. It keeps a person away from all evils and wickedness and makes him adorable and amiable. Its rewards also are high like
1. Allah loves pious.
2. Allah’s mercy surrounds them.
3. Allah facilitates them towards prosperity.
4. They shall triumph over the other people in the Day of Judgement.
5. They will be protected from the depravity of Satan.
6. They will be given beneficial knowledge.
7. They will be provided with comfortable livelihood.
8. Their abode will be amid gardens and rivers in the paradise on a seat of contentment, in the presence of Allah the Exalted, the Most
The virtues of this month are,
1. The Holy Qur’an is revealed in the month of Ramadan.
2. The gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained during this month. An angel calls out ‘O you intend to do good deeds, have glad tidings. O you, who intend to do evil, refrain until Ramadan is completed.
3. There is a Night (during this month) which is better than thousand months.
4. Whoever fast in the month of Ramadan, with faith and seeks Allah’s pleasure and reward will have his previous sins forgiven.” (Related by Ahmed)
5. Allah the Most High will recompense the fasting servant.
6. Every good deed will be rewarded ten to seven hundred folds.
7. The reward of the fast will be given by The Almighty Allah Himself.
8. The supplications of the fasting person will not be turn down until he breaks his fast.
9. The fasting will intercede for the fasting person on the Day of Judgement.
10. A special gate called ‘Al Rayyan’ is there in the Paradise which will be opened only for the fasting people.
11. The hell fire will be kept away at the distance of 70 years.
12. An Umrah during Ramadan is equal in reward to that of a pilgrimage in the company of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).
13. The smell of the mouth of fasting person is more agreeable to God than the perfume of musk.
14. The Angels supplicate for them until they break the fast.
15. Allah the most high, would embellish everyday his Paradise, for His virtuous servants.
16. The wicked Satan will be constrained of his mischief.
The advent of the month of Ramadan can be ascertained in one of the two ways:
Prophet Muhammad SAWS said, “Fast on sighting the crescent and break the fast on sighting it, and if the vision is blurred, then complete thirty days of Sha’ban.” (related by Bukhari, Muslim an others) It means,
1. Sighting the crescent of the moon.
(-After the moon is seen anywhere in the world, it becomes obligatory for all Muslims to begin fasting.
-Most Jurists state that the new moon must have been reported by at least two just witnesses)
2. Or Completion of thirty days of the month of Sha’ban.
The pillars or the essential elements of the fast are,
1. The Intention (the intention must be made before Fajr and during every night of Ramadan. Prophet SAWS said, “whoever does not determine to fast before fajr will have no fast” (related by Ahmed, An-Nasa’I, At-Thirmidhi, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Majah etc)
(The intention is valid during any part of the night. It need not be spoken, as it is an act of heart which does not involve the tongue)
2. To refrain from all things which cause an infringement of the fast from dawn until the nightfall.
Fasting is obligatory upon;
4. Healthy (able to fast)
Those who are exempted from fasting without any compensation/ransom or ‘make up’ are:
2. Young children who do not attain the age of puberty (but they should be encouraged to fast)
Those who are exempted from fasting but must pay a ransom are:
1. Elderly men and women who are too weak to fast.
2. Those who are chronically ill.
3. Those who have to perform difficult jobs under harsh circumstances and cannot find any other way to support themselves.
The above people are obliged to feed one poor person a day the whole month.
Those who are allowed to break the fast but are liable to pay the ransom as well as make up the fast are:
1. The pregnant women
2. The Breast-feeding women
Note: If they fear only for the unborn or new born babies they are supposed to feed the poor as well as make up their fast later.
(This rule is according to Ahmed and Shafa’i) If they fear for themselves or both their child and themselves they are only to make up the missed days later)
Those who have to make up the missed days of fasting are:
2. Those who are ill (not chronically)
3. One who is healthy but fears that he will become ill if he fasts can break the fast, or who is overcomes by hunger or thirst and fears that he may die because of it must make up the days fasting that he missed.
4. Menstruating women
The Manners of Fasting:
(1) Eating a predawn meal called suhoor. As Prophet (SA) said there are blessings in it and Angels pray for those who have pre-dawn meals. This should be eaten between middle of the night and dawn. There should be at least the gap of 50 verses (the time to be recited) between suhoor and Fajr.
(2) Hastening in breaking the fast. It is preferred for the fasting person to hasten in breaking the fast when the sun has set. Means at the Adhan of Maghrib.
Acts which are permissible during the ‘Fast’
1. Taking bath or due to thirst or extreme heat one can pour water over one’s self or submerge one’s self in water.
2. Applying Kajal or Surma (Kohl) or eye drops or anything else to the eyes.
3. Kissing the wife for one who has control over himself.
4. Any type of Injections (whether in the muscles or veins)
5. Cupping to drain blood.
6. Rinsing the mouth and nose.
7. The things which one cannot protect oneself from such as swallowing one’s saliva, the dust of the road, sifting flour and so on are all overlooked.
The Actions that void the Fast:
1. Intentional eating or drinking
2. Intentional vomiting.
3. Menstruation and Post child birth bleeding.
4. The Ejaculation of sperm even if it is just due to kissing, hugging, or masturbation.
5. If one eats, drinks, or has intercourse, thinking that the sun has set or that fajr has not occurred.
6. Sexual intercourse while knowing of the prohibition
7. The Absorption of anything into the stomach from an opening even if it be a little stone, if it were done deliberately and electively, while knowing of the prohibition.
8. Mental disorder even momentarily and loss of consciousness throughout the day.
9. Apostasy from Islam, God forbid.
All the above causes need to be made up with the fast after the Ramadan, except for the sexual intercourse.
Those who have sexual intercourse during a day (while they have the intention of fasting) of Ramadan must make up the day with expiation.
The Expiation is:
1. Should free a slave or
2. Should fast for two consecutive months or
3. Should feed sixty poor people.