What is meant by fasting?
        Bismihi Ta'ala 

Q. *What is meant by fasting?*
R. Fasting means refraining from food, drink and sexual relations from dawn to sunset with the sole intention to achieve reward from Allah Ta’ala.   

Q. When is fasting compulsory? 
R. Fasting is compulsory during the days of the whole month of Ramadan.   

Q. On whom is it compulsory? 
R. It is compulsory on men and women as from the age of puberty, who are not travelling. A boy reaches the age of puberty on the first ejaculation, whereas a girl becomes pubescent with her first menses (minimum 9 years old). Those who travel abroad are recommended to fast. If they missed them, they should replace them afterwards.   

Q. *Which actions invalidate fasting?*
R. Briefly, the consumption of food and drink, the use of medicine and sexual acts, among other acts. Hereunder is a detailed list that breaks fasts:- 
1. Eating knowingly.
2. Drinking knowingly. 
3. Having sexual relations with penetration, voluntarily or involuntarily. 
4. Using a suppository. 
5. Deep penetration of wet fingers or any humid medical instrument or any wet instrument inside the vagina or the annus.
6. Pouring liquid medicine into the ears. But some Ulamas say no because it does not reach stomach or brain. 
7. Dripping drops into the nose. 
8. Dripping drops into the throat. One should avoid gargling during wudhu when fasting. 
9. Swallowing scraps of food blocked between teeth, of the size of a chickpea. In case the scraps of food are removed from the mouth and then swallowed, then scraps of even a lesser size will invalidate the fast.
10. Breathing wilfully the smells arising from a fire of oudh or other perfume, specially lit for that purpose. 
11. Smoking a cigarette, a pipe or a hookah. 
12. Wilfully inducing vomiting and vomited full mouth. 
13. Swallowing blood or saliva mixed with blood. If both saliva and blood are of equal volume, then the fast will be invalidated. However, if there is no taste of blood, or if the mixture of saliva and blood is more white than red, then the fast will be valid. 
14. Ejaculation of semen by masturbation or during the sex act even without penetration. 
15. Eating and drinking while believing that the time of fasting is over. 
16. Eating or drinking by error. Example: Believing that vaccination has invalidated the fast, one has consumed food or drink. 
17. Menstruation: regular monthly discharge of blood in women. It is incumbent upon a menstruating woman to break her fast immediately when sure that it is her days of menstruation.  
18. Vaccination in stomach or brain. 
19. Dressing of a wound in the stomach or the brain. 
20. Consuming a chewing-gum by mastication. 
21. Using a medical pump for asthma (inhaler).   

Q. In which cases should the fast be replaced? 
R. In all the cases listed above fast should be replaced.   

Q. When does the kaffarah become compulsory? 
R. In the first two cases listed above (1&2), the fast must be replaced and the kaffarah will be compulsory. In the third case (3), if the act was voluntary, then both the replacement and the kaffarah will apply. If otherwise the act was involuntary, then only the replacement will be necessary. In the case of NO 18, the kaffarah will be compulsory, unless, according to circumstances, there is evidence that the fast has not been invalidated. Kaffarah means the fast of 60 consecutive days. 

Q. If someone has fainted or has lost his mind or has remained in a coma for several days during Ramadan, should he replace the fast for all the days? 
R. If he was fasting and became unconscious, then for that day replacement is not necessary. If however, he was unconcious for several days, then replacement for those days after the first day will be necessary.   

Q. Should a sick person pay fidya? 
R. A sick person who is not fasting due to illness should replace all lost days of fasting when he recovers his health. No fidya applies in his case. Fidya applies only to persons who have no hope of regaining their health. A fidyah should be paid for each day of missed fast. Please refer to your local ulamas for the rate of Fidyah as it is the same as the rate of Sadaqatul Fitr according to hanafis.  

Q. Should a pregnant woman or one who is breastfeeding her baby compulsorily fast? 
R. It depends on her health. If there is no threat to her health or to breastfeed her baby, then she should fast. If milk or her health would be affected, then she should not fast. Later on she will have to replace the missed days of fasting. One may evaluate the medical condition of the mother by a pious doctor.   

Q. What happens in the case of a person who has broken his fast on several days before? 
R. If he was of age of puberty when he broke the fast which he had kept with intention, then he should replace that particular fast plus observe 60 days’ consecutive fast as kaffarah. That kaffarah will suffice him for several fasts missed during one Ramadan. If he has broken several fasts in different Ramadans, then he will have to observe one kaffarah for each Ramadan. However, if he did not observe fast because he had no intention to do so then only replacement that particular fast will be necessary. No Kaffarah apply then. He need only to replace that fast only. But in any case he should make sincere tawbah and repent to Allah. The beloved prophet SAW said: ‘‘If someone neglects one fast of Ramadhaan without valid excuse or sickness, then he will not be able to compensate that fast even if he had to fast his whole life! ’’(Bukhari)   

Q. Which actions are considered makruh (detestable) during fasting? 
R. The following acts do not invalidate the fast, but are detestable and should therefore be avoided:- 

1. Caressing or kissing one’s wife if it can lead to the sex act. 
2. Sex without penetration. 
3. Tasting food and then spitting it out. If it is absolute necessity, then tolerable if spit immediately without swallowing. 
4. Brushing the teeth using toothpaste or by using charcoal in mastication. 
5. Using mouth wash.   

Q. Which acts are authorised during fasting?
R. All acts not already mentioned above are allowed and tolerated during fasting. Some are given hereunder:- 

1. Swallowing saliva. 
2. Using itar or perfume on the body. 
3. Applying soorma (kohl) or eyedrops in the eyes. 
4. To undergo vaccination. 
5. Swallowing dust.
6. Inhaling smoke or incense (lobaan) involuntarily. 
7. Swallowing rheum or nasal discharges. 
8. Involuntary vomiting. 
9. Eating, drinking and having sex through forgetfulness. 
10. Using hair oil. 
11. Having body massage with or without oil. 
12. Taking a bath. 
13. Using miswaak (wooden) to brush the teeth. This action is recommended even during fasting. 
14. Donating blood or drawing blood from the body by cuppings. 
15. Being on a drip (serum). 
16. Dressing wounds on the body except the belly, the stomach or the brain. 
17. Issue of semen by eye contact without bodily touch. 
18. Having a wet dream (issue of semen during sleep). The person has simply to take a bath and go on with his fasting. 
19. Applying medecine to genitals of a man. 
20. Applying beauty cream or medical ointment to the body. 
21. Having a haircut or having fingernails and toenails cut.
22. Having a tooth extracted or filled without swallowing anything. 
23. Fainting while fasting. 
24. Starting to fast without ghusl (greater cleanliness). 
25. Undergoing x-ray or mammography.   

Q. Which actions are particularly reprehensible and not recommended during fasting? 
R. In fact, all sins are still more prohibited during fasting. However, the hadiths have singled out some actions. Hence, such actions should more strictly be avoided:- 

1. Backbitting (speaking ill of someone in his absence). 
2. Lying. 
3. Dishonesty. 
4. Shameful Deeds. 
5. Futile Discussion.
6. Quarelling. 
7. Consuming prohibited. 
8. Seeing or listening to gestures or conversations which are indecent and immoral.   

Q. If someone has started his Ramadhaan in another country and comes to our country during that month, should he fast even if it means he will have to observe a 31st day of fasting?
R. Yes. He must compulsorily fast even if it is his 31st day. Since it is Allah’s decree that we must fast, wherever we are, he will have to comply. The Coran has stated: «Hence, whoever amongst you is present in this month, he should fast» (Surah 2 verse 185) The beloved Prophet (Swalallahou `Alaihi Wasallam) has stated: Eid is the day on which muslims (of your place) celebrate the festival of Eid» (Tirmizi)  

Q. What are the virtues of Sehri (dawn meal) and of Iftaar (time of breaking of fast)? 
R. The meal of Sehri is recommended though it is not compulsory. Hence, if someone has woken up late, after Sehri time, he should observe the fast without any food or drink. It would be a serious mistake to consume anything in such a case. Hence, one must wake up early and have that meal, since the prophet (SAW) has recommended sehri at the last hour of the night for several reasons: In the first instance, it is a distinction feature of muslim life (Muslim); then, it is a blessed meal (Bukhari) and Allah Ta’ala bestows His special Mercies on those who take this meal of Sehri (Ahmad). The prophet’s (SAW) Sehri meal was essentially made up of water and DATES. 

NOTE Besides, the prophet (SAW) used to take Iftaar meal immediately after sunset. Bukhari has reported that the Holy Prophet (SAW) has stated: «My Ummah will be in good state as long as they perform Iftaar immediately after sunset». The prophet (SAW) used to eat some fresh DATES and then drink water. He used to recite the following duahs:  «Allahoumma laka soumto wa ‘alaa rizqika aftarto, fataqabbal minni innaka antas samee’ul ‘aleem» (Kanz, Tabrani).  Allahoummah inni as-alouka birahmatikal lati wasi`at kulla shai-in an taghfirali.(Ibn Majah) (And, after Iftaar) : Zahaba zamaou, wabtallatil ‘ourouqou wa sabatal ajrou Insha Allah. (Abu Dawood). Do niyat of sehri by iftaar: Bisawmi ghadin nawaytou: I intend to fast tomorrow. 

*And Know that by waking up for sehri, it is already a niyah.(Bahr)*

Mufti MACKOOJEE 
+23057921333
 
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
 
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