In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful
All praise is due to Allah who made fasting a shield for us as well as a path to Jannah.
I praise Allah, the Most Exalted; I am grateful to Him, I glorify Him, and I ask His forgiveness.
I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah alone, without any partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is Allah’s worshipping servant and Messenger. He completely conveyed Allah’s message, fulfilled all that was entrusted to him, sincerely counseled his followers, and all the way until the end of his life, he struggled for Allah as He rightfully deserves. My Lord, grant Your commendation and protection to Your Messenger as well as to his family, Companions, and all those who continue to follow their path until the Day of Recompense.
Dear brothers and sisters! Allah the Most High says in the Qur’an:
“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you may achieve Taqwa (righteousness, Allah-fearing).” [Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 183]
And the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever observes the fast during the month of Ramadan, (while) believing in Allah and seeking His rewards, will have his past sins forgiven.” [Reported by Imams Bukhari, Muslim and others]
Respected brothers and sisters! Know that fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the main pillars of Islam. It is obligatory upon every sane, healthy Muslim whose reached puberty and is not traveling during the time of fasting. As for women, they must not fast if they are menstruating or having post-childbirth bleeding.
The Essential Elements of The Fast
There are two essentials elements for your fast to be valid and accepted. They are:
You must have the intention to fast before fajr (dawn) every night during the month of Ramadan. The intention does not need to be spoken, because in reality it is an act of the heart, which does not involve the tongue. It will be fulfilled by one’s intention from the heart to fast out of obedience to Allah the Almighty seeking His pleasure.
2. Abstaining From Acts That Nullify the Fast
The second essential element for your fast to be accepted is that you abstain from the acts that nullify the fast from dawn to sunset.
My beloved people! If you maintain these two essential elements during fasting, then your fast will be valid and accepted In Shaa Allah.
Actions That Invalidate Or Nullify The Fast
All scholars have agreed that the following acts will invalidate the fast. They are:
1. Intentional Eating Or Drinking
If someone eats or drinks due to forgetfulness, or a mistake, or coercion, then his fast is still valid and should continue to fast. If you choose to eat or drink, for any reason, then your fast will become invalid.
2. Intentional Vomiting
If one is overcome by the urge to vomit, and vomits unintentionally, then he should continue to fast. If someone chooses to vomit, for any reason, then his fast will become invalid.
3. Intentional Sexual Intercourse
If one has sexual intercourse while fasting, then he must perform kaffarah, expiation of the sin. (Fasting continuously for sixty days or if unable then one should feed sixty poor people).
3. Menstrual or Childbirth Bleeding
The fast becomes invalid during menstrual or post-childbirth bleeding. Even if such bleeding begins just before sunset, the fast of that day is invalid and the day must be made up at a later time.
All the actions mentioned above are agreed upon by all scholars. However, there are some other actions that are not mentioned above which are not agreed upon.
Actions That Are Permissible During Fasting
There are some actions that are permissible to do while fasting, which will not nullify the fast. For example:
1. Taking a shower
It is permissible to shower, for any reason, even if you are showering due to thirst or being overheated.
2. Rinsing the mouth and nose
It is permissible to rinse the mouth and nose without exaggeration; using too much water may cause you to swallow water, which may invalidate your fast.
3. Applying eyeliner or eye drops
It is permissible to apply kohl (eyeliner) or eye drops or anything else to the eyes, even if some taste from it finds its way to the throat.
4. Taking injections
It is also permissible to take injections for medical purposes; there is no text that proves this invalidates the fast.
5. Taking suppositories
Similarly, it is permissible to have an enema or douche. The injection of liquid into the rectum through the anus for cleansing, as a laxative, or for other therapeutic purposes, or the use of a suppository (a solid medication designed to melt within a body cavity) or any other medicine that can be used in the private parts, whether in the front or back is permissible. There is no text that considers these acts to nullify the fast.
6. Accidental consumption
Your fast will not become invalid if you consume something that you could not protect yourself from. For example, swallowing your saliva or accidentally swallowing dust or smoke or sifted flour that has accidentally entered your mouth.
7. Tasting food with the tongue
Your fast will be valid even if you taste food with your tongue or use toothpaste or mouthwash as long as nothing is swallowed.
8. Breathing in different scents
9. Kissing and embracing one’s spouse
It is permissible to kiss and embrace your spouse as long as one is able to control oneself.
10. Drawing blood
It is also permissible to draw blood in any amount for any reason. If drawing blood weakens the person, it will be considered a disliked action.
11. Being in a state of Janabah
Your fast will still be valid even if you find yourself in a state of janabah (a major ritual impurity) after fajr (dawn) has arrived. Ghusl (a full bath) can still be performed once the time of fajr has begun.
Who May Be Excluded From Fasting?
There are certain situations when it is optional to fast during the month of Ramadan, however, the fast must be made up at a later date. This is the rule for the sick or for the one who is traveling.
However, women who are experiencing post-childbirth bleeding or are in their menses are not allowed to fast until their bleeding ends. They must make up the days they missed fasting at a later date.
For those who cannot fast due to a permanent illness or old age, they have to pay fidiyah (feeding one poor person) for each day that they have missed.
Pregnant and nursing women, who are afraid that fasting may weaken them or the child, have the option of fasting or not. After Ramadan ends, they have the choice of fasting or paying fidiyah (feeding one poor person) for each day that they had missed during Ramadan. However, according to the Hanafi School of jurists, such women are only to make up the missed days of fasting, and they are not supposed to feed one poor person a day. On the other hand, Imams Ahmad and Ash-Shafi’i hold the opinion that if such women fear only for the baby, they must pay the fidiyah and make up the days later. If they fear only for themselves or for themselves and the baby, then they are only to make up the missed days at a later date.
Recommended Acts During Ramadan
There are some acts that are recommended, and if you practice them, you will gain more rewards from Allah the Almighty such as:
Having Suhur (pre-dawn meal) and delaying it until just before fajr (dawn) time.
We should also hurry to break the fast at sunset.
Another recommended act is that we break the fast by eating an odd number of fresh or dry dates, and if those are not available, then having a drink of water would be sufficient.
Also we can earn rewards by supplicating at the time of breaking the fast, as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to say, Zahabaz-zama’u wabtallatil-uruqu, wa thabatal-ajru Inshaa Allah. Which can be translated as, “The thirst has gone, the veins are moistened and Allah willing, the reward is confirmed.”
Another recommended act is that we pray Tarawih daily after Isha’.
To gain even more rewards, it is recommended that during Ramadan we increase our sadaqah, our recitation and study of the Qur’an. This is because the revelation of the Qur’an began during this time, and also Angel Jibril used to review the Qur’an with the Prophet during this month.
We can also gain rewards by using Miswak (a piece of root from the Arak tree found in the Hijaz region of the Arabian Peninsula used to clean the teeth), if not available, any other cleaning tool to clean the mouth is sufficient.
The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah the Almighty. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet, his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.
We ask Allah the Most High to strengthen us in Ramadan, accept our fasts, and reward us with His forgiveness and the highest place in Paradise. Ameen.
Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.