View Printable Version :: Email to a Friend
The Directives of Fasting
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ  أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ وَأَن تَصُومُواْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ يُرِيدُ اللّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلاَ يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُواْ الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُواْ اللّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ (٢: ١٨٣-١٨٥)

Believers! Fasting has been made for you as it was made for those before you so that you become fearful of God. These are but a few days, but if any one among you is ill or on a journey, let him fast a similar number of days later; and those who have the capacity [to feed a needy] should feed a needy in place of it. Then he who does a virtuous deed of his own accord, it is better for him and if you fast, then this is even better for you if you but knew. It is the month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was revealed, as a book of guidance for mankind and in the form of manifest arguments which are a means of total guidance and a means of distinguishing right from wrong. Therefore, whoever among you is present in this month, he should fast. And he who is ill or on a journey should fast a similar number of days later on. [This leniency is because] God desires ease for you and not discomfort. And [the permission given to travelers and the sick to feed the needy has been withdrawn because] you can complete the fasts [and thus not be deprived of the blessings of fasting] and [for this purpose the month of Ramadan has been fixed so that in the form of the Qur’an] the guidance God has bestowed to you, you glorify God and express your gratitude to Him. (2:183-185)

In these verses, the Almighty has directed Muslims to fast in accordance with the shari‘ah which has always existed regarding the fast in the religions of the Prophets. The Qur’an has stated that the fast has been made obligatory for the Muslims in the same manner as it was made obligatory for earlier peoples. A few number of days have been fixed for this ritual. This last statement is meant to raise the spirits. The implication being that if the blessings of Ramadan are kept in consideration, then 29 days or 30 days are not a long period; they are a relatively short period and a person instead of becoming anxious should make himself ready to fully reap their benefits.

After these introductory statements, the real directive is mentioned. It is said that people who are unable to fast because of illness or travel should make up their missed fasts by either fasting later or by feeding a poor person. This directive ends with the words: فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ وَأَن تَصُومُواْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ (Then he who does a virtuous deed of his own accord, it is better for him and if you fast then this is even better for you, if you but knew it). In other words, this atonement for not fasting is a minimum requirement which should be fulfilled. However, if a person feeds more than one needy person or does some other virtuous deed as well, then this will prove better for him. And to Allah even better is that a person instead of feeding others makes up the missed fasts in other days.

However, the very next verse beginning with the words شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ shows that the permission to feed a needy for a missed fast was later revoked. Consequently, the whole directive has been repeated after this verse while omitting the words beginning with وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ and  ending  with إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ. Since it is difficult to fast in days other than Ramadan, the Almighty did not make it incumbent until people got used to it. Hence, it has been said in the Qur’an that feeding the needy for missed fasts has been revoked so that people could keep their missed fasts and are thus not deprived of the blessings hidden in them.

This then is the real directive of the fast. It seems that after receiving this law, certain questions arose in the minds of the Muslims. One of these questions related to having sexual intercourse with the wife in the nights of the Ramadan. This notion probably originated because among the Jews, the next fast would start right after one had broken his fast and they would consider eating and drinking and having sexual intercourse with the wife as prohibited. Muslims thought that they too would have to follow the Jews in this matter. However, some Muslims in spite of thinking so deviated from the view they held. This was something unseemly because if a person considers something to be a requisite of religion and still does not act according to it regardless of the fact that it is actually a requisite or not, then this is not permissible to him. The Qur’an has called this attitude as deceiving one’s conscience and has clarified:

أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ الصِّيَامِ الرَّفَثُ إِلَى نِسَآئِكُمْ هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ عَلِمَ اللّهُ أَنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ تَخْتانُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَعَفَا عَنكُمْ فَالآنَ بَاشِرُوهُنَّ وَابْتَغُواْ مَا كَتَبَ اللّهُ لَكُمْ وَكُلُواْ وَاشْرَبُواْ حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّواْ الصِّيَامَ إِلَى الَّليْلِ وَلاَ تُبَاشِرُوهُنَّ وَأَنتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللّهِ فَلاَ تَقْرَبُوهَا كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللّهُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ (١٨٧:٢)

It is now lawful for you to lie with your wives on the night of the fast; they are apparel to you as you are to them. God knew that you were deceiving yourselves. He has relented towards you and pardoned you. Therefore, [without any hesitation] you may now lie with them and [without any hesitation] seek what God has ordained for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of the dawn is totally evident to you from the black thread of night. Then complete the fast till nightfall and do not lie with them [even at night] when you are stationed for i‘tikaf in the mosques. These are the bounds set by God: do not approach them. Thus He makes known His revelations to mankind that they may attain righteousness. (2:187)

After this clarification made by the Qur’an, the statutes on which the law of the fast and the i‘tikaf are based are as follows:

1. The fast is abstention from eating and drinking and from having sexual intercourse with the wife with the intention that a person is going to fast.

2. This abstention is from fajr to nightfall; hence eating and drinking and having sexual intercourse with the wife during the night is permitted.

3. The month of Ramadan has been fixed for fasting; hence it is obligatory for every person who is present in this month to fast.

4. If owing to sickness, travel or any other compelling reason a person is not able to keep all the fasts of Ramadan, it is incumbent upon him to make up for this in other months by keeping equal number of the fasts missed.

5. The pinnacle of the fast is the i‘tikaf. If a person is given this opportunity by God, he should seclude himself from the world for as many days as he can in a mosque to worship the Almighty and he should not leave the mosque except because of some compelling human need.

6. During i‘tikaf, a person is permitted to eat and drink during the night but he cannot have sexual intercourse with his wife. This has been prohibited by the Almighty.

This law regarding the fast is substantiated by the consensus of the Muslims and by their perpetual adherence to it and the Qur’an too has explained it to a great extent. Following are the explanations afforded by the words and deeds of the Prophet (sws) regarding the fast:

i. The Ramadan should begin with the sighting of the moon and it should end with it too. The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said: “Begin the fast with the sighting of the moon and break the fast with sighting it too. Then if the weather is not clear, end the month of Sha‘ban by completing thirty days.”1

ii. Fasts should not be kept just one or two days before the Ramadan begins. The Prophet (sws) did not approve of this practice and remarked that the only exception to this is the person who keeps fasting.2

iii. One should eat the sahur (pre-fast meal) before beginning the fast. The Prophet (sw) asked people to eat it because eating it brings blessings.3

iv. If the adhan begins and a person has a plate in his hand, then he should go on to finish what he is eating; there is nothing wrong in this.4

v. During the fast a person can be intimate with his wife in whatever way he chooses except for having sexual intercourse with her. ‘A%i’shah (rta) narrates that during the fast the Prophet (sws) would kiss her and press her closely to him.5

vi. The fast can be kept in the state of janabah (ceremonial uncleanliness). ‘Ai’shah (rta) narrates that the Prophet (sws) sometimes would begin the fast in this state and then do ghusl (the ceremonial bath) after the time of fajr.6

vii. If a person eats forgetfully then this does not break the fast. The Prophet (sws) remarked that it is Allah who has fed him.7

viii. The Prophet’s way of observing i‘tikaf was to sit in a central mosque during the last ten days of the Ramadan. ‘Ai’shah (rta) narrates that a person who has sat for i‘tikaf should not go to visit the sick, nor participate in a funeral procession nor go near his wife nor go out of the mosque except for some compelling human need8

ix. Intentionally breaking the fast is a grave sin. If a person commits this sin he should atone for it. The atonement which the Prophet (sws) prescribed was the same as the one the Qur’an has prescribed for zihar. However, it is evident from the Hadith that when the person expressed his inability the Prophet (sws) did not insist on it.9

x. The supplication ascribed to the Prophet (sws) for breaking the fast is:

ذهب الظماء و ابتلت العروق و ثبت الاجر ان شاء الله تعالى

“The thirst has been quenched, the canals are brimming with water and if God wills then the reward of this [fast] has also been acknowledged.”10

(Translated from Ghamidi’s Mizan by Shehzad Saleem)



1. Bukhari; No: 1810; Muslim, No: 1081.

2. Muslim, No: 1082.

3. Bukhari; No: 1823; Muslim, No: 1096.

4. Abu Da’ud, No: 2350.

5. Bukhari; No: 1826; Muslim, No: 1106.

6. Bukhari; No: 1829; Muslim, No: 1109.

7. Bukhari; No: 1831; Muslim, No: 1155.

8. Bukhari; No: 1921; Muslim, No: 1171; Abu Da’ud, No: 2473.

9. Bukhari; No: 1834; Muslim, No: 1111.

10. Abu Da’ud, No: 2357.

For Questions on Islam, please use our

Replica Handbags Bottega Veneta fake Bvlgari fake Celine fake Christian Dior fake Gucci fake Gucci Bag fake Gucci Wallet fake Gucci Shoes fake Gucci Belt fake Hermes fake Loewe fake Louis Vuitton fake Louis Vuitton Belt fake Louis Vuitton Calf Leather fake Louis Vuitton Damier Azur Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Graphite Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Infini Leather fake Louis Vuitton Damier Quilt lamb fake Louis Vuitton Embossed Calfskin fake Louis Vuitton Epi fake Louis Vuitton Game On Monogram Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Jewellery fake Louis Vuitton Key Holder fake Louis Vuitton Mahina Leather fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Denim fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Eclipse Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Empreinte fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Seal fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Shadow fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Vernis fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Watercolor fake Louis Vuitton New Wave fake Louis Vuitton Shoes fake Louis Vuitton Since 1854 fake Louis Vuitton Strap fake Louis Vuitton Taiga Leahter fake Louis Vuitton Taurillon leather fake Louis Vuitton Transformed Game On canvas fake Louis Vuitton Utah Calfskin fake Louis Vuitton X Supreme fake Mulberry fake Prada fake YSL fake