|Requirements and Conditions of the Duties
Pertaining to Fasting Ramadan:
Ascertaining the Beginning of the Month of
The watch for the sighting of the crescent moon which defines the lunar month, whose
cycles are the basis for determining the months in a perfectly natural yet synchronized
fashion. Once the new moon has been sighted (i.e. the month's beginning has been
determined), its "arrival" should be proclaimed so that all may prepare to fast.
Thus its proclamation as the beginning of the month of Fasting.
If determination of the new moon is impossible, for whatever reason, the length of the
preceding lunar month of Shaban is to be considered thirty days, the thirty-first day
being the beginning of the month of fasting and wholehearted devotion to God: Ramadan.
The determination of the lunar month should be by sighting the moon--it being witnessed by
a Muslim known to be truthful and trustworthy--or as some scholars have acceded, by the
establishment of its "newness" by accurate and trustworthy calculation, as is
not possible through modern astronomy.
Similarly, the sighting of the new moon or determination by caculation of Shawwal is to be
witnessed by two truthful and trustworthy people as a precaution.
Once a trustworthy witness announces that he has seen the new moon, or the new moon has
accurately been determined by other means, the fast becomes obligatory upon those whose
ears it reaches, even though an Islamic judge may not have announced the arrival of the
Whenever the new moon has been verified, be it in another city or country that share the
same beginning of the day, the fast becomes incumbent upon the two.
It is imperative during Ramadan to make the intention to fast every night before the
dawn of the following day, otherwise the fast is void. However, it is not the case with
When it is unclear whether or not the following day is the first day of Ramadan one should
make the intention to fast in case it is.
The possibility of a trustworthy witness being mistaken should not affect the intention of
the person who plans to fast the following day.
If a woman anticipates the end of her menstruation during which fasting is prohibited
before dawn, she should also make the intention to fast, the following day.
Conditions of the Daily Fast
|It is obligatory upon every Muslim after reaching the age of puberty to fast each day of
Ramadan and not miss any fasting day intentionally. It is obligatory to make up any days
for which fasting was missed uninentionally during Ramadan by fasting at a later date
whether or not they had a valid excuse among which are menstruation, pregnancy, nursing a
baby, illness, travel and so on. |
|Fast days missed intentionally must be expiated by fasting for two consecutive months.
|Eating or drinking invalidates the fast as does smoking, injections, enemas etc. Rinsing
the mouth with water does not invalidate the fast, however, one must take care not to
swallow or inhale as one's fast will become void. |
Care must be exercised concerning eating just before the fast is due to begin. One must
also be careful not to anticipate the arrival of evening and thereby break the fast early.
|Married couples are forbidden to have intercourse whilst they are fasting. However, it
is permissible after the fast has been broken in the evening. |
In the event that one experiences a "wet" dream whilst sleeping and then wake up
the following morning in this condition of impurity his fast is not broken.
|Deliberate seminal emission either through sexual contact or through no sexual contact
invalidates the fast. |
|The fast will not be broken by a kiss unless seminal fluid is discharged, however it is
discouraged unless both are able to control their feelings. |
|Induced vomiting invalidates the fast. However, if one cannot help it, the fast remains
|Phlegm or mucus does not void the fast unless it is "collected" in the mouth
and then swallowed. |
|In the event that one's fasting becomes void, one should continue the practice of those
fasting - i.e. abstinence of food and drink etc. |
However, if sexual intercourse occurs during the fast of Ramadan, its expiation will be to
fast for two consecutive months.
If those who indulged in intercourse are unable to fast the two consecutive months then
each should feed sixty poor people as an expiation.
|In the case of a women whose menstruation finishes during the day, there is no
obligation upon her to practice the fast for the rest of that day. |
If a woman is pregnant or breast feeding and cannot fast on that account, fearing harm
to her own health or that of her child, it is obligatory for her to fast the days that are
missed later on, and according to some scholar to atone for missing the fast by feeding
the poor with the equivalent of a bushel of wheat for each lost day.
Ill and Elderly
In the case of elderly or ill people who are unable to fast, their expiation is also
the feeding of the poor with the equivalent of a bushel of wheat for each day lost.
The traveler is not obliged to fast provided travel began before the time for the dawn
prayer, the travel entailing the distance considered a condition for shortening the
Missed fasts of the traveler must be made up after the end of Ramadan, but need not be
In the event that a person has already started fasting, he should not break the fast when
he embarks upon a journey, nor yet when he returns from a journey. There is no obligation
upon a non-fasting traveler to resume the fast upon reaching their destination before the
end of the fasting day, however it is preferable for the traveler to fast the entire day
unless it incurs more than the usual hardship of fasting.
Menstruation and Lochia
If a woman is menstruating or is bleeding due to childbirth (lochia), fasting
is not valid until the menstruation ceases. Days missed by her can be made up anytime
after the end of Ramadan during the year before the next Ramadan commences.