Bismillahi Wal Hamdullillah Was Salaatu Was Salaamu ‘alaa Rasoolillahi
The following are some basic rulings related to fasting.
The Pillars of Fasting
1. The Niyyah
From the issues related to all acts of worship, that which if it is absent then the act of worship is null and void, the Niyyah (intention)
Fasting like all other acts of worship must have the Niyyah of the worshipper to perform the action for the sake of Allah. As is the case with all other acts of worship the place of the niyaah is the heart, in no act of worship is the niyyah uttered.
Allah the most high mentions (the meaning of which):
“Say: Do you inform Allah concerning your religion? While Allah knows all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and Allah is All-aware of everything”
(Suratul Hujuraat Vs 16)
The Messenger of Allah – Sallallahu alaihi Was Salam also said:
“Whosoever does not have the intention (to fast) before fajr, then he has no fast”
(Collected by Abu Dawood upon the authority of Hafsah – Radiyallahu ‘Anhaa) 7/122 and it is declared ‘Saheeh’ by shaikh Al Albaani in Saheehul Jaami’ (6538)
One should have the niyyah to fast the whole of ramadhaan and not just certain days.
2. That one avoids the Muftiraat (things that break ones fast) from the beginning of the true fajr until sunset.
Allah the most high Mentions (the meaning of which):
“..And eat and drink until the white thread (of dawn) appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night).Then complete your fast until nightfall..”
(Suratul Baqarah Vs 187)
By ‘true fajr’ I mean the beginings of the light of dawn that spreads across the horizon and not the false fajr which is light that stretches up into the sky
The Muftiraat (Things that break the fast)
There are six main things that break ones fast:
1 and 2. Eating and drinking
Except that a person does so out of forgetfulness in which case there is no expiation upon him.
The Messenger – Sallallahu ‘alaihi Was Salam Said:
“Whoever forgets while he is fasting and eats or drinks then let him complete his fast for indeed it was Allah who fed him or gave him drink”
(Collected by Muslim 1155)
It is permissable though to complete ones suhoor meal, even if completing it takes one past the time of fajr, on the basis of the statement of the Messenger of Allah – Sallallahu alaihi Was Salam:
“If one of you hears the call (to prayer) and the vessel is in his hand, then he should not put it down until he has taken his need from it”
(Collected by Abu Dawood and authenticated by Sh Al Albaani in ‘Saheeh Abi Dawood 2/447)
3. Intentional vomitting
Though if he is overcome by vommiting there is nothing upon him
The Messenger _ Sallallahu alaihi Was Salam said:
“Whosoever is overcome by vomitting then there is no need to make the fast up, and he who makes himself vomit intentionally must make it up”
(Collected by Tirmidhi 716 and declared ‘Saheeh’ By Shaikh Al Albaani in ‘Saheehul Jaami’)
4 and 5. Menses and Post-Natal bleeding
6. Sexual Relations (specifically intercourse)
The expiation of which is a heavy expiation and that is two months consecutive fasting
Upon the authority of Abu Hurairah Indeed we were sitting with the Prophet when a man came to him and said: “Oh Messenger of Allah I am destroyed! He said “What is wrong with you?” He responded: “I have had relations with my wife while fasting! So the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu alaihi was Salam said to him: “Are you able to free a slave?” He said: “No” He said: “Are you able to fast for two consecutive months?” he said: ” No” he said “Then are you able to feed sixty poor people?” he said “No” then while we were there someone came and gave a weight of dates to the messenger – Sallallahu alaihi Was Salam so he said: “Where is the questioner?” So he said: “Here I am” He said take these and give them in charity” He said: “Should it be upon a family that is poorer than mine Oh Messenger of Allah? For there is not between the two areas of volcanic rock (referring to the two boundaries of Madinah) a household that is poorer than mine!” At which point the Messenger laughed until his incisors could be seen then he said: “Feed your family with it”
In one version collected by Abu Dawood (2376 and declared ‘Saheeh’ By Shk Albaani in ‘Saheeh Abi Daawood (2096)) It mentions that the weight of dates was fifteen Saa’ and the Messenger mentioned “You and your family may consume it and fast a day and seek forgiveness from Allah”
It should be known that what is commonly practiced by many, known as the fifteen minute precaution, where they consider the end of suhoor time fifteen minutes before its true end, the suhoor meal is consequently ended fifteen or so minutes before fajr, and at which point fasting ultimately begins for them, is an innovation.
Al Haafidh Ibn Hajr mentions: (after discussing the narration of ‘Amr ibn Maymoon collected by Abdur Razaaq As San’aani in his Musanaf ‘The companions of the Messenger of Allah – Sallallahu alaihi Was Salam were the quickest of the people to break the fast and the slowest in taking their Suhoor meal’)
“From the evil innovations, is that which has been brought about in this time, from the second adhan of fajr being called some twenty minutes before fajr during ramadhaan, and putting the lanterns out as a sign that eating and drinking is not permissable for those who wish to fast. Claiming that this is for the purpose of taking precaution with this act of worship. This practice has lead them to delay calling the adhaan of maghrib by good a measure to ‘ensure the time has entered’. Thus they have delayed breaking the fast and finished the dawn meal before its time, and in doing so, have opposed the sunnah. For this reason we see little good coming from them and much evil among them. Wallahul Musta’aan
(Fathul Baari 4/199)
JazakAllaahu khayran yaa Shaykhunaa.
Regarding point no. 1:
Is it permissbile to “say” the niyyah in one’s heart without moving the tongue?
Regarding point no. 2:
You mentioned that it is permissible to take suhoor past the time of the beginning of fajr based on the hadeeth of the vessel still in one’s hand…could that vessel be a plate/cup of food/drink in front of a person(on a table) or does the vessel of food/drink have to literally be in one’s hand?
Nam 1 thats correct the place of the niyyah is the heart and not upon the lips or tongue and that which is intended in the hadeeth is that a person takes his fill of whatever he is consuming as a pre-dawn meal whether it is literrally in his hand or in front of him Wallahu a’lam
I understand that when starting/ending one’s fast, the sunnah is to look at the sky and not overburden oneself with the use of timetables.
But in cities where the adhaan cannot be heard, it can be very difficult to know when true fajr has come in.
Can we use timetables as a guide with the added precaution of (maybe) starting one’s fast a few minutes before the time of fajr shown on a timetable?
as far as timetables are concerned then nam they should only be used as a guide and not clung to rigidly as they are subject to error. One uses them only as an approximation of the beginning of the time and then works with the factors laid down by the shariah to the best of ones ability Wallahu a’lam