Fasting New Muslims

A Blessed Month of a Special Nature

Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars upon which the structure of Islam is built. The other four are the declaration of one’s belief in God’s oneness and in the message of Muhammad (peace be upon him), regular attendance to prayer, payment of zakah (i.e. obligatory charity), and the pilgrimage.

If we examine these five pillars, taking into account the fact that Islam aims at improving the quality of human life at both the individual and social levels, we find that the first of these five pillars is concerned with beliefs which influence man’s conduct. The second, i.e. prayer, provides a constant reminder of man’s bond with God. Zakah, the third pillar, is a social obligation which reduces the gap between the rich and the poor, while the fifth, i.e. the pilgrimage, has a universal aspect that unites the Muslim community throughout the world.

Fasting in Ramadan, which is the fourth of these pillars, has a particularly high importance, derived from its very personal nature as an act of worship. Although in a Muslim country it is extremely difficult for anyone to defy public feelings by showing that one is not fasting, there is nothing to stop anyone from privately violating God’s commandment of fasting if one chooses to do so. This means that although fasting is obligatory, its observance is purely voluntary.

The fact is that fasting cannot be used by a hypocrite in order to persuade others of one’s devotion to God. If a person claims to be a Muslim, he is expected to fast in Ramadan. On the other hand, a person fasting voluntarily at any other time should not tell others of the fact. If he does, he detracts from his reward for his voluntary worship. In fact, people will find his declaration to be fasting very strange and will feel that there is something wrong behind it.

This explains why the reward God gives for proper fasting is so generous. In a sacred, or Qudsi hadith, the Prophet quotes God as saying: “All actions done by a human being are his own except fasting, which belongs to Me and I reward it accordingly.” This is a mark of special generosity, since God gives for every good action a reward equivalent to at least ten times its values. Sometimes He multiplies this reward to seven hundred times the value of the action concerned, and even more. We are also told by the Prophet that the reward for proper fasting is admittance into heaven.

It may be noted that we have qualified fasting that earns such great reward as being ‘proper’. This is because every Muslim is required to make his worship perfect. Perfection of fasting can be achieved through restraint of one’s feelings and emotions. The Prophet said that when fasting, a person should not allow himself to be drawn into a quarrel or a slanging match. He teaches us: “On a day of fasting, let no one of you indulge in any obscenity, or enter into a slanging match. Should someone abuse or fight him, let him respond by saying: ‘I am fasting! I am fasting!’” (Al-Bukhari)

This high standard of self-restraint fits in well with fasting, which is, in essence, an act of self-discipline. Islam requires us to couple patience with voluntary abstention from indulgence in physical desire. This is indeed the purpose of fasting. It helps man to attain a standard of sublimity, which is very rare in the practical world. In other words, this standard is actually achieved by every Muslim who knows the purpose of fasting and strives to fulfill it.

Fasting has another special aspect. It makes all people share in the feelings of hunger and thirst. In normal circumstances, people with decent income may go from one year’s end to another without experiencing the pangs of hunger which a poor person may feel every day of his life. Such an experience helps to draw the rich nearer to the poor.

Indeed we are encouraged to be more charitable in Ramadan in order to follow the Prophet’s lead who was described by his companions as “the most generous of all people.” Yet he achieved in Ramadan an even higher degree of generosity. His companions say of him that he was in Ramadan “more generous and charitable than unrestrained wind.”

Fasting has also a universal or communal aspect. As Muslims throughout the world share in this blessed act of worship, they feel their unity and equality. Their sense of unity is enhanced by the fact that every Muslim individual joins voluntarily in the fulfillment of this divine commandment. The unity of Muslims is far from superficial; it is a unity of action and purpose, since they all fast in order to be better human beings. As a person restrains himself from the things he desires most, in the hope that he will earn God’s pleasure, self-discipline and sacrifice become part of his nature. He learns to give generously for a good cause.

The month of Ramadan is aptly described as a “festive season of worship.” Fasting is the main aspect of worship in this month, but people are more attentive to their prayers in Ramadan than they are in the rest of the year. They are also more generous and charitable. Thus, their devotion is more complete and they feel in Ramadan much happier because they feel themselves to be closer to God. Therefore, they love this month, which is one of endless benefits and blessings.

Indeed, nothing describes our great month better than the words of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as he addresses his companions and all generations of Muslims on the eve of Ramadan, saying: “A great and blessed month is approaching. One of its nights is better than a thousand months. God has made fasting in it obligatory and worship in its nights voluntary.

He who fulfils one religious obligation in it receives the reward of 70 such obligations fulfilled in other times. It is the month of perseverance and endurance, which can be rewarded only be admission into heaven. It is the month of comforting in which the means of a believer are improved. He who gives food to another to break his fast is forgiven his sins; thus he saves his neck from hell. He is also given a similar reward to that given to the fasting person without detracting anything from the other’s reward…

God gives this reward even to a person who offers another a piece of a date, a drink of water or milk… the beginning of this month is compassion, its middle is forgiveness and its end witnesses people’s release from the fire of hell.”


Taken with slight modifications from:

Adil Salahi teaches Islamic Studies at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education, Leicester, England. After working for the BBC Arabic Service for several years, he worked for the Arabic daily, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. He continues to publish a column, “Islam in Perspective”, in its sister publication, Arab News, an English daily published in Saudi Arabia.


Fasting New Muslims

A Day in Ramadan with the Prophet

For a people enjoined and assured with the divine decree: “You have a good example in God’s Messenger for whoever hopes for God and the Last Day, and remembers God oft” (Al-Ahzab 33:21), the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) during the month of Ramadan, the most sacred month on the Islamic calendar – as with his daily life during all other times of the year – demands great importance.

Just as Muslims are required to pray how he prayed, fast how he fasted, and turn to their Creator with utmost sincerity and devotion, they are instructed to make it their life’s endeavor to live as he lived, emulating him in each and every facet of their humanly existence.

The greatest jewel on the crown of the Islamic year is the blessed month of Ramadan, the month described by the Messenger himself as the month of his community. The manner in which the Last Prophet spent this month, every minute detail of which is recorded, is the model, the very blueprint for the Muslim who aspires to earning the pleasure of God and attracting His infinite grace and mercy during this sacred month.

Let us take a glance at a single day in the month of Ramadan with the Messenger of God – a page out of that remarkable Prophetic diary which has permeated through the centuries.


The exact time for the pre-dawn meal, the sahur, would be determined after which the pre-dawn meal would be consumed. The Messenger of God advised believers to partake in this meal prior to fasting, even if it be with only a morsel of food, or a mouthful of drink, as there was great blessing concealed therein.

The meal would be delayed until just before the Morning Prayer. God’s Messenger would make an intention to fast for the day as, like all other acts of worship, intentions were pivotal in fasting also. He would clean his teeth with siwak, a piece of the root of the arak tree used as a toothbrush.

There are several Prophetic traditions indicating that God’s Messenger would have guests with him for the sahur from time to time.

The morning prayer would be performed in congregation in the Prophet’s Mosque, with God’s Messenger leading the prayer.

During the day

Throughout the entire day, God’s Messenger would engage in acts of generosity and charity, so much so that, although he was the most benevolent among people, his benevolence increased markedly during the month of Ramadan.


At the call to the Evening Prayer at sunset, the breaking of the fast was not delayed. The Prophet would break his fast before performing the Evening Prayer, with fresh dates, or dried dates if fresh ones were not available. If neither was available, he would break the fasting with water, and sometimes with a particular kind of soup.

The Prophet supplicated at the time of breaking fast, saying, “O God, I have fasted for Your sake, I have broken my fast with what you have provided. Thirst is gone and the veins are moist once again. God willing, the reward is established, too.” The Prophet would not seek any food in particular, but eat from what was available. As per usual practice, he would not eat to his full.


The Prophet Muhammad would lead the night prayer in the mosque. This was followed by the tarawih, the eight or twenty-cycle voluntary prayer reserved only for the nights of Ramadan, with rests after each four cycles. He would then retreat to his chamber adjacent to the mosque. He would spend a significant portion of the night in worship, reflection and supplication.

God’s Messenger would devote more time to the recitation of the Qur’an during Ramadan and reflecting upon its meaning. Archangel Gabriel would come to the Prophet each night and listen to his recitation of the Qur’an. Angel Gabriel would then reciprocate by reciting the same verses in order to compare and confirm them, in way of ensuring its preservation and protection.


Taken with kind permission from:



Fasting New Muslims

The Prophet in Ramadan

Ramadan, Fasting and the Prophet

It was Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) who made us raise our eyes from the dust beneath to view the glory of the starry heavens above. It was Muhammad who led us from the depths of darkness to the grandeur of the light of God.

The Prophet was the one who led us to break our stone statues and wooden gods. It was Muhammad who lifted us out of the filth of idolatry to relish the serenity of God’s transcendence.

On the Night of Power in one Ramadan, the Qur’an descended on Muhammad, and he received its first verses in the Cave of Hira’. (Ibn Abbas)

Thereafter the Prophet taught us how to celebrate Ramadan through days of fasting and nights of prayer: to honor each day of Ramadan as a day of patient endurance through fasting, and each night as a night of gratitude through prayers.

An Unexpected Transformation

It was nothing short of miraculous how the Prophet reformed and refined those unruly tribes of Arabia and transformed them into pious, disciplined, God-fearing ascetics, who stood in prayers in the mosque five times a day seeking the guidance of God.

And imagine: these same people who once reveled in the pleasures of “wine and women” could now spend the whole month of Ramadan in fasting and prayers.

Into the hearts of his followers, the Prophet instilled the love and fear of God and love for humanity. His example was inspiring and irresistible; and each of them became eager to be his closest follower.

To them he was the sincerest and the most cordial of leaders. And his life was open before them like a book; they could see him practicing most closely in his own life what he was preaching.

Letting the Spirit Reign Supreme

The Prophet demonstrated to his people how this world is less important than the next, and how the body is less important than the soul. In fasting, the Prophet taught them step by step how to ignore the physical demands so that the spirit reigns supreme.

Abandoning food, drink, and sex was only a prelude to the next stage of greater significance: of conquering avidity and cupidity, lust and licentiousness; of liberating one’s mind from flights of passion and fits of temper. Indeed the Prophet said: “The strong person is not the one who can wrestle someone else down. The strong person is the one who can control himself when he is angry.” (Al-Bukhari)

Also about the effect of fasting on one’s behavior, the Prophet said, “Fasting is a shield, so the one who fasts should avoid obscene speech and ignorant behaviour. If someone abuses him or starts to fight with him, he should reply by saying: ‘I am fasting. I am fasting’.” (Al-Bukhari)

The core of fasting according to the Prophet was one’s willingness not merely to give up self-indulgence, but to feel the need of one’s brother as one’s own. And no one was more kind-hearted and generous than the Messenger of God; and his generosity reached its peak in Ramadan. (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet stressed on the importance of treating people nicely when he said:

“Make things easy for people and do not make them difficult, and cheer people up and do not drive them away.” (Al-Bukhari)

He also said: The most beloved of actions to God Almighty, is making another Muslim happy, removing a hardship that has befallen him, paying off a debt of his or ridding him of hunger. It is more beloved to me indeed that I walk with my Muslim brother to see to a need of his than secluding oneself in a mosque for a month… (At-Tabarani)

The heart of one who sincerely fasts is open to the contemplation of the magnificence of the countless bounties of God. That is why the Prophet asked his followers to avoid gluttony: “The food of two people is enough for three, and the food of three people is enough for four.” (Al-Bukhari)

Gentleness in Hardship

God is All-Merciful and He has expressed His Mercy to us His creatures through the sending of His final messenger Muhammad as an embodiment of mercy. The Prophet said: “Have mercy to those on earth so that He Who is in Heaven will have mercy on you.” (At-Tirmidhi)

“The believer is not the one who eats his fill when the neighbor beside him is hungry.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

So it was not surprising that the Prophet’s Companions loved him dearly, as he was the kindest of men, bestowing his mercy not only upon humans but also on other creatures of the world as well.

No leader could be more considerate and solicitous of his followers than Muhammad: he never allowed any Muslim to bear any burden more than they could bear, as taught by God Himself.

For he was well aware of the infirmities of people; and this is evident from his consideration for his followers in the matter of fasting: He taught Muslims to delay the sahur (the pre-dawn meal before fasting) till a little before Dawn Prayer and not to delay the iftar (the meal to break the fast) after the call to  Sunset Prayer so that no unnecessary strain is laid on the fasting person by prolonging the fast time.

During travel in Ramadan, the Prophet would either fast or break his fast; and he allowed his companions to choose between the two, according to their ability.

It is noteworthy that the Prophet did not specify a particular distance in travel as a minimum limit for a person to break the fast. His Companions sometimes broke the fast immediately after leaving home, because this was the example set by the Prophet himself.

Similarly during times of heat or thirst they were permitted  to cool themselves by pouring water on the head, and the Prophet himself did so.

His example in the matter of consorting with his wives during Ramadan was not different; he disallowed only such acts that would obviously undermine the fasting.

As for the Tarawih Prayers (the supererogatory night prayers performed in Ramadan), it is recorded that the Prophet began praying them in congregation and then he stopped, fearing that such prayers would become obligatory if he continued to pray them in congregation.

Thus while he demonstrated through his example that the Tarawih Prayers are better offered in congregation, he allowed leniency in the matter out of his mercy.

Seclusion: Refreshing the Soul

The highest point of Ramadan for Muslims is seeking the Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power) during the last ten days. One act of worship the Prophet emphasized particularly during this time is i`tikaf, which is a spiritual retreat in which one confines oneself to a mosque to spend one’s time entirely to the worship and remembrance of God.

In these modern days when people hanker after indulgence in ephemeral pleasures, one needs to return to the seclusion of the house of prayer from time to time; which is essential for one’s spiritual rejuvenation and the return to one’s Creator.

Thus the beloved Prophet has taught us how to use Ramadan as a month for disciplining our intransigent passions, for renouncing our desires for self gratification and for practicing patient endurance in the face of hardships.

The Prophet exhorted us that during Ramadan most especially it is our duty to support and uplift our less fortunate fellow humans.

Above all, Ramadan is a month of  contemplating the Grace and Bounty of God Almighty, of returning to our Guardian Lord in repentance, of sincerely seeking His forgiveness.


Taken with slight modification from



Fasting New Muslims

Approaching Ramadan

As we eagerly anticipate the beginning of the Blessed Month of Ramadan, we pray that this blessed month is a time of spiritual renewal for all of you, a time when you are able to fully benefit from the many Divine Gifts that have been offered to the worshiper during this most special season.

Those who have failed to take advantage of the months of Rajab and Sha`ban to prepare for the blessed month of Ramadan should be especially careful to take full advantage of the latter month. Reflect on the poet’s words:

Harken! O you who was not content to sin throughout Rajab.

His rebellion against his Lord had to continue the duration of Sha`ban.

The month of fasting has now come to shade and shelter you,

Do not transform it also into a month of sinning.

Recite the Qur’an and glorify (God), with diligent assertion.

Indeed! It is a month for glorification and the Qur’an.

Deny your bodily appetites, seeking your soul’s salvation.

Eventually, the earth will consume the body.

How many deceased people have you known who fasted?

Amongst your family, neighbors, and brothers.

Death has erased them, leaving you behind.

Get serious (about your religion), for the living are quite close to the dead!

You take delight in the `Eid outfits being cut out now for the festival.

But soon they will be your burial shrouds.

How long will the person be happy with his worldly home?

Knowing that his ultimate home is the grave.(1)

We pray that this month is a means for our spiritual ascension. When our spirits are ascendant, and our carnal lusts retreat, we will be able to engage in the type of fast described by one of our righteous forebears when he advised:

Fast your entire lifetime. Make death your `Eid! Life itself is a fast for the righteous. Their fast is from all forbidden lusts. When death comes to them their fast has ended. At that time they find the new moon of `Eid.(2)

We encourage all of the believers to try to adhere to all of the Sunans of Ramadan. Even though the days are still relatively short and cool, everyone should attempt to take the pre-dawn meal (Sahur), no matter how small, and hasten to break the fast, once the sunset has been confirmed. The purpose of the month is to grow in obedience to the Lawgiver. This is facilitated by scrupulously adhering to all of the rulings related to the fast.

O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those who preceded you; that perhaps you will be mindful of God. (Al-Baqarah 2:183)

We encourage everyone to be especially generous during this blessed month. Our beloved Prophet, was normally exceedingly generous. In Ramadan, he was even more benevolent.

Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) relates: “The Prophet, was the most generous of people. He was even more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel would meet him and review the Qur’an with him. Gabriel would come to him every night of Ramadan to review the Qur’an. During these times, the Messenger of Allah, was more generous than the freely blowing wind.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

We encourage everyone to read through the Qur’an at least once. Those who can read the Arabic script should do so in Arabic, even if they do not fully understand what they are reading. They should also try to read through the English translation. Those who are unable to read Arabic, should try to read through the entire English translation.

Ramadan is, among other things, a celebration of the Qur’an. We should join the celebration by reading the Book of God much during this blessed month. Our Imams, Abu Hanifa, Malik, al-Shafi`i, and others (may God have mercy on them all) would cease teaching Hadith and Jurisprudence during Ramadan and devote themselves exclusively to the Qur’an.

God says, concerning His Majestic Book:

The Month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was revealed, a guidance for mankind, [containing] clear proofs of guidance, and the criterion of distinguishing right from wrong. (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

We encourage everyone to refrain from all of the ruinations of the tongue during Ramadan. In his seminal work, “Quickening the Religious Sciences,” Imam al-Ghazali mentions them as the following:

Speaking in matters that do not concern one;

Excessive speech;

Speaking about sinful matters;

Disputation and contestation;


Excessively embellished speech;

Lewd, insulting, or crude speech;

Invoking the Curse of God on someone;

Singing indecent songs, or relating immoral poetry;

Excessive joking;

Sarcasm and ridicule;

Revealing secrets;

False promises;

Lying and false oaths;

Backbiting and slander;

Instigating tense relations between people;

Being two-faced;

Praising someone who is either undeserving, or unable to remain humble when praised;

Speaking about involved subjects and ideas one lacks the necessary knowledge or eloquence to adequately convey;

Ordinary folk speaking in subjects that are the domain of specialists.

May God spare us from these ruinations both during and after Ramadan.

The Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon Him) said: “Whoever fails to leave off ruinous speech, and acting on it [during Ramadan], God does not need him to leave off eating and drinking.” (Al-Bukahri)

We encourage everyone to avoid all arguments, disputes, and unnecessary worldly entanglements during this blessed month. This is a time for deep devotion and dedication to Allah.

We encourage everyone to work to restore any severed relations or kinship ties they may be experiencing. This is a time when the gentle breezes of Divine Facilitation are blowing. Any good we endeavor during this blessed month will come to bear its proper fruits.

We encourage everyone to eat simply during this month. One should try to make a vow to give up unnecessary, and generally unhealthy fare during this blessed month. Pizza, ice cream, fast food, pastries, and soda should all go. We should make our solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters in other lands real, and not something confined to speeches and pamphlets.

If one is in the habit of watching television, or listening to commercial music, one should also try to give these things up for Ramadan. They are things that divert us from the remembrance of God in any case. During this special month when every letter we recite from the Majestic Qur’an is tremendously rewarded, we should busy ourselves with recitation, and drop frivolous pastimes.

Married couples should encourage each other to engage in spiritual pursuits during this month, i.e. reciting the Qur’an, attending Tarawih, etc. Those in the habit of hosting extravagant dinners in Ramadan should try to avoid doing so, especially if they involve burdening cooks with long hours in the kitchen at a time when everyone should be increasing acts of worship. Usually, the womenfolk are disadvantageously affected in this regard. While it is certainly virtuous to provide the wherewithal for the believers to break their fast, dates, water, and simple, easily prepared dishes suffice.

Everyone should endeavor to pray the Tarawih Prayers. This is practice that should not be left without an excuse. The Prophet mentioned “Whosoever stands for prayer during the nights of Ramadan will have his/her prior sins expiated.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The prayer is the symbol of our devotional life. Ramadan is a great time to rediscover the power of the prayer, and to renew our commitment to our Lord through the prayer.

These are some of the things we wanted to convey to you. Hopefully, they will prove of benefit. Please take this message in the spirit with which we have conveyed it, as sincere advice. Again, we wish you a very successful Ramadan and would like to thank all of you for past, present, and future support.



(1) Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Lata’if al-Ma`arif  (The Subtleties of Knowledge), Damascus: Dar Ibn Kathir, 1997/1416, p. 282.

(2) Ibn Rajab, p. 278.





Fasting New Muslims

What Is the Time for Taking Sahur?

In this short video, Sheikh Muhammad Alnaqwi talks about sahur; the time for eating the pre-dawn meal and the time of imsak, i.e. when we should stop eating and drinking in Ramadan.



Acts of Worship New Muslims

Objectives of Fasting and Ramadan

By Jamaal Diwan

Discussing the objectives of our actions is an important thing because to do so is to discuss the actions in a true and deep way. It is possible that if we do not know why we are doing certain things, we could miss the entire point behind the action itself. So, what are the objectives of fasting in Ramadan?

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said about this concept, “Maybe a fasting person gains nothing from his fast except hunger and thirst. And maybe a person who prays in the night gains nothing from their Prayer except staying up late.” (At-Tabarani) So this is a person who does an action but gets no result from it.

This is because if someone does an action without knowing why they are doing it or what the objective behind it is, then it is possible that the action will be useless. This is because, as Imam al-Shatibi said, “Actions without objectives are like bodies without souls.” So in this article we will discuss some of the general objectives of fasting and Ramadan.

1. Attaining Taqwa

This is the major objective of fasting in Ramadan as clarified by the Qur’an. God said,

“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous (muttaqun). (Al-Baqarah 2:183)

Fasting also teaches a person how to have taqwa because while one is fasting they are careful about all kinds of things. They watch what comes out of their mouth, what they look at, and all that they do. As a result, the person learns how to have a certain level of restraint regarding their actions. This helps them build their taqwa by making them watchful over everything that they do.

As to the definition of taqwa, the clearest way to understand it is through the definition that was provided by Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him).

Someone came to him and asked, “What is taqwa?” He responded by asking the man if he has ever walked through a thorny road. He said, “Yes.” He asked, “What did you do?” He replied, “Whenever I saw thorns I would avoid them or adjust my clothes to keep them safe.” Abu Hurayrah told him, “That’s taqwa.”

2. Fasting is a Shield

The Prophet said in an authentic hadith (narration) that “fasting is a shield.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) Even the word shield in Arabic has the connotation of protection and this is one of the meanings of the word taqwa. The Prophet also said, “O youth! Whosoever amongst you can afford to get married, let them get married. And whoever cannot afford to do so then they should fast because it will help him control his desires.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

This protection that fasting gives cannot be accomplished by just reducing one’s food intake because it is the material and immaterial elements of fasting that aide one in controlling themselves. For this reason Imam al-San`ani said about this, “It is for a secret that God put in fasting, so just reducing how much food you eat will not be enough.”

3. Fasting and Patience

Another thing that we should learn in Ramadan is to be patient with what we face in our daily lives. The Prophet said in a hadith, “Fasting the month of patience, and three days of every month is equivalent to fasting the entire year.” (Al-Nasaʾi and Ahmad) In this hadith, the Prophet refers to the month of Ramadan as the month of patience, emphasizing the importance of patience in this month.

It is also said that fasting is half of patience. This is because patience basically consists of staying away from bad deeds and persisting in good deeds. In the month of Ramadan, one of the major things that we seek to do is stay away from as many bad deeds as possible so that our fasting is half of patience.

4. Ramadan is the Month of the Qur’an

In the month of Ramadan, we spend more time with the Qur’an than in any other part of the year. We spend time reading it by ourselves, we spend time studying it, we spend time listening to it during Tarawih Prayers, and so on. In this month, the revelation of the Qur’an began and a civilization of learning and knowledge was born.

5. A Month of Generosity

It is narrated that the Prophet was the most generous of people and his most generous time was Ramadan. In doing this, the Prophet was combining between a personal act of worship, like reading the Qur’an, and a social act of worship, charity. Thereby, he showed what it means to live a comprehensive existence as someone who worships God. In doing so, he shows that our responsibilities are not only limited to ourselves but also include those around us.

6. The Importance of Time

We also learn in Ramadan that time is one of the most important blessings that we have in our lives. The Prophet said, “Two blessings, many people are at a loss regarding them: health and free time.” (Al-Bukhari) The major acts of worship in Islam are all related to specific times. We pay our zakah at a particular time. We pray at specific times. We start fasting at a particular time, in a particular month, and we break our fast at a particular time. We go on hajj at a particular time. All of these specifications are meant to teach us, among other things, the importance of time.

For this reason al-Hasan al-Basri said, “O son of Adam! You are nothing but a compilation of breaths, so every time you inhale and exhale, a piece of you is lost.” The believer is strict with their time and the more a person’s faith increases, the more their observance of their time increases. The responsibilities we have are more than the time we have to carry them out, so we should try to be as strict with our time as possible.

These are just some of the objectives of fasting and Ramadan that we should seek to actualize. We can use these as a measuring stick for our month and see how we add up. If we look throughout and see that we are improving in these aspects then we should thank God for His bounties upon us, and if we find that we are not, then we should seek His forgiveness and grace and work harder.

May Allah accept from us all our good deeds in this month and forgive us for our shortcomings. Ameen.

Note: Most of the this article is taken from an article on the topic that was written by Shaykh al-Raysuni.


Fasting New Muslims

The Fiqh of Fasting: Recommended Acts – Part 4

The recommended acts of worship are those acts whose performance is rewarded by Allah. However, there is no punishment if they are not performed.

The recommended acts of fasting:

Although there are many recommended acts concerning fasting, we will discuss here those ones related to fiqh. These are as follows:

1. Hastening to break one’s fast at sunset

It is recommended to break the fast with fresh dates. If there are no fresh dates, then one should break the fast with dried dates

When one feels sure it is sunset and the Maghrib (Sunset Prayer) announces, it is recommended for one to hasten to break the fast in both obligatory and supererogatory fasting.

Sahl bin Sa’d (RAA) narrated That the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “People will always be fine (on the right path, or following the Sunnah) as long as they hasten to break their fast.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

2. Starting with fresh dates, dried dates or water

It is recommended to break the fast with fresh dates. If there are no fresh dates, then one should break the fast with dried dates. If there are not any, then one should break his or her fast with water.

After that, one can have the main meal of the day called iftar (the breaking of the fast).

Narrated Anas ibn Malik: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to break his fast before praying (the sunset prayer) with some fresh dates; but if there were no fresh dates, he had a few dry dates, and if there were no dry dates, he took some mouthfuls of water. (Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi)

3. Supplicating Allah when one breaks the fast

Supplication (du’aa) to Allah is always recommended. However, there are certain times on which du’aa is far more recommended. One of these times for the fasting person is at sunset. In addition, du’aa at this time is never rejected as long as the etiquette and prerequisites for making du’aa are observed.

Ibn Umar said that the Prophet (ﷺ) said when he broke his fast: Thirst has gone, the arteries are moist, and the reward is sure, if Allah wills. (Abu Dawud)

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “There are three whose supplication is not rejected: The fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just leader, and the supplication of the oppressed person; Allah raises it up above the clouds and opens the gates of heaven to it. And the Lord says: ‘By My might, I shall surely aid you, even if it should be after a while.” (Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

4. Having Suhur direclty before dawn

In addition to the blessing in it, suhur gives the person observing fasting the energy to better perform the other acts of worship. It is recommended to eat suhur and to finish eating it 10 or 15 minutes before the time of dawn.

Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Eat Suhur (predawn meal). Surely, there is a blessing in Suhur.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].


Fasting New Muslims

The Fiqh of Fasting: Prohibited Fasts – Part 5

The true meaning of worship is achieved through the true submission and obedience to Allah’s commands. This is very obvious here, but how?؟

When it is obligatory to fast, Muslims hasten to obey Allah through observing it. Also, when it is forbidden to fast, they do not. This article highlights those days on which fasting is prohibited.

When it is obligatory to fast, Muslims hasten to obey Allah through observing it. Also, when it is forbidden to fast, they do not.

What are the days on which fasting is prohibited?

1. Eid al-Fitr (festival of fast-breaking)

This festival marks the end of Ramadan and based on proofs from the Sunnah, it lasts only for the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month in the lunar calendar. Traditionally, it can last for up to three days.

2. Eid al-Ad-ha (festival of sacrifice)

This is the Muslims’ second festival that marks the end of the most important pillar of the pilgrimage to Makka (mecca), namely, standing on Arafat. It lasts only for the 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah, the 12th month in the lunar calendar. Usually, it can last for up to four days. The three days that follow the first day of the festival will be discussed below.

Scholars unanimously agree on the prohibition of fasting on those two days, that is, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Ad-ha. Moreover, celebrating on these two days is an act of worship as long as acts of disobedience are avoided. This is supported by the proof from the Sunnah:

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (RAA) narrated. ‘The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) has prohibited fasting on two days; the Day of Fitr (breaking the fast of Ramadan) and on the Day of sacrifice (‘Eid al-Ad-ha).’ (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

3. The days of Tashriq

These are the 11th, 12th and 13th days of Dhul-Hijjah. It is also prohibited to fast on these days except for the pilgrim who cannot offer a sacrifice.

‘A’isha and lbn ‘Umar (RAA) narrated, ‘Nobody was allowed to fast on the days of Tashriq except for those, who could not afford the Hadi (sacrifice).’ (Al-Bukhari)

Nubaishah Al-Hudhali (RAA) narrated that The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“The days of Tashriq (the three days following ‘Idul Ad-ha, i.e. 11th , 12th and 13th of Dhul Hijjah) are days of eating, drinking and remembering (dhikr) of Allah, the Most Great and Glorious.” (Sahih Muslim)

4. The day of doubt

This is the 30th day of Sha’ban, the 8th month in the lunar calendar.

On the 29th night of Sha’ban, it is sometimes impossible or to see the new moon. This makes people doubt the beginning of Ramadan and whether the following day is the 30th of Sha’ban or the first day of Ramadan. That’s why it is called “the day of doubt”.

According to the opinion of the majority of scholars, Muslims are allowed to fast only if the sight of the new moon is proven.

Scholars differ on whether fasting on this day is reprehensible or prohibited. The preferred opinion is that it is prohibited to fast on the day of doubt. This is in agreement with the meaning of the following hadith:

‘Ammar ibn Yasir said: “Whoever fasts on the day concerning which there is doubt has disobeyed Abul-Qasim (Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).” Al-Bukhary related this Hadith as Mu’allaq1  (Suspended).

However, fasting on this day is only allowed if it happens to be on the usual days a person usually fasts. For example, the person observing fasting on Mondays and Thursdays is allowed to fast on the day of doubt if it happens to be on Monday or Thursday.

1: Mu’allaq Hadith is a hadith in which one or more narrators is removed from the beginning of the isnad i.e the chain of narration. Scholars consider Mu’allaq hadiths found in Sahih Al-Bukhary to be authentic.