By: El-Bahay El-Kholi

The Fast of Ramadan
The Merit of Fasting
Things to Abstain from During the Fast
Exemptions from the Fast
Various Additional Regulations
The Night of Preciousness (Laylat al-Qadr)
Voluntary Fasting (al-Tatawwu')

Islambasics Library: Al-Siyam "Fasting"

Various Additional Regulations


(1)The Prophet recommended taking the sahur (night-time meal).He said : "Do not miss the sahur for it is blessed ; take even a mouthful of water. God and his angels greet those who take their sahur."

(2) It is recommended to take the iftar meal as early as possible and the sahur meal as late as possible. The Prophet said : "My people are blessed as long as they take their iftar early and their sahur late".

Omar Ibu Maymun stated that the Prophet's Companions were quick to take their iftar and slow in beginning their sahur.

(3) The time for sahur extends until dawn. If the call to the fajr (dawn) prayers is announced and a man still has the cup in his hand, he should not throw it away, but can satisfy himself. The Prophet said: "If a man hears the call while the cup is still in his hand, he shall not lay it down before he is through with it."

(4) It is recommended that a man breaks the fast in the manner followed by the Prophet. Anas reported that the Prophet used to break the fast before he performed the sunset prayers, with a few ripe dates, or if not available, a few dry dates; or if not available, a few mouthfuls of water.

(5) At iftar offer your thanks to God in the same words used by the Prophet. Mu'adh Ibn Zahra reported that the Prophet used these words before partaking of iftar "I fasted for Your sake and broke the fast on what You gave me."

(6)Continuing the fast without a break for another day is reprehensible. Ibn Omar reported that the Prophet had forbidden continuation of the fast.

when the Prophet's companions remarked that the Prophet himself did it, he retorted, "I am not like any of you. Allah feeds me and satisfies my thirst".

Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet had said :

"Let no one continue the fast" repeating the command thrice. His companions observed that he did continue the fast whereupon the Prophet answered : "You are not like me: Allah feeds me and quenches my thirst. Do only the things you are capable of."  


Qada (Restitution)

(1) You may perform the qada (fasting of other days as substitute for those missed in Ramadan) consequently or without sequence.

Ibn Omar reported that the Prophet had said :"Ramadan qada may be consecutive or
split ".

Muhammad Ibn al-Munkadir said : "A man asked the Prophet about splitting the qada. The Prophet advised : It is up to you. If a man were in debt, he could repay his debt in instalments - this is qada. Consequently, doing the same in the case of Ramadan qada is acceptable".

(2)You may perform the qada any time during the year. `Aisha was reported to have said : "Sometimes I was unable to perform the qada other than in Sha'ban."

If a man postpones the qada until he is over taken by the next Ramadan, then he performs the qada after Ramadan.

Ibn Hazm said that the delay is, however, reprehensible, according to a verse from the Quran which says : "Be quick in the race for forgiveness."


I'tikaf (Retreat) during Ramadan

The Prophet set an example for retiring for contemplation during Ramadan as a form of devotion. He used to spend the last ten days of Ramadan in complete retirement in his mosque. `Aisha said : "The Prophet used to retire the last ten days of Ramadan and continued this custom to the end of his life".

Ibn Omar reported that the Prophet, during the retreat period, had his bed placed in the mosque behind a pillar.

A person in retreat shall observe complete seclusion.

A'isha said that "a person in retreat abstains from normal social life. He shall not even visit a sick man or attend a funeral or touch a woman. He goes out only to perform his natural functions".

A man in retreat may take a bath or have his hair cut and combed.

A'isha said that she used to comb the Prophet's hair while he was in retreat.

I'tikaf can be performed in any mosque where group prayers are performed. The best-rewarded i'tikaf is that performed in one of three mosques, namely, at the Ka'ba in Mecca, the Prophet's Mosque in Medina and the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

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