Ra'ma'dan is required of all Muslims who are sane,
have reached puberty as defined in Islam and do not have menstrual
or post-partum bleeding. If a person does not have an Islamically
valid reason for not fasting and does not fast, he has a sin for
every day he does not fast. The person who is Islamically
responsible for a child who is seven lunar years of age is required
to order the child to fast if he is able to fast. If by ten lunar
years of age a child does not fast, the child is forced to fast by
means of punishment such as spanking, that is if he is able to fast.
A child who is unable to fast cannot be forced to fast.
Others who are not
required to fast are the insane, those who were sick and fasting is
harmful to their health, those who are so old that fasting is
harmful to them, those who are terminally ill and fasting is harmful
to their health, and those who have menstrual or post-partum
Since being Muslim
is a requirement for fasting, the non-Muslim is not asked to fast,
but rather he is required to become Muslim and then fas
Determining when it is
Ra'ma'dan is the ninth
month of the Arabic year. In Islam we follow the lunar calendar, so
a month will always be twenty-nine or thirty days long. One is
required to know when Ra'ma'dan begins and ends.
This is done by looking for the crescent after the new moon on the
thirtieth night of Sha'^ban (the month before
Ra'ma'dan). (Note: Islamically the night of a day
comes before the day and is referred to as the night of X day.) So
if one sees the crescent on the thirtieth night of
Sha'^ban, he is required by Allah
to fast the next day or when Sha'^ban
is thirty days, whether the crescent has been seen or not. The
crescent may be seen on the thirtieth night of Sha'^ban
in the western sky after sunset.
To know if it is
Ra'ma'dan, one must either see the crescent for
himself, or an Islamic judge will make it public that tomorrow is
Ra'ma'dan after hearing a man who is ^a'dl
witness (Ashha'du') that he has seen the crescent. A person
who is ^a'dl does not commit large sins, his small sins
are less than his good credits, and he behaves in the manner
according to one of his rank.
defined in Islam means to not let anything with a volume enter the
head or trunk of the body through a natural opening from the time a
line of light appears on the eastern horizon until the sun goes
completely below the western horizon.
There are five
things one must do to fast correctly during the month of
Intend in the
heart the night before each day of Ra'ma'dan to
fast tomorrow of Ra'ma'dan this year in obedience
to Allah , knowing that Allah ordered him to fast during the month of Ra'ma'dan.
For any day not fasted with the proper intent, one is required to
abstain from all things which he would abstain from if he were
fasting as well as fast another day during the year.
One is required
not to eat, drink or allow anything with a volume into the trunk
of the body through a natural opening, or induce vomiting.
One may not
have sexual intercourse nor have an ejaculation stimulated by
physical contact during the day.
One is required
to know the extremes of the day. The extremes of the day are when
a horizontal line of light appears on the eastern horizon in the
morning, and when the sun goes completely below the western
horizon in the evening.
One is required
not to say, do or believe ku'fr during the day or at any
other time. ku'fr is any saying, deed or belief that
causes one to be non-Muslim.
The following is
a list of things which break one's fast. The phrase "during the
day" means the time at which a horizontal line of light appears
on the eastern horizon in the morning until the sun goes completely
below the western horizon in the evening.
Things which break one's fast:
eating or drinking during the day.
smoking during the day.
drops, suppositories or any medication that is introduced through
a natural opening and leads to the trunk of the body during the
vomiting during the day.
Loss of one's
mind, even for a moment, during the day.
having sexual intercourse during the day, remembering it is
Ra'ma'dan. If a person was ignorant because he
grew up far away from scholars or because he newly became Muslim,
and did not know it was Ha'ram to
intentionally have sexual intercourse during the day, if he had
sex it does not break his fast.
ejaculation stimulated by any physical contact during the day.
menstrual or post-partum bleeding during the day.
ku'fr during the day.
Being in a coma
all day long.
pulls down and swallows mucus which was above the Adam's apple
(the place of the exit of the letter "ha"), it
breaks his fast. If someone puts something down his throat to the
extent that it reaches the Adam's apple, it breaks his fast.
Ha'ram for those who have menstrual or post-partum
bleeding to fast while they have this bleeding during
If someone is
sick to the extent that fasting is harmful to his health, he is
forbidden to fast. The extent to which he is sick is comparable to
the case in which someone would do Atta'ya'mmu'm instead
Al-wu'du'. If someone had a scratch, he would not do
Atta'ya'mmu'm; if someone is sick their sickness needs to
be harmful enough for them not to fast.
If someone breaks
one's fast during the day during Ra'ma'dan, he is
required to fast another day during the year, intending to fast for
the day he did not fast during Ra'ma'dan.
Depending on why
a person did not fast, he is required to do certain things. Some
must only fast for the day or days he did not fast during
Ra'ma'dan. Some are required to fast and pay
Fi'dya'h (to be defined later). Some are required to pay
Fi'dya'h only. Some are required to fast and do
ka'ffara'h (to be defined later).
Those who are
only required to fast the day or days they did not fast during
Ra'ma'dan at another time during the year are:
Those who were
ill and became well enough to fast.
Those who were
traveling and started their journey before a horizontal line of
light appeared on the eastern horizon, and whose journey was not
forbidden in Islam.
Women who had
menstrual or post-partum bleeding.
Those who ate
or drank or broke their fast for no reason. They are required to
do repentance as defined in Islam and fast the day or days they
did not fast during Ra'ma'dan. They need to fast
the day or days they need to make up immediately after the day of
and nursing mothers who were afraid fasting would harm their
is one Mu'd of the staple food of the area. The staple
food of an area is that food which provides people with their
primary sustenance. For example, in China the staple food would
probably be rice. In the United States it would usually be wheat. In
Mexico it would probably be corn. Within a large country the staple
food might be different from area to area.
Mu'd: A double
handful is called a Mu'd and is defined as that which
fills both the hands of a medium sized man, when his hands are
in the group who are required to only fast for the day or days
they did not fast during Ra'ma'dan, if they did
not make up the days before the next Ra'ma'dan, in
addition to fasting, they are also required to pay
and nursing mothers who did not fast because they were afraid
fasting would harm their child's health.
Those who are
required to only pay Fi'dya'h:
Those who are
terminally ill are required to pay Fi'dya'h, if they are
Those who are
unable to fast due to age are required to pay Fi'dya'h,
if they are able.
Ka'ffara'h is to free a
Muslim slave. If this cannot be done, he is allowed to fast sixty
consecutive days. If this cannot be done, he is required to pay one
Mu'd of the staple food of the country to sixty poor
Those who are
required to do Ka'ffara'h are those who
intentionally had sexual intercourse during the day remembering it
was Ra'ma'dan. Except if the one who did this did
not know it was Ha'ram because he grew up
far away from scholars or because he newly became Muslim. If someone
was forced to have sex it does not invalidate his fast.
There are certain
days during the year on which it is forbidden to fast. If a person
fasts on these days, he has a sin. There are two Islamic
celebrations on which it is forbidden to fast:
One is the day
after Ra'ma'dan, the first day of
Sha'wwal (the month after
The other is
the day after the day on which people on Ha'j
stand on Mount ^a'rafat and the three following
days. They are the tenth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth of
Z'u'lhi'jja'h (this is the Arabic month during
which Ha'j takes place).
Ha'ram to fast the second half of
Sha'^ban (the month before
Ra'ma'dan) with the following exceptions:
A) If someone
was fasting the entire month of Sha'^ban, they are
allowed to fast the second half.
B) If someone
is fasting days he needs to make up for a previous
Ra'ma'dan, he may fast them during the second half
C) If someone
was fasting days which are Su'nna'h to fast, such as
Monday and Thursday, like our beloved prophet
used to fast, or if they were fasting every other day like prophet
used to fast, they may continue to do this through the second half
D) If someone
made Na'z'r (if someone makes it a requirement on
himself by swearing to Allah to do something, this is known as Na'z'r. Na'z'r
has further conditions), to fast a particular day during the
second half of Sha'^ban, he is allowed to fast
day of Sha'^ban is known as the "Day of
Doubt" (this is a literal translation) on which some boys,
women and those who commit large sins say they saw the crescent of
Ra'ma'dan. It is Ha'ram to
fast the "Day of Doubt" unless someone was already
fasting that day as one of the exceptions mentioned above. A
Muslim is required to know when Ra'ma'dan begins
in the previously described manner.
There is a
Za'kat-u'l-fi'tr. This Za'kah
is required to be paid by the Muslim who has more than enough to
provide for himself and the ones he is Islamically responsible for,
on the day of the celebration after Ra'ma'dan and
the following night. If a person meets these conditions it is
Fa'rd for him to pay
It is required
for a person to pay Za'kat-u'l-fi'tr, knowing
it is required by Allah and intending to pay this Za'kah.
The amount to be
paid is four Mu'd of the staple food of the area one is
in. This amount is given for himself and additionally the same
amount is given for each one of the people the person is Islamically
responsible for. It is forbidden to put off paying this
Za'kah after sunset on the day of the celebration.
Those for whom
one is required to pay Za'kah are:
His wife. This
includes someone he has divorced once or twice, if she is still in
the time of ^i'dda'h.
He is required
to pay for her servant which she owns if she used to be served
(had a servant) when she was at her parent's house.
If she has a
servant which she owns, but she did not have a servant when she
was at her parent's house she is required to pay
Za'kah if she is rich.
He is required
to pay Za'kah for his children who have not
If someone died
before the sun went completely below the western horizon on the
last day of Ra'ma'dan, you do not have to pay
Za'kah for that person. If someone was born after
the sun went completely below the western horizon on the last day
of Ra'ma'dan, you do not have to pay
Za'kah for that child. If a child was born right
before the sun went below the horizon, you are required to pay
Za'kah for that child.
Za'kah is not paid
ku'ffar. The kafi'r is not asked
for Za'kah in this life, he is asked to become
Muslim. He will be tortured in the next life for not becoming
Muslim and not obeying Allah by doing what is required of him.
You do not pay
Za'kah for your children who have reached puberty
without their permission.
A person will be
required to pay Za'kat-u'l-fi'tr only after
he has more than enough money to cover his needs and the needs of
those he is responsible for, as well as enough money to cover his
debts, even if it was a debt for which payment was postponed.
The needs for
which he is required to cover are: food, shelter, clothing and
sweets, if he was accustomed to having sweets for the
^id (^id is an Islamic
celebration) and the night after the ^id.
Za'kah becomes Fa'rd
(Waji'b) after the sun sets on the last day of
Ra'ma'dan. This Za'kah may be paid
any time during Ra'ma'dan. The following are further
explanations of the times for paying
It may be paid
the first night of Ra'ma'dan. There is a condition
that the one who pays the Za'kah does not become
poor and his situation remains such that he is required to pay
Za'kah through part of the month after
Ra'ma'dan (Sha'wwal). The one to
whom he paid the Za'kah is still eligible to
Za'kah by sunset on the day of the
Za'kah becomes Fa'rd (required
Allah to be paid, if not paid one has a sin)
at this time (Waji'b): After the sun sets on the
last day of
Su'nna'h to pay Za'kah at this time (Wa'qtu'l-Fadila'h):
During the day before the prayer of the ^id.
Ma'kruh to pay Za'kah at this
time (Wa'qtu'l-ka'raha'h): After the prayer of the
^id, unless he was waiting for a poor relative.
Ha'ram to pay Za'kah at
this time (Hu'rma'h): One has a sin if he
postpones paying Za'kat-u'l-fi'tr after
the sun sets on the day of the ^id, unless he is
waiting to have access to his money, which is within
Ma'rha'la'ta'yn (the distance it takes two days
to cross on foot). If his money was Ma'rha'la'ta'yn
or further, he is not required to pay.
In paying all
types of Za'kah, one is required to make the intent
to pay Za'kah for what is required. For example, in
the case of Za'kat-u'l-fi'tr, he is required
to intend to pay Za'kat-u'l-fi'tr for
himself and make the intent for Za'kat-u'l-fi'tr
for his children, et cetera. The intent needs to be made in the
Ha'ram to pay Za'kah to
anyone other than those eight groups that are mentioned in the
Qur'an in Sura't-u'tta'wba'h.
The poor in Islam
are divided into two types:
The one who has less than half of what they need. For example, the
Fa'qir needs ten dollars to meet his needs, but
he can only get four and cannot find work to meet his needs. This
person is considered Fa'qir. When considering
someone, you take into account all his responsibilities for his
wife, children and parents.
The one who has less than what they need. For example, the
Mi'skin needs ten dollars to meet his needs, but
he can only get eight and cannot find work to meet his needs. This
person is considered Mi'skin. (Note: 'Need' here
refers to vital needs of food, shelter and clothing).
Those who are appointed by the Caliph or the Sultan to be sent to
collect Za'kah, find and gather
those who are eligible to receive Za'kah,weigh
Za'kah, those who keep records of
Za'kah, and others who do similar work. These
people are paid for their work.
Za'kah may be paid to
someone who newly becomes Muslim, is weak in Islam and feels
strange among Muslims. It is allowed to give this person
Za'kah in order to strengthen him in Islam.
Za'kah may be given
to Muslim slaves that have made agreements with their owners that
if they pay him money, they will be freed.
Those who are
fighting in obedience to Allah and are not paid from Fa'y'.
The one who was
traveling, and his travel is allowed. He needs money to get home,
and does not have enough money for his journey. He may be given
borrowed money and used it in a way that is
Ha'lal, if the debt became due and they did
not have the money to repay it, they are allowed to take
Za'kah for the exact amount of the debt.