Book of Siyaam (Fasting)

The principle here is the statement of Allah:

O you who believe, Observing As Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al Muttaqun” [2:183]

• It is well-know that we have been obligated to fast the month of Ramadaan based on the ayah,

{The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’ân, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the Criterion (between right and wrong). So, whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan, i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month…} [Al- Baqarah 2:185]

[242] Fasting is obligatory upon every

[1] – Muslim, who is

[2] – Adult

[3] – Sane

[4] – Able to fast

[5] And is done upon sighting the crescent or the completion of thirty days of the month of Sha’ban. The Prophet (r): “Whenever you sight the new moon (of the month of Ramadhan) observe fast, and when you sight it (the new moon of Shawwal) break it, and if the sky is cloudy, then complete it.” [Agreed Upon]

In another narration of this, there is the wording: “…then complete thirty days of Sha’ban.” [al-Bukhari]

How to See the crescent ? It can be seen by naked eye or instruments e.g.: binoculars.

[243] Fasting can begin due to the sighting (of the crescent) by one reliable man, but for all other months, two witnesses are required.

If the moon is seen in a particularly country does it make obligatory on every Muslim in rest of the world also to fast. There is difference of opinion among scholars and the difference is present from old days itself.  And no solid evidences prove one point to be correct than the next. However Sheikh is in view that if the crescent is sighted in one country then the rest of the world should fast. But there are other Ulamas who have different opinion and no problem in following that view, and this doesn’t mean this should be reason to promote disunity among muslim.  Disunity will be referred to when same country starting Ramadan in different days.

What does a Muslim do with regard to fasting?

1. A person living in a Muslim country should fast when everyone else in the country fasts as Prophet said, “Fasting is when everyone else fasts.”

2. A Muslim who is living in a non-Muslim country – upon each and every one of them to follow the Islamic centre that they attend prayers in and upon the Islamic centre to specify those and coming up with the means of sighting the moon and having a methodology and thus informing the muslims there.


[244] For the obligatory fast, prior intention is obligatory; It refers to one having a clear intention a night before actual fasting starts.

[245] but for the superogatory one, it is permissible to make the intention during the day of fasting itself.  


A) ‘Unable elderly’ (old aged) and those have a terminal illness (suffering from long term sickness).
They should feed the poor for everyday missed (Fidyah) and do not make up the missed fasts.

B) Traveller and an ill person (temporarily sick person).
They do not have to feed the poor, but must make up the missed fasts.

C) As per Shk Saád – The pregnant person and the one who breastfeeds- if they both fear for the life of the foetus/child.
They feed a poor person for every fast missed and make up the missed fasts.

If she is actual fearing of her own life then she does not need to fast. She falls under category of those who are ill and should make up the fast. The next scenario if she fears for her child not for herself, in this case she should make up her fast and offer the fidaya – feed the poor.

The scholars differed concerning the ruling on pregnant woman and breastfeeding mothers if they do not fast. There are several opinions.

1 – That they have to make up the fasts only. This is the view of Imam Abu Haneefah (may Allaah have mercy on him). Among the Sahaabah, it was the view of ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him).

2 – That if they fear for themselves, they have to make up the fast only, and if they fear for their children then they have to make up the fasts and feed one poor person for each day. This is the view of Imam al-Shaafa’i and Imam Ahmad. Al-Jassaas also narrated this from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him).

3 – That they have to feed the poor only, and do not have to make up the fasts. Among the Sahaabah, this was the view of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him). Ibn Qudaamah also narrated this in al-Mughni (3/37) from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him).

For More refer:


a) Anything that goes down their throat invalidates the fast.

b) Ejaculation of semen due to sexual acts.


The Kaffarah (expiation) for breaking the fast.

Kaffarah of two types: Major Kaffarah & Minor Kaffarah.

Major Kaffaarah – Al-Kaffaarah al-mugallada 

The severe penalty –  fasting two consecutive months(continuous) if one is unable to free a slave.   

According to  Imaam Ahmad and Imaam ash-Shafi`ee say the one who is penalized with this kaffaarah is the one had sexual intercourse during the day of Ramadaan. This type of penalty does not apply if the fast is broken with food or drink. 

However  maam Malik and Imaam Abu Haneefah say that this kaffaarah is for anyone who breaks his fast in Ramadan without a valid excuse –  whether due to marital relations or  whether due to  eating/drinking.

 Minor Kaffarah

[250] Whoever breaks his fast needs to offer a single (day’s) expiation only, regardless of whether it is due to eating, drinking, intentional vomiting, cupping or by ejaculation due to foreplay.         

Unintentionally eating or drinking while fasting.

         [252] The Prophet (r) said: “Whoever eats or drinks forgetfully  should continue and complete his fast for it was Allah that fed him or gave him water.” [Agreed Upon]         

Imaam Malik says that the fast of one who eats/drinks unintentionally is  invalid. Preferred view is that of the majority –  that the fast is still valid based on the above hadith. 

Goal of Fasting

O you who believe, Observing As Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al Muttaqun [2:183]

The goal of fasting is to attain Taqwaa .

[256] And also: “Allah does not need the fast of one who does not abandon false speech or acting according to his false speech.” [al-Bukhari] .


  1. Taking Suhoor lately before Fajr. [254] And also: “Eat the Suhoor (pre-dawn meal), for in it is a blessing.” [Agreed Upon]
  2.  Hasten to break fast when time is up. [253] And also: “People will remain upon goodness as long as they hasten to break their fast.” [Agreed Upon]
  3. Breaking fast with dates. [255] And also: “When any of you breaks his fast, let him do so with dates, and if he does not find them, then with water, as it is a purifier.” [The ‘Five’]

Voluntary Fasts – Recommended Days.

  1. 6 Days in Shawaal. [261] The Prophet (r): “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadhan and then follows up with six fasts in the month of Shawwal, it is as if he fasts perpetually.” [Muslim]
  2. Day of Arafah. The Prophet (r) was asked about superogatory fasting on the day of ‘Arafah and he replied: “It is an expiation for (the sins) of the past year and the coming year.”
  3. Day of Ashura. He (s) was also asked about superogatory fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’, and he replied: “It is an expiation for (the sins of) the past year.”
  4. Every month 13th,14th,15th. [262] Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (r) commanded us to fast three days of every month: the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth.” [An-Nasa’i, At-Tirmithi]
  5. Mondays and Thursdays. He (s) was also asked about superogatory fasting on mondays     and he replied: “That was the day I was born, and the day I was        commissioned with Prophethood, and day I first received revelation.” [Muslim]

As per Shk Sa’d A person can observe  any voluntary fasts before completing missed fasts of Ramadan  except  the 6 days of  fasting  of Shawwaal.

Prohibited days to fast:

1)   Eid ul Fitr

2)   Eid ul Adha [263] Also, he (s) forbade fasting on two days: “The day of (‘Eed) al- Fitr and the day of Nahr (i.e., ‘Eed al-Adh’ha).” [Agreed Upon]

3)   Jumuáh –unless he intends to fast on Thursday or Saturday along with Friday. [265] He (s) also said: “None of you should fast on a Friday unless he intends to also fast the day before it or the day after it.” [Agreed Upon]

4)   Days of Tashreeq [264 ]He (s) said: “The days of Tashriq (in Hajj) are days of eating, drinking and remembering Allah the Glorious.” [Muslim]

Virtue of Fasting in Ramadan

[266] He (s) also said: “All the past sins are forgiven for whoever fasts Ramadhan faithfully and with the hope of reward. All the past sins are forgiven for whoever stands in prayer on the Night of Decree faithfully and with the hope of reward.” [Agreed Upon]


[267] The Prophet (r) performed I’tikaf (seclusion in the mosque) for the last ten days of Ramadhan until Allah took his soul, and his wives continued the practice after him. [Agreed Upon]

I’tikaaf is staying in masjid for worshipping Allah and in order to gain closeness to him. It is not condition of I’tikaaf that one should be fasting. It need not be for whole day or night , it can be for short time eg: between dhuhr and Asr.

1.Imam Malik n Imam Abu Haneefa says i’tikaf shld be a period of a complete day
2.Imam Shafi’ee n Imam Ahmad says i’tikaaf can be as long as an hour.
And the 2nd view is the view of Sh Sa’d n is the most correct view.

[268] The Prophet (r) said: “One should not undertake a religious journey except to three mosques: al-Masjid al-haram (in Makkah), this mosque of mine (in al-Madinah), and the Farthest Mosque (in Jerusalem).” [Agreed Upon]

The above hadith refers to that the Prophet intent that no one should intent to visit specific place except the three masjids mentioned above. Iti’kaaf can be performed in any masjid, not necessary above masjid.

Source:  Notes taken from Course-Lecture11: by Shaikh Saad ibn Naasir Al Shithry, a former member of the Senior Scholars’ Council of Saudia Arabia and the Vice-President of KIU based on the book ’Manhaj As Salikin’ (The methodology of the Traveller and a Clarification of Fiqh of  the Religion) by  Shaikh Abdur -Rahman As-Sa’di.