FIQH of Ramadhan – Class 2 – WHEN, WHO & HOW TO FAST

by Learn Islam (Short Courses) on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 4:35pm ·


The first day of Ramadhan can be confirmed by one of the following:

1. By sighting the moon on the night of the 29th of Sha’ban (the month which precedes Ramadhan) , When the new crescent is sighted, the fast becomes an obligation on the following day from dawn to sunset. Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon Him) said: “Fast when you sight the moon (of Ramadhan) and break your fast when you sight it (meaning the moon for Shawwal, which comes after Ramadhan),” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

2. By completing thirty days of Sha’ban, in which case the following day will be the first day of Ramadhan. Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon Him) said: “If you were not able to see it (the crescent of Ramadhan), then complete the month (of Sha’ban) as thirty days.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)


1. Neeayah (Intention): Making intention in the heart to fast during the preceding night. Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon Him) said: “Whoever does not make intentions to fast before Fair (dawn) (i.e. during the preceding night) will have no fast.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, ibn Majah and At-Tirmithi)

Note: Intention for optional Fasts could be made at any time even during the day, if one has not done any act that invalidates Siyam.


2. Abstaining from eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse.


Fasting starts at dawn (about an hour and twenty minutes before sunrise) and lasts until sunset.

Allah (S.W.T) says interpretation of the meaning is: “…and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your Sawm (fast) till the nightfall.” (2:187)




Fasting is mandatory for all sane, healthy, adult Muslims, male and female. People who are insane, physically ill, minors (under the age of puberty), travelers, menstruating women, women experiencing post childbirth bleeding, breastfeeding women and pregnant women are all not required to fast. For some of these people, fasting is not obligatory at all, while others are required to make up for the missed days of fasting at a later date.




The following groups of people are not required to fast and they do not make up for- the missed days of fasting. Likewise, they are not required to do anything as a compensation or atonement for missing the fast.

  • The Person who are Insane: Fasting is not obligatory for the insane because of their inability to understand what they are doing. Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon Him) said: “The pen (that records deeds and sins) is lifted (from writing) for three people: the insane until they regain their sanity, those who are sleeping until they awaken, and the young until they reach puberty.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmithi)
  • Children: Those who have not reached the age of puberty are not required to fast as evidenced by the Hadith mentioned above. However, it is recommended that their guardians encourage them to fast so that they become accustomed to it at an early age. They may fast as long as they are able and then break the fast if it becomes too difficult for them.



There are some persons who are allowed to abstain from fasting and make up for it by fasting later. They are as follows:

  • The ill Person: A person who is sick, but not terminally ill, is allowed to abstain from fasting and is required to make up for missed days. Allah(S.W.T) said: “… but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days.” (2:184)
  • The Traveler: If one travels as far as the distance that requires shortening the prayer, it is allowed for him to abstain from fasting, but he is required to make up for missed days. This is proven in the previous Verse of the Qur’an.
  • Pregnant and Breast-feeding Women: Such women are allowed to abstain from fasting if they fear for their health, their infants, fetuses, or both. Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon Him) said: “Allah has relieved the traveler of the fast and a part of the prayer, and has relieved the pregnant and the breast-feeding woman from the fast.” (Ahmad and As-Sunan Collections) The pregnant and breast-feeding women make up for the missed days of fasting when the circumstances that allowed them to abstain have ended.



Elderly men and women, the terminally ill (who have no hope of being cured of their illness) and all those in comparable situations who find it difficult to fast are allowed to abstain from fasting. They do not have to make up for the missed days, but are required to feed a poor person a Mudd of food for each day of fasting that they missed. Allah (S.W.T) says:

“And as for those who can fast (but) with difficulty (e.g. an old person, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a poor person (for every day of their missed fast).” (2:184)




  1. Eating, Drinking, Smoking or anything the same. (Intentionally)
  2. Intentionally vomiting.
  3. Taking out blood in large amounts
  4. Menstruation or Post-Birth Bleeding.
  5. Sexual intercourse.

Important Rule: The Fast is still valid if a person was:

1. Ignorant of the Ruling or of the time.

2. Forgetfulness/unintentional.

3. Under compulsion.

Except for Menstruation or Post-Birth bleeding.




  1. If one breaks his fast without a legitimate excuse, he/she has committed a Major Sin & should Repent (Tawbah); And must make-up the missed day(s) before the next Ramadaan.
  2. If one breaks his fast with a legitimate excuse, he must make-up the missed day(s) before the next Ramadan.
  3. If one is un-capapble of Fasting due to old age or has an un-curable disease, he/she must feed one needy Muslim (Sa’a) for every missed day during Ramadan.
  4. If ones fast is broken because of sexual intercourse:

He/She has committed a sin & should repent (Tawbah)

He/She must make-up the missed day(s) before the next Ramadan.

He/She must make a Kaffarah (Expiation) by either Freeing a Slave (if not possible), Fasting two consecutive months (if un-able), feeding sixty needy people.

Note: There is no Kaffarah on the Wife if she was forced.

5. If one dies before he/she could make-up the missed day(s), an heir relative can fast or feed on his/her behalf.

InshaAllah in the Next class we will Study ‘Etiquette/Sunnah and Disliked acts of Fasting’




  1. Assalamu Alaikkum,
    Masha Allah.. Article is really useful.. Thank you very much. I have few questions here..
    – To make Intention before fajr means, immediately after we wake up for the day? or the previous night itself? Is there any special prayer to be recited for making the intention or is just in the heart?
    – What is the difference between Intentional, Obligatory and optional fasts?
    – If am not wrong, I can eat/drink before sunrise right? Just before starting to fast.. In the above para, one sentence says.. “Fasting starts at dawn (about an hour and twenty minutes before sunrise)”. So, whatever I can eat should be eaten before this one hour and twenty min?

    I apologise if the questions are silly.. I just wanted to understand better.. Nothing else. Thank you once again for the wonderful articles.


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