CHECKLIST FOR FASTING
The Meaning of Fasting
Fasting means "the act of abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking, allowing anything whatsoever what is understood to be the interior of the body, as also voluntary vomiting, self-pollution, sexual intercourse, etc. from the break to dawn till sunset."*
Who must Fast
- All Muslims except infants, the insane and the invalid* must fast during the month of Ramadaan.
- Those who are ill or on a journey must make up the days missed as soon as possible after the month of Ramadaan.
- Those who cannot fast because of old age, illness etc. should give a poor person a meal for each day of fast missed.
The Real Significance of Fasting
"The real significance of fasting consists in the habit of self-control that it fosters and develops and thus enables one to save oneself from being an easy victim to temptation, and consequently minimising the chanes of committing sins. This in turn will make the practice of virtue easier and lead one nearer to the Kingdom of Allah."*
Therefore one should avoid all evil thoughts, hurting others and such acts while fasting.
One's Good Deeds are Multiplied during the
Month of Ramadaan.
All good deeds are multiplied seventy times during the month of Ramadaan. Therefore try to perform as many good deeds as possible during this sacred month. Saying kind words to others, smiling with others, assisting the old to cross the road, and removing nails from the road are all examples of good deeds.
When to Begin the Fast
The fast begins with the break of dawn, which is about 75-80 minutes before sunrise. In this connection Almighty Allaah says in Al Qur'aan:
"And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct
from its black thread." 2:187.
One should have a meal before commencing the fast.
The Neyyat (intention) to Keep the Fast
The intention for keeping the fast is:
"Nawaitu sauma ghadin 'an adaa'i fardi Ramadaana haazihis-sanati lillaahi ta'ala."
(I intend to fast for this day in order to perform my duty towards Allaah in the
month of Ramadaan of the present year.)
One has until the beginning of the time for Zuhr Salaat to make one's intention to fast.
When to End the Fast
- The fast ends immediately after the sun sets.
- One should not delay to break the fast
Du'a for Breaking the Fast
The Du'a for breaking the fast is:
"Allaahumma laka sumtu wa 'ala rizqika aftartu"
(O Allaah! For Thy sake have I fasted, and (now) I break the fast with the
food that comes from Thee.)
Use Physical Observation as far as Possible for
Commencing and Breaking the Fast
One should use physical observation as far as possible for commencing and ending the fast for a number of reasons e.g. there may be human error/s in the times given or there could be differences in the times between two places in the same country.
The Taraweeh Salaat
- One should endeavour to perform the special Taraweeh prayer after the Isha Salaat every night.
- It consists of twenty Rakaats offered in twos.
- The following Dhikr should be read after every four Rakaats of the Taraweeh prayer:
"Sub-haa-nazil Mulki wal Malaakut. Sub-haa-na zil Iz-za-ti wal azmati wal haybati wal Qud-rati, walkib-ri-yaa-i, wal jabaruut. Sub-haa nal Malikil hayyil lazi, laa yumanuu wa laa yaa mut. Subbuhuun, Quddusuun, Rabbana, wa Rabbul malaa'i kati war-ruuh."
(Glory be to Thee (Allaah), having kingdom and power. Glory be to the One possessing Honour and Greatness, Power, Might and Prowess. Glory be to the Lord Who neither sleepeth nor dieth. Our Lord, the Holy, the Sublime and Lord of the Angels and Spirits.)
One should, if possible, follow in the footsteps of the Prophet (S.A.W.) by performing It'ikaaf during the last ten nights and days of Ramadaan. This involves secluding one's self in the masjid for the period and not leaving except for certain specified reasons.
On the Night of Laila-tul-Qadr
Laila-tul-Qadr falls on the 27th. night of the month of Ramadaan. It is the night on which the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) received the first revelation of Al Qur'aan.
It is also one of the five sacred nights in Islam during which a believer's prayer is accepted. Accordingly, one should spend the whole night, or as much of it as possible, in performing acts of Ibadaat e.g. performing Nafl Salaat, reciting Al Qur'aan etc.
Sadaqa-tul-Fitr (The special charity for Eid)
- Persons who are liable to pay Zakaat must pay the Sadaqa-tul-Fitr (special charity given to the less fortunate in the community so that they can also celebrate Eid.)
- The head of the household who is liable to pay Zakaat must pay Sadaqa-tul-Fitr for all members of his household, including himself.
- Sadaqat-ul-Fitr should preferably be paid before the Eid-ul-Fitr prayer is performed.
- The amount of Sadaqa-tul-Fitr payable in Trinidad and Tobago is three and three quarter pounds of flour or the equivalent value in cash.
On the Night of Eid
It must be noted that the Islamic 'day' commences when the sun sets and ends some twenty four hours after when the sun is about to set. The Islamic 'day', therefore starts with the night.
The night of Eid-ul-Fitr, which is night of the last day of Ramadaan, is, like the night of Laila-tul-Qadr, one of the five nights sacred nights in Islam when a Muslim's prayer is accepted (see above) and should be commemorated in like manner, that is, performing extra acts of Ibaadat.
On the Morning of Eid
Have a bath on the morning of Eid-ul-Fitr, put on your best clothes and go to the masjid with your family to read the optional prayer to mark the end of Eid-ul-Fitr.
After the prayer one should make time to exchange greetings, and share gifts with as many members of the congregation as possible.
One should take different routes on going to the Masjid and returning home.
One should recite the following Tasbih while on the way to the Masjid and also while returning home:
- Allaahu Akbar. Allaahu Akbar (God is Great. God is Great.)
- Laa ilaaha illallaahu wallaahu Akbar (There is no god but Allaah, and Allaah is great.)
- Allaahu Akbar wa lillaahil Hamd. (Allaah is Great and Praise is for Allaah.)
* Source: Elementary Teachings of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Abdul Aleem Siddiqui
(Compiled by Z. A. K.)