Friday, 26 June 2015


Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar:

#1 Month of great generosity!

Narrated Ibn Abbas: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was the most generous of all the people, and he used to become more generous in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Quran with him. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to recite the Quran to Gabriel. When Gabriel met him, he used to become more generous than the fast wind (which causes rain and welfare, more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds)." [Bukhari 1:1:5; 3:31:126; 4:54:443; 4:56:754; 6:61:519]

We come to know the innumerable blessings Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has favoured us with from food and drinks and many are not fortunate to have these so we thank Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) for them. We look forward to our meal more than usual and we are more grateful. This causes us to remember our less fortunate brothers and sisters and in turn causes us to be more generous to them. 

 Angel Gabriel reviewed the Quran with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) once every year in Ramadan, except in the year he died. Gabriel reviewed it twice the year the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) died. So the Quran has been preserved, remembered, reviewed and not forgotten. 

 The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was more generous in Ramadan. How can people then exchange generosity for stinginess and action for laziness during this blessed month? So much so that they do not do their work properly and do not treat one another properly, and they use fasting as an excuse for all this. But the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was more generous in this month!

 Breaking fast of the fasting person:

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever gives food to a fasting person with which to break his fast, will have a reward equal to his, without it detracting in the slightest from the reward of the fasting person." [Tirmidhi 3/171] Ibn Taymiyyah said: “What is meant is that he should feed him until he is satisfied.” (Al-Ikhtiyaaraat al-Fiqhiyyah, p. 109)

#2 Niyyah (Intention)

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "There is no fast for the person who did not intend to fast from the night before." [Abu Dawud 13:2448]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "The reward of deeds depends upon the intention and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended." [Bukhari 1:2:51]

The intention may be made at any point during the night, even if it is just a moment before Fajr (dawn). Niyyah means the resolution in the heart to do something; speaking it aloud is bid’ah (innovation).

"Every Muslim should believe that the fast is obligatory for him, and he wants to fast the month of Ramadan. If he knows that the next day is a day of Ramadan, he has to intend fasting and to know that the intention is only by the heart. Everyone who knows what he wants should intend it whether he utters his intention or does not utter it. Utterance of the intention is not obligatory according to the consensus of the Muslims. Masses of the Muslims fast while having this intention, and their fast is sound without any dispute between the scholars." - Ibn Taymiyyah

The person who is fasting Ramadan does not need to repeat the intention every night during Ramadan; it is sufficient to have the intention at the beginning of the month. If the intention is interrupted by breaking the fast due to travel or sickness – for example – he has to renew the intention to fast when the reason for breaking the fast is no longer present.

#3 When Ramadan starts and how long it lasts is determined in two ways:

1. By sighting of the new moon. 

Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) says: "Whoever of you lives to see this month should fast it" and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "If you see the new moon then fast." It is not a condition that everyone has to see the new moon; if someone trustworthy witnesses it then the obligatory fasting begins. Whoever sees the crescent of the new moon or hears about it from a trustworthy source is obliged to fast. The witness must have a mature brain, must be Muslim, must be trustworthy and also have good vision. The witness must not be young, insane, known liar, hasty / impulsive person, have bad eyesight or be a disbeliever. 

Abdullah ibn Umar (رضي الله عنه) said: "The people looked for the moon, so I informed the Apostle of Allah that I had sighted it. He fasted and commanded the people to fast." [Abu Dawud 13:2335]

"A bedouin came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and said: 'Indeed I have seen the new moon for the start of Ramadan' so the Prophet said: 'Do you bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah?' He replied: 'Yes.' He asked: 'Do you testify that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah?' He replied: 'Yes.'  Then he (the Prophet) said: 'Oh Bilal, announce to the people that they must fast tomorrow.'" [Abu Dawud 13:2333; 13:2334]

2. The second way to start the month is by finishing the month before it, that is, by the completion of thirty days of Sha’ban. The lunar months can only be 29 or 30 days. 

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "The month consists of 29 days, but do not fast till you sight it (the moon) and do not break your fast till you sight it. If the weather is cloudy (i.e. when you cannot see it), then count 30 days." [Abu Dawud 13:2312]

Aisha (رضي الله عنه) said: "The Apostle of Allah used to count the days in Sha'ban in a manner he did not count any other month; then he fasted when he sighted the new moon of Ramadan; but if the weather was cloudy (if he couldn't see it), then he counted 30 days and then fasted." [Abu Dawud 13:2318]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Do not fast (for Ramadan) before the coming of the month until you sight the moon or complete the number (of 30 days); then fast until you sight the moon or complete the number (of 30 days)." [Abu Dawud 13:2319]

Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (رضي الله عنه) said: "We kept fast for 29 days along with the Prophet more often than we kept fast for 30 days." [Abu Dawud 13:2315]

So sometimes Ramadan is 29 days and sometimes it is 30 days. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "We are an illiterate nation; we neither write, nor know accounts. The month is like this and this, i.e. sometimes of 29 days and sometimes of 30 days." [Bukhari 3:31:137]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "When you see the crescent (of the month of Ramadan), start fasting, and when you see the crescent (of the month of Shawwal), stop fasting; and if the sky is overcast (and you can't see It) then regard the crescent (month) of Ramadan (as of 30 days)." [Bukhari 3:31:124]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Do not fast unless you see the crescent (of Ramadan), and do not give up fasting till you see the crescent (of Shawwal), but if the sky is overcast (if you cannot see it), then act on estimation (i.e. count Sha'ban as 30 days)." [Bukhari 3:31:130]

#4 Previous Nations

From the greatness of fasting is that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) prescribed it on all of the nations and made it obligatory on them. "Oh you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you like it was prescribed for those before you so that you may become righteous." (Quran 2:183) 

If it were not such a great act, then it would not be prescribed for all of the nations. 

"If fasting were not such a great form of worship and essential deed by which to worship Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and connected with such great rewards, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) would not have made it an obligation upon all people, past and present." - Muḥammad Ibn Ṣāliḥ al-‘Uthaymīn

Prophet Jesus fasted for 40 days: "Jesus did not eat anything for 40 days and 40 nights. At the end of that time, he was hungry." (Matthew 4:2)

#5 Ramadan fasting is the 5th pillar of Islam

Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Islam is built on five (pillars): testifying that nothing deserves worship but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah (Shahadah), establishing prayer (Salah), giving charity (Zakah), performing the pilgrimage (Hajj), and fasting in Ramadan." [Muslim 1:19]

#6 All three types of Patience

"Fasting also includes all three types of patience: having patience upon obedience to Allah, having patience while staying away from what Allah has forbidden, and having patience with the natural decree of Allah such as the pain one feels from hunger, thirst, and fatigue. So fasting contains all of those three types of patience and those who fast are truly considered the patient ones, Allah says: 'Certainly, the patient will be given their reward without account.' (Quran 39:10)" -  Muhammad Ibn Salih al-'Uthaymin

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "It is the month of patience and the reward of patience is Jannah (Paradise)." [Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah in his Saheeh in the Chapter of Virtues of Ramadan]

#7 The Grateful Eater and the Patient Faster

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "The one who eats and is thankful is at the level of the one who fasts and is patient." [Recorded by al-Tirmidhī and Ibn Mājah (see al-Albānī’s “Ṣaḥīḥ Sunan Ibn Mājah,” no. 1427) and by al-Albānī in “al-Ṣaḥīḥah,” no. 655]

#8 Fasting is a form of Worship

Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) says: “And I created not the jinns and humans except that they should worship Me (Alone)." (Quran 51:56)

One of the greatest acts of worship is fasting and Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) encourages His slaves to fast: "...And that you fast, it is better for you, if only you know." (Quran 2:184)

#9 Closer to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)

Reaching the month of Ramadan is a great reward in itself for those who do so and sincerely take advantage of it by returning to their Creator: returning from disobeying Him to obeying Him, from forgetting Him to remembering Him, and from distancing themselves from Him to repenting and turning to Him.

Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has made it a re-ocurring favour for us; every year in the life of a Muslim he has this opportunity to act in this month.

This month is a month of practice and training, it trains and programs us to do good deeds, for the sake of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), in the hope that we continue doing them after the month of Ramadan has ended. So it is a month of programming and training, making us steadfast and eradicating negligence and of our shortcomings. We can make or break a habit this month.

"Ramadan is not a temporary increase in religious practice. It is a glimpse of what you are capable of doing everyday." - Shaykh Abdul-Jabbar

#10 Two pleasures of a fasting person

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Fasting is a screen (from Hell) and there are two pleasures for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord." [Bukhari 9:93:584]

#11 Gates

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "When the month of Ramadan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of the (Hell) Fire are closed, and the devils are chained." [Bukhari 3:31:122; 3:31:123; 4:54:497]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has made it obligatory on you to fast (this month). During it the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are locked, and the devils are chained up. In it there is a night that is better than a thousand months, and whoever is deprived of its goodness is deprived indeed."  [Recorded by Ahmad and al-Nasā’ī (see al-Albānī’s “Ṣaḥīḥ Sunan al-Nasā’ī,” no. 1992) and by al-Albānī in “Ṣaḥīḥ al-Targhīb wa al-Tarhīb” (no. 985)]

As a result of this, you will see the believer doing more actions that are good, and staying away from doing bad in this month more than in any other month.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "On the first night of the month of Ramadan, the devils are chained as well as the strongest, most arrogant of the Jinn. The gates of the fire are closed and not one of its gates will be opened. The gates of paradise are opened and not one of them will be closed. A caller will call out, “Oh seeker of good, come forward. And oh seeker of evil, refrain.” Allah frees people from the fire, and that happens every night." [Recorded by al-Tirmidhī and Ibn Mājah. See al-Albānī’s “Ṣaḥīḥ Sunan al-Tirmidhī” (no. 549)]

At the breaking of every fast, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) will choose people to free from Hellfire. (Reported by Ahmad 5/256)

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Whoever believes in Allah and His Apostle, offers prayers perfectly and fasts (the month of) Ramadan then it is incumbent upon Allah to admit him into Paradise." [Bukhari 9:93:519]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "You must fast because there is nothing like it, and you must bow down (prostrate) because if you bow down to Allah just once, Allah will raise you up a level and will remove a sin from you." [Recorded by al-Nasā’ī (see al-Albānī’s “Ṣaḥīḥ Sunan al-Nasā’ī,” no. 2100) and by al-Albānī in “al-Ṣaḥīḥah,” no. 1937]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins." [Bukhari 3:31:128]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Fasting is a shield." [Muslim 6:2565]

What is meant by 'fasting is a shield?' Meaning protection from speaking rudely and protection from the fire. 

Protection from the fire:

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Whoever fasts a single day for the sake of Allah, Allah will distance his face 70 years away from the fire." [Muslim 6:2570; 6:2572]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Whoever fasts a single day for the sake of Allah, Allah will make between him and the fire a trench like the distance between the heavens and the earth." [Al-Albānī’s “Sahih Sunan al-Tirmidhi,” no. 1325]

"'Fasting is a means of protection' meaning it is a defense or shield that the fasting person uses to protect himself from saying useless, obscene, or rude things. For this, the Prophet said: 'The person should not speak badly or act rudely.' [Bukhari 3:31:127; 8:73:83] And fasting also protects a person from the fire; Imam Ahmad narrates a hadith in which the Prophet said, 'Fasting is a means of protection by which the worshiper is protected from the Fire.'" - Muhammad Ibn Salih al-‘Uthaymin

#12 Ar-Rayyan

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Rayyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said: 'Where are those who used to observe fasts?' They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it." [Bukhari 3:31:120; 3:31:121]

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar said: "Al-Rayyan is the proper name of one of the gates of paradise specifically through which the those who fast often will enter. The name is appropriate in its wording and its meaning because it is derived from the Arabic word الرَّيّ (Al-Rayy) which means the quenching of thirst. So it is appropriate to the condition of the fasting people…or because it (thirst) is harder upon the fasting person than hunger."

#13 Intercession

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Fasting and the Quran will both intercede for the worshiper on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say: 'Oh lord, I prevented him from food and desire so let me intercede (ask for forgiveness) for him.' And the Quran will say, 'I prevented him from sleeping at night so let me intercede for him.' So they will both be allowed to intercede." [Recorded by Ahmad and al-Ṭabarani in “al-Kabir.” And al-Albani says it is authentic in "Sahih al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib" (no. 969); Sahih al-Jami' (3882)]

Al-Albani says in "Sahih al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib" (1/483): "The meaning here is that Allah will allow them to intercede for the person and enter him into paradise. Al-Mannani said: 'This statement is to be taken upon its actual meaning in that the person will find the reward of both (fasting and reading the Quran) and Allah will create speech for them both since Allah is capable of doing anything.' I (Al-Albani) say, the first part (of Al-Mannani’s statement) is correct and that is how we must understand the meaning here and in other hadith like it in which deeds are described in terms of having physical forms and characteristics…And changing the apparent meaning of such texts is not the way of the Salaf (pious predecessors). Rather, it is the way of the Mu'tazilah and others like them. And such misinterpretations negate one of the basic, core principles of faith mentioned in the verse (in Surah al-Baqarah): 'Those who believe in the unseen.' So beware of following their example and thus become misguided and ruined."

#14 Holy Books Sent

"The month of Ramadan in which the Quran was revealed – guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion." (Quran 2:185)

"The scriptures of Ibrahim (Abraham) were revealed on the 1st night of Ramadan. The Torah was revealed on the 6th of Ramadan. The Gospel was revealed on the 13th of Ramadan. The Zaboor (Psalm) was revealed on the 18th of Ramadan. And the Quran was revealed on the 24th of Ramadan." [Sahih al-Jami No. 1497]

# 15 Five specific things for us

Imam Ahmad narrates on the authority of Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:
"My nation was given 5 specific things during the month of Ramadan which no nation before us was given:

(1) The breath of a fasting person is sweeter to Allah than the smell of misk;
(2) the Angels ask for the forgiveness of the fasting one until they eat;
(3) Allah beautifies Heaven every day and says: 'My righteous servants are about to be spared suffering and harm, then they will be sent to you';
(4) the Devils are chained so that they are not able to do what they would normally do otherwise;
(5) and they are forgiven in the last night,

they said: 'O Messenger of Allah, are you referring to Laylat-ul-Qadr (Night of Power)?' He replied: 'No, but indeed the reward follows the good deed, once the deed is performed.'"

So these are 5 particular things Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has chosen specifically for you from amongst the other Nations. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) forgives the Ummah (Nation) of Muhammad in the last night of this month. If they do what is required of them in this month, from fasting and praying, then Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) will reward them when they complete the deed. For indeed the good deed is rewarded at the completion of the deed.

#16 Ramadan is not just abstaining from food, drink and sexual relations...

It is also abstaining from bad manners!

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting)." [Bukhari 3:31:127; 8:73:83]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "When any one of you is fasting on a day, he should neither indulge in obscene language, nor raise the voice; or if anyone reviles him or tries to quarrel with him he should say: 'I am a person fasting.'" [Muslim 6:2563; 6:2566]

So you're not really fasting if you're having beef!

Don't break your fast on the flesh of your brother! 

Allah says: "And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate that (so hate the other - backbiting)!" (Quran 49:12)

Jabir ibn Abdullah (رضي الله عنه) said: "When you fast, you should also fast your ears, eyes, and tongue from lying and unlawful deeds, do not harm your neighbour, you should have a peaceful calmness, and your fasting day and non-fasting day should not be the same." [“Kitāb al-Ṣiyām” in “al-Muṣannaf” of Ibn Abī Shaybah]

Ali (رضي الله عنه) said: “Fasting is not only abstaining from food and drink; rather fasting is also from lying and evil and obscene speech." [“Kitāb al-Ṣiyām” in “al-Muṣannaf” of Ibn Abī Shaybah]

The Prophet said: “It may be that a fasting person gets nothing from his fast except hunger." [Ibn Majah 1/539]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "The person observing fasting should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, 'I am fasting.'" [Bukhari 3:31:118]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "If one of you is fasting, he should avoid quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say: 'I am fasting.'" [Bukhari 3:31:128]

"{And if someone fights him or insults him, let him say: 'I am fasting, I am fasting.'} Also in this hadith, the fasting person is instructed that if someone insults him or tries to fight with him, he is not to confront the aggressor in the same manner so as not to encourage the insulting and fighting and thus prevent it from intensifying. And so that the fasting person does not seem weak or cowardly by simply remaining silent, he is instructed to tell the person that he is fasting as an indication that he refuses to confront the aggressor in the same manner out of respect for his own fast, not out of weakness or inability to stand up and retaliate. In this way, the arguing, insulting, and fighting may stop." - Muhammad Ibn Salih al-'Uthaymin

#17 Even your Sleep is Worship!

Imam Ahmad: "A fasting person is in a state of worship as long as he does not backbite even if he is sleeping in bed." [Al-Zuhd 4/313]

#18 Goal of Ramadan Fasting

"Fasting prescribed upon you like those before you in order that you may attain Taqwa." (Quran 2:183)

So our goal is "Taqwa" and so the question arises: What is Taqwa? Click here to know what Taqwa is: 
At the end of Ramadan, you are very careful when trodding upon the thorny path of life. The interpretation of this is that if a person refrains from halal (permissable) things hoping to earn the pleasure of Allah and out of fear of His punishment, it will be easier for him to refrain from doing haram (forbidden) things. Observing Saum (fasting) enables you to have better control and self-discipline over temptations and passions. You will become more conscious of the sense of piety and God-fearing, and the needs of the poor and less fortunate. 

If the purpose of fasting in the month of Ramadan is to become people of Taqwa, if we slander, backbite, don't pray, etc we will not attain Taqwa at the end.

#19 Month of Forgiveness

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Whoever fasted the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah's rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven." [Bukhari 1:2:37; 3:32:231; 3:31:125] 

"This means that the person fasts out of true belief in Allah, being pleased with the obligation of fasting that Allah has placed on him and hoping for Allah’s reward. The person should not hate his obligation or doubt his reward. So if his belief and hope is correct, then Allah will surely forgive whatever sins he may have made in the past." - Muḥammad Ibn Ṣāliḥ al-‘Uthaymīn

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "May he be humiliated, the man who sees the month of Ramadan come and go, and he is not forgiven." [Tirmidhi]

What is sincerity (Ikhlas)? Click here:

Doing acts of ibadah (worship) for the sake of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) only is sincerity. This sincerity is destroyed if it the act of worship is done to please other people, look good in their eyes, for fame, for praise, to show off, etc.

It can be that some people appear to be fasting but when he enters his home he eats, drinks and goes to his woman. In front of people he is fasting but when in private, he is not. About this: 

"Say: 'Whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it. Allah knows it, and He knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. And Allah is able to do all things." (Quran 3:29)

#20 Fast is for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Allah said: 'The Fast is for Me and I will give the reward for it, as he (the one who observes the fast) leaves his sexual desire, food and drink for My Sake.'" [Bukhari 9:93:584]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "(Allah said): 'Every good deed of the son of Adam is for him except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.'" [Bukhari 3:31:128; 7:72:811]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "(Allah says about the fasting person): 'By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk (perfume). He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times.'" [Bukhari 3:31:118; 7:72:811; 9:93:584]

"The Arabic word used here (khulūf) refers to the change in smell in the mouth when the stomach is empty. It is a disgusting smell in the sight of people yet in the sight of Allah, it is better than the fragrant scent of perfume because it originates from the worship of Allah and obedience to him." - Muḥammad Ibn Ṣāliḥ al-‘Uthaymīn

The smell of a fasting person's mouth is disliked among the people but to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) it is better than the scent of musk because it is a result of worship and obedience to Him. Likewise the martyr who is killed in the way of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) with the intention of the Word of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) to be dominant will come on the Day of Judgement with red blood, but its smell will be the smell of musk. 

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "By Him in Whose Hands my soul is! Whoever is wounded in the way of Allah - and Allah knows best who is wounded in His Way - will come on the Day of Judgement with his wound having the colour of blood, but its smell will be the smell of musk." [Bukhari 1:4:238; 4:52:59; 7:67:441] [Muslim 20:4626; 20:4629; 20:4630] [Malik 21.14.29]

Also during Hajj (pilgrimage), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) says to his Angels: "Look at my slaves who have come to me disheveled and dusty." [Ahmad and Ibn Habban in his Saheeh]. This disheveled appearance is beloved to Allah in this situation because it is a sign of obedience to Him as it represents the observance of ihram and leaving of the luxuries.

"When a person fasts, his genuine sincerity is made apparent to Allah because fasting in itself is a secret between a worshiper and his Lord; no one other than Allah is aware of it. When someone who is fasting is in a place away from others, it is possible for him to eat or drink which Allah has made forbidden to him. However, he does not do so because he knows he has a Lord who is aware of everything he does, even when he is alone, and he knows Allah has forbidden him from eating and drinking at that time. So he prevents himself from eating and drinking only for Allah, fearing his punishment and hoping for his reward. And for that, Allah thanks him for his genuine sincerity and specifically chooses his fasting for himself from all the other deeds a person may do." - Muḥammad Ibn Ṣāliḥ al-‘Uthaymīn

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "(Allah says): 'Every good action is rewarded by ten times its kind, up to seven hundred times, except fasting, which is for Me, and I reward it.'" [Malik 18.22.58]

The good deeds are multiplied in number, the good deed with ten like it up until 700 like it and even more. As for fasting it is rewarded by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) without regard for numbers. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) will give great amounts of reward for fasting without account. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) says:
"Allah rewards the patience ones without reckoning (or limit)." (Quran 39:10)

#21 Two Stages

Ramadan became obligatory in the 2nd year of Hijrah. So the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) fasted for 9 years and fasting went through two stages:

1. The person was given a choice between fasting and feeding a poor person, with fasting being more preferred. (Quran 2:184)

Then it was specified that feeding the needy replaced fasting for the weak person (e.g. the elderly and the pregnant).

Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) recited the verse: "And for those who can fast they had a choice either fast, or feed a poor for every day..." (Quran 2:184) Ibn 'Abbas said: "This verse is not abrogated, but it is meant for old men and old women who have no strength to fast, so they should feed one poor person for each day of fasting (instead of fasting)." [Bukhari 6:60:32]

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه): Explaining the verse; "For those who can do it (with hardship) is a ransom, the feeding of one, that is indigent," (Quran 2:184) he said: "This was a concession granted to the aged man and woman who were able to keep fast; they were allowed to leave the fast and instead feed an indigent person for each fast; (and a concession) to pregnant and suckling woman when they apprehended harm (to themselves)." [Abu Dawud 13:2311]

2. Fasting was made obligatory without the choice. (Quran 2:185)

Salama ibn Akwa' (رضي الله عنه) reported that when this verse was revealed: "And as for those who can fast (but do not) expiation is the feeding of a needy person" (Quran 2:184), (he who liked to observe fast did observe it) and he who felt reluctant to observe it ate and expiated till the verse was revealed which abrogated it. [Muslim 6:2547]

Salama ibn Akwa' (رضي الله عنه) reported: "We, during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah, in one month of Ramadan (observed fast according to our liking). He who wished to fast fasted and he who wished to break broke it and fed a needy person as an expiation till this verse was revealed: 'He who witnesses among you the month (of Ramadan) he should observe fast during it' (Quran 2:185)." [Muslim 6:2548]

#22 Fasting causes Self-control

Fasting causes suppression of the desires, as the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "O young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes (from casting evil glances) and preserves one from immorality (i.e. protects the private parts); but he who cannot afford it should observe fast for it is a means of controlling the sexual desire." [Muslim 8:3233]

#23 Everything's bigger in Ramadan

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Performing Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) in Ramadan brings the same reward as Hajj (pilgrimage)." [Abu Dawud 10:1983; 10:1984; 10:1985]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was asked: "Which charity is the best?" He replied: "Sadaqah (charity) in Ramadan." [Tirmidhi 663, weak hadith]

#24 Fasting in the Summer

Ibn Rajab said: "From the aspects that multiply the reward for fasting in the summer, is fasting during intense weather conditions. The difficulty in fasting, coupled with the acts of worship one does whilst fasting, multiplies the reward." [Lataa'if al-Ma'aarif (Pg. 551)]

Ibn Rajab also said: "The patience of those who fast for the sake of Allah in the relentless heat, faced with starvation and thirst, is rewarded with a door from the many doors in Jannah (Paradise) made exclusive to them - the Doors of al-Rayyan. Whoever enters the Doors of ar-Rayyan will drink from the water within it and they will never face starvation or thirst ever again." [Lataa'if al-Ma'aarif (Pg. 554)]

Al-Hajjaj asked a Bedouin (desert Arab): "How do you fast in this heat?"

He replied: "I fast to protect myself from a Day much hotter than this."

Ali (رضي الله عنه) said: "I was made to love three things from this world – serving the guest, fasting in summer, and fighting with the sword." ['Preparing for the Day of Judgement' by Imam ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani]

We complain about fasting in the summer in the month of Ramadan but Ali (رضي الله عنه) loved it!

#25 Suhoor and Iftar

• Delay Suhoor and Hasten Iftar

According to the Sunnah (example of the Prophet), the fasting person is commanded to hasten to break their fast (Iftar) and to delay the pre-dawn meal (Suhoor).

'Amru ibn Maymoon al-Awdee said: "The Companions of Muhammad were the earliest and quickest of the people in breaking the fast and the latest (of them) in taking suhoor." ['Abdur-Razzaaq in his Musannaf (7591)]

• Do not delay Iftar:

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "The people will continue to prosper as long as they hasten the breaking of the fast." [Muslim 6:2417] [Abu Dawud 13:2346] [Malik 18.3.6]

Abu 'Atiyya reported: "I and Masruq went to Aisha and Masruq said to her: 'Mother of the Believers, there are two persons among the Companions of Muhammad, one among whom hastens in breaking the fast and in observing sunset prayer, and the other delays breaking the fast and delays observing sunset prayer.' She said: 'Who among the two hastens in breaking fast and observing prayers?' We said: 'It is Abdullah ibn Mas'ud.' Whereupon she said: 'This is how the Messenger of Allah did.'" [Muslim 6:2419; 6:2420]

The Sunnah is to hasten in breaking the fast. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) would not pray Maghrib until he had broken his fast, if only with a sip of water. [Reported by al-Haakim, 1/432; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 2110]

But beware of breaking the fast before the correct time, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) saw some people hanging from their hamstrings with blood pouring from the corners of their mouths, and when he asked about them, he was told that they were people who broke their fast before it was time to do so. [Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 1986, and in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/420]

When do you break the fast?

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abi Aufa: "We were in the company of Allah's Apostle on a journey, and when the sun set, he said to a man: 'Get down and prepare a drink of Sawiq (powdered barley) for me.' The man said: 'O Allah's Apostle! Will you wait till it is evening?' The Prophet again said to him:: "Get down and prepare a drink of Sawiq." The man again said: 'O Allah's Apostle! The sun!' The Prophet again said (for the third time): 'Get down and prepare a drink of Sawiq.' So the third time the man dismounted and mixed Sawiq with water for him. The Prophet drank it and pointed with his hand towards the East, saying: 'When you see the night falling from this side, then a fasting person should break his fast." [Bukhari 3:31:162; 3:31:176; 7:63:218]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "When night falls from this side and the day vanishes from this side and the sun sets, then the fasting person should break his fast." [Bukhari 3:31:175]

Sahl bin Sad said: "The Verse: 'And eat and drink until the white thread appears to you distinct from the black thread' (Quran 2:187) was revealed, but: '... of dawn' was not revealed (along with it) so some men, when intending to fast, used to tie their legs, one with white thread and the other with black thread and would keep on eating till they could distinguish one thread from the other. Then Allah revealed '... of dawn,' whereupon they understood that meant the night and the day." [Bukhari 6:60:38]

Narrated Adi ibn Hatim: "When the above verses were revealed: 'Until the white thread appears to you, distinct from the black thread,' I took two (hair) strings, one black and the other white, and kept them under my pillow and went on looking at them throughout the night but could not make anything out of it. So, the next morning I went to Allah's Apostle and told him the whole story. He explained to me: 'That verse means the darkness of the night and the whiteness of the dawn.'" [Bukhari 3:31:140]

• Suhoor is a blessing:

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Take Suhoor as there is a blessing in it." [Bukhari 3:31:146]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Take meal a little before dawn, for there is a blessing in taking meal at that time." [Muslim 6:2412]

Al-Irbad ibn Sariyyah said: "The Apostle of Allah invited me to a meal shortly before dawn in Ramadan, saying: 'Come to the blessed morning meal.'" [Abu Dawud 13:2337] 

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "All of suhoor is blessing, so do not leave it, even if one of just has water to drink, for indeed Allah and his Angels send their blessings on the people that eat Suhoor." [Ahmad with a strong chain]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "The difference between our fasting and that of the People of the Book is (Suhoor) eating shortly before dawn." [Muslim 6:2413]

• Suhoor till Fajr Adhan:

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Bilal pronounces the Adhan at night so that you may eat and drink till Ibn Um Maktum pronounces the Adhan (for the Fajr prayer, this was pronounced at the conclusion of the Sehri and the commencement of the fast)." [Bukhari 9:91:353; 9:91:354] [Muslim 6:2399]

Zaid bin Thabit (رضي الله عنه) said: "We took the Suhoor with the Prophet. Then he stood for the prayer. I asked: 'What was the interval between the Suhoor and the Adhan?' He replied: 'The interval was sufficient to recite fifty verses of the Quran.'" [Bukhari 3:31:144]

• What the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) broke his fast with

It is Sunnah to break the fast with dates:
The Prophet said: "When one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates; but if he cannot get any, then (he should break his fast) with water, for water is purifying." [Abu Dawud 13:2348]

Anas ibn Malik said: "The Apostle of Allah used to break his fast before praying with some fresh dates; but if there were no fresh dates, he had a few dry dates, and if there were no dry dates, he took some mouthfuls of water." [Abu Dawud 13:2349]

Fasting is for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), "...he has left his food, drink and desires for My sake." [Bukhari 3:31:118] So then how can you eat like a pig at Iftar and/or Suhoor? The Prophet advised us to not eat too much. Eat to live, not live to eat: "The son of Adam cannot fill a container worse than the stomach, he should eat just enough to keep his back straight, but if they must eat more then they should leave one third for food, one third for drink, and one third for air." [Tirmidhi 2380]

Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) ordained for you fasting,
you ordained for yourself feasting.
"Eat and drink, but do not transgress." (Quran 20:81)

Likewise, Ramadan is not about losing weight. Ramadan is not a weight loss programme. 

#26 No Sunset for a while

What of those fasting where the sun does not set in certain places or for long periods of time? There are places where there is insufficient time for eating (Iftar, breaking of the fast, and Suhoor) or there the sun sets after a very long time, how will these people be able to fast and break their fast during sunset? The answer to this is to estimate. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) gave a methodology to follow when days and nights lengthen or shorten beyond the norm.

He mentioned about the end of times where the Anti-Christ (Dajjal) would come and stay on earth for 40 days. But those 40 days will not be like the days as we known it; rather their lengths will differ from the norm. One of these days will be like a year, and one day will be like a month, and one day will be like a week, and the rest of the days would have the same length as the normal days. The Companions listening were always concerned about the matters of worship, and they asked: "O Messenger of Allah, for the day which is like a year, will one day's prayers be sufficient?" And the Prophet replied: "No, you must estimate the time." So even though a day will be lengthened to a year, we still pray our 5 daily prayers (Salah) by estimating what a normal day used to be. As for the other obligatory pillar of Islam - Ramadan fasting - it is similar. The places where the days are lengthened, you estimate. 

Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "He (Dajjal, Anti-Christ) would be a young man with twisted, contracted hair, and a blind eye. I compare him to Abdul-'Uzza ibn Qatan. He who amongst you would survive to see him should recite over him the opening verses of Surah Kahf (Chapter 18 of the Quran). He would appear on the way between Syria and Iraq and would spread mischief right and left. O servant of Allah! Adhere (to the path of Truth). We said: 'Allah's Messenger, how long would he stay on the earth?' He said: 'For forty days, one day like a year and one day like a month and one day like a week and the rest of the days would be like your days.' We said: 'O Messenger of Allah, for the day which is like a year, will one day's prayers be sufficient?' Thereupon he said: 'No, but you must make an estimate of time (and then observe prayer).'" [Muslim 41:7015]

Ibn 'Abdin mentioned in his meta-commentary 'Rad al-Muhtar 'ala al-Dur al-Mukhtar' (1/366): "I do not know of someone in our school of jurisprudence who discussed the issue of fasting in lands where dawn breaks just as the sun is setting or sometime after it sets such that there is not enough time for a person who is fasting to eat enough food to sustain him. It cannot be maintained that they are obligated to fast in such a continuous manner since this is harmful. Therefore, if we were to maintain the obligatoriness of the fast in their regard, then it is necessary to estimate the time [for starting and breaking the fast]. However, are they to estimate the time based on the nearest countries as the Shafi'is maintain, estimate the time that suffices for eating and drinking or are they only to forgo fasting and make up the fast [at a later time]? All of these options are possible. We cannot maintain that fasting is not obligatory under these conditions due to the existence of the reason for the fast - witnessing part of the month [of Ramadan] and the break of dawn everyday. This is what is apparent to me and Allah Almighty knows best."

Those countries follow the nearest country to them.

"The one who lives in a land where the sun does not set during the summer and the sun does not rise during the winter, or he lives in a land where the day lasts for sixth months and the night lasts for six months for example, should offer the five daily prayers during each twenty-four hour period, and he should try to work out their times, based on the closest land to him where the times of the five prayers are distinct from one another...Similarly they have to fast the month of Ramadan, and they should work out the beginning and end of the month of Ramadan, and the times to start and end the fast every day, and the time of dawn and sunset every day, in the closest country to them where night is distinct from day and the total of night and day is twenty-four hours, because of the hadith of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) about the Dajjal that we have quoted above." [Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz (15/292/300)]

Alhamdulillah (thanks to Allah) for an all encompassing religion, relevant to all time and place.

#27 What Does and Does not Break Fasting

• Does Not:

- Eating forgetfully:

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "If somebody eats something forgetfully while he is fasting, then he should complete his fast, for Allah has made him eat and drink." [Bukhari 3:31:154; 8:78:662]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "If anyone forgets that he is fasting and eats or drinks he should complete his fast, for it is only Allah Who has fed him and given him drink." [Muslim 6:2575]

If someone is forced to eat, their fast is still valid. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Indeed Allah pardons for my Ummah (nation) mistakes, forgetfulness, and compulsion." [Ibn Majah, Bayhaqi]

- Kissing and hugging spouse:

Aisha (رضي الله عنه) said: "Allah's Apostle used to kiss some of his wives while he was fasting," and then she smiled." [Bukhari 3:31:150; 3:31:151] [Muslim 6:2436] [Abu Dawud 13:2378]

Aisha (رضي الله عنه) said: "The Prophet used to kiss and embrace (his wives) while he was fasting, and he had more power to control his desires than any of you." [Bukhari 3:31:149] [Muslim 6:2438; 6:2440]

Umm Salama (رضي الله عنه) said: "The Prophet used to kiss me while he was fasting." [Bukhari 1:6:319]

Aisha (رضي الله عنه) said to Abdullah ibn Abdur-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr As-Siddiq (رضي الله عنه): "What's stopping you from coming close to your wife and kissing her and joking with her?" He said: "Can I kiss her when I am fasting?" She said: "Yes." [Malik 18.5.16] 

- Cooling yourself with water:

 It is permissible to cool yourself off with water while you are fasting. It is narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to poor water on his head while fasting from thirst or from the head. Ibn Umar soaked his clothes and then wore them while fasting.

Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) said: "A man who narrated his tradition to me said: 'I have seen the Apostle of Allah in al-Arj pouring water over his head while he was fasting, either because of thirst or because of heat.'" [Abu Dawud 13:2359] 

- Vomiting unintentionally 

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever vomits unintentionally (by accident) does not have to make up the fast later on, but whoever vomits on purpose does have to make up the fast." [Tirmidhi 3/89] [Abu Dawud 13:2374]

- Kohl:

The reported Hadith related to the kohl is weak. No one else recorded it. It is not included in the Musnad of Ahmad nor in other reliable compilations of Hadith. The Hadith is: The Prophet said: "Let the fasting person stay a way from it (kohl)." [Abu Dawud in his Sunan]

This is contradicted by another weak Hadith compiled by At-Tirmidhi with his chain, to Anas bin Malik. Anas bin Malik (رضي الله عنه) said: "A man came to the Prophet and said: 'My eye is sore. Am I permitted to apply kohl while fasting?' The Prophet said: 'Yes.'"

• Does

- Food and drink:

This can be from either the mouth or the nose. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Exaggerate in istinshaq (water in the nose during ablution / wudu), except when you are fasting." [Abu Dawud 13:2360]

- Vomiting on purpose:

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever vomits unintentionally (by accident) does not have to make up the fast later on, but whoever vomits on purpose does have to make up the fast." [Tirmidhi, 3/89] [Abu Dawud 13:2374]

- Cupping:

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "The one doing the cupping and the one receiving the cupping both have their fasts invalidated." [Ahmad, Abu Dawud]

And from this we can conclude donating blood invalidates the fast. If it necessary you can donate blood and make the fast up another day. Minor cuts do not count because the amount of blood taken is not the same as in cupping.

Among the things that break the fast are actions that involves the expulsion of bodily fluids, such as intercourse, vomiting, menstruation and cupping, and actions that involve ingesting matter, such as eating and drinking. [Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/148]

As for the narrated Hadith which says: "Three (things) do not break the fast: Vomiting, cupping, and wet dreams." [Tirmidhi]

In another wording, The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Neither vomiting, nor emission, nor cupping breaks the fast of the one who is fasting." [Abu Dawud 13:2370]

The prohibition of cupping came later. "Among the companions many did not like the fasting person to be cupped, and some of them would only do it during the night. The people of Basrah would close the cupping shops when the month of Ramadan began." - Ibn Taymiyyah

- Sexual intercourse

Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) permitted sexual relations during when the fast is broken. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "The person observing fasting should avoid sexual relation with his wife." [Bukhari 3:31:118]

A man came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and said: "I am ruined!" The Prophet said: "Why?" "I had sexual intercourse with my wife during Ramadan (while fasting)." The Prophet said (to him): "Manumit a slave (as expiation)." The man replied: "I cannot afford that." The Prophet said: "Then fast for two successive months continuously." The man said: "I cannot do that." The Prophet said: "Then feed 60 poor persons." The man said: "I have nothing (to feed them with)." In the meantime a basket full of dates was brought to the Prophet. The Prophet said: "Where is the questioner?" The man said: "I am here." The Prophet said: "Give this (basket of dates) in charity (as expiation)." The man said: "O Allah's Apostle! Shall I give it (in charity) to a poorer person than us? By Allah, there is no family in between these two mountains (of Medina) who are poorer than us." The Prophet then smiled till his pre-molar teeth became visible, and said: "Then (feed) your (family with it)." [Bukhari 3:31:157; 3:47:772; 7:64:281; 8:73:110] [Muslim 6:2457]

As for his command to the one that had sexual intercourse (in the day of the month of Ramadan) of making it up, it is a weak Hadith. More than one of the major scholars of Hadith classify it as weak.

Had the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) commanded him to make it up, they would not have neglected to mention it; since it is a legislative ruling that must be clarified. Since the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not command him to make it up, it follows that making it up would not have been acceptable from him. If one cannot free a believing slave, they have to fast two consecutive months, which they cannot miss a day except with a valid excuse (e.g. days of Eid, or sickness, or traveling). If they miss a single day without an excuse, they have to restart that two months all over again because it has to be two consecutive months. If this is not possible, they must feed 60 poor people.

#27 Exemptions

• Traveler:

- It is your choice whether to fast or not:

Hamza ibn 'Amr Al-Aslami asked the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم): "Should I fast while traveling?" The Prophet replied: "You may fast if you wish, and you may not fast if you wish." [Bukhari 3:31:164] [Muslim 6:2488]

Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) said: "Allah's Apostle set out (on a journey in the month of Ramadan) from Medina to Mecca and he fasted till he reached 'Usfan. He then ordered a cup containing drinking water and he drank that openly so that the people might see it, and broke the fast (and did not resume it) till he reached Mecca." Ibn Abbas said: "Allah's Messenger (sometimes) fasted and (sometimes) did not fast during the journeys so whoever wished to fast could fast, and whoever wished not to fast, could do so." [Bukhari 3:31:169] [Muslim 6:2470]

Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) said: "Do not condemn one who observes fast, or one who does not observe (in a journey), for the Messenger of Allah observed fast in a journey or he did not observe it (too)." [Muslim 6:2471]

Anas ibn Malik (رضي الله عنه) said: "We travelled with the Messenger of Allah during the month of Ramadan, but neither the observer of the fast found fault with the breaker of the fast, nor the breaker of the fast found fault with the observer of the fast." [Muslim 6:2482]

• Fasting while traveling can cause hardship:

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah (رضي الله عنه): "Allah's Apostle was on a journey and saw a crowd of people, and a man was being shaded (by them). He asked: 'What is the matter?' They said: 'He (the man) is fasting.' The Prophet said: 'It is not righteousness that you fast on a journey.'" [Bukhari 3:31:167] [Muslim 6:2474]

The traveler is allowed to break his fast whether he is able to continue fasting or not, and whether is it difficult for him to fast or not. Even if his journey is easy and he has someone to serve him, he is still permitted to break his fast. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa, 25/210)

Jabir ibn Abdullah (رضي الله عنه) reported that Allah's Messenger journeyed to Mecca in Ramadan in the year of Victory, and he and the people fasted till he came to a place known as Kura' Al-Ghamim and the people also fasted. He then called for a cup of water which he raised till the people saw it, and then he drank. He was told afterwards that some people had continued to fast, and he said: 'They are rebels, they are rebels.'" [Muslim 6:2472] [Malik 18.7.22]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) broke his fast because of the difficulty of the believers had with it. If the traveler feels the hardship during the day, then it is permissable to break the fast as long as they left the city because the Prophet and the people all fasted until they reached a different city (Kura' Al-Ghamim). 

It is more preferred for the traveler to do whatever is easier, whether it be fasting or eating. Abu Darda (رضي الله عنه) said: "We set out (in a journey) during the month of Ramadan with the Messenger of Allah in such an intense heat that one of us would place his hand over his head (in order to protect himself) against the excessive heat, and none among us was observing the fast, except the Messenger of Allah and Abdullah ibn Rawahah." [Muslim 6:2492; 6:2494] [Bukhari 3:31:166]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) broke his fast in consideration for his companions when he knew that the fast was getting the best of the companions and bringing on them hardship.

Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri (رضي الله عنه) reported: "We went out on an expedition with the Messenger of Allah during Ramadan. Some of us observed the fast and some of us broke it. Neither the observer of the fast found fault with one who broke it, nor the breaker of the fast found fault with one who observed it. They knew that he who had strength enough (to bear its rigour) fasted and that was good, and they also found that he who felt weakness (and could not bear the burden) broke it, and that was also good." [Muslim 6:2477; 6:2480]

Anas ibn Malik (رضي الله عنه) said: "We were travelling with the Messenger of Allah and the only shade one could have was the shade made by one's own garment. Some of us had been observing the fast whereas the others had broken it. There were also those amongst us who sheltered (themselves against the rays of the) sun with the help of their hands. The observers of the fast fell down (on account of weakness). Those who fasted did not do any work (because they were took weak to work) and those who did not fast served the camels and brought the water on them and treated the sick and (wounded). Thereupon the Messenger of Allah said: 'Today, the breakers of the fast have gone with the reward.'" [Muslim 6:2484; 6:2485] [Bukhari 4:52:140]

• Elderly

The very elderly who have lost their strength and are getting weaker every day as death approaches, do not have to fast, and they are allowed not to fast so long as fasting would be too difficult for them. Ibn Abbas used to said concerning the verse, "And as for those who can fast with difficulty (e.g., an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a poor person (for every day)" (Quran 2:184): "This has not been abrogated. It refers to the old man and the old woman who cannot fast, so they should feed a poor person for every day." [Bukhari 6:60:32]

• Sick

In the event of any sickness, a person is allowed not to fast. The basis for this is the verse "...and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days on which one did not observe fast must be made up] from other days…" (Quran 2:185)

If there is medical proof, or a person knows from his usual experience, or he is certain, that fasting will make his illness worse or delay his recovery, he is permitted to break his fast; indeed, it is disliked (makrooh) for him to fast in such cases. So if you are sick, it is obligatory for you to fast unless it will cause hardship / difficulty / harm to you.

Allah says: "And make not your own hands contribute to your destruction." (Quran ...) And the Messenger of Allah said: "Indeed your body has rights over you." [Bukhari 7:62:127]

Make up the days later, but if the person is terminally ill (i.e. cancer) and is therefore unable to fast should feed a poor person with half a saa’ of the staple food of his country for every day that he has missed. (Half a saa’ is roughly equivalent to one and a half kilograms of rice). It is permissible for him to do this all at once, on one day at the end of the month, or to feed one poor person every day. He has to do this by giving actual food, because of the wording of the verse – he cannot do it by giving money to the poor (Fataawa al-Lajnah al- Daa’imah, 10/198). But he can give money to a trustworthy person or charitable organization to buy food and distribute it to the poor on his behalf. If a sick person does not fast in Ramadan, waiting to recover so that he can make the days up later, then he finds out that his sickness is chronic, he has to feed a poor person for every day that he did not fast. (From the fataawa of Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen).

Instead of fasting, he has to feed a poor person for each day, because Allah gave the option of feeding a poor person or to fast when there was a choice between the two, when fasting in Ramadan was first revealed. Then it was specified that feeding the poor replaced fasting for the weak person.

Yahya said that he heard Malik say: "What I have heard from the people of knowledge is that if a man succumbs to an illness which makes fasting very difficult for him and exhausts him and wears him out, he can break his fast. This is the same as with a sick man in the prayer, who finds standing to be too difficult and exhausting. If the man is in such a condition he prays sitting, and the Deen [Religion] of Allah is ease. Allah has permitted a traveller to break the fast when travelling, and he has more strength for fasting than a sick man. Allah, the Exalted, says in His book: 'Whoever among you is ill or on a journey (must fast) a number of other days,' and Allah has thus permitted a traveller to break his fast when on a journey, and he is more capable of fasting than a sick man." [Malik 18.15.41]

• Fighting

Those who need to break their fast in order to save (rescue) someone whose life is in danger, may break their fast and should make it up later on. This applies in cases where someone is drowning, or when fires need to be put out. If they have to eat in order to save the person's life, then it is obligatory on them to eat and to make up the day at a later time. An example of this is a person fighting in the way of Allah. This person may eat and make up the fast later. Regardless if they are in their own country or traveling, they break the fast wherever they meet the enemy. 

For those who are fighting an enemy or are being besieged by an enemy, if fasting would make them too weak to fight, they are allowed to break the fast, even if they are not travelling. If they need to break their fast before fighting, they can break their fast.

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (رضي الله عنه) said: "We traveled with the Messenger of Allah towards Mecca and we had been observing fast. We halted at a place. There the Messenger of Allah said: 'You are nearing your enemy and breaking of fast would give you greater strength,' and that was a concession (given to us). But some of us continued to observe the fast and some of us broke it. We then got down at another place and he said: 'You are going to encounter the enemy in the morning and breaking of the fast would give you strength, so break the fast.' As it was a point of stress, so we broke the fast. But subsequently we saw ourselves observing the fast with the Messenger of Allah on a journey." [Muslim 6:2486] [Malik 18.7.22]

Abu Bakr ibn Abdur-Rahman (رضي الله عنه) reported on the authority of a Companion of the Prophet: "I saw the Prophet commanding the people while he was travelling on the occasion of the conquest of Mecca not to observe fast. He said: 'Be strong for your enemy.' The Apostle of Allah fasted himself." [Abu Dawud 13:2358]

• Pregnancy & breastfeeding

A woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding is regarded as being like one who is ill, so she is permitted not to fast, and she only has to make up the days that she missed, whether she fears for herself or for her child. The Prophet said: “Allah has lifted the obligation of fasting and part of the prayer from the traveller, and He has lifted the obligation of fasting from the pregnant and breastfeeding woman." [Tirmidhi 3/85; he said (it is a) hasan hadith]

A man from Banu Abdullah ibn Ka'b brethren of Banu Qushayr said: "I went to the Apostle of Allah who was taking his meals. He said: 'Sit down, and take some from this meal of ours.' I said: 'I am fasting,' he said: 'Sit down, I shall tell you about prayer and fasting.' Allah has remitted half the prayer to a traveler, and fasting to the traveler, the woman who is suckling an infant and the woman who is pregnant, I swear by Allah, he mentioned both (i.e. suckling and pregnant women) or one of them." [Abu Dawud 13:2402]

Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that Abdullah ibn Umar was asked about what a pregnant woman should do if the fast became difficult for her and she feared for her child, and he said: "She should break the fast and feed a poor man one mudd of wheat in place of every day, using the mudd of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace." 

Malik said: "The people of knowledge consider that she has to make up for each day of the fast that she misses as Allah, the Exalted and Glorified, says: 'And whoever of you is sick or on a journey should fast an equal number of other days,' and they consider her pregnancy and her concern for her child as a sickness." [Malik 18.19.52]

• Menstruating

Women in menstruation are exempted from fasting, as the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said: "This is the deficiency in her religion." [Bukhari 1:6:301]

She has to make up the days that she has missed. Aisha was asked: "What is the case of the fasting woman, she makes up for the missed fast and not for the missed prayer?" She replied: "When we had our periods at the time of the Messenger of Allah, we were ordered to make up the missed fasts, and we were not ordered to make up the missed prayers." [Muslim 3:662]

You have to make up the fast before the next Ramadan. It is not permissable to wait until the next Ramadan without making up the days missed, as Aisha said: "Sometimes I used to have to make up days from Ramadan and I wasn't able to make them up except in Sha'ban." [Bukhari 3:31:171] [Malik 18.20.54]

• Child

A child is not obligated to fast until they reach puberty due to the hadith: "The pen is lifted from three (i.e., their deeds are not recorded): from the sleeping person until he wakes up, the child until they grow up, and the insane person until he comes back to his senses." [Ibn Majah 2041]

The Sahaba (Companions of the Prophet) used to get their children used to fasting while they were young. They had for them a toy made of wool so that if the child would cry from hunger, he would be given the toy to play with. 

Al-Rubay’ bint Mu’awwidh (رضي الله عنه) said: "We henceforth observed fast on it (on the day of Ashura) and, God willing, made our children observe that. We used to make toys out of wool and took (them to the mosque) along with us. When they (the children) asked us for food, we gave them these toys to play with, and these made them forgetful till they completed their fast." [Muslim 6:2531; 6:2532]

Some parents prevent their child from fasting even though the child wants to fast, thinking that they are being merciful to them. The reality is true mercy to their children is to raise them on the rites of Islam, and with a proper education. But if the child fasts, and the parents see they are harmed by it, then they should prevent them.

- The male reaches puberty if one of the following three occurs:

1. Releasing sperm, due to the verse: "And if the children from you reach al-hulm (puberty)" (Quran 24:59), and the hadith: "Ghusl on Friday is obligatory (wajib) for every muhtalim (who has reached puberty)." [Malik 5.1.4]

2. Growth of pubic hair, from the saying of Atiya Al-Quraidhi: "We were presented to the Prophet on the day of Quraydha, so whoever was muhtalim or had pubic hair, was killed, and if not he was spared." [Ahmad, Nisaee, and its Saheeh]

3. Reaching 15 years old, due to the saying of Abdullah ibn Umar: "I came to the Prophet on the day of Uhud, and I was 14, and he did not allow me to fight." Al-Bayhaqi and Ibn Hibban in his Saheeh added with an authentic chain, "and he did not think that I reached puberty, and I came to him on the day of Khandaq, and I was 15 and he allowed me to fight." Bayhaqi and Ibn Hibban added with a Saheeh chain, "he considered me as mature." 

Females attain puberty the same way as the male, with the addition of menstruation. So when a girl menstruates then she is mature, she is obliged to fast even if she has not yet reached the age of ten.

• Other:

- The insane are not responsible for their deeds (their deeds are not being recorded). An insane person is not obligated to fast because of the hadith: "The pen is lifted from three: from the sleeping person until he wakes up, the child until they grow up, and the insane person until he comes back to his senses." [Ibn Majah 2041]

And an insane person's fasting is not correct, because he doesn't have the ability to comprehend the worship he is doing, or to make an intention for it, and worship is not accepted without intention, as the Propeht said: "Every person will get the reward according to what he has intended." [Bukhari 1:2:51]

- If a kafir (disbeliever) becomes Muslim, or a child reaches puberty, or an insane person comes to his senses during the day, they should refrain from eating for the rest of the day, because they are now among those who are obliged to fast, but they do not have to make up for the days of Ramadan that they have missed, because at that time they were not among those who are obliged to fast.

- Students' exams are no excuse for breaking one’s fast during Ramadan, and it is not permissible to obey one’s parents in breaking the fast because of having exams, because there is no obedience to any created being if it involves disobedience to the Creator. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al- Daa’imah, 10/241)

#28 Debt of Allah

If the person dies then his family can make up the days for them, as the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: The Prophet said: "Whoever died and he ought to have fasted (the missed days of Ramadan) then his guardians must fast on his behalf." [Bukhari 3:31:173] [Muslim 6:2553]

Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) reported: "A woman came to the Messenger of Allah and said: 'My mother has died, and fasts of a month are due from her.' Thereupon he (the Prophet) said: 'Don't you see that if debt was due from her, would you not pay it?' She said: 'Yes (I would pay on her behalf).' Thereupon he said: 'The debt of Allah deserves its payment more than (the payment of anyone else).'" [Muslim 6:2554]

#29 Dua of a fasting person

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Indeed for the fasting person, once they break their fast, is a dua (supplication) that is not rejected." [Ibn Majah 1753] [Haakim in Mustadrak (1/422)]]

Increase your dua (supplication) nearing the time of iftar (breaking of the fast):

"The time of breaking the fast is a time when dua's are answered, because it is the end of an act of worship, and because a person is usually at his weakest when breaking his fast. The greater a person's sense of helplessness and weakness is, the closer he is to humility before Allah." - Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih al-Uthaymeen

When the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) broke his fast, he said:

 "Thirst has gone,
veins are moistened
and the reward is certain if Allah wills."

Wa Thabatal Ajru Insha'Allah 

ذَهَبَ الظَّمَأُ
وابْتَلَّتِ الْعُرُوقُ
وَثَبَتَ الْأجْرُ إِنْ شَاءَ الله

[Abu Dawud 13:2350; its isnaad was classed as hasan by al-Daaraqutni, 2/185]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said when he broke his fast: "O Allah, for You I have fasted, and with Your provision I have broken my fast." [Abu Dawud 13:2351]

From the virtues of fasting is that the fasting person has his supplication accepted. As Allah says with in the context of fasting, to incite those fasting to supplicate to Him:

"And when My slaves as you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them). I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be [rightly] guided." (Quran 2:186)

It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar (رضي الله عنه) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Even the sleep of the fasting person is worship, if he supplicates he is answered and his deeds are multiplied." [Musnad Daylamee (3576)]

#30 Taraweeh 

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:: "Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah's rewards (not for showing off), then all his previous sins will be forgiven." [Bukhari 1:2:36; 3:32:226]

• The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to pray Taraweeh:

The Prophet's wife, Aisha (رضي الله عنه), narrated: "Allah's Apostle used to pray (at night) in Ramadan." [Bukhari 3:32:228]

• Taraweeh is not compulsory:

Narrated Zaid bin Thabit (رضي الله عنه): "Allah's Apostle made a small a room made of date palm leaves mats in the mosque. Allah's Apostle came out (of his house) prayed in it. Some men came and joined him in his prayer. Then again the next night they came for the prayer, but Allah's Apostle delayed and did not come out to them. So they raised their voices and knocked the door with small stones (to draw his attention). He came out to them in a state of anger, saying: 'You are still insisting (on your deed, i.e. Taraweeh prayer in the mosque) that I thought that this prayer (Taraweeh) might become obligatory on you, and if it were enjoined on you, you would not continue performing it. Therefore, O people! Offer this prayer at your homes, for the best prayer of a person is the one which he offers at home, except the compulsory (congregational) prayer." [Bukhari 1:11:698; 8:73:134; 9:92:393]

#31 Night of Qadr

In Ramadan there is a night that is better than a thousand months. This blessed night is called Laylat-ul-Qadr (Night of Power).

• What is Laylat-ul-Qadr (Night of Power)?

Allah says:
"We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power (Laylat-ul-Qadr):
And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is?
The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah's permission, on every errand:
Peace!...This until the rise of dawn!
(Quran 97:1-5)

Better than a thousand months means in terms of its virtues and deeds, that is why whoever establishes this night with faith and seeking reward, is forgiven for all previous sins:

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Whoever established prayers on the Night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven." [Bukhari 3:31:125; 3:32:231]

The Spirit is Angel Gabriel. That night is peace until the rising of dawn means that Laylat-ul-Qadr ends at Fajr (dawn).

• When is Laylat-ul-Qadr (Night of Power)?

It is in the last 10 nights of Ramadan:

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "So far as Laylat-ul-Qadr (night of Al-Qadr) is concerned, some persons among you have seen it (in a dream) in the first week and some persons among you have been shown that it is in the last week; so seek it in the last ten (nights)." [Muslim 6:2620]

It is more likely to be in the last 7 nights of Ramadan:

Ibn Umar (رضي الله عنه) said: "Some people were shown the Night of Qadr as being in the last seven days (of the month of Ramadan). The Prophet said: 'Seek it in the last seven days (of Ramadan).'" [Bukhari 9:87:120]

Ibn Umar (رضي الله عنه) reported that some persons among the Companions of the Apostle of Allah were shown Laylat-ul-Qadr (night of Al-Qadr) while sleeping in the last week (of Ramadan). Thereupon Allah's Messenger said: "I see that your dreams agree regarding the last week; so he who wants to seek it should seek it in the last week (during the night)." [Muslim 6:2617; 6:2618]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Seek it (Laylat-ul-Qadr) in the last (ten nights). If one among you shows slackness and weakness (in the earlier part of Ramadan), it should not be allowed to prevail upon him in the last week." [Muslim 6:2621]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "I was shown Laylat-ul-Qadr (night of Al-Qadr); then some members of my family woke me up, then I was caused to forget it. So seek it in the last week." [Muslim 6:2624]

It is in the last odd (witr) nights of Ramadan:

Narrated 'Ubada bin As-Samit: "Allah's Apostle went out to inform the people about the (date of the Night of Al-Qadr). There happened a quarrel between two Muslim men. The Prophet said: 'I came out to inform you about the Night of Al-Qadr, but as so-and-so and so-and-so quarrelled, so the news about it had been taken away; and may be it was better for you. So look for it in the ninth, the seventh, or the fifth (of the last ten days of Ramadan).'" [Bukhari 8:73:75]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan." [Bukhari 3:32:234; 3:33:252]

Salim reported on the authority of his father that a person saw Laylat-ul-Qadr (night of Al-Qadr) on the 27th (of Ramadan). Thereupon Allah's Apostle said: "I see that your dreams agree regarding the last ten (nights of Ramadan). So seek it on an odd number (of these ten nights)." [Muslim 6:2619]

The most likely is the 27th night:

Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (رضي الله عنه) said: "He who stands (for the night prayer) throughout the year would find Laylat-ul-Qadr." Ubayy ibn Ka'b said regarding this: "May Allah have mercy upon him; (he said these words) with the intention that people might not rely only (on one night), whereas he knew that it (Laylat-ul-Qadr) is in the month of Ramadan and it is the 27th night." Ubayy ibn Ka'b then took oath that it was the 27th night. [Muslim 6:2633]

This night has been made hidden by Allah as a mercy for the believer so that they may increase in prayer, dhikr [remembrance of Allah] and du'a [supplication], and get closer to Allah.

• Itikaf:

The Prophet's wife, Aisha, narrated: "The Prophet used to practice Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan till he died and then his wives used to practice Itikaf after him." [Bukhari 3:33:243]

Narrated Abu Huraira (رضي الله عنه): "The Prophet used to perform Itikaf every year in the month of Ramadan for 10 days, and when it was the year of his death, he stayed in Itikaf for 20 days." [Bukhari 3:33:260]

Narrated Urwa (رضي الله عنه): "Aisha during her menses used to comb and oil the hair of the Prophet while he used to be in Itikaf in the mosque. He would stretch out his head towards her while she was in her chamber." [Bukhari 3:33:262]

#32 Eid

  Fasting on the 2 Eids (Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha) are forbidden:

Umar ibn Al-Khattab(رضي الله عنه) said: "O people! Allah's Apostle has forbidden you to fast (on the first day of) each of these two Eid, for one of them is the Day of breaking your fast (Eid-ul-Fitr), and the other is the one, on which you eat the meat of your sacrifices (Eid-ul-Adha)." [Bukhari 3:31:212; 3:31:213; 7:68:478]

So we are instructed to eat this day the same way we were instructed to abstain from eating during Ramadan. 

It is haram (forbidden) to fast on Eid-ul-Fitr and in any of all the four days of Eid-ul-Adha. It is haram (forbidden) to fast on any of these 5 days.

  Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha:

When the month of Ramadan ends, the month of Shawwal begins. The first day of the month of Shawwal is the first day of the Eid-ul-Fitr. The 10th day of the month Dhul-Hijja is the first day of the Eid-ul-Adha.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "The two months of Eid i.e. Ramadan and Dhul-Hijja, do not decrease (in superiority)." [Bukhari 31:136]

• Takbeer

Allah prescribed for you to make takbeer on the last day once the sun sets until the Eid prayer. Allah says: "So that you may finish the month, and make takbeer to Allah for what he has guided you, and so that you may be thankful." The takbeer should be said like this: "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La ilaha illAllah, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, walilaahilhamd."

• Women

Umm Atiyah (رضي الله عنه) said: "The Prophet Muhammad ordered us to go out for Fitr and Al-Adha, the young virgins and the menstruating women, as for the menstruating woman she should avoid the prayer area (Musalla). A woman asked:: 'O Messenger of Allah, one of us doesn't have a jilbaab.' He said: 'Let one of her sister give her one of her jilbaabs.'" [Bukhari 1:8:347]

• Sunnah

It is from the sunnah to eat before leaving the house, it should be an odd number of dates. Anas ibn Malik (رضي الله عنه) said: "The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to eat on the day of Fitr an odd number of dates." [Ahmad, Bukhari] And they should go by food to the masjid, except if you have an excuse like being old or being far away. As Ali ibn Abi Talib (رضي الله عنه) said: "It is from the sunnah to go to the Eid prayer walking." [Graded hassan by Tirmidhi]

On these two days it is wajib for men to perform two rak’ats of Eid Salah (prayer). In Eid-ul-Fitr it is mustahab to eat something sweet [dates or candy], to make a ghusl, to use the miswak, to wear the newest clothes, to pay the fitra before the Salah, and to say the takbeer softly on the way.

In Eid-ul-Adha it is mustahab not to eat anything before the Salah, to eat the meat of the sacrifice first after the Salah, to say the takbeer-i teshrîq loudly, but softly by those who have an excuse, when going for the Salah.

It is written in the book Ni’met-i Islâm: “It is sunnah to do the following things on the Eid days: to get up early; to make a ghusl; to clean the teeth with miswak; to put on perfume; to wear new and clean clothes; to manifest that you are happy; to eat sweetmeat before the prayer of the Eid of Fitr; to eat dates; to eat an odd number of them; for one who performs the qurban, to eat first the meat of qurban; to perform morning prayer in the masjid of one’s quarter and to go a large mosque for the Eid prayer; to wear a ring on that day; to go to the mosque early and to go on foot; to say the takbeers of Eid in whispers on the Eid of Fitr and audibly on the Eid of Adha; to take a different route on one’s way back [from the mosque]. This is because the places where one offers one’s ibadat (worship) and the routes that one takes when going for ’ibadat (worship) will stand as witnesses on the Day of Judgement; to welcome the Believers [Muslims] with a smiling face and by saying "Salamu 'Alaykum"; to give alms generously to the poor [and to give help to those who are working to disseminate true Islam]; to give the sadaqa-i fitr before the Eid prayer.” It is sunnah also to reconcile those who are cross with one another; to visit one’s relatives and brothers-in-Islam, and to give them presents. Finally, it is sunnah for men to visit graves.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) ordered both men and women to attend the Eid prayer, even though the house is better for the women, except for the Eid prayer. Eid Salah is compulsory on Muslim men, not Muslim women.

• How to pray Eid salah?

It is written in Halabî-yi kebîr: “The namaz (salah / prayer) of Eid consists of two rak’ats. It is performed in jamâ’at. It cannot be performed individually. In the first rak’at, after the Subhanaka the takbîr-i zawâid is said three times; that is, the hands are lifted up to the ears three times; in the first and second times, they are let down hanging on both sides, and after the third time they are clasped under the navel. After the imam says the Fatiha and the additional sura aloud, they (the imam and the jama’at) bow for the ruku'. In the second rak’at the Fatiha and an additional sura are said first, then the hands are lifted up to the ears again, three times, and after each time they are let down hanging on both sides. In the fourth takbeer you do not lift your hands up to your ears but instead bend for the ruku’. In the first and second rak’ats five and four takbeers are said respectively. And in order not to forget where you will put your hands after those nine takbeers, you memorize this procedure as follows: "Hang them twice and clasp them once. Hang them thrice and then bend."

#33 Other (voluntary) fasts

• Fasting in Ramadan is the only fast which is obligatory for a Muslim:

Narrated Talha ibn Ubaidullah (رضي الله عنه): "A man from Najd with unkempt hair came to Allah's Apostle and we heard his loud voice but could not understand what he was saying, till he came near and then we came to know that he was asking about Islam. Allah's Apostle said: 'You have to offer prayers perfectly five times in a day and night (24 hours).' The man asked: 'Is there any more (praying)?' Allah's Apostle replied: 'No, but if you want to offer the Nawafil (voluntary) prayers (you can).' Allah's Apostle further said to him: 'You have to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan.' The man asked: 'Is there any more fasting?' Allah's Apostle replied: 'No, but if you want to observe the Nawafil (voluntary) fasts (you can).' Then Allah's Apostle further said to him: 'You have to pay the Zakat (obligatory charity).; The man asked: 'Is there any thing other than the Zakat for me to pay?' Allah's Apostle replied: 'No, unless you want to give alms of your own.' And then that man retreated saying: 'By Allah! I will neither do less nor more than this.' Allah's Apostle said: 'If what he said is true, then he will be successful (i.e. he will be granted Paradise).'" [Bukhari 1:2:44]

Other (voluntary) fasts:

• Ashura:

Narrated Ibn Umar (رضي الله عنه): "Fasting was observed on the day of Ashura (i.e. 10th of Muharram, the first Arabic month) by the Quraish people of the Pre-lslamic Period. But when (the order of compulsory fasting) in the month of Ramadan was revealed (and became obligatory), the Prophet said: 'Ashura is one of the days of Allah, it is up to one to fast on it or not.'" [Bukhari 3:31:117; 6:60:28] [Muslim 6:2499; 6:2501; 6:2504; 6:2515]

Abdul-Rahmam ibn Yazid (رضي الله عنه) said: "It (Ashura) is a day on which the Messenger of Allah used to observe fast before the (fasting) in the month of Ramadan (became) obligatory. But when it became obligatory the (fasting of Ashura) was abandoned (as compulsory)." [Muslim 6:2510]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "This (day of Ashura) is a great day on which Allah saved Moses and his people and drowned Pharoah and his people. Moses observed fast out of gratitude and we also observe it." - Bukhari

Narrated Aisha (رضي الله عنه): "When (the order of compulsory fasting in) Ramadan was revealed, fasting in Ramadan became an obligation, and fasting on Ashura was given up, and who ever wished to fast (on it) did so, and whoever did not wish to fast on it, did not fast." [Bukhari 3:31:220; 5:58:172; 6:60:31]

Narrated Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه): "When the Prophet arrived at Madinah he found that the Jews observed fast on the day of Ashura. They were asked the reason for the fast. They replied: 'This is the day when Allah delivered Moses and the children of Israel, and drowned the Pharaoh and his people, and Moses observed fast out gratitude and we also observe it.' Allah's Apostle said: 'We are closer to Moses than you.' So Allah's Messenger observed fast (on the day of Ashura), and gave orders that it should be observed." [Bukhari 3:31:22; 5:58:279; 6:60:31] [Muslim 6:2518; 6:2520]

"He (the Prophet) was asked about fasting on the day of Ashura (10th of Muharram), whereupon he said: 'It expiates the sins of the preceding year.'" [Muslim 6:2603] 

• Arafah

Fasting on the day of Arafah which is the 9th day of the Arabic month, that is, the day previous to the first day of Eid-ul-Adha.

"He (the Prophet) was asked about fasting on the day of Arafa (9th of Dhul-Hijja), whereupon he said: 'It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year.'" [Muslim 6:2603] 

• Do not practice Al-Wisal:

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Do not fast continuously (practise Al-Wisal), and if you intend to lengthen your fast, then carry it on only till the Suhoor (before the following dawn)." The people said to him: "But you practice (Al-Wisal), O Allah's Apostle!" He replied: "I am not similar to you, for during my sleep I have One Who makes me eat and drink." [Bukhari 3:31:184]

Narrated Abdullah (رضي الله عنه): "The Prophet fasted for days continuously; the  people also did the same but it was difficult  for them. So, the Prophet forbade them (to fast continuously for more than one day). They said: 'But you fast without break (no food was taken in the evening or in the morning).' The Prophet replied: 'I am not like you, for I am provided with food and drink (by Allah).'" [Bukhari 3:31:145]

Narrated Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه): "The Prophet said twice: '(O you people) Be cautious! Do not practice Al-Wisal.' The people said to him: 'But you practice Al-Wisal?' The Prophet replied: 'My Lord gives me food and drink during my sleep. Do that much of deeds which is within your ability.'" [Bukhari 3:31:187]

• Fast of David

Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn 'Aas (رضي الله عنه) reported: It was conveyed to the Apostle of Allah that I observe fast successively and pray during the whole night. He sent for me or I met him and he said: "It has been conveyed to me that you observe fast continuously and do not break it and pray during the whole night. Don't do that. for there is share for your eyes, share for your own self, share for your family; so observe fast and break it, pray and sleep and observe fast for one day during the ten days, and there is a reward for you (for other) nine (days besides the tenth day of the fast)." I said: "Apostle of Allah, I find myself more powerful than this." He said: "Then observe the fast of David." He said: "Apostle of Allah, how did David observe fast?" He said: "He used to fast one day and break it on the other day." [Muslim 6:2591]

• 3 days of the month

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "The observance of three days' fast every month and of one Ramadan to the other (i.e. the fast of Ramadan every year) is (equivalent to) a perpetual fast. I seek from Allah that fasting on the day of Arafah may atone for the sins of the preceding and the coming year, and I seek from Allah that fasting on the day of Ashura' may atone for the sins of the preceding year." [Abu Dawud 13: 2419] 

Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) said: "My friend (the Prophet) advised me to do three things and I shall not leave them till I die, these are: To fast three days every month, to offer the Duha prayer, and to offer witr before sleeping." [Bukhari 2:21:274]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "When you fast three days out of a month, then fast the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth." [Tirmidhi 3:761]

Fasting 3 days of the middle of every month, that is, the 13th, 14th and 15th of the lunar calendar, is like fasting the entire month. Every good deed is multiplied by 10. So 3 days x 10 = 30. So you get reward for the whole month.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Fast three days a month as the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times and that will be equal to one year of fasting." [Bukhari 3:31:197]

• Mondays and Thursdays

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "On that day (Monday) I was born, and on it the Revelation came to me." [Muslim 6:2603]

Aisha (رضي الله عنه) narrated: "The Prophet used to try to fast on Mondays and Thursdays." [Tirmidhi 3:745]

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Deeds are shown (to Allah) on Mondays and Thursdays, and I like my deeds to be shown when I am fasting.” [Tirmidhi 3:747]

#34 Extra 

• One who does not fast without valid excuse

Al-Haafiz al-Dhahabi said: "Among the believers it is well-established that whoever does not fast in Ramadaan without a valid excuse is worse than an adulterer or drunkard; they doubt whether he is even a Muslim at all, and they regard him as a heretic and profligate." Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] said: "If a person does not fast in Ramadan knowing that it is haram (forbidden) but making it halal (permissable) for himself to do so, kill him; and if he does it because he is immoral [but believes it is haram], then punish him for not fasting." (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/265)