Monday, August 01, 2011

Fasting Laws in Islam

by Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Al-Seestani

1576. * If a patient recovers from his illness in the middle of a day in the month of Ramadhan, before Zuhr, and if he has not done anything to invalidate the fast, he should make niyyat and fast. But if he recovers after Zuhr, it will not be obligatory on him to fast on that day.
1577. * If one doubts whether it is the last day of Sha'ban or the first day of Ramadhan then the fast on that day is not obligatory. If however, somebody wants to observe fast on that day he cannot do so with the intention of observing the Ramadhan fast, but if he makes an intention that if it is Ramadhan then it is the Ramadhan fast and if it is not Ramadhan then it is qadha fast or some other fast like that, his fast will be valid. But it is better to observe the fast with the intention of qadha fast or some other fast, and if it is known later that it was Ramadhan then it will automatically be Ramadhan fast. And even if he makes a niyyat of a natural fast, and later it becomes known that it is Ramadhan, it will be sufficient (i.e. that fast will be counted as the Ramadhan fast).
1578. If it is doubtful whether it is the last day of Sha'ban or the first of Ramadhan, and a person observes a qadha or a Mustahab fast or some other fast on that day, and later comes to know the same day that it is the first of Ramadhan, then he should convert the intention to the Ramadhan fast.
1579. * If somebody is undecided in his niyyat whether to break or not an obligatory fixed fast, like that of Ramadhan, or decides to do so, immediately his fast becomes invalid even if he does not actually break it or is repentant of his intention.
1580. * If, while observing a Mustahab fast or an obligatory fast the time of which is not fixed (e.g. a fast for Kaffarah) a person intends to break the fast or wavers whether or not he should do so, and if he does not break it, he should make a fresh niyyat before Zuhr in the case of an obligatory fast, and before Maghrib in the case of a Mustahab fast. That way his fast will be in order.

Things which make a Fast void
1581. * There are nine acts which invalidate fast:
(i) Eating and drinking
(ii) Sexual intercourse
(iii) Masturbation (Istimna) which means self abuse, resulting in ejaculation
(iv) Ascribing false things to Almighty Allah, or his Prophet or to the
successors of the Holy Prophet
(v) Swallowing thick dust
(vi) Immersing one's complete head in water
(vii) Remaining in Janabat or Haidh or Nifas till the Adhan for Fajr prayers
(viii) Enema with liquids
(ix) Vomiting
Details of these acts will be explained in the following articles:-
I. Eating and Drinking
1582. If a person eats or drinks something intentionally, while being conscious of fasting, his fast becomes void, irrespective of whether the thing which he ate or drank was usually eaten or drunk (for example bread with water) or not (for example earth or the juice of a tree) and whether it is more or less; even if a person, who is fasting, takes the tooth brush (Miswak) out of his mouth and then puts it back into his mouth, swallowing its liquid, his fast will be void, unless the moisture in the tooth brush mixes up with the saliva in such a way that it may no longer be called an external wetness.
1583. If while eating and drinking, a person realises that it is Fajr, he should throw the food out of his mouth, and if he swallows it intentionally, his fast is void, and according to the rules which will be mentioned later, it also becomes obligatory on him to give Kaffarah.
1584. If a person who is fasting eats or drinks something forgetfully, his fast does not become invalid.
1585. There is no objection to an injection which anaesthetises one's limb or is used for some other purpose being given to a person, who is observing fast, but it is better that the injections which are given as medicine or food are avoided.
1586. If a person observing fast intentionally swallows something which remained in between his teeth, his fast is invalidated.
1587. * If a person wishes to observe a fast, it is not necessary for him to use a toothpick before the Adhan of Fajr prayers. However, if he knows that some particles of food which have remained in between his teeth, will go down into his stomach during the day, then he must clean his teeth with toothpick.
1588. Swallowing saliva does not invalidate a fast, although it may have collected in one's mouth owing to thoughts about sour things etc.
1589. There is no harm in swallowing one's phlegm or mucous from head and chest as long as it does not come upto one's mouth. However, if it reaches one's mouth, the obligatory precaution is that one should not swallow it.
1590. * If a person observing fast becomes so thirsty that he fears that he may die of thirst or sustain some harm or extreme hardship, he can drink as much water as would ensure that the fear is averted. However, his fast becomes invalid, and if it is the month of Ramadhan, as an obligatory precaution, he should not drink more than that, and then for the rest of the day, refrain from all acts which would invalidate the fast.
1591. Chewing food to feed a child or a bird and tasting food etc. which does not usually go down the throat, will not invalidate the fast, even if it happens to reach there inadvertently. However, if a person knows beforehand that it will reach the throat, his fast becomes void, and he should observe its qadha and it is also obligatory upon him to give Kaffarah.
1592. A person cannot abandon fast on account of weakness. However, if his weakness is to such an extent that fasting becomes totally unbearable, there is no harm in breaking the fast.
II. Sexual Intercourse
1593. Sexual intercourse invalidates the fast, even if the penetration is as little as the tip of the male organ, and even if there has been no ejaculation.
1594. * If the penetration is less than the tip of the male organ, so that it cannot be said that intercourse has taken place, also if no ejaculation takes place, the fast does not become invalid. This applies to both, circumcised and uncircumcised men.
1595. If a person commits sexual intercourse intentionally and then doubts whether penetration was upto the point of circumcision or not his fast, as an obligatory precaution, becomes invalid, and it is necessary for him to observe its qadha. It is not, however, obligatory on him to give Kaffarah.
1596. If a person forgets that he is observing fast and commits sexual intercourse or he is compelled to have sexual intercourse in a manner that makes him helpless, his fast does not become void. However, if he remembers (that he is observing fast) or ceases to be helpless during sexual intercourse, he should withdraw from the sexual intercourse at once, and if he does not, his fast becomes void.
III. Istimna (Masturbation)
1597. If a person, who is observing fast, performs masturbation (Istimna), his fast becomes void (The explanation of istimna has been given in rule 1581/iii).
1598. If semen is discharged from the body of a person involuntarily, his fast does not become void.
1599. Even if a person observing fast knows that if he sleeps during the day time he will become Mohtalim (i.e. semen will be discharged from his body during sleep) it is permissible for him to sleep, even if he may not be inconvenienced by not sleeping. And if he becomes Mohtalim, his fast does not become void.
1600. If a person who is observing fast, wakes up from sleep while ejaculation is taking place, it is not obligatory on him to stop it.

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