Sawm means to abstain from those things which break the fast, from Subh as-Sadiq (true dawn) to Maghrib-time, in obedience to Allah.
Sawms are Wajib:
1. Month of Ramadhan;
2. Qadha of the month of Ramadhan;
3. 3rd day of Itikaf;
4. 10 days of 'badal-ul-hadi' in Hajj;
5. Sawm of Kaffara becoming Wajib for various reasons,
6. Sawm which becomes Wajib on account of Nazar, Ahad or Quasam;
7. Sawm of Kaffara of breaking or leaving fast;
8. Sawm which has become Qadha from father, becomes Wajib on his eldest son after his death (It is better to include 'mother' also in this rule).
These are the conditions for the validity of Sawm:
4. Remaining free from Haidh and Nifas for whole day;
5. Not remaining a 'Musafir' at the time of Zawal;
6. Not being in danger of illness by keeping fast.
If a Musafir returns to his home-town or reaches a place where he intends to stay 10 days, before Zawal, and has not used anything which breaks the fast, he must do 'niyyet' of fast, and his fast will be valid. Likewise, if he begins his journey after Zawal, his fast of that day will remain valid.
If a person is afraid that by keeping fast his illness will increase, or he will become sick by fasting, or that the treatment of his disease will become more difficult, he must break his fast. If he does keep fast, it would be null and void, and he, in addition, would be committing a sin.
Being 'Baligh' is not a condition of validity of fast; if a child keeps fast, it would be all right. But Fast is not Wajib on a 'minor' (Ghair-Baligh).
The following persons are exempted from the Sawm:
1. 1. & 2. Old man and woman, when owing to their old age and weakness
(a) it is not possible for them to keep fast, or
(b) it is very difficult to fast.
3. A person who has got a disease in which he remains ever thirsty and
(a) it is not possible, or
(b) is very difficult, for him to keep fast.
4. The expecting-mother who is afraid
(a) about her own health or
(b) the health of the unborn child.
5. The woman who breast-feeds a child (her own or another, woman's) and is afraid that the fast
(a) would endanger her health or
(b) the health of the child.
All these 5 types of persons are exempted from fasting on the following conditions:-
1. In cases of (b) they will have to pay Kaffara @ one 'Mudd' (¾ kilogram) wheat, rice or any such stable food, per day to a poor Ithna-asheri. It is 'Ahwat' to pay 1½ kilogram per day.
2. In cases of (a) they are not required to pay any Kaffara, but it is highly recommended.
3. Pregnant woman, or the nursing mother will have to fast in Qadha after delivery or after weaning the child, as the case may be.
4. The thirsty person will have to fast in Qadha, if he is able to do so afterwards.
5. Old man and woman are not required (though recommended) to fast in Qadha if he/she regains his /her strength.
The things or actions which make a fast void (batil) are 10:
1. and 2. Eating or drinking anything.
3. Sexual relation;
4. Speaking, writing or conveying by sign any lie about Allah, Prophets, Imams, or Bibi Fatima (s.a.);
5. Submerging the head in water;
6. Conveying thick dust, smoke or steam up to throat;
7. Vomiting intentionally;
8. Doing any such thing by which semen comes out;
9. Enema with liquid;
10. Remaining in the condition of Janabat, Haiz or Nifas up to Subh as-Sadiq.
All these things break the fast if they are committed intentionally. If a person forgets that he is fasting, and eats or drinks, his fast is correct. Likewise, if he vomits involuntarily, or speaks something about God or Imams which he thinks is correct (though in fact it is wrong), or somebody else pushes him into water and his head goes into welter; or he sees a dust coming towards him and tries his best to protect himself from it but still inhales some of it involuntarily, his fast is correct.
Remaining in the condition of Janabat makes fast batil in the month of Ramadhan and in its Qadha only. Other fasts are not affected by it.
Not doing Ghusl (or Tayammum. if allowed) of Haiz, or Nifas before Subh as-Sadiq (true dawn) makes the fast Batil in the month of Ramadhan only. Other fasts (including the Qadha of Ramadhan) are not affected by it.
When a fast is broken by any of the above-mentioned Muftirat, or when a person does not keep fast (without any excuse, i.e. illness or travel), he has to pay Kaffara, in addition to its Qadha.
The Kaffara of breaking the fast of one day of Ramadhan is:
1. Emancipating a slave;
2. If that is not possible, then, two-months-fast consecutively;
3. and if that is also not possible, then feeding 60 poor Mumins.
Kaffara of breaking the Qadha of one day of Ramadhan, if broken after Zawal, is:
1. Feeding 10 poor Mumins;
2. and if that is not possible, then fasting three days.
Kaffara of breaking the fast of specified Nazar is:
1. Emancipating a slaver
2. If that is not possible, then feeding 10 poor Mumins;
3. or clothing 10 poor Mumins;
4. and if he cannot do any of these then, fasting three days.
In feeding, it is enough to give each man 1½ pound wheat or rice.
Whenever in a Kaffara a certain thing is prescribed, its price is not acceptable. For instance, it is not allowed to give money of 1½ pound wheat, or price of shirt and trousers to a poor man. It is obligatory to give him the grain or cloth.
When a fast is broken by any Haram thing, like wine etc., all 3 Kaffaras are to be paid (emancipation of slave, 60 days fast, feeding 60 poor Mumins), as a punishment.,
In two-months-fast, at least 31 days should be fasted consequently. The remaining 29 days may be fasted with gaps.
The Muslims observe two big festivals in a year. One as ´Eid-ul-Fitr and the other is 'Eid-ul-Azha. These two are the days of great festivity.
'Eid-ul-Fitr is observed at the end of the holy month of Ramadhan. The fasting creates the feelings of faith, spirituality, patience, contentment, and helping the poor. With a view to express our joy on these feelings we observe Eid. The festivity of the Muslims is not akin to dancing, singing vulgar songs or playing dirty games. We offer our gratefulness to Allah and also offer the Salat ul-‘Eid for those religious, spiritual and moral gains which accrue to us in the holy month of Ramadhan.
The Muslims offer sacrifice on the day of 'Eid-ul-Azha. Thus they pledge to give away their lives in the way of Allah and that of Islam. This is a great month for the believer. This is the motto of a Muslim's life. In happiness of this pledge, we offer prayer of Eid-ul-Azha.
Prayer of Eid is not Wajib but Sunnat nowadays when our Present Imam is hidden from our eyes. The niyat (intention) of Salat ul-‘Eid should be done as follows:-
"I pray two rak'at Salat of 'Eid-ul-Fitr or 'Eid-ul-Azha Sunnat qurbatan ilallah."
In the first rak'at, after Sura Hamd, Sura A'ala is recited then hands are raised for Qunuut.
"Allahumma ahlal Kibriyae wal azamate wa ahlal juude wal jabaruut, wa ahlal afwe warrahmah, wa ahlattaqwa wal maghferah; asaloka behaqqe haazal yaumil lazi ja'altahu lil muslimeena 'eedanw, wa le Muhammadin Sallallaho alaihe we Aal'ehi zukhranw wa karamatanw wa sharafanw wa mazeeda; an tusalieya 'ala Muhammdin wa Aale Muhammadin, ws an tudkhelani fi kulle khairin adkhalta fihe Muhammadan wa Aala Muhammadin wa an Tukhrijani - min kulle Suu-in Akhrajta minho Muhsmmadan. wa Aala Muhammadin. Salawaatoka 'aiaihe wa 'alaihim ajma'een. Allahumma, inni as'aloka khaira ma sa-a-laka behi ibadokassale-huun; wa a'oozo beka mimmasta'aza minho 'ibadokal mukhlesu-un."
In first rak'at, the Qunuut is recited five times along with Takbirs (Allahu Akbar). Then after Rukoo' and Sajda, the second rak'at begins.
In the second rak'at Sura Shams is recited after Sura Hamd.
In Surah Shams Allah has directed man to keep his self pure and to protect himself from sins. After the recitation of this Surah, the Qunnut is again recited but now only four times. Thereafter rukuu, Sajda, Tashahhud and Salaam are done in the usual way.