Ahkam in Brief - Fasting

Fasting in Islam means avoiding certain things from the time of Fajr until Maghrib. Watch this video to learn about things you should avoid during the fasting, and what to do if you couldn't fast. And also learn the rulings about Zakat al-Fitra.

Ahkam in Brief. Fasting.

Fasting is one of the rituals in Islam which becomes obligatory during the holy month of Ramadan. It has many spiritual, physical and social effects on us. In this episode, we will discuss the Islamic laws related to fasting.

Simply put, fasting means avoiding certain things from the time of Fajr till Maghrib.These things are:

Number One: to avoid deliberately eating, drinking and smoking, including through a medical feeding device. This restriction also applies to the consumption of non edible things like dust, for example.

Number Two: vomiting intentionally.

Number Three: deliberately entering the state of jababah, which happens by full sexual intercourse or by ejaculation.

Number Four: deliberately staying in the state of jababah, Haidh or Nifas till the adhan of Fajr.

Number Five: to lose the intention for fasting, like deciding to break the fast. This will void the fasting even if nothing is eaten.

Number Six: according to some of our jurists, immersing the entire head under water will also void the fast.

Number Seven: ascribing lies to Allah, the Prophet and the Holy Progeny, peace be upon them, such as quoting something they have never said.

Number Eight: taking liquid enema will void the fast, but for IV drips, vascular and intramuscular injections, the views of the jurists vary. To know your Marja's rulings on this, please refer to the Islamic books of law.

There are a few conditions under which fasting is not allowed. Ladies in the state of Haydh and Nifas should not fast. In some cases, a traveller should not fast. For more information on this, refer to the episode about the traveller. Also, fasting is not allowed for the one it could harm or cause extreme hardship to. Note that it is one's own responsibility to decide on this issue, and he might want to consult a doctor or expert to help him in making this decision.

We should not forget that the act of fasting itself has some difficulties and we are not allowed to avoid fasting just because of its being tough. Our jurists has mentioned a few examples of people with specific conditions who are excused from fasting, such as elderly people who cannot fast, pregnant ladies or suckling mothers where fasting might harm their baby.

Good. So what about those people who did not fast during the month of Ramadan?

There are three categories, depending on their reason for not fasting. First, there are those who were able to fast but had a legal excuse not to. Second, there are those who are able to fast but had no legal excuse. And third, there are those who are not able to fast at all.

Now we will explain each category briefly. First, those who are able to fast but due to a legal excuse did not fast. For example, an ill person, a traveller or a lady in the state of Hayd. People in this category have to compensate by fasting later, and if they postpone this until the next month of Ramadan arrives, in addition to the fasting, they also have to give fidyah to the poor. The fidhyah is about 750 grams of basic food, stuff like wheat or bread for each day of fasting they missed.

Second, if one intentionally and with no legal excuse did not fast, he has to compensate by fasting and by paying the kaffarah for that day. The kaffarah is to fast for two consecutive months or to feed 60 poor people for each day.

Note, if one's intention becomes not to fast anymore, his fast will become void even if he doesn't eat or do any of the other invalidating act. In this case, he only has to compensate by fasting without the need to pay the kaffarah.

Third, those who cannot fast at all like the weak elderly, those in this category only have to give the fidyah.The same goes for the person who was sick during the month of Ramadan and stayed sick all year round till the next month of Ramadan arrived. This person also has to give the fidyah only without the need to compensate with fasting.

To give fidyah or pay kaffarah, you can refer to your marj'a or his representative. He can accept to take the money from you and buy and distribute the food to the poor on your behalf.

OK, the 'Id of Fitr at the end of the month of Ramadan is declared by sigting the new crescent moon, or by passing 30 days of the month of Ramadan. There are many rules regarding this issue, which can be watched in the episode regarding this.

Now finally to pay the Zakat Al-Fitra. First of all, what is it? Zakat Al-Fitra is a uniform payment obligatory on behalf of every person, whether child or adult believer or non-believer, even non-Muslims, that should be paid for the 'Id of Fitr.

How much is it? It is three kilograms of the common foodstuff for its cash equivalent. Who pays it? It is the responsibility of the family breadwinner. If he is not poor to pay it, he has to pay it on his own behalf as well as on behalf of all those who are his dependents on the night fore of 'Id al-Fitr. Guests on this night should also be counted as they are temporarily under his provision. Note, if the family breadwinner is poor, then it becomes the duty of the dependents if they are capable to pay it.

When should it be paid? At the time of sunset, on the night preceding the day, till the next morning before the 'Id prayer. If the prayer of the 'Id is not performed, it can be paid by noon.

To whom should it be paid? The Zakat al-Fitra should be paid to our poor believers, and if none are found, then it can be paid to any poor Muslim except the Nasibis. It also can be paid to the marja's representative to distribute it according to the law.

Taqabbal Allah. May Allah accept your fasting and 'Id Mubarak to you and your family.

DISCLAIMER: The content of this clip is based on the fatawa of the Grand Ayatullah Al-Sistani and is presented in a simplified form. Therefore, for the exact definition and explanation, please refer to the original sources or ask someone authorised to answer.