What is Niyyah? Is It Wajib To Do Niyyah Everyday For Fasting?

We know that niyyat is wajib. One of first mas'ala about fasting, fasting is an ibaadat and you have to do the niyyat. What is niyyat? Niyyat doesn't mean, whether in namaaz (prayer), or roza (fasting), or hajj (pilgrimage) or whatever you are doing. It doesn't mean that you have, you have to verbally say it. When we are very young, we cannot comprehend the concept of niyyat and therefore we are taught by the parents or the Madrassa teachers, ok get up and say, you know, 'Meh do rakat namaaz Fajr paraahu Wajib Qurbatan illa-Allah' or in Gujarati or in Urdu or English that you know I am going, 'I am doing 2 rakat namaaz-e-Fajr Wajib Qurbatan illa-Allah.'

This is taught verbally because as children, we cannot comprehend the meaning of niyyat. After we graduate, nobody tells us you don't have to say it. In the Masa'il, niyyat is not verbal. Niyyat means you should know what you are doing. You should have that understanding. It's not just you know, habitually or like a you know robot, you just stood up and started doing something. No, you should know what you are doing. And as long as that awareness is there, it is sufficient. And this is where we see that for example, when it comes to the Niyyat of Fasting, just this thought that I am doing this in Obedience to the Command of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, to please Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, just that thought by itself is sufficient.

You don't have to get up every day before Fajr. After Imsaak, you sit down and say ok, I am doing the niyyah that today is the, I am doing the Niyyat of the Fasting of the First of Ramadhan, Year 1440. And then next day again for Fajr, you stand up and you know, do the niyyat there. No, you don't have to do, you don't have to say anything. As long as you know what you are doing, that is sufficient. You don't even have to say all the details that I am doing this you know, roza, in the sense of I will refrain from this eight to nine things. None of those things are part of the niyyat. You don't even have to say actually that it is Wajib or Sunnat or Ada or Qadha.

In namaaz, we talk, you know, say Ada, Wajib Ada Qurbatan illa-Allah. In roza, if it is Ramadhan, can it be Qadha? Can it be Sunnat? Everybody knows it is Wajib. So you don't really have to say even Wajib or Sunnat or Ada or Qadha. And this is where we have to realize that when we say that you don't even have to say it every day. Sometimes I get questions 'Mawlana, today I got up, didn't do the Sehri. You know it's already 9 in the morning. What happens to my niyyat?' You are ok. Do you have to do niyyat for every day of the Month of Ramadhan? No. Right in the beginning, you do the niyyat that you know, 'I am going to Fast during this Month of Ramadhan.' That one niyyat is sufficient for the entire month.

One of the important issues is that when we talk about the niyyat, the issue of niyyat is that, the niyyat should continue from Fajr to Maghrib. So I said all these things, you don't have to say anything. Now I'm saying it should continue from Fajr to Maghrib. So do you have to always repeat that? Or constantly remind yourself I'm doing fasting? No. What it means is that from Fajr time till Maghrib time, you will not do the niyyat, which will be contradictory to your Niyiyat of Fasting.

By 6 in the morning or 6 in the evening, your wife decided to cook something, your best dish. You're sitting in the living room. The smell comes in and you say 'Well, it's still not time of Iftar.' You know, you feel that urge. That is ok. But if you, your resistance goes down and down, an hour before Iftar, you do the niyyat, you know well you know I'll pay the Kaffara and do the Qadha. I'll go now and eat. As soon as you say that, that 'I will go now and eat,' even if you then, after going into the kitchen you come back, or your wife told you 'You will not get it.' So you didn't eat. But your niyyat already has become counter niyyat of fasting. That is the meaning of continuity, means between Fajr and Maghrib, you should not do a niyyat which will invalidate the Niyyat of Fasting. If you do that, your roza becomes batil and this is only you didn't eat. You just had the intention of going and eating but then you stopped yourself. Your roza becomes batil and you will just have to do Qadha. If you ended up eating after that before Iftar, then you also have to pay Kaffara.

And so this is something we had to keep in mind that you know when we talk about the issue of fasting, this is you know very crucial for us. Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala Himself, you know says that when it comes to the niyyat, this is very important and Al-hamdulil-Allah, the action of fasting as I said on Thursday night, by itself, is of a nature that we cannot really show off that we are fasting. Because fasting means not doing certain things, whereas all everything, namaaz and you know giving charity or doing Hajj and things like that are actions that you can show and display, you know to others. And therefore Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, He uses the term 'As -Sawm-li,' that fasting is for Me and therefore I, Myself am going to reward those who are fasting.