(30) 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 ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to say, concerning the aayah (interpretation of the meaning), “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)” [al-Baqarah 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.” (Al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Tafseer, Baab Ayaaman Ma’doodaat…)
Those who have become senile and confused do not have to fast or do anything else, and their family does not have to do anything on their behalf, because such people are no longer counted as responsible. If they are of sound mind sometimes and confused at other times, they have to fast when they are OK and they do not have to fast when they are confused. (See Majaalis Shahr Ramadaan by Ibn ‘Uthyameen, p. 28).
(31) 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. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to his Companions once, before fighting: “In the morning you are going to meet your enemy and not fasting will make you stronger, so do not fast.” (Reported by Muslim, 1120, ‘Abd al-Baaqi edn. This is also the preferred opinion of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah. The scholars of Damascus also issued fatwas to the same effect when their city was attacked by the Tatars)
(32) If a person’s reason for not fasting is obvious, such as illness, there is nothing wrong with him eating or drinking openly, but if the reason is hidden, such as menstruation, it is better to eat and drink in secret, so as not to attract accusations and the like.
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Niyyah (intention) in fasting
(33) Niyyah (intention) is a required condition in fard (obligatory) fasts, and in other obligatory fasts such as making up missed fasts or fasts done as an act of expiation (kafaarah), because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no fast for the person who did not intend to fast from the night before.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 2454. A number of the scholars, such as al-Bukhaari, al-Nisaa'i, al-Tirmidhi and others thought it was likely to be mawqoof. See Talkhees al-Hubayr, 2/188)
The intention may be made at any point during the night, even if it is just a moment before Fajr. Niyyah means the resolution in the heart to do something; speaking it aloud is bid’ah (a reprehensible innovation), and anyone who knows that tomorrow is one of the days of Ramadaan and wants to fast has made the intention. (Majmoo’ Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam, 25/215). If a person intends to break his fast during the day but does not do so, then according to the most correct opinion, his fast is not adversely affected by this; he is like a person who wants to speak during the prayer but does not speak. Some of the scholars think that he is not fasting as soon as he stops intending to fast, so to be on the safe side, he should make up that fast later on. Apostasy, however, invalidates the intention; there is no dispute on this matter.
The person who is fasting Ramadaan does not need to repeat the intention every night during Ramadaan; 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.
(34) Making the intention the night before is not a condition of general nafl (supererogatory) fasts, because of the hadeeth narrated by ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered upon me one day and said, ‘Do you have anything [food]?’ We said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘In that case I am fasting.’” (Reported by Muslim, 2/809, ‘Abd al-Baaqi). But in the case of specific nafl fasts such as ‘Arafaah and ‘Aashooraa’, it is better to be on the safe side and make the intention the night before.
(36) If a person embarks on an obligatory fast, such as making up for a day missed in Ramadaan, or fulfilling a vow, or fasting as an act of expiation (kafaarah), he must complete the fast, and he is not permitted to break it unless he has a valid excuse for doing so. In the case of a naafil fast, “the person who is observing a voluntary fast has the choice either to complete the fast or to break it” (reported by Ahmad, 6/342) – even if there is no reason to break it. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) got up fasting one morning, then he ate. (As reported in Saheeh Muslim, in the story of the al-hais (a type of food) that was given to him as a gift when he was in ‘Aa’ishah’s house; no. 1154, ‘Abd al-Baaqi). But will the person who breaks his fast for no reason be rewarded for the fasting that he has already done? Some of the scholars say that he will not be rewarded (al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 28/13), so it is better for the person who is observing a voluntary fast to complete it, unless there is a valid, pressing reason for him to stop fasting.
(36) If a person does not know that Ramadaan has started until after dawn, he has to stop eating and drinking for the rest of the day, and he has to make that day up later on, according to the majority of scholars, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no fasting for the one who does not have the intention to fast from the night before.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, 2454).
(37) If a prisoner or captive knows that Ramadaan has begun by sighting the moon himself or by being told by a trustworthy person, he has to fast. If he does not know when the month is beginning, he must try to work it out for himself (ijtihaad) and act according what he thinks is most likely. If he later finds out that his fasting coincided with Ramadaan, this is fine according to the majority of scholars, and if his fasting came after Ramadaan, this is fine according to the majority of fuqahaa’, but if his fasting came before Ramadaan, this is not acceptable, and he has to make up the fast. If part of his fasting coincided with Ramadaan and part of it did not, what coincided with it or came after it is fine, but what came before is not OK. If the matter never becomes clear to him, then his fasting is fine because he did the best he could, and Allaah burdens not a person beyond his scope. (Al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 28/84).
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When to start and stop fasting
(38) Once the entire disk of the sun has disappeared, the fasting person should break his fast, and not pay any attention to the red glow that remains on the horizon, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Once night comes from there and the day disappears from there, and the sun has set, the fasting person should break his fast.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 1954; the issue is also mentioned in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/216).
The Sunnah is to hasten in breaking the fast. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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). If a fasting person cannot find anything with which to break his fast, he should have the intention in his heart to break his fast, and he should not suck his finger, as some of the common people do. He should beware of breaking the fast before the correct time, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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.” (The hadeeth is in Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 1986, and in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/420). If a person is certain, or thinks it most likely, or is not sure whether he broke the fast before the proper time, he should make up the fast later on, because the basic principle is that the day is still there and has not ended. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/287). He should beware of relying on the word of small children or untrustworthy sources, and he should also beware of the time differences between different cities and villages when he hears the adhaan on the radio and so on.
(39) When the dawn comes – which is the white light coming across the horizon in the East – the fasting person must stop eating and drinking straightaway, whether he hears the adhaan or not. If he knows that the muezzin calls the adhaan at dawn, he has to stop eating and drinking as soon as he hears his adhaan, but if the muezzin calls the adhaan before Fajr, he does not have to stop eating and drinking when he hears it. If he does not know the muezzin’s usual practice, or there are differences among the muezzins, and he cannot determine the time of dawn for himself – as is usually the case in cities because of lighting and buildings – he should take the precaution of referring to a printed timetable, so long as he is sure that the calculations on which it is based are not incorrect.
The idea of being on the safe side by stopping eating and drinking a certain time before Fajr, such as ten minutes before, is bid’ah. On some timetables you can see one heading for “imsaak” (stopping eating and drinking) and another for Fajr; this is something that is contrary to Islam.
(40) The Muslims living in cities where there is a distinct alternation of night and day in every twenty-four hour period are obliged to fast, no matter how long the day is, so long as that distinction between night and day is there. In some places there is no such distinction between night and day; Muslims in these places should fast according to the times in the nearest city in which there is a distinct alternation of night and day.
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Things that break the fast
(41) Apart from hayd (menstruation) and nifaas (post-natal bleeding), other things that can break the fast are only considered to do so if the following three conditions apply: if a person knows that it breaks the fast and is not ignorant; if he is aware of what he is doing and has not forgotten that he is fasting; if he does it of his own free will and is not forced to do it.
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)
(42) Among the things that break the fast are things that are classified as being like eating or drinking, such as taking medicines and pills by mouth, or injections of nourishing substances, or blood transfusions.
Injections that are not given to replace food and drink but are used to administer medications such as penicillin and insulin, or tonics, or vaccinations, do not break the fast, regardless of whether they are intra-muscular or intravenous. (Fataawa Ibn Ibraaheem, 4/189). But to be on the safe side, all these injections should be given during the night.
Kidney dialysis, whereby the blood is taken out, cleaned, and put back with some chemicals or nourishing substances such as sugars and salts added, is considered to break the fast. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/190).
According to the most correct view, suppositories, eye-drops, ear-drops, having a tooth extracted and treating wounds do not break the fast. (Majmoo’ Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam, 25/233, 25/245).
Puffers used for asthma do not break the fast, because this is just compressed gas that goes to the lungs – it is not food, and it is needed at all times, in Ramadaan and at other times.
Having a blood sample taken does not break the fast and is permissible because it is something that is needed. (Fataawa al-Da’wah: Ibn Baaz, no. 979).
Medicines used by gargling do not break the fast so long as they are not swallowed. If a person has a tooth filled and feels the taste of it in his throat, this does not break his fast. (From the fataawa of Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, issued verbally).
The following things do NOT break the fast:
Having the ears syringed; nose drops and nasal sprays – so long as one avoids swallowing anything that reaches the throat.
Tablets that are placed under the tongue to treat angina and other conditions - so long as one avoids swallowing anything that reaches the throat.
Anything inserted into the vagina, such as pessaries, douches, scopes or fingers for the purpose of a medical examination.
Insertion of a scope or intra-uterine device (IUD or “coil”) and the like into the uterus.
Insertion into the urethra – for males or females – of a catheter, opaque dye for diagnostic imaging, medication or solutions for cleansing the bladder.
Dental fillings, tooth extractions, cleaning of the teeth, use of siwaak or toothbrush - so long as one avoids swallowing anything that reaches the throat.
Rinsing, gargling or applying topical mouth sprays - so long as one avoids swallowing anything that reaches the throat.
Subcutaneous, intramuscular or intravenous injections – except for those used to provide nourishment.
Anaesthetic gases – so long as the patient is not given nourishing solutions.
Medications absorbed through the skin, such as creams and patches used to administer medicine and chemicals.
Insertion of a catheter into veins for diagnostic imaging or treatment of blood vessels in the heart or other organs.
Use of a laparoscope (instrument inserted through a small incision in the abdomen) to examine the abdominal cavity or to perform operations.
Taking biopsies or samples from the liver or other organs – so long as this is not accompanied by the administration of solutions.
Gastroscopy – so long as this is not accompanied by the administration of solutions or other substances.
Introduction of any instrument or medication to the brain or spinal column.
(43) Anyone who eats and drinks deliberately during the day in Ramadaan with no valid excuse has committed a grave major sin (kabeerah), and has to repent and make up for that fast later on. If he broke the fast with something haraam, such as drinking alcohol, this makes his sin even worse. Whatever the case, he has to repent sincerely and do more naafil deeds, fasting and other acts of worship, so as to avoid having any shortfall in his record of obligatory deeds, and so that Allaah might accept his repentance.
(44) “If he forgets, and eats and drinks, then let him complete his fast, for Allaah has fed him and given him to drink.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, no. 1933). According to another report, “He does not have to make the fast up later or offer expiation (kafaarah).”
If a person sees someone else who is eating because he has forgotten that he is fasting, he should remind him, because of the general meaning of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “… Help one another in righteousness and piety…” [al-Maa’idah 5:2], and the hadeeth, “if I forget, remind me”; and because of the principle that this is an evil action (munkar) that must be changed. (Majlis Shahr Ramadaan, Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, p.70)
(45) Those who need to break their fast in order to save 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.
(46) If a person is obliged to fast, but he deliberately has intercourse during the day in Ramadaan, of his own free will, where the two “circumcised parts” (genitals) come together and the tip of the penis penetrates either the front or back passage, his fast is broken, whether or not he ejaculates, and he has to repent. He should still fast for the rest of the day, but he has to make up the fast later on, and offer expiation (kafaarah), because of the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him): “Whilst we were sitting with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), a man came to him and said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I am doomed!’ He said, ‘What is the matter with you?’ He said, ‘I had intercourse with my wife whilst I was fasting.’ The Messenger of Allaah said, ‘Do you have a slave whom you could set free?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Can you fast for two consecutive months?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Do you have the wherewithal to feed sixty poor people?’ He said, ‘No’…” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 4, no. 1936). The same ruling also applies in cases of zinaa (adultery or fornication), homosexuality and bestiality.
[Translator's Note: Having Intercourse from the back passage, adultery, homosexuality, and bestiality are major sins in Islam and are magnified if done during the day of Ramadhan.]
If a person has intercourse during the day on more than one day during Ramadaan, he must offer expiation for each day, as well as repeating the fast for each day. Not knowing that kafaarah is obligatory is no excuse. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/321).
(47) If a man wants to have intercourse with his wife but he breaks his fast by eating first, his sin is more serious, because he has violated the sanctity of the month on two counts, by eating and by having intercourse. It is even more certain in this case that expiation is obligatory, and if he tries to get out of it, that only makes matters worse. He must repent sincerely. (See Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/262).
(48) Kissing, hugging, embracing, touching and repeatedly looking at one’s wife or concubine, if a man is able to control himself, is permissible, because it is reported in al-Saheehayn from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to kiss and embrace his wives whilst he was fasting, but he was the most in control of his desire. With regard to the hadeeth qudsi, “he keeps away from his wife for My sake”, this is referring to intercourse. But if a person get aroused quickly and is unable to control himself, then it is not permissible for him to kiss or embrace his wife, because that will lead to him breaking his fast, as he cannot be sure that he will be able to avoid ejaculating or having intercourse. Allaah says in a hadeeth qudsi: “and he leaves his desire for My sake.” The Islamic guideline is that anything that leads to haraam is also haraam.
(49) If a person is engaged in the act of intercourse and dawn comes, he is obliged to withdraw, and his fast will be valid even if he ejaculates after withdrawal, but if he continues having intercourse until after dawn, he has broken his fast, and he must repent, make the fast up later, and offer expiation.
(50) If morning comes and a person is in a state of janaabah (impurity following sexual intercourse), this does not affect his fasting. He or she is permitted to delay doing ghusl, whether it is for janaabah or following menstruation or post-natal bleeding, until dawn has appeared (though well before sunrise), but it is better to hasten to do ghusl so that one can pray.
(51) If a person who is fasting sleeps and experiences a wet dream, this does not break his fast, according to scholarly consensus (ijmaa’), so he should complete his fast. Delaying doing ghusl does not break the fast, but he should hasten to do ghusl so that he can pray and so that the anegls will draw close to him.
(52) If a person ejaculates during the day in Ramadaan because of something that he could have refrained from, such as touching or repeatedly looking at a woman, he must repent to Allaah and fast for the rest of the day, but he also has to make up that fast later on. If a person starts to masturbate but then stops, and does not ejaculate, then he has to repent but he does not have to make the fast up later on, because he did not ejaculate. The person who is fasting must keep away from everything that may provoke his desire, and he must repel any bad thoughts that come to him. However, according to the most correct opinion, if he emits prostatic fluid (madhiy), this does not break his fast.
The emission of wadiy, a thick sticky substance that comes out after urination, with no sense of physical pleasure, does not break the fast, and a person does not have to do ghusl, but he does have to do istinjaa’ (clean his private parts) and do wudoo’. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/279)
(53) “Whoever vomits unintentionally does not have to make up the fast later on, but whoever vomits on purpose does have to make up the fast.” (Saheeh hadeeth narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3/89). A person who vomits deliberately, by sticking his finger down his throat or applying pressure to his stomach, or deliberately smelling a repulsive odour, or looking at something that could make him vomit, is obliged to make up the fast later on. If he feels that he is about to vomit, but then it subsides by itself, this does not break his fast, because it is not something that he can control, but if the vomit comes into his mouth and he swallows it back down, this does break the fast. If a person feels sick in his stomach, he does not have to suppress the urge to vomit, because this could cause him harm. (Majaalis Sharh Ramadaan, Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 67).
If a person unintentionally swallows something that is stuck between his teeth, or if it is so small that he could not tell it was there or spit it out, this is counted as being part of his saliva and it does not break his fast. But if it is big enough to spit out, he should spit it out. If he spits it out, this is OK, but if he swallows it, this breaks his fast. If it can be diluted in the mouth, in whole or in part, and it has an added taste or sweetness, it is haraam for him to chew it. If any of this substance reaches the throat, this breaks the fast. If a person spits out water after rinsing his mouth, his fast is not affected by any moisture or wetness that is left behind, because he cannot help it.
If a person suffers from a nosebleed, his fast is still valid, because this is something that is beyond his control. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/264).
If he has gum ulcers or his gums bleed after using the siwaak (tooth stick), it is not permissible for him to swallow the blood; he has to spit it out. However, if some blood enters his throat by accident, and he did not mean for that to happen, there is no need to worry. Similarly, if vomit rises in his throat then goes back down to his stomach without him intending for this to happen, his fast is still valid. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/254).
With regard to mucus coming from the head (nose and sinuses) and phlegm coming from the chest by coughing and clearing the throat, if it is swallowed before it reaches the mouth, this does not break a person’s fast, because it is a problem which all people have; but if it is swallowed after it reaches the mouth, this does break the fast. However, if it is swallowed unintentionally, it does not break the fast.
Inhaling water vapours, as may happen to people working in desalination plants, does not break the fast. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/276).
It is disliked (makrooh) to taste food unnecessarily, because this carries the risk that the fast may be broken. Examples of cases where it is necessary to taste food include a mother chewing food for an infant when she has no other way to feed him, tasting food to make sure that it is OK, and tasting something when making a purchase. It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “There is nothing wrong with tasting vinegar or anything that one wishes to buy.” (Classed as hasan in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 4/86; See al-Fath, commentary on Baab Ightisaal al-Saa’im, Kitaab al-Siyaam).
(54) Using siwaak is Sunnah for the one who is fasting at all times of the day, even if it is wet. If a person who is fasting uses a siwaak and detects some heat or other taste from it and swallows it, or if he takes the siwaak out of his mouth and sees saliva on it then puts it back in his mouth and swallows the saliva, this does not break his fast. (al-Fataawa al-Sa’diyyah, 245). He should avoid any substance that can be diluted, such as the green siwaak, or siwaak that has any extra flavour added to it, like lemon or mint. He should spit out any small pieces that come off the siwaak in his mouth; he should not swallow them deliberately, but if he swallows them accidentally, there is no harm done.
(55) If a fasting person is injured or suffers a nosebleed, or gets water or petrol in his mouth by accident, this does not break his fast. If he gets dust, smoke or flies in his mouth by accident, this does not break his fast either. Things that one cannot avoid swallowing, like one’s own saliva, or dust from grinding flour, do not break the fast. If a person gathers a lot of saliva in his mouth then swallows it on purpose, this does not break the fast, according to the most correct opinion. (al-Mughni by Ibn Qudaamah, 3/106).
If tears reach one’s throat, or if a person applies oil to his hair or moustache, or uses henna, and then detects the taste of it in his throat, this does not break his fast. Using henna, kohl or oil does not break the fast. (See Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/233, 25/245). This also applies to creams used to moisturize and soften the skin.
There is nothing wrong with smelling pleasant fragrances, using perfume or applying scented creams and the like. There is nothing wrong with a fasting person using bukhoor (incense), so long as he does not use it as snuff. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/314).
It is better not to use toothpaste during the day, and to leave it till night-time, because it is too strong. (Al-Majaalis, Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, p. 72).
(56) To be on the safe side, it is better for the fasting person not to be treated with cupping (hijaamah). There is a strong difference of opinion on this matter. Ibn Taymiyah suggested that the one who has cupping done breaks his fast, but the one who does it does not break his fast.
(57) Smoking breaks the fast, and it cannot be used as an excuse not to fast. How can a sin be taken as an excuse?!
(58) Immersing oneself in water or wrapping oneself in wet clothes in order to cool down does not break the fast. There is nothing wrong with pouring water over one’s head to obtain relief from heat and thirst. Swimming is disliked, because it might make one break the fast (by swallowing water). If a person’s work involves diving and he can be sure that he will not get water in his mouth, there is nothing wrong with this.
(59) If a person eats, drinks or has intercourse, thinking that it is still night, then he realizes that dawn has already broken, there is no harm done, because the aayah clearly states that it is permissible to do these things until one is sure that dawn has come. ‘Abd al-Razzaaq reported with a saheeh isnaad going back to Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he said: “Allaah has permitted you to eat and drink so long as there is any doubt in your mind.” (Fath al-Baari, 4/135; this is also the opinion of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 29/263).
(60) If a person breaks his fast, thinking that the sun has already set when it has not, he must make up the fast later on (according to the majority of scholars), because the principle is that it is still day, and a fact that is certain cannot be rejected in favour of something doubtful. (Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah thought that it was not necessary for a person in this situation to make up the fast).
If dawn breaks and a person has food or drink in his mouth, the fuqaha’ are agreed that he should spit it out, and his fast is valid. This is like the ruling on one who eats or drinks because he forgets, then remembers he is fasting – if he hastens to spit out the food or drink in his mouth, his fast is still valid.
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Rulings on fasting for women
(62) A woman who has reached the age of puberty, but is too shy to tell anyone, so she does not fast, has to repent and make up the days she has missed, as well as feeding a poor person for each day, as an act of expiation for delaying her fast, if the following Ramadaan comes and she has not yet made up those days. Her case is like that of a woman who fasts the days of her period out of shyness, and does not make them up later.
If a woman does not know exactly how many days she has missed, she should fast until she is fairly certain that she has made up the days she had missed and not made up from previous Ramadaans, and offer the expiation for delaying for each day. She can do this at the same time as fasting or separately, depending on what she is able to do
(63) A woman should not fast – except during Ramadaan – if her husband is present without his permission, but if he is travelling then it does not matter.
(64) When a menstruating woman sees the white substance – which is discharged by the uterus when the period is finished – by which a woman knows that she has now become taahir (pure), she should have the intention to fast from the night before and should fast. If she does not have a time when she knows she is taahir, she should insert a piece of cotton or something similar, and if it comes out clean, she should fast, and if she starts to bleed again, she should stop fasting, whether the blood is a flow or just spotting, because it breaks the fast as long as it comes at the time of the period. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/154).
If the cessation of bleeding continues until Maghrib, and she has fasted with the intention from the night before, then her fast is valid. If a woman feels the movement of menstrual blood inside her, but is does not come out until after the sun has set, her fast is valid and she does not have to make the day up later.
If a woman’s period or post-natal bleeding ceases during the night, and she makes the intention to fast, but dawn comes before she is able to do ghusl, according to all the scholars her fast is valid. (al-Fath, 4/148)
(65) If a woman knows that her period will come tomorrow, she should still continue her intention and keep fasting; she should not break her fast until she actually sees the blood.
(66) It is better for a menstruating woman to remain natural and accept what Allaah has decreed for her by not taking any medication to prevent her from bleeding. She should be content with what Allaah accepts from her of breaking her fast during her period and making those days up later. This is how the Mothers of the Believers and the women of the salaf were. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/151). Moreover, there is medical evidence to prove that many of the things used to prevent bleeding are in fact harmful, and many women have suffered from irregular periods as a result of taking them. However, if a woman does that and takes something to stop the bleeding, then fasts, this is OK.
(67) Istihaadah (non-menstrual vaginal bleeding) does not have any effect on the validity of the fast.
(68) If a pregnant woman miscarries and the foetus is formed or has a discernible outline of any part of the body, such as a head or hand, then her blood is nifaas; if, however, she passes something that looks like a blood clot (‘alaq) or a chewed piece of meat that has no discernible human features, her bleeding is istihaadah and she has to fast, if she is able, otherwise she can break her fast and make it up later on. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/224). Once she becomes clean after having an operation to clean the womb (D&C), she should fast. The scholars stated that the embryo is considered to start taking shape after 80 days of pregnancy.
If a woman becomes clean from nifaas before forty days, she should fast and do ghusl so that she can pray. (al-Mughni ma’a al-Sharh al-Kabeer, 1/360). If the bleeding resumes within forty days after the birth, she should stop fasting, because this is still nifaas. If the bleeding continues after the fortieth day, she should make the intention to fast and do ghusl (according to the majority of scholars), and any bleeding beyond the fortieth day is considered to be istihaadah (non-menstrual bleeding) – unless it coincides with the usual time of her period, in which case it is hayd (menstrual blood).
If a breastfeeding woman fasts during the day and sees a spot of blood during the night, although she was clean during the day, her fast is still valid. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/150)
(69) According to the most correct opinion, 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 (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah 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.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 3/85; he said (it is a) hasan hadeeth). If a pregnant woman fasts and experiences some bleeding, her fast is still valid; this does not affect her fast at all. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/225).
(70) In the case of a woman who is obliged to fast, if her husband has intercourse with her during the day in Ramadaan with her consent, then the ruling that applies to him also applies to her. If, however, he forces her to do that, she should do her best to resist him, and she does not have to offer expiation. Ibn ‘Aqeel (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “In the case of a man who has intercourse with his wife during the day in Ramadaan whilst she is sleeping, she does not have to offer expiation.” But to be on the safe side, she should make up that fast later on. (Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) was of the opinion that this did not invalidate her fast at all).
A woman who knows that her husband cannot control himself should keep away from him and not adorn herself during the day in Ramadaan.
Women have to make up the fasts that they miss during Ramadaan, even without their husbands’ knowledge. It is not a condition for an obligatory fast for a woman to have the permission of her husband. If a woman starts to observe an obligatory fast, she is not allowed to break it except for a legitimate reason. Her husband is not permitted to order her to break her fast when she is making up a day that she has missed; he is not allowed to have intercourse with her when she is making up a missed fast, and she is not allowed to obey him in that regard. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/353).
In the case of voluntary fasts, a woman is not permitted to start a non-obligatory fast when her husband is present without his permission, because of the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), according to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No woman should fast when her husband is present except with his permission.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 4793).
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In conclusion, this is what I was able to write about issues concerning fasting. I ask Allaah to help us to remember Him, thank Him and worship Him properly, and to end our Ramadaan with forgiveness, and to save us from the Fire.
May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad, and his family and companions, and grant them peace.