The obligation of fasting ramadan part 1
Friday, July 13, 2012
Fasting the month of Ramadan is an obligation and a great worship. It is among the best acts of obedience and greatest deeds, and one for which there is great reward. Imam Al-Bukhariyy related the Qudsiyy hadith that the prophet said Allah said:
Which means: ‘The reward of every good deed is multiplied ten up to seven hundred times, except that of the fasting; it is usually done in sincerity and will multiplied by as many times as Allah willone of the doors of paradise, named ar-Rayan, is specified for those Muslims who used to fast in this world. On the day of judgement, it will be opened and those who used to fast in obedience to Allah would be called to enter through that door. Then it would be closed and no other will enter through it.
The month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar year. It is the best month of the year, as is the night of Al-Qadr in Ramadan the best night of the year. Fasting became an obligation on the Muslims in the second year after the emigration. Prophet Muhammad fasted nine years of Ramadan after which he died.
The obligation of fasting Ramadan on the believers is known from the Quran and the hadith. It was explicitly in verse #183 of Surat Al-Baqarah: Which means: (o believers fasting is an obligation upon you as it was obligated upon the “Muslims” before you so it would help you to reach piety.) Fasting was an obligation on the nations before the nation of prophet Muhammad. However, fasting the month of Ramadan in particular is a specification only for the nation of prophet Muhammad.
Moreover, prophet Muhammad named fasting (the month of Ramadan) as one of the five most important matters of Islam in the famous hadith known as Hadith Jibril related by Al- Bukhariyy and Muslim. Angel Jibril came to the prophet in the shape of a man with white clothes and asked him to inform him about Islam in response, the prophet said: Which means: << Islam is to be witness that no one is God except Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, performing prayer, paying Zakat, performing prayer, performing pilgrimage if you are able and fasting the month of Ramadan. >>
Consequently, renouncing the obligation of fasting the month of Ramadan, for the one who has learned of its obligation, is blasphemy because it entails belying Allah and the prophet. The one who believes it is an obligation, however, does not perform the obligation, (without a valid excuse) does not blaspheme –rather he is an enormous sinner.
Determining the beginning of the month of ramadan
obligation of fasting the month of Ramadan becomes incumber upon the occurrence
of one of two matters: to sight the crescent of Ramadan after the sunset of the
29th day of sha ^ban. So, the beginning of the month of Ramadan, as well as the
end of the month is determined by sighting the crescent, and if not cited, then
by completing the month with 30 days….
As is the case with determining all the months of the months of the lunar calendar. This is taken from the hadith of the prophet related by al- Bukhariyy and Muslim: which means: << Do not fast one or two days before Ramadan. Start the month when you see the crescent if you are blocked from seeing it, complete sha^ban thirty days>>
So, on the 29th day
of sha^ban, directly after the sunsets, the Muslims look towards the western
horizon, and if the crescent (of the new moon) is seen, the following day will
be the first day of Ramadan. If it is not seen, because of cloud cover or
another reason, then the next day will complete 30 days of sha^ban, and the day
after that is the first day of Ramadan. The judge confirms the beginning of
Ramadan if one upright Muslim, whose testimony is accepted to the judge, bears
witness that he saw the crescent.
The conditions which must be met in a person
for his testimony is acceptable to the judge, bears witness that he saw the
crescent. The conditions, which must be met in a person for his testimony to be
acceptable to the judge in this matter, are several.He must be Muslim male, adolescent, free, clear of enormous
sins, clear of having his small sins exceed his acts of obedience, and one who
abides by the ethics and manners of the people of his class.
So if a person who
did not satisfy these conditions testified to the judge that he saw the
crescent, like, for example, a woman, or a child, or an enormous sinner, or a
slave, the judge would not confirm the beginning of the month of Ramadan and
announce to the general public to commence fasting – relying solely upon their
However, if just one upright Muslim, who has the conditions listed above satisfied in him, testifies to the judge that he saw the crescent, the judge would confirm the beginning of Ramadan for the next day. This is for the hadith related by Abu Dawud from the route of Abdullah Ibn Umar who told the prophet he had sighted the crescent and so the prophet fasted the next day and ordered the others to fast as well.
Be warned of those who determine the month of Ramadan relying upon astronomical calculations. Prophet Muhammad informed as that such calculation is not relied upon in determining such matters. Imam Ahmad related in his musnad that the prophet understands.
Who must fast and who is excused from fasting
The first condition for one to be obligated to fast be Muslim, in this world, the non- Muslim is not requested to fast, however in the hereafter, he will be punished for his blasphemy. Rather, the obligation on the non- Muslim is to embrace Islam, then afterwards, to fast Ramadan.
it is the pubescent Muslim who is obligated to fast. The child is not obligated
to fast. Rather, it is an obligation on the parents or the guardian of the boy
or girl to order him to fast once he is 7 (lunar) years old, with the condition
that the child’s body can withstand that fasting, and he would not be harmed by
it. As well, for one to be obligated to
fast, he must be of sound mind.
Fasting is not obligatory on the insane person. Fasting is not obligatory
on a person whose body cannot tolerate fasting, either due to old age or
because of a severe illness. Moreover, if a person would be harmed by fasting,
that is, because of his fasting his sickness would get worse, or he would die,
the fasting is prohibited for him.
The one who does not fast because of old age or an illness he is not hopeful to be cured of does not have to make up the missed days of fasting. The expiation is two average sized, cupped hands of the most common staple food of the country, which in this country is rice.
Fasting is not obligatory to menstruating woman who is in her post-partum bleeding period. It is unlawful for them to fast. The woman who missed days of fasting during Ramadan for these reasons has to make up each missed day.
As well, the pregnant
woman is allowed not to fast if she fears that harm would come to her or her
baby from her fasting. As well, the breast feeding woman is allowed not to fast
if she fears harm would come to her or her baby from her fasting. Both must
make up everyone of the missed days of fasting.
As well, if the reason they did not fast was solely the fear of harming their baby, then in addition to making up the missed days of fasting, they must pay an expiation, or two cupped, average sized handfuls of the must common staple food of the country, for each day they missed.
The one who is
travelling a distance of two or more walking days is allowed not to fast
provided his travelling is not sinful. Two or more walking days distance is
about 80 miles. This traveller is permitted to break his fast even though he
would not encounter hardship in his trip, such as if he crossed this distance
quickly, by plane, or comfortable, in a car or train.
The matter of travelling is not based on the hardship; rather it has to do with distance. This facility for the traveller mentioned in the Quran. Allah said in Surat Al- Baqarah, verse 184: Which means: << if you are sick or travelling, then you are allowed to break your fast and make up these days later>>.
Author: Muhammed Lamin Ceesay