1st Month in the Islamic Calendar : Muharram

 Contrary to popular belief, Muharram is not a particular day, but the name of a month that marks the beginning of the year according to the Islamic calendar. Muharram is one of four months that have been designated as holy according to the Islamic calendar, the other three being – Dhul-Qa’adah, Dhul-Hijjah and Rajab. 

Fasting in the month of Muharram

Fasting is advocated in the month of Muharram. The Prophet (Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa ‘aalihi Sallam) is believed to have said: “The best fasts after the fasts of Ramadan are those of the month of Muharram.” Although the fasts of the month of Muharram are not obligatory, yet one who fasts in these days out of his own will is entitled to a great reward by Allah Almighty. Fasting on the tenth day of Muharram, called Ashura, is particularly important, as it supposed to lead to great rewards. A person does not have to fast for the whole month. On the contrary, each fast during this month has merit. It is recommended to fast at least two days …. the ninth and tenth of Muharram. Continue reading

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The Basics of Fasting

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

The Basics of Fasting according to the Shafi’i School

(An abridged and edited version of a pamphlet written in Arabic by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed.)

1. The Ruling of Fasting Ramadan

2. Integrals

3. Recommended Measures

4. Excuses that permit one not to fast

5. Making up Missed Fasts

6. Payment

7. Expiation

Allah be praised, Lord of the Worlds. Blessings and peace on our master Muhammad and on his folk and companions, one and all.

The following rulings about the fast should be known, applied, and taught to one’s family and whoever does not know them.

1. The Ruling of Fasting Ramadan

Fasting Ramadan is personally obligatory for every Muslim who has reached puberty, is sane, and is able to fast. It is not obligatory for a non-Muslim, a child, an insane person, or someone unable to fast (such as someone of advanced years or someone who is continuously [muzmin] sick).

2. Integrals of the fast

Fasting has only two integrals: (1) the intention and (2) abstention from the nullifiers of the fast.

2.1 Integral #1: Intention

The intention is to intend to fast. Its location is in the heart, but it is sunna to say it with the tongue. One optimally says, “I intend to fast tomorrow as a current performance of the obligation of this year’s Ramadan for Allah Most High.”

For the obligatory fast, it is obligatory to make the intention during any part of the night (from sunset until just before dawn). A practical way to avoid forgetting the intention is to intend to fast the following day immediately after breaking one’s fast at sunset. Whoever forgets to make the intention, or sleeps before sunset and does not wake up until after dawn must abstain from the nullifiers during that day and then make it up after Ramadan.

For the supererogatory fast, it is permissible to delay the intention until just before the noon prayer [zuhr], provided that that one has not already done something that nullifies the fast.

It is obligatory to repeat the intention to fast for every day of Ramadan. It is good practice to intend during its first night to fast the whole month, so that one’s fast will still be valid in the school of Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him) if one forgets the intention on a particular day. Continue reading

The Objectives of Fasting

lama mousa photography

By Shaykh al-’Izz al-Deen ibn ‘Abd al-Salâm (ra)

A partial translation of Maqasid al-Sawm

The Obligation of Fasting

Allâh, Exalted is He says,

“O you who have faith! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you – so that hopefully you will have taqwâ.” [al-Baqarah (2): 183]

Meaning that hopefully you can safeguard yourselves from the Fire through fasting; fasting is a means to the forgiveness of sins, and sins lead one to the Fire.

The Two Sahîhs record the hadîth in which the Prophet (sallAllâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

“Islâm is built upon five: that you worship Allâh and reject the worship of anything else, to establish the prayer, the giving of zakât, performing pilgrimage to the House and fasting the month of Ramadân.” [This is a wording of Muslim, Bukhârî has the first sentence as ‘that you testify that none has the right to be worshipped save Allâh’]

The Virtues of Fasting

Fasting carries with it a number of benefits, amongst which are:

1. the elevation of ones rank,
2. the expiation of sins,
3. the breaking of ones desires and lusts,
4. the increase of charity,
5. the multiplication of actions of obedience to Allâh,
6. giving thanks to the One who knows the hidden matters, and
7. preventing oneself from even contemplating the committing of sin.

1. The Elevation of Rank

With regards the elevation of rank, the Messenger of Allâh (sallAllâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

“When Ramadân comes, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hellfire are locked and the devils are chained.” [Bukhârî]

He (sallAllâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said, relating from His Lord, Mighty and Magnificent,

“All of the actions of the son of Adam are for him except the fast for that is for Me and I will reward it. Fasting is protecting shield, so when it is the day when one of you are fasting, let him not behave or speak indecently; if someone tries to abuse or fight him, let him say, ‘I am fasting’. By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the smell emanating from the mouth of the one fasting is better with Allâh then the smell of musk. The one fasting has two time of joy, when he breaks his fast he is happy and when He meets his Lord he will rejoice at his fasting.” [Bukhârî and Muslim] Continue reading