Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Seat of Niyyat

The Seat of Niyyat is the Heart
Tajuddin Ibn Shu’aib

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks are due to Allāh, the Lord of the al-ā’lamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger.

There is near consensus among the scholars that the seat of Niyyah, or intention, is the heart done for the sake none other but Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala. One does not need to undertake verbal utterance with the tongue, such as "I want to pray, fast, give alms, etc." The exception is with Hajj, where verbal utterance of Talbiyah is mandated.

In the case of Sawm (fasting), you intend in your heart that the abstinence from fast - breakers is meant to be worship for Allah alone in order to seek His pleasure. If you observe sahur (the last meal before beginning fasting) with this above intent, you will have achieved the requirement of Niyyat. If you restrain from fast - breakers during daylight hours, with the above intent, you have achieved the requirements of Niyyat, even if you did not eat sahur.

Hafsah, the Prophet's wife (radiallahu'anha) related that the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever does not make niyyah (intention for fasting) before dawn, would not have fasted." (Ahmed; Ibn Khuzaimah)

However, many scholars said this is for obligatory fasting, like Ramadhan, but when the fasting is non-essential, one can make niyyah during daytime, if he has not eaten anything. The Prophet's wife reported that the Prophet  (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) visited his wives and asked, "Do you have something to eat?" She said, "They replied 'no.' He then said, "I am fasting." (Muslim)

This hadith indicates the believer can have a valid fast, even if he decides later to hold fast, provided he did not eat or drink anything before the time he makes his decision.



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