Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Requirements for Fasting to Be Valid

Requirements for Fasting to Be Valid
 Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi

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 are basically two main components of fasting.

1. The intention (niyyat) for fasting. One should make a sincere intention to fast for the sake of Allāh every day before dawn. The intention need not be in words, but must be with the sincerity of the heart and mind. Some jurists are of the opinion that the intention can be made once only for the whole month and does not have to be repeated every day. It is; however, better to make intention every day to take full benefit of fasting.

2. Abstaining from dawn to dusk from everything that invalidates fasting. This point has been explained in detail in the preceding sections such as:

2.1· Restraining the stomach and the private parts from the breach of the fast - food and drink

2.2· Restraining the jawarih, the other body parts, which may render the fast worthless despite the main factors of hunger and thirst; so the tongue, for instance, must avoid backbiting, slander, and lies; the eyes should avoid looking into things considered by the Lawgiver as unlawful; the ears must stop from listening to conversations, words, songs, and lyrics that spoil the spirit of fasting; and

2.3· Restraining of the heart and mind from indulging themselves in other things besides dzikir of Allāh (the remembrance of Allāh).

Allāh Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala said "Fasting is prescribed on you as it was prescribed upon those before you so that you may achieve Taqwa.” [Al-Baqarah 2:187]

The Taqwa can only be achieved by the person who abstains from all evils no matter how small.

Abu Hurairah (radiallāhu`anhu)   narrated that the Allāh Messenger (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam)  of Allāh Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala said: "Whoever does not avoid false speech and acting on it, Allāh Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala does not have any need for him to leave his food and drink". [Al-Bukhari].

Abu Hurairah (radiallāhu`anhu)  also narrated that the Allāh Messenger (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Fasting is not (merely) to leave off eating and drinking, but it is to abstain from vain talk and obscene behavior". Therefore, if anyone insults you or behaves foolishly towards you, then say: "I am fasting! I am fasting!" [Al-Bukhari]

It is for this reason there has reached us strong reprimand from the Messenger (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) for anyone who involves in these types of evil behaviors.

The Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Perhaps, that entire one who fasts will get from his fast is hunger and thirst. And perhaps that entire one who stands at night in prayer will get from his standing is sleeplessness." [Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, Ibn Majah, Darami].

[Via Islam Online]

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