Thursday, May 24, 2018

Breaking the fast before sunset in countries where the daytime is very long


In Britain, we fast more than seventeen hours a day. Is it permissible to fast for twelve hours only?



All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

Allah The Almighty Said (what means): {And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset.} [Quran 2:187]

So, the fast time is clearly defined and imposed by Allah The Almighty in a way that makes it prohibited to be lengthened or shortened.

Allah The Almighty legislated the fast for very important rationales including refining His slaves' souls and hearts and purifying them from evil. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous…} [Quran 2:183]

Thus, Allah The Almighty did not ordain the fast to torture or trouble His slaves.

Before being imposed in the manner that it is, the fasting would start not at the crack of dawn but after the 'Ishaa' prayer or if one would sleep after sunset. However, Allah The Almighty had mercy upon this Ummah (nation), facilitated the fast and allowed us to eat and drink all night. What could be easier for you than what Allah The Almighty has made easy?

Therefore, what you have suggested in your question is absolutely prohibited because it is tantamount to a manipulation of the religious assignments and a transgression of the limits set by Allah The Almighty who says (what means): {And those are the limits [set by] Allah. And whoever transgresses the limits of Allah has certainly wronged himself.} [Quran 65:1]

Moreover, reward is proportionate to the difficulty of the act of worship; the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith while seeking its reward from Allah The Almighty, will have his past sins forgiven." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Indeed, seeking the reward of Allah The Almighty means that you do not think of the fast as something heavy and difficult and you do not feel annoyed about it.

However, if a fasting person finds that it is unbearably difficult for him to complete his fast to the extent that he may die or something of the like, then, it would be permissible for him to break his fast and then refrain from eating again until the end of that fasting day and then, later on, make up for that day.

We ask Allah The Almighty to guide all of us to the right path.

Allah Knows best.

Fatwa answered by: The Fatwa Center at Islamweb


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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Fasting in Ramadan develops in a person the real spirit of social belonging


"Fasting in Ramadan develops in a person the real spirit of social belonging, of unity and brotherhood, and of equality before Allah. This spirit is the natural product of the fact that when people fast they feel that they are joining the whole Muslim society (which makes up more than one fifth of world's population) in observing the same duty, in the same manner, at the same time, for the same motives, and for the same end.

No sociologist or historian can say that there has been at any period of history anything comparable to this powerful institution of Islam: Fasting in the month of Ramadan.

People have been crying throughout the ages for acceptable 'belonging', for unity, for brotherhood, for equality, but how echoless their voices have been, and how very little success they have met…" says Hammudah Abdalati, in Islam in Focus.

"What is fasting?" "How does the fasting of Muslims in Ramadan differ from the fasting of other faiths?" "Why should one 'torture' one's body in the first place?" "What do you really gain from fasting in the end?"…These are a few questions that a number of non-Muslim friends and colleagues often ask us, usually out of fascination with this spiritually-uplifting practice of Islamic faith, and at times out of pity and sympathy for us, thinking, why should anyone suffer from hunger and thirst like Muslims? I wouldn't be surprised if many of us shared the same negative perception of Fasting.

It is important to note that Fasting in Arabic is called, "Sawm", which literally means 'to be at rest'. Fasting in the month of Ramadan (the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar) is one of the Five Pillars upon which the "house" of Islam is built. During this month, every able-bodied Muslim, is required to fast, everyday from dawn until dusk

12 Reasons To Fast!

Develop Character

Fasting is an institution for the improvement of moral and spiritual character of human being. The purpose of the fast is to help develop self-restraint, self-purification, God-consciousness, compassion, the spirit of caring and sharing, the love of humanity and the love of God. Fasting is a universal custom and is advocated by all the religions of the world, with more restrictions in some than in others. The Islamic Fast, as opposed to mere starvation or self-denial, is an act of worship and obedience to God, thanksgiving, forgiveness, spiritual training, and self-examination.

Self Reflection

Ramadan gives us a break and provides us with a rare opportunity to think about our own selves, our future, and our families. It is a time to give our selves a mental break and to temporarily forget about the hundreds of worries and stresses we are constantly bombarded with. In hectic times, such as ours, and in places like the West, this valuable time to think about our lives, on individual basis, is a luxury and is desperately needed! It is a unique month of self-analysis, and of taking stock of one's moral and spiritual 'assets and liabilities'.

Develop Compassion

Fasting inculcates in us patience, unselfishness, and gratitude. When we fast we feel the pains of deprivation and hunger, and learn how to endure it patiently. The meaning of this powerful experience in a social and humanitarian context is that we are much quicker than anybody else in sympathizing with the oppressed and needy around the world, and responding to their needs. "It is the month to visit the poor, the sick, and the needy to share their sorrows.

It is the month where the food, sustenance and the earnings of a believing Muslim increases and they are blessed," says the Final Prophet of God, Muhammad (peace be upon him), a man who was known for his noble humanitarian causes, for social justice, and for being the first to respond to other's needs, despite the fact that he himself lived a very simple and humble life. It is only during such a trying time as Ramadan that we can reflect on the condition of those in this world who may not be as fortunate as us.

Develop Adaptability

Fasting in Ramadan enables us to master the art of mature adaptability and Time-Management. We can easily understand this point when we realize that fasting makes people change the entire course of their daily life. When they make the change, they naturally adapt themselves to a new system and schedule, and move along to satisfy the rules. This, in the long run, develops in them a wise sense of adaptability and self-created power to overcome the unpredictable hardships of life! A person who values constructive adaptability, time-management, and courage will appreciate the effects of Fasting in this respect as well.

Cultivates Love

It cultivates in us the principle of sincere Love, because when we observe Fasting, we do it out of deep love for God. And a person, who loves God, truly is a person who knows what love is and why everyone on this Earth should be loved and treated justly, for the sake of God.

Elevates the Spirit

Fasting elevates the human spirit and increases our awareness of God. It strengthens our will-power as we learn to rise above our lower desires. The institution of fasting is both unique and a shared experience in human history. From the very beginning of time, humans have struggled to master their physical and psychological selves: their bodies and their emotions.

Hunger is one the most powerful urges that we experience. Many, through over- or under-eating or consumption of unhealthy foods, abuse this urge. Thus, when a person purposefully denies something to their own self that it craves, they are elevating their mind above their body, and their reason and will above their carnal passions. "A fasting person empties his stomach of all the material things: to fill his soul with peace and blessings, to fill his heart with love and sympathy, to fill his spirit with piety and Faith, to fill his mind with wisdom and resolution," says H. Abdalati in Islam in Focus. The person who can rule their desires and make them work, as they like, has attained true moral excellence.

Develops Clarity of Mind

With the clarity of mind and absence of distractions, also comes a greater focus. As students, the period of fasting, especially early during the day, serves as a tool to focus our minds on our academics. In the month of Ramadan, many Muslims try to avoid watching TV, listening to music, and some other leisure activities, which spares them more time and energy to be spent on more productive activities such as academics, intense study of Islam, voluntary prayers, social and humanitarian causes, and a quality time with the family, to name a few.

It is a reminder of our duty to God, our purpose and higher values in life, as God Himself describes the purpose of fasting as follows, "O you who Believe! Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may develop consciousness of God" (Quran 2:183).

Develops a Healthy Lifestyle

Fasting has numerous, scientifically proven, benefits for our physical health and mental well-being. The time, length and nature of the Islamic Fast all contribute to its overall positive effect. One of the medical benefits is a much-needed rest to the digestive system. The reduced food intake during the day allows the body to concentrate on getting rid of harmful dietary toxins accumulated as natural by-products of food digestion throughout the year.

The length of the Islamic Fast itself (around 12-14 hours) is in sync with the 'transit time' of food from the mouth to the colon of the large intestine, ensuring that no stimulus reaches the stomach or digestive system while it remains in homeostasis.

Therefore, for the vast majority of healthy individuals fasting poses no medical risks but in fact provides many health benefits, such as: an increase in serum Magnesium, essential for cardio-vascular health and prevention of heart complications; improvement in the quality and depth of sleep; improvement in memory and slower skin aging over time; increased production of growth hormone, etc. Also, as a general note, it has been observed that underfed animals live longer than their heavily fed counterparts and suffer fewer illnesses during their lives.

Moral Training

The month of Ramadan provides us with a sort of "Boot camp." It is a month of intense moral training. Since we know that Fasting is a special duty prescribed by God, we learn that any sins may spoil our record of fasting with God, so we go through great lengths making sure we are on our best behavior.

Many people who experience fasting in this month, feel the impact that this intense training has on their habits, and realize the power of this transformative tool designed to make us better human beings- the ultimate goal of any spiritual exercise. The entire Ramadan atmosphere provides the driving force for this positive change.

Consciousness of Life & Death

It makes us realize the reality of life and death. Fasting makes us realize how dependent our lives are on things that we often take for granted, such as food and water. It makes us think about our dependence on God and God's mercy and justice. Moreover, it reminds us of the life after death, which itself has a great impact on our character and our world-view.

Connection to the Quran

Ramadan is a blessed month for a special reason: It is actually the month in which God first revealed His final message and guidance for mankind to our beloved Prophet Muhammad. This message has been perfectly preserved both orally and textually in the form of a Book, called the Qur'an (The Reading/Recital). Therefore, Muslims try to do an intense study of the Quran in this month especially, and evaluate their lives according to the standards and guidance contained in it.

A time to Celebrate

After the month of Ramadan is over, Muslims celebrate one of the two most important holidays in the Islamic year: EID-UL-FITR, or the Festival of the Fast Breaking. It is a day to thank God for the blessing and training that He provides us with throughout the month of Ramadan. EID-UL-FITR is marked by praying in a huge congregation at an Islamic center or mosque, and by giving a small donation to the poor in the community. The adults give the donation on behalf of their children as well. Dinner parties, family outings, fairs, carnivals, and great joyous celebrations follow the prayer and charity.

In a nutshell, even though the real purpose of the dynamic institution of Fasting is to discipline our soul and moral behavior, and to develop sympathy for the less fortunate, it is a multi-functional and a comprehensive tool of change in various spheres of our lives, including: social and economic, intellectual and humanitarian, spiritual and physical, private and public, personal and common, inner and outer —all in one!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Supplication that is Said at the Time of Affliction – A Prophetic Remedy for Difficult Times


The Supplication that is Said at the 

Time of Affliction 

 A Prophetic Remedy for Difficult Times

الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين، أما بعد

Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said:

"In the Musnad[1] there occurs from him (i.e. the Prophet) (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) that he said:
مَا مِنْ أَحَدٍ تُصِيبُهُ مُصِيبَةٌ فَيَقُولُ: إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ اللَّهُمَّ أْجُرْنِي فِي مُصِيبَتِي وَأَخْلِفْ لِي خَيْرًا مِنْهَا إِلاَّ أَجَرَهُ اللَّهُ فِي مُصِيبَتِهِ وَأَخْلَفَ لَهُ خَيْرًا مِنْهَا
((There is no one who is afflicted with an affliction then says:

'Indeed we belong to Allaah, and indeed to Him we shall return. O Allaah, reward me in my affliction, and requite me with that which is better than it.'

Except that Allaah will reward him in his affliction, and will requite him with that which is better than it.))

This statement is of the most far reaching cure for the afflicted person as well as its most beneficial for him in his temporal worldly life and his life to come. Indeed, it comprises two great fundamentals, if the servant realizes them through understanding them; then he will be comforted from his affliction:
The first of them: is that the servant, and his family, and his wealth are possessions of Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic, Allaah had but placed them with the servant as something borrowed. So if He takes it from him, then it is like the lender taking his possession from the borrower.
The second: is that the eventual destination of the servant and his return is to Allaah – his True Lord, and it is a must that he will leave the dunya (the life of this world) behind him and shall come to his Lord alone – just as He created him the first time, without family or wealth or kinsfolk – but with good deeds and misdeeds.
So if this is the beginning of the servant, and that which he was entrusted with, and his ultimate end, how then can he be delighted at one that is existent or grieve over one that is nonexistent? Therefore his contemplation upon his beginning and his life to come is from the greatest form of remedy for this malady."[2]

Point of benefit: Shaikh Muhammad bin Saalih al-'Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said:

"The duty of the person at the time of afflictions is to have patience and anticipation of reward, so that one should not be prohibited from the reward, since it is the one who is afflicted that in reality can prohibit the reward. So if a calamity befalls you, then say:
'Indeed we belong to Allaah, and indeed to Him we shall return. O Allaah; reward me in my affliction, and requite me with that which is better than it.'
If you say that, Allaah will reward you in your affliction, and will requite you with that which is better than it.
This is an affair stated by the Prophet ('alaihis salaatu was-salaam), and the actuality has bore witness to it. Since Umm Salamah (radhiyallaahu 'anhaa) was under Abu Salamah, and she used to love him with a great amount of love, so Abu Salamah (radhiyallaahu 'anhu) died, and she said:
'O Allaah; reward me in my affliction, and requite me with that which is better than it.' Yet she used to say to herself: 'Who is better than Abee Salamah?' So when her iddah (waiting period) expired, the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) married her, so the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was better for her than Abee Salamah.
This is something that the occurrences also often bear witness to, since if the person is patient and anticipates (reward), then indeed Allaah, The Glorified and Most High, will give the patient ones their reward in full, without reckoning, and impatience and sadness and lamenting does not repel the calamity."[3]

After mentioning this incident and this supplication, Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) stated:

"Look then at the outcome of patience and al-Istirjaa (saying: Indeed we belong to Allaah, and indeed to Him we shall return),[4] and of following the Messenger and of being pleased with Allaah, to that which was to eventually lead to – and Umm Salamah being granted marriage to the most noble of creation to Allaah."[5]

[1] Reported by Ahmad in his Musnad (no.26635), it is likewise reported by Muslim (no.2123) with slight variations in wording between them, the wording above also varies slightly from that which is reported in the Musnad.
[2] Abridged from Zaadul Ma'aad vol 4 p.189
[3] Majmu' Fataawa vol 17 p.416-417
[4] Shaikh Zaid bin Haadi al-Madkhali (rahimahullaah) said: "In al-Istirjaa (saying: Indeed we belong to Allaah, and indeed to Him we shall return) is an acknowledgement and a submission by the owned servant of his Creator and his Originator in that He has free right of disposal in regard to him with; whatever He wishes – when He wishes – how He wishes, from living and dying and sound health and sickness and poverty and affluence and happiness and sadness – in accordance to His Wisdom and His pre-decree, The Glorified.
Likewise that his eventual destination is to Him, thus He will give full share to every doer over that which he did – and your Lord does not at all oppress anyone" (Al-Afnaan an-Nadiyyah vol 2 p.255)

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Enhancing zuhd in Ramadan



Let us welcome the blessed month of Ramadan this time with a fresh commitment to our Merciful Creator and Sustainer to reorient our lives in His way. The most salient lesson of this month of divine training for the believers is self-restraint and abstinence. As we train ourselves in abstinence from the necessities of life for part of a day through the month, we consequently strengthen our physical as well as mental abilities to abstain from not only what is illicit (haram), but also from all that distracts us from the pursuit of Allah's pleasure. This mental and spiritual attitude –zuhd - is a necessary weapon for us to fight off the onslaughts of materialism and snares of Satan.

What is zuhud

Imam Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi, may Allah have mercy upon him, defines zuhd as: 'giving up' something for something better, while what is given up is itself of value in some way. In other words, zuhd means to give up B in return for A, either because one values A too much or values B too little in comparison. Commonly, zuhd means to refrain from an object of desire in the pursuit of a nobler objective, particularly refraining from the desire of this world and pursuing the desire of the Hereafter. He further says that the best and most perfect of zuhd is to give up everything for the sake of Allah. The next in grade is to give up this world to seek Allah's Paradise.

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, defines zuhd as: "An attitude that is the opposite of being eager and con­cerned about the life of this world. In the Arabic language, it means abandoning a matter while despising it and belittling its significance, so that one will exchange it for what is more significant."

He, may Allah have mercy upon him, further says: "I heard Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy upon him, say: 'Zuhd is abandoning what does not bring about benefit in the Hereafter. Wara' is abandoning what you fear will have consequences in the Hereafter.' This statement is one of the best and most comprehensive definitions of Az-Zuhd and Al-Wara'."

Sufyan ath-Thawry, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: "Zuhd in this world means avoiding hopes of long life, not in wearing thick garments (unlike what some people with superficial understanding of zuhd think)."

Imam Hassan Al-Basri, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: "Zuhd in this world is not achieved by prohibiting the permissible, nor by giving away all of one's wealth. Rather, it means being more certain in what Allah has in His hands than about what one has in his hands."

Enhancing Zuhd in Ramadan

The best of teachers of mankind, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "The worst cavity one fills is one's belly, if you must eat make sure you full one third of your stomach with food, one third with water and leave one third for air (i.e. leave it empty.)" [At-Tirmithi]

The beloved messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, would also encourage finishing our food so nothing is left in the plate to be thrown away, and he would encourage even licking the fingers (if one ate using hands), or giving your plate to someone else to do the same.

Another narration says that one should not leave even a morsel of food to be thrown away: "for you do not know where the blessing is." [Muslim]

Compare these standards to our way of eating, particularly during Ramadan. Every known recommendation of the beloved Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, is flouted. Food is extravagant and everyone attempts to fill his or her stomach to the brim. It has become an ironical joke that people gain instead of losing weight during Ramadan. The discipline and self-restraint of the day is more than compensated for during the lavish dinners. Taraweeh prayer is difficult and often skipped as a result of extravagant engagement with food. Worse yet, the left over food is sometimes thrown away carelessly.

Ramadan is a month of zuhd, and this pattern must change if the Muslims are to ever earn zuhd and spiritual as well as physical benefit from this sacred month. Some practical tips:

 Eat measured, moderate amount of healthy meals in Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and Iftar (evening break-fast)

  1. When at some generous host's place or at a restaurant, do not feel obliged to finish it all, and have the packed for you to eat later. Don't be intimidated by un-Islamic pride - no morsel of food in your possession should be wasted. Food we eat is sacred in that it is given by Allah and is full of His blessings - this is our religious value.

  2. Invite poor people in your community to break their fast with you; their respect for food and Allah's provisions is often a good lesson.

  3. Remember the Prophet's advice on eating moderately - print it out and post it by your dining table if possible.

  4. Particularly while fasting, prevent your heart from getting engaged in something of this world - food, clothes, celebrities, buildings, or people. An excellent religious teaching of some of our scholars is to cast down our eyes and say 'Subhanallaah' (perfection is for Allah) whenever something of this world catches our fancy to the point of making us forget Allah.

  5. Pick out audio lectures of scholars whose speech affects your heart, or recitation of the Quran by your favorite reciters, and make it a habit to listen to them attentively and regularly while driving or at home.

Remember the Saying of Allah (which means) "…the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children…." [Quran, 57: 20]


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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Common mistakes during fasting


Some seemingly innocent errors made by a fasting person can actually affect his fasting. 

We will take a look at some of these mistakes in the hope of improving our fasting and to make it more perfect for the sake of Allah. 

Not sniffing water during ablution

Neglecting the order to sniff during ablution to the extent of violation by just washing the tip of their nose. A person is required not to exaggerate during sniffing, if he is fasting, but not to violate by leaving it altogether either. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Exaggerate while sniffing unless you are fasting." Imam As-San'ani, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: "The narration is evidence to exaggerate the sniffing when not fasting. Exaggeration is forbidden when fasting in case something comes down the throat and ruins the fasting." 

Not abstaining from food

Some people keep eating or drinking even after the mu'athen starts the call for Fajr prayer. If you advise them, they say it is allowed until the person calling the Athan says: Come to success, "haya ala fallah." Afterwards they start their fasting. Something like this should have a firm daleel. Research and investigation revealed no such evidence. It is something some people prefer. This is rejected according to the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, who said: "Anything added to our religion, which is not in it, is rejected." Another narration says: "Whoever does a deed, not in our religion, is rejected." In addition, the Quran and Sunnah stated that abstinence is when we can detect the white line from the black line at dawn. When they are detected, everyone has to stop eating and drinking. Allah Says (what means): "Eat and drink until you can distinguish between the black line and white line at dawn." [Quran; 2:187] The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Bilal calls for salah at night. Eat and drink until Ibn Um Maktoom calls." Ibn Um Maktoom, may Allaah be pleased with him, was a blind man who did not call for prayer until he was told it is time. From the previous verse and narration, it is clear that abstinence should be at dawn and that the Athan is a sign of it. Therefore when the Athan starts, it is time for abstinence and not when he says "haya ala assalah."

Having Suhoor early

Having Suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) early is another violation. By doing that we are rejecting a lot of rewards. The Sunnah states that a Muslim should delay the Suhoor in order for him to be following the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam. Anas, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: "We had Suhoor with the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, and then prayed."

Delaying the call for Maghrib prayer

From the violations that some people do in Ramadan is that they only call for prayer when it becomes completely dark. They are not satisfied with the complete setting of the sun and claim that it is better to be cautious. This is against the Sunnah. The Sunnah is to call for prayer when the sun sets completely without regard to anything else. Allah Says (what means): "Then complete the fast till the night [i.e. sunset]." [Quran; 2:187]

Allah made the end of fasting when the night begins, that is when the sun completely sets. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "If night comes from this side, day goes form that side and the sun has gone, then break your fast." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Imam Ahmad Ibn Nasr Al-Marozy, may Allah have mercy upon him, said after mentioning the above verse: "The scholars have agreed that if the sun has set, that means night has begun and it is time to break the fast."

Delaying breaking the fast

Some people fall into the trap of delaying the breaking of their fast. Two points are relevant here: first delaying breaking the fast can delay Maghrib prayer or cause you to miss it altogether - which is worse. Therefore, a Muslim must eat on time in order to be able to catch the congregational Salah with other Muslims. Second, delaying Iftar is a contradiction to the Sunnah and an agreement with the Christians and the Jews based on the following: Sahl Ibn Sa'd, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "People will continue to be upon virtue as long as they hasten the Iftar." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. He, may Allaah be pleased with him, also narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "My nation is still following my Sunnah as long as they don't wait for the stars to break their fast." [Ibn Hibban] Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that he Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "Our religion will stay visible as long as people hasten breaking their fast because the Jews and Christians delay."

Not using the Siwak

Another violation related to fasting is that some people do not use the Siwak (traditional cleaning stick for teeth) in the afternoon and disapprove of those who do. Their reasoning in this is that the Siwak eliminates the breath's smell, which Allah prefers over the smell of musk, as stated in the following narration: The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: "I swear by He who has my soul in His hands that a fasting person's breath is preferred by Allah over the smell of musk." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. Ash-Shawkani, may Allah have mercy upon him, referred to this when speaking about the dispute about whether the smell of a fasting person's breath was meant to be in this life on earth or in the hereafter. He, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: "Due to this dispute, it was said that siwak is disliked when fasting." He, may Allah have mercy upon him, then said: "In truth the siwak is desirable for a fasting person to use in the morning and in the late afternoon and that is the opinion of the majority of scholars." What also proves the permissibility of the Siwak is the fact that the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, generalized when he said: "If it wasn't going to be tough on my nation, I would have ordered them to use the Siwaak at every prayer." Imam Al-Bukhari, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: "The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, did not specify a fasting or non-fasting person."

The guilt associated with waking up in janabah

Another violation is the great guilt that fasting people feel if they wake up in janabah (defilement due to sleeping with one's spouse). To those we say there should be no guilt, complete your fast. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, used to be in janabah when dawn came and he would take a bath and fast.

Shaykh Abdul-'Azeez Ibn Baaz, may Allah have mercy upon him, was asked if a fasting person has a wet dream on a Ramadan morning, does it ruin the fast and does that person have to take a bath? He replied that wet dreams do not ruin the fast because it is not a voluntary act and that a bath is necessary if semen is secreted. It's okay to delay the washing until Thuhr prayer if the wet dream occurred after fajr salah. The same goes for janabah, you can take a bath after dawn if it occurred at night because it was proven that the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, used to wake up in janabah then wash and fast. It is better to wash from janabah before Fajr prayer in order to be able to make prayer in congregation.

Feeling guilty in tasting food

Some women are reluctant to taste their food in case they ruin their fasting. There is no need for this reluctance as long as no food is swallowed. Ibn 'Abbas, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: "It is okay to taste the food." [Al-Bukhari]. Shaykh 'Abdullaah Ibn Jibreen, may Allah have mercy upon him, was asked: "Can a cook, while fasting, taste the food being cooked to make sure it is good?" He, may Allah have mercy upon him, replied: "It's okay to taste the food when necessary by placing it at the tip of the tongue to know its sweetness, saltiness or the like. Nothing should be swallowed but it should be spit out. That will not ruin the fast." 


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