- Fasting Definition
1. Fasting in Islam is to refrain from eating, drinking, etc. — which will be discussed later in details — the whole day (from fajr until maghrib) in order to obey the Allah's order.
- Types of Fasting
2. There are four types of fasting:
- Obligatory fast, like during the month of Ramadan;
- Mustaḥabb fast, like during the months of Rajab and Sha'bān;
- Makrūh fast, like on the day of 'Āshūrā;
- Ḥarām fast, like on Eid ul-Fir (the first of Shawwāl) and Eid ul-Adha (the tenth of Dhi al-Hajjah).
3. Obligatory fasts are as follows:
- Fast during the month of Ramadan;
- Qaḍā’ fast;
- Kaffārah fast;
- Parents' qaḍā’ fast;
- Mustaḥabb fast which became obligatory due to nadhr, 'promise', or 'swear';
- Fast on the third day of i'tikāf
- Fast instead of slaughtering in tamattu' haj * .
* If a pilgrim is not able to slaughter and cannot borrow money, he should, instead, fast for ten days, of which three days is kept during haj and seven days in his waṭan.
Fast on the day of 'Āshūrā
4. Is it allowed to fast on the day of 'Āshūrā?
A: It is makrūh.
5. I heard that silence fast is ḥarām while some say it is ḥalāl in case of nadhr, is it true?
A: It is ḥarām.
Fast of One's spouse/child
6. Naming ḥarām fast, they include: fast of the wife in case it violates the right of the husband and fast of a child in case it hurts/annoys the parents. Do they apply in mustaḥabb fasts only, or they include obligatory fast without shortage of time?
A: It does not include obligatory fasts.
- How to Intend Fasting
48. Like all other worships, fasting should be accompanied by intention, i.e. one's refraining from eating, drinking, and all other fast invalidators should be motivated by obedience to Allah's order. Just such an aim is sufficient and there is no need to express it.
To Intend Every Day or for the Whole Month
49. In the month of Ramadan, should we intend every day or it suffices to intend once in the beginning of the month?
A: It suffices to intend at the night before the first day of Ramadan to fast for a month. However, it is better (mustaḥabb caution) to intend every night for the next day as well.
Fast Obligation Just due to Intention
50. My mother intended to fast the whole month but she fell sick after seven days, what should she do?
A: The mere intention does not make it obligatory. Therefore, in the given case, fasting is not obligatory for her.
Just to Have Fast Intention in the Mind
51. One intends to fast at night and sleeps with the same intention to wake up after fajr. When he wakes up, drinks some water absent-mindedly. Later, he remembers that he intended to fast last night. Is his fasting valid?
A: To do a fast invalidator absent-mindedly does not invalidate fasting. If he still has his previous intention – even inattentively, it is sufficient.
- Time of Intending to Fast
Time of Intention for Obligatory Fasts
52. In normal situations, what is the time of Intention for Obligatory Fasts?
A: As to Ramadan fast and that to be observed in a specific day, one should intend fasting the night before — the early night up to morning adhān and for non-specific fasts, e.g. qaḍā’ fasts and absolute nadhr from the early previous night until 'noon' of the day of fasting.
Time of Intention for Mustaḥabb Fasts
53. In a mustaḥabb Fast, any time he decides to fast, he may intend and his fast is valid provided that he has not performed any fast invalidator at all.
Delay in Fast Intention
54. Because fast starts at the beginning of fajr, fast intention should not be postponed beyond fajr even for a moment and you'd better intend to fast before fajr arrives.
57. If one has done no fast invalidator and wants to observe an obligatory fast other than Ramadan one, like a qaḍā’/kaffārah fast, he may intend before 'noon' and his fast is valid.
58. If one delays — not beyond the noon — intending of a hired fast whether on purpose or unintentionally while he has done no fast invalidator, is his fast valid?
A: In case of hiring, one should act according to hire deed and what is common among the believers; otherwise, it is not valid and the hired person is not entitled to the compensation.
- Intention of a Mustaḥabb Fast
Intending Mustaḥabb Fast while Owing an Obligatory One
59. A person, who should perform qaḍā’ of Ramadan fast, cannot make intentions to perform a mustaḥabb fast. If he forgets and perform a mustaḥabb fast, his fast is invalidated in case he remembers during the day. If he remembers before 'noon', he may intend qaḍā’ of Ramadan fast and it will be valid.
60. A person, responsible for performing an obligatory fast, decided to fulfill his duty but could not because of unforeseen circumstances. For example, he gets prepared to travel after sunrise — he traveled, but failed to return home before noon. He had not done anything that invalidates the fast, except that the time for making the intention of an obligatory fast has elapsed; and that day is one in which fasting is mustaḥabb. Is it valid if he makes the intention to perform a mustaḥabb fast?
A: When one is responsible for the qaḍā’ of Ramadan fast, it is invalid to make intentions to perform a mustaḥabb fast, even if the time for making intention for performing an obligatory fast has passed.
Intending Mustaḥabb Fast instead of an Obligatory One
61. If a person, not knowing the number of fasts missed, performs fasts with the intention of performing a recommended fast believing that he is not liable to any qaḍā’ , does this fasting count as qaḍā’ for missed fasts while he is liable to qaḍā’ of some fasts?
A: The fasts kept with the intention of recommended fasting do not count as qaḍā’ for fasts one is liable to perform.
62. A person passed away while was responsible to perform qaḍā’ of some fasts, can his elder son perform a mustaḥabb fast?
A: There is no objection to it.
Adding Other Intentions to a Mustaḥabb Fast
63. In order to get reward, I intended to fast and at the same time decided to reduce my weight which encouraged me more to fast. Is my intention purely for Allah or not?
A: If the later decision was a secondary decision and intention and your main incentive and aim was fasting, it is no problem; otherwise, it is invalid. If both of them constituted your intention, it is not valid either.
- Miscellaneous Issues Regarding Intention
Oversleep in Saḥar
64.If during the night, a person intends to fast the next day and sleeps to wake up after morning adhān, or he is too busy to pay attention to the time of fajr and later he notices, his fast is valid.
65. At night, I intended to fast, but overslept and woke up just before sunrise, is my fast valid?
A: It is valid.
To Intend Different Fasts Simultaneously
66. If I owe obligatory fasts due to both nadhr and qaḍā’ of Ramadan fast and it coincides with the anniversary birthday of the Holy Prophet SAW, for my fast to be valid is it necessary to intend only one of them?
A: If you owe several type of fast, e.g. qaḍā’/ kaffārah/nadhr, it is obligatory to specify the fast you want to observe. For a person who owes qaḍā’ of Ramadan fasts, his mustaḥabb fast is invalid.
A Patient Recovers during the Day in Ramadan Month
67. A patient recovers during the day in Ramadan month, how should he intend to fast?
A: If a patient recovers during the day in Ramadan month, it is not obligatory for him to intend to fast the same day. If it is before 'noon' and he has not done a fast invalidator, he may, as a mustaḥabb caution, intend and fast; yet he should make its qaḍā’ after Ramadan.
Intention on a Doubted Day
68. For a day about which one doubts whether it is end of Sha'bān or the first of Ramadan, which fast should one intend?
A: For a day about which one doubts whether it is end of Sha'bān or the first of Ramadan, it is not necessary to fast. If he wants to, he cannot intend fast of Ramadan; rather, he may intend the mustaḥabb fast of end of Sha'bān/ a qaḍā’ fast or the like. If he comes to know later that it was Ramadan, it is considered as Ramadan and its qaḍā’ is not necessary. If he notices during the day, he should intend Ramadan fast right away.
To Fast What We Owe
69. A person does not know whether or not he has missed a fast, can he fast intending what he owes/what is required [mā fī al-dhimmah]; i.e. intend qaḍā’ fast if any; otherwise to be considered as a mustaḥabb fast?
A: Yes, he may intend to fast like that.
70. I fasted one month or so intending qaḍā’ fast if any; otherwise to be considered for the proximity to Allah in general. Is it considered as qaḍā’ of my missed fasts?
A: If you intended what you were required at the time fasting, whether qaḍā’ or mustaḥabb, and performed fast while you owed some qaḍā’ fasts, it is considered as qaḍā’ fast
To Change the Intention of a Hired Fast Later
71. A person hires someone else to fast but avoid paying the money according to the contract. Is the hired person allowed to consider the performed fast to be qaḍā’ fast on behalf of a third person? In general, should I specify a fast to be on behalf of certain person at the beginning or I am allowed to determine the person even after completion of fast/prayer?
A: One should specify the intention of fast from the beginning. After completion of a ritual performed on behalf of a certain person, one cannot change it to be on behalf of someone else. In the given case, the person on whose behalf it was performed is free from the obligation, if any. The hiring person should pay his debt.
- Intention Continuation
To Decide to Break the Fast during the Day
72. During the month of Ramadan, A mukallaf decides to break his fast but he changes his mind before doing so. Is his fast valid? What about the fast other than that of Ramadan?
A: During the month of Ramadan if he ceases intending to fast, i.e. he does not have intention to continue his fast, it invalidates his fast and intending again to proceed with the fast is to no avail. Of course, he should avoid fast invalidators until Maghrib. However, if he doubts, i.e. he has not decided to break his fast or he decides to perform something which would invalidate the fast (but does not do so), the validity of his fast is problematic in these two cases and there is an obligatory caution to complete the fast and later perform its qaḍā’ as well. The same rule is applied to any fast which is obligatory for a specific day like that of nadhr.
73. During a mustaḥabb fast or an obligatory one which is not time-specific, I decided to invalidate my fast but I changed my mind before doing anything. Is my fast valid?
A: In a mustaḥabb fast or an obligatory one which you are not required to do it on a specific day, If you decide to break your fast without doing a fast invalidator and intend to fast again before 'noon' — in a mustaḥabb fast by sunset, your fast is valid.
- Eid ul-Fitr Prayer
Eid ul-Fitr Prayer in the Time of Occultation of the 12th Imam (a.s.)
249. What kind of obligatory duties are the two Eid prayers and Friday prayer in your opinion?
A: The two Eid (Fitr and Adha prayers are not obligatory, rather they are mustaḥabb in the present time but the Friday prayer is an optional (takhyīrī) obligation.
Leading Eid Prayer by an Imam Who Is not Appointed by the Jurist Leader
250. In the present time — that the jurist leader has an authority — is leading Eid prayer only possible for the jurist leader and his authorized representatives or other imams of congregational prayer in masjids and other places can lead it?
A: There is no problem in leading Eid prayer by those who are not appointed by the jurist leader hoping being desired by shar` (with rajā' intention) and not for its being mentioned in the Islamic tradition. That said, although it is better not to be led by them.
Leading Eid Prayer by Imams of Congregational Prayer in Masjids
251. In the past, every imam of congregational prayers used to perform Eid ul-Fitr prayers in his masjid. Is it permissible for imams of the masjids in the current time to hold the two Eid prayers?
A: At the time being, it is permissible for the representatives of the Jurist Leader — who are permitted by him to hold Eid prayers — and also for the Friday prayer imams, who have been appointed by him, to hold Eid prayers in congregation. As for any other individual, it is based on caution to perform them individually. It is no problem if they perform the two prayers in congregation as something hopefully — not surely required — desired in Islamic law. If it is deemed necessary/beneficial that only one Eid prayer be held in a city, it is preferable not to be led by anyone other than the Imam of Friday prayer appointed by the Jurist Leader.
Saying Iqāmah before Eid Prayer
252. Does Eid ul-Fitr prayer have any iqāmah?
A: It does not have any iqāmah.
253. If an imam of congregational prayer recites iqāmah for Eid ul-Fitr prayer, what will be the rule of his prayers and that of others who are praying behind him?
A: It harms neither the Eid prayer of the imam nor those of the followers.
To Join Friday or Eid Prayer during the 2nd Rak`ah
254. If someone joins the prayer of Eid ul-Fitr/ Eid ul-Adha or Friday prayer during the 2nd rak`ah, what is their duty?
A: They should complete the remaining part of the prayer individually.
To Make more or less Qunūts in Eid Prayer
255. Does any increase or decrease in the qunūt of Eid prayers make them invalid?
A: Prayers are not invalidated by this if by increase or decrease it is meant to elongate or shorten the qunūt itself. While if it means increase or decrease in the number of the qunūts, one should offer the Eid prayer as it is mentioned within the books of jurisprudence.
To Doubt the Qunūt of Eid Prayer
256. If one doubts the number of qunūts in Eid ul-Fitr or Eid ul-Adha prayer, i.e. unsure whether he has done four or five qunūts, what shall he do?
A: Unless he passed its place, he should consider the lesser number.
To Delay Eid Prayer for Unity Purpose
257. Is it alright, for the purpose of maintaining unity and solidarity, to offer Eid prayer on the 2nd of Shawwāl especially with the presence of some hadiths which indicate the permissibility of offering Eid prayer on the 2nd or 3rd day of Shawwāl?
A: Whatever the case is, to offer Eid prayer on the 2nd day of the month of Shawwāl as something hopefully desired in Islam is no problem.
Making up for Eid Prayer in Qaḍā’
258. Is there any qaḍā’ for Eid ul-Fitr prayer?
A: It does not have any qaḍā’.
- Hired Fasts
To Perform Qaḍā’ Fasts on behalf of a Living Person
308. My father has some qaḍā’ prayers due but he cannot offer them and I am the family’s eldest son. Is it permissible — while he is still alive — that I perform his missed prayers or hire someone to perform them?
A: It is not correct to perform the missed prayers and fast on behalf of a living person.
To Pay from the Father's Estate for His Fasts
309. Someone dies while owning only a house where his children live and he has some missed prayers and fasts to perform. His oldest son cannot do so for him because of his daily occupations, is it obligatory to sell the house and have his missed prayers and fasts performed?
A: In the given case, it is not obligatory to sell the house. But the performance of the missed prayers and fasting, which were obligatory for the father, is the duty of his eldest son in all cases except if the deceased person ordered in his will that someone be hired by the one-third of his estate for that purpose and that amount is sufficient for all of the prayers and fasts that are obligatory for him. In this case, it will be obligatory to spend one third of the property left for this purpose.
Duty of the Eldest Son as to Willed Fasts
310. I am the eldest son of my father, hence I am responsible for performing any outstanding prayer and fast my father owed. However, my father has directed in his will that one-year of prayer and fast should be performed. How should I go about the fact that more than one year of prayer and fast is outstanding?
A:The instructions of the deceased to clear any outstanding prayer and fast should be catered for from his share of one-third of the estate if he has directed thus. Accordingly, it is within your right to hire a person to perform the outstanding prayer and fast. Should the outstanding duration be more than what he directed in his will, you have to perform it on his behalf, albeit by hiring a person to do it with money paid from your own pocket.
Estate's Insufficiency for Qaḍā’ Fasts
311. A person died while he had to perform the qaḍā’ of some fasts of Ramadan and some prayers. He has no son. However, he left behind a certain amount of wealth. If this wealth is spent for the performance of the qaḍā’ of his missed fasts, the qaḍā’ of his prayers will remain outstanding and vice versa. In this situation, which one of the two should be given priority over the other?
A: None of the fasts and the prayers has any priority. It is not obligatory for the heirs to spend his wealth for making qaḍā’ of his fasts and prayers unless he left a will that someone is hired, out of the one third of his wealth, to perform of his qaḍā’ prayers and fasts as much as 1/3 of his wealth can afford.
Elder Son's Hiring Someone for His Father's Qaḍā’ Fasts
312. If eldest son wants to hire someone to perform his father's qaḍā’ fasts, can he pay from his father's estate?
A: No, he should perform them himself or pay from his own pocket to hire someone else to fast. He has no right to use his father's estate unless the father had made a will (to this effect).
To Be Hired While Owing Kaffārah of Nadhr or Swear
313. A person owes some fasts due to kaffārah of nadhr or swear, can he accept the request to be hired to fast on behalf of another person?
A: There is no objection to it.
To Be Hired While Owing Kaffārah/ Qaḍā’ Fasts
314. A person owes kaffārah/qaḍā’ fasts, can he fast on behalf of others for free/for compensation?
A: It is no problem to be hired to do so while doing so for free is problematic.
Attorney's/Agent's Negligence in Performing Qaḍā’ Fasts/Prayers
315. Someone acted as an attorney in hiring other people to perform certain acts of worship, such as prayer and fasting, on behalf of the deceased. He betrayed the trust, i.e. he did not hire anybody and took the money for himself. Having shown remorse, he wants to pay back his dues. What should he do? Should he hire some people to do the job or return the money to the respective owners at the current rate? Or is he required to return only the amounts he originally received from the people who asked him to do the job? And what is the view if this person himself was hired to do the job, but died before getting it over and done with?
A: If the contract of being attorney has already expired before hiring anybody to perform the prayer and fasting, he should be made to pay compensation equal to the amount of money he received for getting the job done. Otherwise, he has the choice between hiring someone to perform prayer and fasting with the money he received or canceling the contract and returning the money to the owners. In case, there was a change in money value, it is a caution that both parties reach reconciliation.
As for the hired person, if he was hired to do it himself, the contract is automatically cancelled with the death of the person. It would then be obligatory that the money he received be paid back from his estate. If he was hired either to do the job or to have it done, he would still be responsible for discharging the work itself. In this case, his inheritors have to hire someone to discharge the work with money set aside from his estate if he has such estate. Otherwise, they do not have to do anything.
Kaffārah of Breaking Fast by a Hired Person
316. A person was hired to perform qaḍā’ fasts of the month of Ramadan for somebody else, and he breaks the fast in the afternoon. Does he have to pay the kaffārah?
A: No kaffārah is required.
To Make a Will as to Qaḍā’ Fast by Someone Other than One's Heirs
317. A martyr had made a will asking his friend to perform the qaḍā’ of some fasts on his behalf as caution. However, the martyr’s heirs do not give significance to such issues and it is not possible to put the matter before them. Moreover, fasting would involve hardship for that friend. Is there any other solution?
A: If the martyr had made a will asking the very friend to fast on his behalf, the martyr’s heirs do not have any obligation in this regard. If it is too difficult for the friend to fast, he also does not have any obligation.