- 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.
- A Physician Forbids Fasting
The Criterion for Validity of a Physician's Forbidding
173. Considering that some physicians are not aware of Islamic laws, should the patient obey a physician’s order if he forbids fasting?
A: If the physician’s statement makes the patient certain that fasting is harmful for him or he fears of harm in fasting — either on the basis of his statements or on some other reasonable grounds — then it is not obligatory for him to fast.
Interdiction by an Untrustworthy Physician
174. Some physicians who are not truly committed to Islamic laws forbid their patients to fast, claiming that fasting is detrimental to their health. Should their orders be acted upon or not?
A: If the physician is not trustworthy and his statements are not relied upon to the extent that the patient fears harm due to fasting, then his statements are not worthy of notice. Otherwise, they should not fast.
To Fast Despite of the Physician's Interdiction
175. An ophthalmologist ordered me not to fast due to an eye disease. But, I did not pay attention to his order and began fasting. However, while fasting I felt a pain in the afternoons on some days. Now, I wonder whether I should refrain from fasting or bear the pain until sunset. Basically, is it obligatory for me to fast? And should I maintain the fast on the days when I am not certain whether I can continue fasting until sunset or not? What should my intention be?
A: If you are confident — due to what your physician said — that fasting is harmful for your health or you fear so, then it is not obligatory for you to fast. In fact, it is not permissible for you to fast in such a situation, and the intention to fast is not correct when there is fear of harm. When there is no fear of harm, the fasting intention is not problematic, but the validity of your fast depends on the actual absence of harm.
176. Last year, I had surgery on my kidneys, and the surgeon ordered me not to fast for the rest of my life. However, I eat and drink normally and do not feel any signs of illness. What is my duty?
A: If you personally do not fear any harm in fasting and there is no shar‘ī ground for that, you are obligated to fast during the month of Ramadan.
Not to Fast due to a Physician's Order but to Find out Otherwise
177. A physician told a patient that fasting is harmful for his health. However, after a few years, he realized that fasting was not harmful for him and the physician was wrong in excusing him from fasting. Does he have to pay kaffārah in addition to performing qaḍā’?
A: If he had refrained from fasting due to fear for his health based on an experienced and reliable physician’s diagnosis or some other reasonable basis, he has only to perform the qaḍā’ of the missed fasting.
- Fear of Harm
The Criterion for Fear of Harm due to Fast
178. My mother is seriously sick, and my father is also physically weak. Nevertheless, both of them fast. Sometimes, it is quite evident that fasting aggravates their illness. So far, I have not been able to persuade them to refrain from fasting at least at times when their illness is serious. Please guide us concerning the rule that applies to their fasting?
A: The criterion in determining the inability to fast, or whether fasting causes illness, or aggravates it, is the opinion of the fasting person himself. However, if he knows that fasting is harmful for him or fears of harm and he still decides to fast, it is ḥarām.
To Break Fast due to Fear of Harm
179. Someone with a strong excuse doubted — 50% probability — that fasting was not obligatory for him, so he did not fast. Later it became clear to him that fasting was obligatory for him at that time. What is the ruling in respect of performing the qaḍā’ and paying kaffārah?
A: If one breaks a fast in the month of Ramadan, merely due to the possibility that fasting is not obligatory for him, then he must carry out its qaḍā’ and pay the kaffārah as well. However, if one did not fast out of rational fear that fasting would be harmful for him, then it is not necessary for him to pay kaffārah, but he must perform the qaḍā’.
- Fast of Special Patients
Fast of Kidney Patients
180. I am a kidney stone former and the doctors have prohibited me from fasting. In fact, it suffices to drink three glasses of water either once or three times a day. what is my duty regarding fasting during the blessed month of Ramadan?
A: If preventing from your illness requires that you drink water and other fluids during the day, it is not obligatory for you to fast; rather, it is not permissible. By drinking water, the fast becomes void.
Fast of Diabetics
181. Diabetics are required to take insulin injections once or twice a day. Also, their meals should not be delayed or taken at long intervals; otherwise they might go into a coma or get fits. That is why physicians advise them to have four meals a day. Please give your opinion concerning their fasting.
A: If abstaining from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset is harmful to their health or they fear of harm, fasting is not obligatory for them. In fact, it is not permissible for them to fast.
To Take Pills While Fasting
182. Is it permissible to take pills for high blood pressure during fasting?
A: If taking these pills during Ramadan is necessary for treating high blood pressure, it is permissible, but it invalidates the fast.
183. If we think taking tablets for treatment is not regarded as eating or drinking in the common view, would taking them void the fast?
A: Taking tablets through the mouth invalidates the fast.
The Exigency of Using Medicine
184. A person is sick and should take pills, prescribed by the physician, three times a day; can he fast?
A: No, he cannot fast.
185. Does receiving artificial respiration, done by a mechanical device, invalidate fast?
A: No, it does not make fast invalid.
To Use Asthma Spray
186. There is a medicine for asthma patients, which is in the form of a spray containing a vapor-borne powder which enters the patient’s lungs through the mouth providing him relief. At times, asthma patients need to use it several times a day. Is it permissible to fast while using such a spray?
A: If it is used only to open respiratory tract, it does not validate fast.
187. I am suffering from a lung disease and cannot avoid the medicine, especially when it is aggravated. I use spray as a medicine and in severe situations use some device as well. Can I use medicine while fasting?
A: If it is used only to open respiratory tract, it does not validate fast.
- Injection While Fasting
188. What is the rule on hepatitis vaccination while fasting? Does it invalidate fast?
A: If it is intramuscular injection, it is no problem.
189. Please explain your view on having injections while fasting during the blessed month of Ramadan?
A: It is based on obligatory precaution for the fasting person to avoid having any kind of supportive, nutritional or intravenous injections. The same rule is applied to all kinds of intravenous fluid infusions. However, there is no objection to using anesthetic injections and intramuscular ones for treatment purposes.
190. What is the rule on receiving infusion during the month of Ramadan?
A: By obligatory caution, one should avoid intravenous fluid infusions, whether it is supportive, nutritional or the like, including those used for treatment purposes.
191. I am suffering from thalassemia and should receive blood during fast. Is my fast valid or I should perform its qaḍā’?
A: To be a recipient in blood transfusion invalidates fast.
To Bleed While Fasting
192. Does it invalidate my fast if I make my body bleed or give blood?
A: It is not among fast invalidators. However, it is makrūh for a fasting person, if it leads to — in bloodletting, etc. — his weakness.
- Rules of Dentistry
Dental Restorations/ Extractions for a Fasting Person
193. Do dentistry acts, like extractions, root canal therapy, anesthesia, and fillings make fast invalid?
A: If nothing enters the throat, the fast is valid.
Bleeding in the Mouth While Fasting
194. If a person who is fasting bleeds in the mouth, does it invalidate his fast?
A: Bleeding in the mouth does not void a fast. However, it is obligatory to prevent blood from reaching the throat.
Blood of Gums and Teeth
195. In Ramadan month, should I purify/rinse inside my mouth if my gums/mouth bleeds?
A: It is not permissible to swallow it. It is ruled as breaking fast with ḥarām if one does so on purpose during fast. However, rinsing inside the mouth is not necessary.
To Doubt Swallowing Gums Blood
196. My gums often bleed and the blood gets mixed with saliva. At times I am not sure whether the saliva that enters my throat is mixed with blood or not. Please tell me what I am supposed to do to overcome this problem.
A: If the blood from your gums dissolves in the saliva, then the saliva is pure and can be swallowed. If you are not sure whether the saliva is mixed with blood or not, it can still be swallowed without affecting the fast.
Using Orthodontic Retainers
197. While fasting, may I use a movable orthodontic retainer?
A: There is no objection to it.
- 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.