Fasting Verses (2/4)
The Obligation of Fasting Ramadan
Allah said: (So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan, i.e., is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasting) that month.)
This Ayah requires the healthy persons who witness the beginning of the month, while residing in their land, to fast the month. This Ayah abrogated the Ayah that allows a choice of fasting or paying the Fidyah. When Allah ordered fasting, He again mentioned the permission for the ill person and the traveler to break the fast and to fast other days instead as compensation. Allah said:
(...and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasting) must be made up from other days.).
This Ayah indicates that ill persons who are unable to fast or fear harm by fasting, and the traveler, are all allowed to break the fast. When one does not fast in this case, he is obliged to fast other days instead. Allah said:
(Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you.).
This Ayah indicates that Allah allowed such persons, out of His mercy and to make matters easy for them, to break the fast when they are ill or traveling, while the fast is still obligatory on the healthy persons who are not traveling.
Several Rulings concerning the Fast
The authentic Sunnah states that Allah's Messenger traveled during the month of Ramadan for the battle for Makkah. The Prophet marched until he reached the area of Kadid and then broke his fast and ordered those who were with him to do likewise. This was recorded in the Two Sahihs. Breaking the fast mentioned in this Hadith was not required, for the Companions usedto go out with Allah's Messenger during the month of Ramadan, then, some of them would fast while some of them would not fast and neither category would criticize the others. If the command mentioned in the Hadith required breaking the fast, the Prophet would have criticized those who fasted. Allah's Messenger himself sometimes fasted while traveling. For instance, it is reported in the Two Sahihs that Abu Ad-Darda' said, "We once went with Allah's Messenger during Ramadan while the heat was intense. One of us would place his hand on his head because of the intense heat. Only Allah's Messenger and `Abdullah bin Rawahah were fasting at that time.''
We should state that observing the permission to break the fast while traveling is better, as Allah's Messenger said about fasting while traveling:
(Those who did not fast have done good, and there is no harm for those who fasted.)
In another Hadith, the Prophet said:
(Hold to Allah's permission that He has granted you.)
Some scholars say that the two actions are the same, as `A'ishah narrated that Hamzah bin `Amr Al-Aslami said, "O Messenger of Allah! I fast a lot, should I fast while traveling'' The Prophet said:
(Fast if you wish or do not fast if you wish.)
This Hadith is in the Two Sahihs. It was reported that if the fast becomes difficult (while traveling), then breaking the fast is better. Jabir said that Allah's Messenger saw a man who was being shaded (by other people while traveling). The Prophet asked about him and he was told that man was fasting. The Prophet said:
(It is not a part of Birr (piety) to fast while traveling.) This was recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.
As for those who ignore the Sunnah and believe in their hearts that breaking the fast while traveling is disliked, they are required to break the fast and are not allowed to fast.
As for making up for missed fasting days, it is not required to be consecutive. One may do so consecutively or not consecutively. There are ample proofs to this fact. We should mention that fasting consecutive days is only required exclusively during Ramadan. After the month of Ramadan, what is required then is to merely make up for missed days. This is why Allah said:
(. ..the same number (should be made up) from other days.)
Ease and not Hardship
Allah then said: (Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you.).
Imam Ahmad recorded Anas bin Malik saying that Allah's Messenger said:
(Treat the people with ease and don't be hard on them; give them glad tidings and don't fill them with aversion.).
This Hadith was also collected in the Two Sahihs. It is reported in the Sahihayn that Allah's Messenger said to Mu`adh and Abu Musa when he sent them to Yemen:
(Treat the people with ease and don't be hard on them; give them glad tidings and don't fill them with aversion; and love each other, and don't differ.).
The Sunan and the Musnad compilers recorded that Allah's Messenger said:
(I was sent with the easy Hanifiyyah (Islamic Monotheism).).
(Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days)) means: You were allowed to break the fast while ill, while traveling, and so forth, because Allah wanted to make matters easy for you. He only commanded you to make up for missed days so that you complete the days of one month.
Remembering Allah upon performing the Acts of Worship
Allah's statement: (...and that you must magnify Allah i.e., to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Most Great) for having guided you) means: So that you remember Allah upon finishing the act of worship.
This is similar to Allah's statement:
(So when you have accomplished your Manasik, (rituals) remember Allah as you remember your forefathers or with far more remembrance.) (2:200) and:
(...Then when the (Jumu`ah) Salah (prayer) is ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the bounty of Allah (by working), and remember Allah much, that you may be successful.). (62:10) and:
(...and glorify the praises of your Lord, before the rising of the sun and before (its) setting. And during a part of the night, glorify His praises, and after the prayers.) (50:39, 40).
This is why the Sunnah encouraged Tasbih (saying Subhan Allah, i.e., all praise is due to Allah), Tahmid (saying Al-Hamdu Lillah, i.e., all the thanks are due to Allah) and Takbir (saying Allahu Akbar, i.e., Allah is the Most Great) after the compulsory prayers. Ibn `Abbas said, "We used to know that Allah's Messenger has finished the prayer by the Takbir.'' Similarly, several scholars have stated that reciting Takbir the during `Id-ul-Fitr was specified by the Ayah that states:
((He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah i.e., to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Most Great) for having guided you...)
(...so that you may be grateful to Him.) means: If you adhere to what Allah commanded you, obeying Him by performing the obligations, abandoning the prohibitions and abiding by the set limits, then perhaps you will be among the grateful.
(186. And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad concerning Me, then answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.).
Allah hears the Servant's Supplication
Imam Ahmad reported that Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari said, "We were in the company of Allah's Messenger during a battle. Whenever we climbed a high place, went up a hill or went down a valley, we used to say, `Allah is the Most Great,' raising our voices. The Prophet came by us and said: (O people! Be merciful to yourselves (i.e., don't raise your voices), for you are not calling a deaf or an absent one, but One Who is All-Hearer, All-Seer. The One Whom you call is closer to one of you than the neck of his animal. O `Abdullah bin Qais (Abu Musa's name) should I teach you a statement that is a treasure of Paradise: `La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (there is no power or strength except from Allah).').
This Hadith was also recorded in the Two Sahihs, and Abu Dawud, An-Nasa'i, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah recorded similar wordings. Furthermore, Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said that the Prophet said:
("Allah the Exalted said, `I am as My servant thinks of Me, and I am with him whenever he invokes Me.').
Allah accepts the Invocation
Imam Ahmad also recorded Abu Sa`id saying that the Prophet said:
(No Muslim supplicates to Allah with a Du`a that does not involve sin or cutting the relations of the womb, but Allah will grant him one of the three things. He will either hasten the response to his supplication, save it for him until the Hereafter, or would turn an equivalent amount of evil away from him.'') They said, "What if we were to recite more (Du`a).'' He said, (There is more with Allah.).
`Abdullah the son of Imam Ahmad recorded `Ubadah bin As-Samit saying that the Prophet said:
(There is no Muslim man on the face of the earth who supplicates to Allah but Allah would either grant it to him, or avert a harm from him of equal proportions, as long as his supplication does not involve sin or cutting the relations of the womb.) At-Tirmidhi recorded this Hadith.
Imam Malik recorded that Abu Hurayrah narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
(One's supplication will be accepted as long as he does become get hasty and say, I have supplicated but it has not been accepted from me.'').
This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs from Malik, and this is the wording of Al-Bukhari.
Muslim recorded that the Prophet said:
(The supplication of the servant will be accepted as long as he does not supplicate for what includes sin, or cutting the relations of the womb, and as long as he does not become hasty.).
He was asked, "O Messenger of Allah! How does one become hasty'' He said, (He says, I supplicated and supplicated, but I do not see that my supplication is being accepted from me. He thus looses interest and abandons supplicating (to Allah).).
Three Persons Whose Supplication will not be rejected
In the Musnad of Imam Ahmad and the Sunan of At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
(Three persons will not have their supplication rejected: the just ruler, the fasting person until breaking the fast, and the supplication of the oppressed person, for Allah raises it above the clouds on the Day of Resurrection, and the doors of heaven will be opened for it, and Allah says, `By My grace! I will certainly grant it for you, even if after a while.').
(187. It is made lawful for you to have sexual relations with your wives on the night of As-Siyam (fasting). They are Libas i.e., body-cover, or screen for you and you are Libas for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He turned to you (accepted your repentance) and forgave you. So now have sexual relations with them and seek that which Allah has ordained for you (offspring), and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your fast till the nightfall. And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I`tikaf in the Masjids. These are the limits (set) by Allah, so approach them not. Thus does Allah make clear His Ayat to mankind that they may acquire Taqwa.)