It is obligatory upon every Muslim after reaching the age of puberty to fast each day of Ramadan and not miss any fasting day intentionally. It is obligatory to make up any days for which fasting was missed uninentionally during Ramadan by fasting at a later date whether or not they had a valid excuse among which are menstruation, pregnancy, nursing a baby, illness, travel and so on.Fast days missed intentionally must be expiated by fasting for two consecutive months.Eating or drinking invalidates during the fast as does smoking, injections, enemas etc. Rinsing the mouth with water does not invalidate the fast, however, one must take care not to swallow or inhale as one’s fast will become void.
Care must be exercised concerning eating just before the fast is due to begin. One must also be careful not to anticipate the arrival of evening and thereby break the fast early.Married couples are forbidden to have intercourse whilst they are fasting. However, it is permissible after the fast has been broken in the evening.
In the event that one experiences a “wet” dream whilst sleeping and then wake up the following morning in this condition of impurity his fast is not broken. Deliberate seminal emission either through sexual contact or through no sexual contact invalidates the fast.The fast will not be broken by a kiss unless seminal fluid is discharged, however it is discouraged unless both are able to control their feelings.Induced vomiting invalidates the fast.
However, if one cannot help it, the fast remains valid.Phlegm or mucus does not void the fast unless it is “collected” in the mouth and then swallowed. In the event that one’s fasting becomes void, one should continue the practice of those fasting – i.e. abstinence of food and drink etc.
However, if sexual intercourse occurs during the fast of Ramadan, its expiation will be to fast for two consecutive months. If those who indulged in intercourse are unable to fast the two consecutive months then each should feed sixty poor people as an expiation.In the case of a woman whose menstruation finishes during the day, there is no obligation upon her to practice the fast for the rest of that day.
Ramadan is a blessed month that increases a Muslim’s spiritual awareness, fortifies the worshiper’s connection with Allah, reminds us of our duties towards the needy in the community, but also reminds us of our own need for an increase in faith, asking God for mercy and forgiveness. The most obvious cornerstones of fasting that the Muslim follows during Ramadan are abstaining from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from sunrise to sunset. However, there is far more than that to attain true fasting; the fasting that will indeed fulfill the goals of elevating us to higher levels of spirituality, compassion to others, patience, and piety. The dos of fasting are the recommended acts, the practices that our role model, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was keen on doing during Ramadan.
Rushing to breaking the fast as soon as one is certain that sunset has commenced is recommended. When the call for Maghreb prayer is heard, break your fast on water, a few dates, or fruit juice, before praying Maghreb. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “People will always be in a good state [or be at ease], as long as they haste to do Iftar [breaking fast when it is time for Maghreb]. At the time when you break your fast on that first sweet date, remember to make a supplication, to ask Allah for what you desire: Paradise, forgiveness, pardon, health, and wealth. In the authentic Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “There are three whose dua [supplication] is never rejected: the fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just ruler, and the one who is oppressed.” (Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi)
Muslims are encouraged to eat the Sahoor or pre-dawn meal. The later in the night the better. Sahoor can be a light snack, such as a glass of milk and a few dates, a banana, or a cheese sandwich. Do eat Sahoor every night because this small meal gives the body important nourishment which will help one endure the long fast without experiencing physical weakness. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Have Sahoor for verily there is blessing in it.”
In Ramadan, choose the best deeds, the recommended acts that you may have neglected throughout the year, and spread goodness. You can gain rewards by spending more time with your parents, visiting relatives, helping anyone in need whether it is through charity or by helping take care of problems he/she may be facing. The fasting person is like a fragrant rose; his pleasantness is sensed by and extended to those around him.
Feeding others when it is time to break the fast, as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, will receive the same reward for fasting, except that nothing will be reduced from the fasting person’s reward.” (Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi). Since the Holy Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Ramadan, now is the perfect time to read it, understand its meanings, and memorize its verses. The Holy Qur’an is a mercy, guide, blessing, and gift from the Creator to mankind. Remember the Almighty as frequently as possible. Ramadan is the greatest opportunity to communicate with Allah because there are no barriers between man and his Almighty God. No wrath of the Satan is beset upon man during this month as the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
The companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him), Ibn Abbas, said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was the most generous of people, and he was at his most generous during the month of Ramadan because Angel Jibril used to meet him every night in the month of Ramadan until it ended. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to review the Qur’an with Jibril; and he was more generous with good than the blowing wind.”
In addition to not eating, drinking, smoking, and having sexual relations, there are other practices, which we should not be doing during this blessed month. Avoid blood cupping, blood withdrawal, and using ear drops or inhalers while fasting. Some scholars are of the opinion that, ideally, you should use siwak or a toothbrush and water for cleaning teeth, rather than toothpaste.
Do not listen to music because your heart should be occupied with supplication, remembrance of Allah, and the Holy Qur’an, not with songs. Do not waste your time. The days and nights of Ramadan are too precious to be wasted away watching TV, going on shopping sprees, oversleeping, and cooking extravagant feasts.
Do not engage in idle talk, gossip, lying, quarreling, cursing, or any form of speech that is unnecessary and has no benefit, especially if it is hurtful to someone else. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, Allah has no need of him giving up his food and drink.” (Al-Bukhari) Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also said, “The true fast is not to merely abstain from food and drink, rather true fast is to abstain from futile activities and obscene talk.”
Stressing the importance of a refined and gracious code of conduct, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “When one of you is fasting, make sure not to use obscene language and not to be foolish and irresponsible in your speech. And if someone provokes you, have control over yourself and say, ‘I am fasting’.” This Ramadan, make it a true fast, a fast from all that will interfere with your spiritual growth.
It is imperative that one does not lose patience with other people. It is no surprise that deprivation of food and the scorching sun can make one irritable and vulnerable – which is why keeping your calm is highly advisable. Don’t yell, fight and indulge in any destructive behavior because the Ramadan is all about patience and tolerance and it does not do a Muslim brother any good to do anything that is not in line with the spirit of this blessed month. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
Forgiveness is one of the recurring themes in Ramadan, if our Lord Almighty can forgive us for our sins that we commit throughout the year then why not follow the same suite? The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said: (Ramadan) is the month, whose beginning is mercy, its middle, forgiveness, and its end, emancipation from the fire (of hell). (Bihar al-Anwar 93: 342)
So in the spirit of Ramadan, forgive anyone who has wronged you and don’t hold grudges – this Ramadan try to let the little things pass because Allah loves those who forgive others.
It is always advisable for a Muslim to follow in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), however, the spirit of Ramadan requires that the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) is adhered to, to reap the benefits of this holy month. The routine of the Prophet (PBUH) during this month should be a standard for every Muslim no matter where. Imitating the best of the human beings will surely make us better people and even better role models as Muslims in good faith.
Another essential element of this month is the performance of the Taraweeh prayer, in addition to the five daily prayers. Taraweeh prayers are to be performed after Isha each day to create a stronger bond with the Almighty and to gain the blessings of God Almighty.
Zakat, being one of the 5 pillars of Islam, is a definite act to indulge in. Ramadan is all about helping others and feeling their pain – putting one in the shoes of another and having empathy. So, what better time to help someone than in the holy month of Ramadan? So in a month which requires from a Muslim nothing but goodness, be aware of those who need your help and give Zakat because it not only fulfills your rights towards the Lord but also towards His creation.
This Ramadan, let us try and be better humans and even better Muslims and take care of the rules and regulations of this month. It is our chance to be better than we were in the past year and in light of doing good and being better, do keep these little reminders with you in Ramadan.