[From Beheshti Zewar]
In the Hadith, great rewards have been mentioned for fasting. The fasting person has a very high status in the sight of Allah Ta’ala. Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: “The person who fasts in the month of Ramadaan solely for the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala and for gaining His reward, all his past minor sins will be forgiven.” Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: “The smell which emanates from the mouth of a fasting person is more beloved in the sight of Allah Ta’ala than the fragrance of musk.” On the day of judgement, one would receive great rewards for fasting.
It is related in a Hadith that a table below the Arsh of Allah Ta’ala will be laid for the fasting persons on the day of judgement. They will sit at this table and partake of the food while all the other people will still be busy giving their account of deeds. On seeing them, they will say: “How is it that these people are eating and drinking while we are still occupied in giving an account of our deeds?” It will be said to them that they used to fast while you abstained from fasting. This fasting is also a great pillar of Islam. The person who does not fast in the month of Ramadaan commits a major sin, and his Deen shall become weak.
- Fasting in the month of Ramadaan is fard on every Muslim who is not a lunatic nor an immature person (minor). As long as there is no valid excuse, it is not permissible to abstain from fasting. If a person vows to fast, fasting becomes fard on him on account of this vow. The qada and kaffarah fasts are also fard. Apart from this, all other fasts are nafl – if a person keeps them he will be rewarded, and if he does not do so, there will be no sin on him. However, the fasts of eid ul-fitr, eid ul-ad’haa, and the three days following eid ul-ad’haa are all haraam.
Once the time of fajr salaat approaches (i.e. dawn) until the time of sunset, a person should make the intention of fasting and abstain from all food, drink, and sexual intercourse. This is known as fasting in the Shariah.
It is not necessary to make a verbal intention. Instead, once a person has this in his heart that today he is fasting and he does not eat or drink anything, nor does he indulge in sexual intercourse – his fast will be valid. If a person makes a verbal intention by saying: “O Allah! I will fast for Your pleasure tomorrow”, or he says the following words in Arabic:
biSoomi ghadin nawaytu
even then there is no harm in this.
A person did not eat nor drink anything the entire day and remained hungry and thirsty from morning till evening. However, in his heart he did not have the intention of fasting but merely abstained from food due to a lack of hunger, or, for some reason or the other he did not get the opportunity of eating anything – in such a case his fast will not be valid. Had he made the intention of fasting in his heart, his fast would have become valid.
According to the Shariah, the time of fasting commences from subah saadiq. Therefore, as long as the subah saadiq time does not expire, eating, drinking, etc. is permissible. Some women wake up early and after having a meal, they make the intention of fasting and sleep away thinking that once the intention is made, eating and drinking is not permissible. This is a gross error. As long as the subah saadiq time does not expire, it is permissible to eat and drink. This is irrespective of whether the intention of fasting has been made or not.