Fasting during Ramadan is one of the key obligations upon every male and female Muslim who has come of age. Fasting carries great benefits for your health, your mental state, removing attachments to the duniya, preparing for the hereafter, being a better person, improving your character, being an expiation for your sins… the list goes on.
STEP 1: MAKE INTENTION
Before the start of each fast, you must make intention to fast. This doesn’t need to be said out loud but should be firm in your mind. This can be done at any time during the night, even if it is just a moment before Fajr.
“There is no fast for the person who did not intend to fast from the night before.” [Abu Dawud]
STEP 2: TAKE SUHOOR
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Have suhoor, for in suhoor there is baraqah.” [Bukhari]
STEP 3: FAST DURING THE SPECIFIED TIMES
All Muslims who are fasting should stop eating and drinking at the time when Fajr begins. This includes smoking, drugs, medication. This is also a time to refrain from committing any sins.
There are exceptions – if fasting would result in a serious deterioration of health of a person, then that person should not be fasting and should break their fast. Likewise pregnant women are not permitted to fast. Those on medication, should seek advice from Islamic Scholars.
Menstruating women should not fast during their menstruation cycle.
STEP 4: BREAK YOUR FAST AT MAGHRIB TIME – TAKE IFTAR
You are not meant to delay breaking your fast. The Sunnah is to hasten in breaking the fast.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The people remain upon goodness so long as they do not delay iftaar.” [Bukhari]
“The Prophet (pbuh) used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if fresh dates were not available, he would eat (dried) dates; if dried dates were not available, he would have a few sips of water.” [At-Tirmidhi]
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Once night comes from there and the day disappears from there, and the sun has set, the fasting person should break his fast.” [Bukhari]
The Prophet (pbuh) would not pray Maghrib until he had broken his fast, if only with a sip of water. [Al-Haakim]
After iftaar, it is Sunnah to recite the words reported in the hadeeth narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (ra), according to which the Prophet (pbuh), when he broke his fast, would say, “Dhahaba adh-dhama’, wabtallat il-‘urooq, wa thabat al- ajru in shaa Allaah (The thirst has gone, the veins are flowing again, and the reward is confirmed, in shaa Allah).” [Abu Dawud]
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