The holy month of Ramadan has settled in and has started spreading its blessings all over. We see people preparing for suhur and iftaars and engage themselves in prayers, whilethe mosques are filled with people coming for tarawih prayers. The bazaars and food markets get piled up with people near iftaar timings.All in all the spirit with which the Muslims rejoice the month of Ramadan is commendable.
But with fasting people often have some questions and queries in mind which they wish to address but cannot find an authentic source to look for a proper answer. Quran and Ahadith, at times, do not provide a clear cut solution. Rather it is more suitable to say that we are unable to deduce an explanation from the Quran and/or Sunnah that clearly addresses our query. Such measures call for an authentic opinion from a recognized scholar or mufti, also known as “fatwa”. There are numerous fatawa related to fasting that address numerous inquiries regarding fasting; some of which that are very common are discussed below.
Many of us are uncertain of the age at which fasting becomes obligatory. And pursuing this uncertainty, we are unable to educate our children of the true spirit of fasting. For fasting to become obligatory, there are three things that ought to be fulfilled; Islam, sanity and puberty. Children usually gain puberty between the ages of 13-15 years. As long as the three conditions are being fulfilled it is obligatory for the person to fast and pray.
Since the sighting of the moon varies in different countries, people get confused whether to fast with the country where the sighting of the moon has been confirmed, for instance, Saudi Arab, or to fast when the moon has been sighted in the country in which they reside. There are clear cut Ahadith indicating that it is obligatory for a Muslim to fast with the country in which they reside. The following statement by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) confirms this fact:
The fast is the day that you all fast, breaking the fast is on the day that you all break the fast and the sacrifice (Al-Adhha) is on the day that you all sacrifice [At-Tirmidhi no. 697]
A lot of people strictly fast in the month of Ramadan but show laziness while offering prayers. This behavior is quite common amongst the youth who think that fasting is enough to fulfil their religious obligations. There are strict allegations against this behavior. The scholars have gone so far as to call the person a disbeliever and say that he/she has apostatized from Islam. According to a verse in the Holy Quran, Allah says about them:
“And nothing prevents their contributions from being accepted from them except that they disbelieved in Allah and in His Messenger (Muhammad Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him), and that they do not come to As-Salah (the prayer) except in a lazy state, and that they do not offer contributions except unwillingly.” [At-Tawbah 9:54]
Many such queries,not just regarding fasting but on zakat as well, have been answered in the book “Fatawa Regarding Fasting & Zakah” by Darussalam Publishers. All the sources in the book are from authentic and reliable scholars. May Allah (SWT) guides us on the right path and opens our hearts to fulfil our religious obligations with fervor and in the true spirit of Islam.