Ramadan

Sinning while fasting [does it break the fast?]

It is reported that ‘Umar – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

Fasting does not mean keeping away from only food and drink, it also means keeping away from lying, falsehood, inanity and swearing [by Allāh without need].

It is reported that Ibrāhīm Al-Nakha’ī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

They used to say: lying breaks the fast.

It is reported that Mujāhid – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

There are two practices, if a person can keep himself from them, his fast will be secured for him: backbiting and lying.

It is related that Abul-‘Āliyah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

The fasting person is in a state of worship as long as he does not backbite. [1]

It is reported that Ḥafṣah bint Sīrīn – Allāh have mercy on her – said:

Fasting is a shield as long as one does not tear it, and tearing it is when you backbite. [2]

It is reported that Anas b. Mālik – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

If the fasting person backbites, his fast is broken. [3]

Notes

Explaining the meaning of sins breaking the fast, Shaykh Al-Islām Ibn Taymīyah – Allāh have mercy on him – states: [4]

It is related from some of the Salaf that backbiting, tale carrying and the likes break the fast, and it is mentioned as one opinion in the madhab of Imām Aḥmad. The final word on this issue is that Allāh the Exalted commanded people to fast in order to achieve piety (taqwā), and Allāh’s Messenger – praise and peace of Allāh be upon him – stated:

Whoever does not leave off false speech and acting by it; then Allāh is not in need of him abandoning his food and drink.

So if the fasting person does not achieve piety, he has not achieved what is intended through fasting, and so the reward of [his] fast will decrease in accordance [with how much he has gone against the intended goal, i.e. commensurate with his sins].

Righteous deeds have two intended goals: gaining reward and avoiding punishment. If a person fasts while also doing forbidden things, like backbiting, carrying tales between people or consuming what is forbidden and so on, he loses the reward.

Thus, when the imams say [backbiting etc.] does not break the fast, it means that the person who sins is not punished in the way a person who openly breaks his fast would be punished.

And those who said it does break the fast in the sense that the person has not achieved the intended goal behind fasting, or in the sense that he has lost the reward for fasting, then this statement is in agreement with the position of the imams.

One who says it breaks the fast in the sense that the person is to be punished for leaving [the fast], then he is in contradiction to the imams.

Conclusion

A person who disobeys Allāh while fasting hasn’t truly grasped the intent behind fasting. The real goal is to achieve piety and obedience of Allāh through the abandonment of food, drink and sin. Although a person who backbites, lies or does other sins is not considered to have physically broken his fast, he loses the reward of fasting and in this sense he has broken his fast.

Allāh knows best.

[1] Ibn Abī Al-Shaybah, Al-Muṣannaf articles 8975, 8980, 8981 and 8982.

[2] ‘Abd Al-Razzāq Al-Ṣan’ānī, Al-Muṣannaf articles 8975.

[3] Hunād b. Al-Saree, Al-Zuhd article 1204.

[4] Badr Al-Dīn Al-Ba’lī. Mukhtaṣar Al-Fatāwā Al-Maṣrīyah pp288, 289. 1st edn. 1418H. Dār Al-Kutub Al-‘Ilmīyah. Beirut, Lebanon.

Going to the mosque when fasting

Abul-Mutawakkil Al-Nājī reports:

When Abū Hurayrah and his companions fasted, they would sit in the mosque and say, “let us purify our fast.”

Hunād b. Al-Sarī, Kitāb Al-Zuhd, article 1207

Do you have to make up fasts consecutively? [Fiqh of Fasting]

Ibn ‘Abbās and Abū Hurayrah – Allāh be pleased with them – said, “There is no harm in making up [fasts of] Ramaḍān separately from one another.”

ʿAbd Al-Razzāq, Al-Muṣannaf 4:243; Ibn Abī Shaybah, Al-Muṣannaf article 9114; Al-Dāraquṭnī, Al-Sunan 2:193.

Abū ‘Ubaydah b. Al-Jarrāḥ – Allāh be pleased with him – said, when asked about making up missed fasts of Ramaḍān separately, “Allāh did not legislate upon you the breaking of the fast, and then cause hardship on you when making it up, so count the days [you excusably missed] and fast them as you wish.”

Ibn Abī Shaybah, op. cit. article 9133.

Anas b. Mālik – Allāh be pleased with him – said, “If you wish, make up [missed fasts of] Ramaḍān consecutively, or if you wish, make them up separately.”

Ibid. article 9115.

The Salaf and the Quran in Ramadan

It is reported that Al-Aswad [b. Yazīd Al-Nakha’ī] used to complete the recitation of the Quran in Ramadan every two nights; sleeping between al-maghrib and al-‘ishā. Outside of Ramaḍān, he used to complete a recitation every six nights.

Abū Nu’aym, Ḥilyatu Al-Awliyā` 1:250.

It is related from Al-Rabī’ b. Sulaymān, “Muḥammad b. Idrīs Al-Shāfi’ī used to complete reciting the Quran in the month of Ramadan sixty times, all in the prayer.”

Ibid. 4:107

It is reported that Abul-Ash-hab said, “Abū Al-Rajā` [Al-Aṭārudī] would complete with us a recitation of the Quran in the night prayers of Ramadan every ten days.”

Ibid. 1:348

It is reported that Qatādah used to complete a recitation of the Quran once every seven nights, and when Ramadan came, once every three nights. During the last ten nights, he would complete a recitation every night.

Ibid. 1:364

It is reported that Al-Bukhārī used to complete a recitation [of the Quran] once a day in Ramadan, and would pray after Tarāwīḥ every night, completing another recitation every three nights.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` 12:439

Notes

After mentioning some similar examples from the Salaf, Ibn Rajab says in Laṭā`if Al-Ma’ārif p319:

The prohibition of reciting the Quran in less than three days [found in some ahadith] refers to doing so regularly [throughout the year]. As for virtuous times, like Ramadan – especially the nights in which it is hoped Laylatu Al-Qadr will occur – or virtuous places, like Makkah – for those who enter it and are not residents there, then it is recommended to increase in reciting the Quran, making the most of the time and the place. This is the position of [Imam] Aḥmad, Isḥāq [ibn Rāhūyah] and other Imams, and the practice of others [from the Salaf] indicates [they held the same position].

Breaking the fast as soon as the sun sets [Sunnah of Fasting]

Sa’īd b. Al-Musayyib reports from his father, “I was once sitting with ʿUmar when a group of people arrived from Al-Shām. ʿUmar enquired about them and how they were; he asked, ‘Do the people of Al-Shām hasten to break the fast.’ He said, ‘Yes.’ [ʿUmar] said, ‘They will not cease to remain upon good as long as they do this, and do not wait for the stars [to come out] as the people of Irāq do.’”

ʿAbd Al-Razzāq Al-Ṣanʿānī, Al-Muṣannaf 4:225.

‘Amr b. Maymūn Al-Awdī reports, “The Companions of Muḥammad – Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him – used to be the quickest to break the fast and the slowest in taking the pre-dawn meal.”

Ibid. p226.

Ibn Al-Musayyib also reports that ʿUmar wrote to the commanders of the various regions, ‘Do not be of the procrastinators when breaking the fast, and nor of those who wait for the stars before they start praying [al-maghrib].’

Ibid. p225.

Mūsā b. Anas reports that Anas [ibn Mālik] used to have his slave-girl go to the top of his house, instructing her, ‘When the horizon becomes even (evenly lit, marking sunset), tell me.’

Ibn Abī Shaybah, Al-Muṣannaf 2:430.

Abū Al-Tiyāḥ Al-Ḍabaʾī reports that “he used to break fast with Ibn ʿAbbās during Ramaḍān. When evening approached he would send a girl from his household to the roof [to look out], and when the sun set he would make the call to prayer (adhān). He would eat with us, and when he had finished, the call for the commencement of prayer (iqāmah) would be given, and he would pray, and we would pray with him.”

Ibid. p429.