Ahkam-us-Siyam: The Rules of Fasting

Muslims use the Islamic calendar, also known
as the Hijri calendar. The Islamic also consist
of twelve months. The Islamic is based on the
The Beginning of the Islamic Calendar
The Islamic calendar begins with Al-Hijrah the
journey of the Prophet (saws) from Makkah to
Madinah. This is why the calendar is called
the Hijri calendar. Omar ibn Al-Khattab was
the first Khalifah to introduce the Hijri
The lunar month starts when the moon appears in
crescent shape. This is called the “new moon”. Slowly,
the crescent shape becomes thicker and thicker. A
full moon occurs in the middle of the month. Then
the full moon starts to go back to its crescent shape
and gets thinner and thinner, until it disappears. That
is the end of the lunar month.
The moon revolves around Earth. This is what causes
the changes in the moon’s shape. One lunar month is
either 29 or 30 days.
Gregorian calendar follows the pattern of the sun,
Gregorian months usually have 30 or 31 days.
Therefore, there the Lunar year is 354 days while the
Solar year is usually 365 days long.
ً ‫ض َيا ًء َو ْال َق َم َر ُن‬
‫از َل لِ َتعْ لَمُوا َع َد َد‬
ِ ‫س‬
َ ْ‫ه َُو الَّ ِذي َج َع َل ال َّشم‬
َِٰ ‫ورا َو َق َّد َرهُ َم َن‬
َّ ‫اب ۚ َما َخلَ َق‬
ِّ ‫ُي َف‬
ۚ ‫ك إِ َّّل ِِ ْال َح ِّق‬
ِ ‫ص ُل ْاْل َيا‬
َ ِ‫َّللا ُ َذل‬
َ ‫ين َو ْال ِح َس‬
َ ‫ت لِ َق ْو ٍم ال ِّس ِن‬
َ ‫َيعْ لَم‬
It is He Who made the sun a shining thing
and the moon as a light and measured out for
it stages, that you might know the number of
years and the reckoning. Allâh did not create
this but in truth. He explains the Ayât (proofs,
evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations,
etc.) in detail for people who have knowledge.
:‫ قال رسول َّللا صلى َّللا عليه وسلم‬:‫ عن اِن عمر رضي َّللا عنه‬
“‫”الشهر تسعة أو ثالثون‬
Ibn Omar reported that Rasoolullah (saws)
said “A month is twenty nine or thirty days.”
ِ ‫َّللا ْاث َنا َع َش َر َشه ًْرا فِي ِك َتا‬
ِ َّ ‫ب‬
ِ َّ ‫ُور ِع ْن َد‬
ِ ‫ إِنَّ ِع َّد َة ال ُّشه‬
“The count of month (in the year) for Allah are
twelve in the book of Allah.”
There are 12 months in the Islamic year, just
like in the Gregorian year. The following table
lists all the Islamic month in the lunar year.
Month( English)
‫ محرم‬Muharram
‫ صفر‬Safar
‫ رِيع اّلول‬Rabee’-ulAwwal
‫ رِيع الثاني‬Rabee’-uthThani
‫ جمادى اّلول‬Jumadal-awwal
‫ جمادى الثاني‬Jumad-Thani
‫ رجب‬Rajab
‫ شعِان‬Shab’ban
Main Events
The birth of the
The death of the
Isra’ and Mi’raaj
‫ شوال‬Shawwal
‫ ذوالقعدة‬Dhul-Qi’dah
‫ ذوالحجة‬Dhul-Hijjah
Every year the beginning of Ramadan brings
new challenges to the Muslim community.
Should Ramadan begin with the sighting of
the moon locally? Do we rely on the
calculations of the new moon by an
observatory? These and many other questions
are often asked at the beginning of Ramadan.
This problem is because many Muslims do
not understand the fine details that go into
the beginning of Ramadan according to the
books of Islamic Fiqh.
The month of fasting starts with the beginning of
he lunar month of Ramadan. This event is
confirmed traditionally by sighting the new
crescent moon by the sunset of the 29th day of
the lunar month of Sha’ban. If the crescent moon
is not seen, Muslims wait until the thirty days of
Shaba’ban are completed, then they start fasting
of Ramadan.
Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet
instructed: “Fast after you have seen it (the new
crescent) and end the fast (at the end of the
month) when you see it. If it is hidden from you,
then wait until the thirty days of Sha’ban have
According to the majority of imams, the
report on only one pious person is accepted
to decide the beginning of Ramadan. Ibn
Umar said: “ The Prophet were for the new
moon and when I reported to the Messenger
of Allah that I had seen it, he fasted and
ordered the people to fast.”
Concerning the new moon of Shawwal is
confirmed by sighting the crescent moon by
the sunset of the 29th day of Ramadan or by
completing thirty days of Ramadan. Most
fuqahaa, or jurist, state that the new moon
Shawwal must have been reported by at least
two pious witnesses.
Many contemporary scolars started now to accept
accurate astronomical information to determine
the beginning and end of Ramadan and other
lunar months. The use of astronomical data is
now acceptable to many contemporary scholars,
Islamic reigious organisations and countries.
There are still many other scholars and antities
who are still studying this issue are prefered to
base their decision on the actual observaqtion of
the cresent moon in the beginning and end of
Sawm is the abstaining of food, drink, and sexual
intercourse from dawn until sunset with the explicit
intention of doing so for the sake of Allah. Fasting can be
broken down into five separate types or categories.
1. Fard ‫فرض‬: This is fasting done during the whole month
of Ramadan once a year.
2. Wajib ‫واجب‬: This refers to fasts that are made to :
- fulfill a nathr, or a vow on a specific day or date for the
sake of Allah, upon the fulfillment of someone,s wish or
- Make up for a day or more you missed fasting in
- Fasting as a Kaffarah or expiation to expiate a religious
mistake you made including ; including, but not limited to,
an oath you broke, a killing by mistake, and other
3. Sunnah ‫سنة‬: This refers to fast that are
made according to the noble example of
Rasoolullah like fasting ‘Ashouraa’ on 10th of
Muharram or the Day of ‘Arafah on the 9th of
thul Hijjah.
4. Mustahabb ‫مستحب‬: This refers to all fasts
that are encouraged outside the ob;igatory
fasts such as fasting on Mondays and
thursdays, and 13th, 14th and 15th days of
every month.
5. Haram ‫حرام‬: Such as fast on the first days of
Eid ul Fitr, Eid ul Adhaa, and the days of
Tashreeq during Hajj (11th, 12th and 13th days
of Thul-Hijjah) for the pilgrims.
1. Niyyah: The Intention to fast
The sincere intention to fast is a necessary act
of fasting. Sincere intention allows you to put
away the troubles of the world and concentrate
solely on fulfilling Allah orders.
It is not necessary to express the intentions
verbally, because sincere intention is placed in
the heart. However it is permissible to express
intention verbally also. Intention should made the
night before each day that tomorrow I will fast.
The voluntary fasts can be intended up until the
time of the early morning until noon.
Fast starts from dawn and ends at sunset
every day. A Muslim stops eating slightly
before Fajr and breaks the fasting
immediately at sunset.
Du’aa for breaking the fast
‫ ”الهم لك صمت وعلى رزقك أفطرت ذهب الظمأ واِتلت العروق وثِت‬
“‫األجران شاء َّللا‬
 O Allah I fasted for you alone, and broke my
fast by eating what you have given me. Thirst
is over, my flesh is watered, and my reward
for fasting is approved by the will of Allah.
- Sohoor:‫ سحور‬Sohoor is a pre-dawn meal that takes
place right before Fajr prayer. It is of the
Delaying the Sohoor:
It is also Sunnah of the Prophet to do so late as
possible without eating after the Fajr adhan has been
- Immediately breaking fast: It is Sunnah of the
Prophet (saws) to break his fast immediately upon
sunset. You shouldn’t delay breaking fast. This is a
reward from Allah that we may eat immediately after
the sunset.
Breaking the fast with dates:
Making intention during the night:
Fasting the first six days of Shawwal
It has been narrated that any six days during that
month are recommended to fast.
Abu Ayyuob al-Ansari reported that Rasoolullah
said: He who observed the fast of Ramadan and
then followed it with six (days) of Shawwal; it
would be as if he fasted forever.
Fasting on day of Arafah
Abu Qatada al-Ansari reported that
Rasoolullah(saws) was asked about fasting on the
day of Arafah whereupon he said: It expiates the
sins of the preceding year and the coming year.
In a Hadeeth related by Ibn Abbas (R) when the
Messenger of Allah came to Madina, He found
the Jews fasting the day of Ashuraa. He inquired
why they did so. They replied that it was a good
day, the in which Allah delivered the Prophet
Musa and the children of Israel from their enemy,
Pharaoh. As Musa fasted that day. The Prophet
responded: I am closer to Musa than you. He,
then fasted the day and commanded the
believers to fast.
The Prophet was asked about fasting on the day
of Ashuraa , whereupon he said: it expiates the
sin of the preceding year.
Abu Qtqda Ansari (RA) reported that Allah’s
Messenger (saws) was asked about fasting on
Monday, whereupon he said: it is (the day)
when I was born and revelation was sent
down to me.
Osamah ibn Zayd narrated the Prophet (saws)
used to fast on Monday and Thursday.
Narrated by Hafsah Ummul Mu’minin : The
Prophet of Allah(saws) used to fast three days
every month: Monday, Thursday and Monday
in the next week.
1. What are the similarities and differences between Lunar
and Solar years?
2. Compare and contrast Islamic and Christian fasting.
3. Define: a. Suhoor b. Imsaak, Niyyah c. Aashouraa
4. What is the Lunar year made of? Support your answer
with an Ayah.
5. How many days in the Lunar month? Support your
answer with a Hadeeth.
6. What are the types of Siyam?
7. What are the mandatory actions of Siyam?
8. How a Muslim observes the Niyyah of fasting?
9. What should a fasting Muslim abstain from?
10. What are some of the optional fasting outside

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