- Fasting Definition
1. Fasting in Islam is to refrain from eating, drinking, etc. — which will be discussed later in details — the whole day (from fajr until maghrib) in order to obey the Allah's order.
- Types of Fasting
2. There are four types of fasting:
- Obligatory fast, like during the month of Ramadan;
- Mustaḥabb fast, like during the months of Rajab and Sha'bān;
- Makrūh fast, like on the day of 'Āshūrā;
- Ḥarām fast, like on Eid ul-Fir (the first of Shawwāl) and Eid ul-Adha (the tenth of Dhi al-Hajjah).
3. Obligatory fasts are as follows:
- Fast during the month of Ramadan;
- Qaḍā’ fast;
- Kaffārah fast;
- Parents' qaḍā’ fast;
- Mustaḥabb fast which became obligatory due to nadhr, 'promise', or 'swear';
- Fast on the third day of i'tikāf
- Fast instead of slaughtering in tamattu' haj * .
* If a pilgrim is not able to slaughter and cannot borrow money, he should, instead, fast for ten days, of which three days is kept during haj and seven days in his waṭan.
Fast on the day of 'Āshūrā
4. Is it allowed to fast on the day of 'Āshūrā?
A: It is makrūh.
5. I heard that silence fast is ḥarām while some say it is ḥalāl in case of nadhr, is it true?
A: It is ḥarām.
Fast of One's spouse/child
6. Naming ḥarām fast, they include: fast of the wife in case it violates the right of the husband and fast of a child in case it hurts/annoys the parents. Do they apply in mustaḥabb fasts only, or they include obligatory fast without shortage of time?
A: It does not include obligatory fasts.
- Sighting the New Moon
14. Are the beginning and end of Ramadan determined through sighting the crescent or by means of the calendar, even if Sha‘bān was not thirty days?
A: Deciding the beginning of any lunar month is possible through one of the following methods: sighting the new moon by the mukallaf himself; the testimony of two just witnesses to that effect; numerous reports that bring conviction that the moon has been sighted; completion of thirty days since the previous month’s beginning; or the decree of a mujtahīd.
15. In our city, they appoint the start of Ramadan on Friday without sighting the new moon and just by the passage of 30 days of Sha`bān while the start of latter was not ascertained. It would be appreciated if you tell us our duty for getting the full advantage concerning the practices of the month of Ramadan like the nights of qadr and recitation of the daily supplications.
A: If 30 days of the month of Sha`bān passed, it is the month of Ramadan even without sighting the moon of Ramadan, provided that the start of Sha`bān was acknowledged through a shar‘ī way; otherwise, the passage of 30 days has no shar‘ī standing. The qadr blessed nights are considered as a single continuous entity. For acquiring the virtue of these nights and that of the du`a' mentioned during special timing during the holy month, if the special time cannot be confirmed, one may get the virtue of them by adopting caution and repeating the prescribed practices mentioned for them.
During the Day, One Comes to Know It Is Ramadan
16. If they declare — before 'noon' — that it is the first day of Ramadan, what should we do for fasting of the same day?
A: If you have not done any fast invalidator, you should intend to fast, and fast. After Ramadan month, you should perform its qaḍā’ as well. If you have done one of fast invalidators, your fast is invalid. You should refrain from fast invalidators until maghrib — as a respect for the holy month of Ramadan — and perform its qaḍā’ After Ramadan month.
To Fast While the 1st of the Month Is not Ascertained
17. If it is difficult to ascertain the beginning of the month of Ramadan, or Eid ul-Fitr, because of inability to observe the crescent at the beginning of the month due to clouds or for some other reason, and if the count of the month of Sha‘bān or the month of Ramadan did not add up to 30 days, is it permissible for us in Japan to go by the horizon in Iran or should we rely on the regular calendar? What is the rule?
A: If the crescent has not been ascertained even by being sighted in an adjacent city of the same horizon, on the evidence of two just witnesses, or on the basis of a decree by a mujtahīd, it is obligatory to observe caution until the beginning of the month is ascertained.
Marji's Differ in Declaring Eid ul-Fitr
18. If the marji`s of taqlīd differ in determining the date of the Eid ul-Fitr, what is the duty of mukallaf? Should every individual act according to the view of the marji` they follow in taqlīd?
A: There is no taqlīd in ascertaining the start of a lunar month. Rather, if a person becomes sure about the sighting of the new moon through the words or the announcement of a marji` of taqlīd, they should break their fast and if they doubt it, they have to fast that day.
To Ascertain the Birth of the New Moon
19. If we are sure that the new moon is born and can be sighted, can we consider it as shar‘ī moon sighting even no one sights the moon?
A: If you are sure that the new moon is born and can be sighted — i.e. certainty regarding moon existence and possibility to see it, it means knowledge regarding start of new moon and as a result its shar‘ī effects are applied, even one has not seen the new moon.
Not Knowing the Possibility of Sighting the New Moon
21. If we are sure that the new moon is born, but we do not know whether or not it can be sighted, is it sufficient?
A: No, it is not sufficient.
Watching out for the New Moon
22. Is watching out for the new moon a kifā’ī obligation or something to be done as an obligatory caution?
A: It is not a shar‘ī duty in itself.
Time of Moon Sighting
23. As you know, one of the following three things occurs at the beginning or end of the each month: The crescent sets before the sunset; or the crescent sets along with sunset; or the crescent sets after the sunset. Please let us know which one of the three above-mentioned things is considered as a valid sighting of the new moon.
A: In all three cases moon sighting is considered valid starting from the night after its occurrence.
24. In some countries (like Sweden), it is not possible to see the moon from sunset up to two three days after its sighting in Iran because moon sets before sunset. To establish the month of Shawwāl, does it suffice to see the crescent before sunset?
A: It suffices to consider the night after sunset as the start of new month if one is sure that the crescent can be seen before sunset.
Sameness of Horizon and Its Criterion
25. Is the sameness of horizon considered to be a condition in regards to observing the crescent?
A: Yes, It is.
26. What is the sameness of horizon and which places are of the same horizon?
A: It means two cities/places are the same regarding how possible it is to sight the new moon in them.
To Establish the New Crescent in Cities of the Same Horizon
27. If the crescent of Ramadan month is sighted in a city, is it sufficient for the cities in which sun sets at the same time or two hours later?
A: If it is ascertained that they share the same possibility in sighting the crescent, it suffices for other cities; the mere difference in the time of sunset is not the criterion.
To Rely on the Horizon of Other Regions
28. If the twenty-ninth day of the month is Eid ul-Fitr in Tehran and Khorasan, is it permissible for the residents of areas like Bushehr to break their fast too, though the horizon of Tehran and Khorasan differs from the horizon of Bushehr?
A: In general, if the horizons of two cities are so different that the new moon cannot be seen in one of them when sighted in the other, its sighting is not sufficient for the residents of the cities where surely it is not possible to see the moon.
To Sight the Crescent in a City to the East
29. If the moon is seen in England, is it proved for the countries to the west?
A: If sighting the moon in a country is inseparable from (possibility of) sighting it in another one, it suffices for the latter. However, it is possible that sighting it in the eastern country is not inseparable from possibility of sighting it in the country to the west due to so much difference in their latitude.30.If moon is sighted in the eastern countries, is the new moon established for the countries to the west?
A: Although sighting the moon in an eastern country is usually inseparable from possibility of sighting it in the country to the west, sometimes it is not like that due to much difference in their latitude; the criterion is corollary between possibility of moon sighting in the two countries.
Regions of the Same Latitude as to Sighting the Crescent
31. North Canada is located at the same latitude as England, are they considered as having the same horizon?
A: The mere being located in the same latitude is not sufficient; rather, criterion is corollary between sighting the moon in one country and the possibility of sighting it in another one.
Two Regions of the Same Night
32. I am certain that in another country the new moon is born and it is possible to sight it while this country shares a part of night with my country. Does it have any effect for me?
A: The mere fact that they share a part of night is not sufficient to have the rules in common.
Criterion for Sighting the Crescent
33. Is the sighting of the new crescent through binoculars, telescope, retrieving the data saved in a computer or the like sufficient?
A: The sighting of the new crescent with an instrument does not differ from usual sighting and it is valid. The standard is to say it has been seen. Therefore, sighting with the naked eye, with glasses, and through telescope are ruled the same. However, computerized photographing of the crescent moon which cannot be clearly categorized as sighting is problematic.
- Sighting the Crescent by Two Just Witnesses
Sighting the Crescent by Two Just Witnesses
34. If several just persons witness that two just persons sighted the moon, is it ruled as the first of Ramadan/ Shawwāl month?
A: No, Two just persons themselves should tell us that they have seen the moon. If it is narrated by other people, it does not suffice unless it brings confidence that the crescent is sighted.
Discord among Witnesses as to Sighting the Crescent
35. If the Islamic scholars of a city differ regarding the new crescent and one considers all of them to be just and precise in their investigations, what is his duty?
A: If the difference between the two testimonies leads to contradiction, in the sense that one of them claims the new crescent has been substantiated and the other claims the opposite, one’s duty is to neglect both of them and act according to aṣl as far as fasting or breaking it is concerned. However, if the first group testifies to the sighting of the new crescent, but the second group does not know whether or not it is seen — i.e. some say they have seen the crescent and some say they did not see it — others should accept the view of the first group — if they are just — and break their fasts. The same rule applies when a mujtahīd issues a decree announcing substantiation of the new crescent. In the last case, All believers should follow the decree of the mujtahīd.
- To Get Confident as to Sighting the Crescent
Sighting the Crescent Declared from Radio/TV
36. If the crescent marking the beginning of Shawwāl is not observed in a city by the local people but the radio or television announces the beginning of Shawwāl, should the local people act upon the radio announcement, or should they ascertain by investigating whether Shawwāl has commenced?
A: If the radio or television announcement makes them feel sure that Shawwāl has commenced, or there is a decree by the Jurist Leader announcing the beginning of Shawwāl, then there is no need for further investigation.
To Guess Sighting of the Crescent as Said by Others
37. If we think that tomorrow is Eid ul-Fitr as some people said so, can we fast?
A: As long as one is not confident that tomorrow is Eid ul-Fitr and the first of Shawwāl, one should not break their fast.
To Maintain Validity of Astronomical Calculations
38. If one gets confident regarding the birth of the new moon and the fact that it can be seen with naked eye through astronomical calculations, can one rely on it in determining the first of Ramadan/ Shawwāl? Especially if it is said by the expert in the related field.
A: The mere confidence in astronomical calculations has no effect. However, one should act upon his knowledge and confidence in the existence of the crescent which can be sighted.
To Follow a Non-Islamic State in Sighting the Moon
39. If it is permissible to follow a government announcement regarding sighting the crescent and it constitutes a scientific criterion for the new month in other regions, is it limited to an Islamic government or does it include a tyrannical government?
A: The criterion in this regard is being confident that the crescent is sighted in a place where it is sufficient in relation to the mukallaf.
To Follow Sunnis in Sighting the Moon
40. Is it obligatory to follow Saudi Arabia in determining the tenth day of Dhi al-Hajjah? Or one may disobey their decision?
A: Pilgrims may act according to what Sunni judge said regarding sighting the moon and establishing the crescent.
Establishing the First of the Month Taking into Account the Moon Characteristic of the Next Days
41. If on the evening of Eid ul-Fitr, the moon appears as a very fine crescent having the same characteristic of the new crescent, does it mean that the next day is the first of Shawwāl and that the Eid was declared by mistake? Is one required to perform qaḍā’ for the last day of Ramadan?
A: The thinness or thickness of the moon and also its size and position in the sky are not shar‘ī evidence in deciding the first or second of a month. But if it brings conviction to the mukallaf, he is obligated to act in accordance with his knowledge in this case.
42. Can the night of the full moon, which is the fourteenth night of the month, be taken as a reliable basis for calculating the first day of the month so as to determine whether the Day of Doubt was the thirtieth of Ramadan and to apply its rule, for example, so that all who did not fast on that day may have evidence concerning the necessity to perform qaḍā’ for the thirtieth day of Ramadan and whoever fasted that day, considering Ramadan to continue, may know that he is free of obligation?
A: That which has been mentioned does not constitute shar‘ī evidence for anything mentioned. However, if it brings knowledge to the mukallaf, his obligation is to act in accordance with his knowledge.
- The Decree of a Mujtahīd as to the First Day of the Month
The Decree of a Mujtahīd
43. What is meant by "Should a mujtahīd issue a decree regarding moon sighting, it is binding for all"? Whom does it include?
A: By decree it is meant expressing view. It is not mere being known by him. By mujtahīd, it is meant the one enjoying all requirements and in the first step the Jurist Leader.
To Follow the Jurist Leader as to Moon Sighting
44. If the Leader of Muslims issues a decree announcing the next day as Eid ul-Fitr and the media report that the crescent has been cited in certain cities, does it determine the Eid for all the cities of the country or only those cities and those of the same horizon?
A: If the decree issued by the mujtahīd includes a country as a whole, it is valid for all cities in that country.
45. As you know, most Islamic scholars have written in their books on practical laws that the beginning of Shawwāl can be proved through five methods. However, being ascertained by a ḥākīm of shar' is not among those methods. Thereby, how can most people break their fasts when the beginning of Shawwāl is ascertained by marji‘s?
A: Until a ḥākīm of shar' issues a decree announcing the sighting of the new crescent, the mere ascertaining of it by him is not sufficient for others to follow him unless they are convinced thereby of the birth of the new moon.
Informing Ḥākīm of Shar' about Moon Sighting
46. A person sees the new crescent and knows that the city’s ḥākīm of shar' is not able to see the crescent for some reason. Is it his duty to inform the ḥākīm of shar' that he has observed the crescent?
A: It is not his duty to do so unless it leads to a vile consequence.
Ḥākīm and Follower in Regions of Different Horizon
47. Should the decree issued by a ḥākīm be followed by those residing in faraway regions?
A: Decree of ḥākīm is not applicable to the regions of different 'horizon'.
- Eid ul-Fitr Prayer
Eid ul-Fitr Prayer in the Time of Occultation of the 12th Imam (a.s.)
249. What kind of obligatory duties are the two Eid prayers and Friday prayer in your opinion?
A: The two Eid (Fitr and Adha prayers are not obligatory, rather they are mustaḥabb in the present time but the Friday prayer is an optional (takhyīrī) obligation.
Leading Eid Prayer by an Imam Who Is not Appointed by the Jurist Leader
250. In the present time — that the jurist leader has an authority — is leading Eid prayer only possible for the jurist leader and his authorized representatives or other imams of congregational prayer in masjids and other places can lead it?
A: There is no problem in leading Eid prayer by those who are not appointed by the jurist leader hoping being desired by shar` (with rajā' intention) and not for its being mentioned in the Islamic tradition. That said, although it is better not to be led by them.
Leading Eid Prayer by Imams of Congregational Prayer in Masjids
251. In the past, every imam of congregational prayers used to perform Eid ul-Fitr prayers in his masjid. Is it permissible for imams of the masjids in the current time to hold the two Eid prayers?
A: At the time being, it is permissible for the representatives of the Jurist Leader — who are permitted by him to hold Eid prayers — and also for the Friday prayer imams, who have been appointed by him, to hold Eid prayers in congregation. As for any other individual, it is based on caution to perform them individually. It is no problem if they perform the two prayers in congregation as something hopefully — not surely required — desired in Islamic law. If it is deemed necessary/beneficial that only one Eid prayer be held in a city, it is preferable not to be led by anyone other than the Imam of Friday prayer appointed by the Jurist Leader.
Saying Iqāmah before Eid Prayer
252. Does Eid ul-Fitr prayer have any iqāmah?
A: It does not have any iqāmah.
253. If an imam of congregational prayer recites iqāmah for Eid ul-Fitr prayer, what will be the rule of his prayers and that of others who are praying behind him?
A: It harms neither the Eid prayer of the imam nor those of the followers.
To Join Friday or Eid Prayer during the 2nd Rak`ah
254. If someone joins the prayer of Eid ul-Fitr/ Eid ul-Adha or Friday prayer during the 2nd rak`ah, what is their duty?
A: They should complete the remaining part of the prayer individually.
To Make more or less Qunūts in Eid Prayer
255. Does any increase or decrease in the qunūt of Eid prayers make them invalid?
A: Prayers are not invalidated by this if by increase or decrease it is meant to elongate or shorten the qunūt itself. While if it means increase or decrease in the number of the qunūts, one should offer the Eid prayer as it is mentioned within the books of jurisprudence.
To Doubt the Qunūt of Eid Prayer
256. If one doubts the number of qunūts in Eid ul-Fitr or Eid ul-Adha prayer, i.e. unsure whether he has done four or five qunūts, what shall he do?
A: Unless he passed its place, he should consider the lesser number.
To Delay Eid Prayer for Unity Purpose
257. Is it alright, for the purpose of maintaining unity and solidarity, to offer Eid prayer on the 2nd of Shawwāl especially with the presence of some hadiths which indicate the permissibility of offering Eid prayer on the 2nd or 3rd day of Shawwāl?
A: Whatever the case is, to offer Eid prayer on the 2nd day of the month of Shawwāl as something hopefully desired in Islam is no problem.
Making up for Eid Prayer in Qaḍā’
258. Is there any qaḍā’ for Eid ul-Fitr prayer?
A: It does not have any qaḍā’.
- Hired Fasts
To Perform Qaḍā’ Fasts on behalf of a Living Person
308. My father has some qaḍā’ prayers due but he cannot offer them and I am the family’s eldest son. Is it permissible — while he is still alive — that I perform his missed prayers or hire someone to perform them?
A: It is not correct to perform the missed prayers and fast on behalf of a living person.
To Pay from the Father's Estate for His Fasts
309. Someone dies while owning only a house where his children live and he has some missed prayers and fasts to perform. His oldest son cannot do so for him because of his daily occupations, is it obligatory to sell the house and have his missed prayers and fasts performed?
A: In the given case, it is not obligatory to sell the house. But the performance of the missed prayers and fasting, which were obligatory for the father, is the duty of his eldest son in all cases except if the deceased person ordered in his will that someone be hired by the one-third of his estate for that purpose and that amount is sufficient for all of the prayers and fasts that are obligatory for him. In this case, it will be obligatory to spend one third of the property left for this purpose.
Duty of the Eldest Son as to Willed Fasts
310. I am the eldest son of my father, hence I am responsible for performing any outstanding prayer and fast my father owed. However, my father has directed in his will that one-year of prayer and fast should be performed. How should I go about the fact that more than one year of prayer and fast is outstanding?
A:The instructions of the deceased to clear any outstanding prayer and fast should be catered for from his share of one-third of the estate if he has directed thus. Accordingly, it is within your right to hire a person to perform the outstanding prayer and fast. Should the outstanding duration be more than what he directed in his will, you have to perform it on his behalf, albeit by hiring a person to do it with money paid from your own pocket.
Estate's Insufficiency for Qaḍā’ Fasts
311. A person died while he had to perform the qaḍā’ of some fasts of Ramadan and some prayers. He has no son. However, he left behind a certain amount of wealth. If this wealth is spent for the performance of the qaḍā’ of his missed fasts, the qaḍā’ of his prayers will remain outstanding and vice versa. In this situation, which one of the two should be given priority over the other?
A: None of the fasts and the prayers has any priority. It is not obligatory for the heirs to spend his wealth for making qaḍā’ of his fasts and prayers unless he left a will that someone is hired, out of the one third of his wealth, to perform of his qaḍā’ prayers and fasts as much as 1/3 of his wealth can afford.
Elder Son's Hiring Someone for His Father's Qaḍā’ Fasts
312. If eldest son wants to hire someone to perform his father's qaḍā’ fasts, can he pay from his father's estate?
A: No, he should perform them himself or pay from his own pocket to hire someone else to fast. He has no right to use his father's estate unless the father had made a will (to this effect).
To Be Hired While Owing Kaffārah of Nadhr or Swear
313. A person owes some fasts due to kaffārah of nadhr or swear, can he accept the request to be hired to fast on behalf of another person?
A: There is no objection to it.
To Be Hired While Owing Kaffārah/ Qaḍā’ Fasts
314. A person owes kaffārah/qaḍā’ fasts, can he fast on behalf of others for free/for compensation?
A: It is no problem to be hired to do so while doing so for free is problematic.
Attorney's/Agent's Negligence in Performing Qaḍā’ Fasts/Prayers
315. Someone acted as an attorney in hiring other people to perform certain acts of worship, such as prayer and fasting, on behalf of the deceased. He betrayed the trust, i.e. he did not hire anybody and took the money for himself. Having shown remorse, he wants to pay back his dues. What should he do? Should he hire some people to do the job or return the money to the respective owners at the current rate? Or is he required to return only the amounts he originally received from the people who asked him to do the job? And what is the view if this person himself was hired to do the job, but died before getting it over and done with?
A: If the contract of being attorney has already expired before hiring anybody to perform the prayer and fasting, he should be made to pay compensation equal to the amount of money he received for getting the job done. Otherwise, he has the choice between hiring someone to perform prayer and fasting with the money he received or canceling the contract and returning the money to the owners. In case, there was a change in money value, it is a caution that both parties reach reconciliation.
As for the hired person, if he was hired to do it himself, the contract is automatically cancelled with the death of the person. It would then be obligatory that the money he received be paid back from his estate. If he was hired either to do the job or to have it done, he would still be responsible for discharging the work itself. In this case, his inheritors have to hire someone to discharge the work with money set aside from his estate if he has such estate. Otherwise, they do not have to do anything.
Kaffārah of Breaking Fast by a Hired Person
316. A person was hired to perform qaḍā’ fasts of the month of Ramadan for somebody else, and he breaks the fast in the afternoon. Does he have to pay the kaffārah?
A: No kaffārah is required.
To Make a Will as to Qaḍā’ Fast by Someone Other than One's Heirs
317. A martyr had made a will asking his friend to perform the qaḍā’ of some fasts on his behalf as caution. However, the martyr’s heirs do not give significance to such issues and it is not possible to put the matter before them. Moreover, fasting would involve hardship for that friend. Is there any other solution?
A: If the martyr had made a will asking the very friend to fast on his behalf, the martyr’s heirs do not have any obligation in this regard. If it is too difficult for the friend to fast, he also does not have any obligation.