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Ramadan 101

To kick start the #puasapedia series, we prepared a cheat sheet for you on 3 things we can do to make our fasting more complete.

1. Is there a niyyah for the pre-dawn meal (sahur) and for the breaking of the fast?

There is no niyyah for the predawn meal nor for the breaking of the fast. The only niyyah that is needed is for the act of fast itself. Instead, it is recommended to read the supplication (doa) for eating and drinking, before one takes the pre-dawn meal and before one breaks fast.

During the breaking of the fast, you can also read an additional prayer:

O Allah! For You I fasted, in You I believe, and upon Your bounty I have broken the fast.

When should we state our intentions (niyyah) for the fast?

Majority of the scholars are of the opinion that the stating of one’s intention to fast (niyyah) can be done at the onset of the month of Ramadan with that person stating their intention to fast for the whole of Ramadan.

The niyyah then has to be re-stated each night before the next day’s fast; especially if one has not fasted continually, for whatever reason.

The niyyah can be stated between dusk (maghrib) and dawn (subuh) before the next day’s fast. The niyyah is as such:

I am performing the fast tomorrow to fulfill the obligation of Ramadan for Allah ta’ala.

Can I say my niyyah for the entire month instead of saying it daily?

Scholars have different views on this. According to Hanafi scholars, you may say your Ramadan Fasting niyyah for the entire month. Shafi’i scholars however made it a condition to say the niyyah daily. You may thus choose to say it daily in addition to saying it on the onset of the month. This can help ensure that if you happen to forget to say it daily, then you have at least said it at the onset of the Ramadan.

2. I was having the pre-dawn meal when the DJ on the radio said it was time for imsak. Is my fast still valid?

Fasting begins at dawn (fajar/subuh) and lasts until sunset (maghrib). The announcement of imsak serves as a reminder that fajar is approaching and that one should finish eating as soon as possible. This is to avoid being caught unaware with food in one’s mouth when the call to prayer for fajar is being made. If you were still eating during imsak but have stopped before fajar, your fast is still valid.

3. If I deliberately break my fast in Ramadan for no valid reason, how can I make up the fast?

If you break your fast without a valid reason, it is counted as a sin because you have contravened one of the pillars of Islam. This requires an immediate repentance to Allah s.w.t. and a vow never to do it again. You also have to make up for the day of the fast.

However, you have missed out on great rewards for that fast which you have deliberately missed and made up for – because making up for the missed day is in no way the same as having fasted in Ramadan itself.

Abu Hurairah R.A narrated that the Holy Prophet s.a.w. has said:

"Whomever breaks his fast in Ramadan without any valid reason (rukhsah), and not because of an illness, he/she can never make up for the fast he has missed, even if he had fasted the rest of his days."

We hope these short answers to FAQs helps you to attain a more fulfilling Ramadan insyaAllah! Just remember to niyyah, sahur (it’s Sunnah!) and observe lasting from food, drinks and things that invalidate fast (ooh we shall talk about this in another episode).

All answers were advised by the Office of Mufti (OOM). For a full listing of Ramadan FAQs answered by OOM, download the booklet here.

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