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When to Break a fast: After Maghrib prayer or before?

Question 389: Salamualekum members. Please, in the month of Ramadan, is it always required to break our fast before magrib prayer or we should pray before breaking the fast?

Answer 389: In the holy Quran Allah (swt) says: And eat and drink until the whiteness of the day becomes distinct from the blackness of the night at dawn Then complete the fast till night And have not contact with them while you keep to the mosques These are the Limits of Allah, so do not go near them Thus does Allah make clear His communications for men that they may guard (against evil).[1]

Fasting means that a person must, in obedience to the commands of Allah, from the time of Adhan for Fajr prayers up to Maghrib, avoid those things from which a person keeping fast must abstain.[2] Read More

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Breaking our fast after disappearing redness in the sky

Question 382: What if someone has reverted to Shia Islam but due to his Parents, he has to break some of his fasts or all the fasts on Sunni time. He, somehow, manages to do Sehri on Shia time, but sometimes breaks his fast on Sunni time. Does Allah still accept it considering his problem of not letting his parents know about it or he has to give fidiya? If yes, how much fidiya? Or he has to fast again in future when he can easily, as a remedy of those broken on Sunni time? So, what is the ruling on Breaking our fast after disappearing redness in the sky?

Answer 382: Fasting means that a person must, in obedience to the commands of Allah, refrain, from the time of Adhan for Fajr prayers up to Maghrib, from the things which invalidate the fast.[1]

To further explain, just before dawn a column of whiteness rises upwards from the east. It is called the first dawn. When this whiteness spreads, it is called the second dawn, and the prime time for Fajr prayers.[2] It is exactly the time to refrain from the things which invalidate the fast. Maghrib is the time when the redness in the eastern sky appearing after sunset disappears in the horizon.[3] This is the beginning of Maghrib time and the end of the time for imsak.

Therefore, as per the foregoing explanation, there is no imsak time other than the time between the Adhan for Fajr prayers and the Adhan for Maghrib prayers.

The grand jurists have said that in order to ensure that one has been fasting throughout this time, he should, as a matter of precaution, begin abstaining a little earlier than the Adhan for Fajr prayers, and continue to refrain for a little after Maghrib, from acts which invalidate a fast.

What follows below is an answer to a similar question from Grand Ayatollah Khamenei:

Question: Given that the cities are developing and becoming larger every day and it is not possible to ascertain the exact time of Fajr, kindly let us know about the exact time of imsak for Fast and Fajr prayer.

Answer: The believers are asked to exercise precaution about imsak and the time for Fajr prayer. So, they should refrain from invalidating things from Adhan time as declared by the media and should offer their Fajr prayers five to six minutes after the Adhan for Fajr prayers.[4]

Note: Ayatollah Bahjat (ra) said: according to a mustahab precaution, for breaking your fast you need to wait till the redness in the eastern sky appearing after sunset disappears in the horizon. This means, if you are unable, due to observing taqiyyah, to wait till the redness disappears and are compel to break your fast on that time, your fast would be considered as valid.[5]

According to most of maraja’, you have to break your fast when the redness in the eastern sky appearing after sunset disappears in the horizon. Therefore, if you break your fast under duress (as you are compelled by your parents) before disappearing the redness (i.e. according to sunni time) you have to compensate your fast later, however Allah (swt) would accept it and there is no need to give Kaffarah. But, according to Ayatollah Bahjat (ra), your fast performed in this state is treated as valid. As a result, if you are following another marja’ you are able to act only in this issue based on the Ayatollah Bahjat’s fatwa.

The following are some recommendations you are supposed to observe in order to break your fast after disappearing the redness in the sky (i.e. according to Shia time):

– As it is mutahab to break your fast after prayers you should try to offer mustahab or qadha prayers.[6]

– Try to recite some verses of the holy Quran specially Surah al-Qadr or duas, Salawat or any kinds of Dikr.[7]

– Making Wudu.

– Making any excuses in order to refrain eating or drinking on that time.

If there is no possibility to do the above mentioned or other recommendations you don’t have to cause any distress and discomfort to your parents as it is forbidden.[8]

For further information, please refer to the following answer:

Index: Things from which a person keeping fast must abstain & Kaffarah (Expiation), answer 372.

Index: Studying in the month of Ramadhan is not a valid excuse to escape fasting, answer 572.

Index: Using Asthma Inhaler does not break the Fast, answer 575.

Index: Number of things which are disapproved (Makruh) for a person observing fast, answer 566.

Index: Fasting and prayers of a traveler who travel after Zuhr, answer 384.

Index: Qada Fast for a person reverted to Islam, answer 196.

Index: Rules of prayers and fasting performed without ghusl, answer 034.

Index: Fast in countries with long days, answer 106.

Index: Niyyat for Fasting: How to make intention to Fast Ramadan, answer 627.

Index: Rules concerning tooth brush (Miswak) during fasting, answer 391.

[1] –  Tawzih al-Masail (with annotation by Imam Khomeini), vol.1, pg. 880.

[2] – Ibid, vol.1, pg.411

[3] – Khomeini, Sayyid Rohullah Musavi, Tawzih al-Masail (by Imam Khomeini), pg.164, issue No.730, First, 1436 A.H;  Jawahir al-Kalam, Vol. 16, Pg. 384.

[4] – Tawzih al-Masail (with annotation by Imam Khomeini), vol.1, pg.440; Khamenei, Sayyid Ali, Answers to Jurisprudential Questions, pg. 73, Office of Grand Ayatollah Khamenei in Qom, Qom, Iran, First, 1424 A.H.

[5] . Tawzih al-Masael (with annotation of Imam Khomeini (ra)), Vol. 1, Pg. 407, Q 735.

[6] . Wasael al-Shia, chapter 7, rules concerning fast;  Sayyid Sistani (ha), issue 1718; Tawzih al-Masael (with annotation of Imam Khomeini (ra), Vol. 1, Pg. 969; Tabatabaee, Yazdi, Sayyid Muhammad Kazem, al-Urwa al-Wuthqa, Vol. 2, Pg. 213.

[7] . Wasael al-Shia, Vol. 10, Pgs. 149-151;  Jawahir al-Kalam, Vol. 11, Pgs. 384-385.

[8] . Imam Sadiq, peace be upon him, said: “If there was anything less than “fie” to cause distress and discomfort to parents, he would prohibit it and “fie” is the lowest level of hurting parents. One of the instances of causing distress is to gaze at the parents. See: Muhammad bin Ya’qub, Usul-e Kafi (translated by Mustafavi), vol.4, pg. 50, Islamic Book Store, Tehran, 1st edition.

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Masturbation and forget performing Ghusl in Ramadan

Question 141: If you masturbate during the night and forget to do ghusl, can you still perform ghusl when you wake up and fast that day?

Answer 141: The grand maraja’ answer in this regards is as follows: If one who becomes jonob during a night of the holy month of Ramadan and is sure or probably knows that if he goes to sleep he will wake up before morning Adhan (call to prayer) and do ghusl. So, if he falls asleep with the decision till Adhan, his fast would be considered as valid.

If one goes to sleep and wakes up later and knows or guesses that if he wants to go to sleep again he’ll wake up before morning adhan with the decision to do jinabat ghusl but he won’t wake up till adhan, then one must make his fast up.

There is no need to give Kaffarah even if he wakes up of the second sleep and goes to sleep for the third time and won’t wake up till adhan.[1]

Note: Masturbation is defined as self-stimulation of the sexual organ till one achieves emission of semen or orgasm. This applies to both men and women. This Self-satisfaction which is referred to as Istimna’ (masturbation) is a major sin and haram. It has a heavy punishment. If one has committed such forbidden act repentance and seeking God’s forgiveness would be sufficient for forgiveness.[2]

It should be noted that masturbation is one of the forbidden act which a person keeping fast must abstain. Ejaculation of the Semen, whether by masturbation, touching, kissing, rubbing (the male organ) on the thighs (of another person), or such other acts which are intended to cause discharge of semen. Rather even in case when the discharge of semen is not intended, but it was the usual consequence of the said act, in that case too it shall render the fast void. Of course, if ejaculation takes place without doing something which causes ejaculation in a person as a matter of his habit even without any intention on his part, it shall not render the fast void.[3]

For further information in this regards, please read the following answers:

Index: Rules concerning Janabat during night or day time in the month of Ramadan, answer 394.

Index: Things from which a person keeping fast must abstain & Kaffarah (Expiation), answer 372.

Index: Number of things which are disapproved (Makruh) for a person observing fast, answer 566.

Index: Rules of prayers and fasting performed without ghusl, answer 034.

Index:  Impermissibility of making Wudu after Ghusl, answer 035.

[1] . Tawzih al-masa’il (al-mohasha), vol 1, p 912, question 1627 . Ibid, p 914, question 1630.

[2] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules regarding masturbation.

[3] . Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini (ra), Vol. 1, Chapter on Things Which Must Be Refrained in a Fast.

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Niyyat for Fasting: How to make intention to Fast Ramadan

Question 627: Is it necessary for a person to pass the niyyat for fasting through his mind or to say that he would be fasting on the following day?

Answer 627: Intention (Niyyat) is a condition in fasting, so that a person intends to perform that ‘Ibãdat (devotional service) prescribed by Shari ah, and determines to keep himself away from all those things which invalidate it with the intention of obtaining closeness (to Allah).

If a person intends to abstain from all those things which vitiate a fast, but does not know that some of things have such effect, as, for example, enema, or considers that they have no such effect, but does not practice them, his fast shall be valid.

Similarly, if he intends to abstain from things which he knows are included among those which invalidate the fast, according to the stronger opinion, his fast shall be valid.

In a fast, after the intention of closeness to Allah and sincerity of purpose, there is no further condition in the intention except specifying the fast which one intends to keep in obedience to the command of Allah.

While keeping fast in the month of Ramadãn, it is sufficient to have the intention of keeping fast the next day without specifying it Rather, even if he has an intention of keeping fast other than of Ramadãn in that month due to negligence or forgetfulness, the fast shall be valid, and shall be counted among the fasts of Ramadan, contrary to the one who knows it, so that if he has such intention with knowledge, his fast shall be counted neither as a fast of Ramadãn nor otherwise.

According to the stronger opinion, it is indispensable in case of a fast for other than the month of Ramadàn to specify the particular category of the fast, such as for expiation, compensation or general vow (Nadhr) or a special vow.

It is sufficient to specify briefly, as when it is obligatory on him to keep a special category of fast, and he has the intention to keep fast which he owes, it would be sufficient.

Apparently there is no condition of any specification in a generally recommended fast, so that if a person has the intention of keeping fast the next day for the sake of Allah, it shall be valid, if it is the proper time for it, and the person be one for whom it is valid to keep fast voluntarily.

The same shall be the case if it were a specially recommended fast too, so that it is specified for a particular time, as the blank days (when there is no moon), Friday or Thursday.

Of course, in order to obtain a special reward, it is a condition that the person should keep fast at that particular day and with that special intention.[1]

Sayyid Sistani (ha) says: It is not necessary for a person to pass the niyyat for fasting through his mind or to say that he would be fasting on the following day. In fact, it is sufficient for him to decide that in obedience to the command of Allah he will not perform from the time of Adhan for Fajr prayers up to Maghrib, any act which may invalidate the fast. And in order to ensure that he has been fasting throughout this time he should begin abstaining earlier than the Adhan for Fajr prayers, and continue to refrain for some time after sunset from acts which invalidate a fast.

A person can make niyyat every night of the holy month of Ramadhan that he would be fasting on the following day, and it is better to make niyyat on the first night of Ramadhan that he would fast throughout that month.[2]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answers:

Index: Things from which a person keeping fast must abstain & Kaffarah (Expiation), answer 372.

Index: Studying in the month of Ramadhan is not a valid excuse to escape fasting, answer 572.

Index: Using Asthma Inhaler does not break the Fast, answer 575.

Index: Number of things which are disapproved (Makruh) for a person observing fast, answer 566.

Index: Fasting and prayers of a traveler who travel after Zuhr, answer 384.

Index: Qada Fast for a person reverted to Islam, answer 196.

Index: Rules of prayers and fasting performed without ghusl, answer 034.

Index: Fast in countries with long days, answer 106.

[1] . Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini (ra), Chapter on Intention (Niyyat); Tawzih al-Masael of Maraja’ (with annotation of Imam Khomeini), Vol. 1, Pgs. 881-905.

[2] . The Official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Fasting, Niyyat for Fasting.

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Fast in countries with long days

Question 106: As salaamu alaikum. How should Shi’ites who live so high up north on the planet fast in Ramadan? I mean the sun only sets for an hour and the sky stays bright the whole time, how/when to pray Isha and Fajr also?

Answer 106: The dignified religious authorities have different verdicts in this regard. There is no unanimity as to the fast in countries with long days. The issue is unconventional and based deduction.

Different jurists relying on the authoritative sources have given different answers. Some of them say that it is necessary for a person living in such places to act according to the timetable of a region that has ‘normal’ day and night hours. They are of the opinion that when it comes to abnormal subjects we must do what is normal in other places. There is no particular place which sets the standard for breaking fast.[1]

Some other jurisprudence say, “If a Muslim lives in a city where the days are abnormally long, it is still obligatory on him to fast and offer his prayers according to the horizon of his own place of residence, if he has the ability to do so. If he is not able to fast because the days are long or because fasting is unbearably difficult for him, in which case the obligation is forfeited and he should perform the qadhā later on. According to them, if you cannot fast at all due to such problems, the fast is not obligatory upon you, however, you have to make your missed fasts up later (E.g. in the winter).[2]

Sayyid Sistani (ha), says: 1. As for the first case, it is obligatory for a duty-bound [mukallaf] to move during the month of Ramadhan to a place with ‘normal’ day and night so that he can start fasting, if not, he should move after that month to fast as qadha (making up the missed fast).

  1. When it comes to the second scenario, in case the darkness recedes (decreases) little by little after sunset and then it starts increasing once again – be it after two or three hours –, when it starts increasing, it is then the starting time for fasting. And if the darkness or brightness presumably remains the same from the time of sunset until sunrise, the precaution is to take the middle point as the starting time for fasting and abstention from eating and drinking. The duty-bound can get rid of this precaution by moving to another city or place where regular dawn precedes sunrise. He should observe fast there or else he must go on a journey and observe the qadha of missed fast later.
  2. As for the third case, it is still obligatory on the duty-bound [mukallaf] to fast from dawn to dusk, if he has the ability to do so and if it does not put him to difficulty which is normally unbearable. He can also go on a journey so that he may not have to observe fast during the month but he will have to observe the qadha later. If fasting is not possible for him, he should either travel or should make niyyah of fasting at dawn and should abstain from eating and drinking until it becomes extremely difficult to fast in which case it is permissible to eat or drink at the time of extreme hunger and thirst, respectively, and the precaution is that he should suffice to the necessary amount (of food or water). He should continue fasting for the rest of the day, and he should also observe the qadha of that day after the month of Ramadhan and he will not be liable to any kaffara. God knows best.[3]

The late Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani (ra) said: They must fast. If they cannot fast or there is a fear of harm for health, they can break their fast and give the Qaza later.[4]

Note: please, remember that if fasting is not unbearably difficult for you, but you can’t fast all day long you are able to fast according to the timetable of a region that has ‘normal’ day and night hours.

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answers:

Index: Things from which a person keeping fast must abstain & Kaffarah (Expiation), answer 372.

Index: Studying in the month of Ramadhan is not a valid excuse to escape fasting, answer 572.

Index: Using Asthma Inhaler does not break the Fast, answer 575.

Index: Number of things which are disapproved (Makruh) for a person observing fast, answer 566.

Index: Fasting and prayers of a traveler who travel after Zuhr, answer 384.

Index: Qada Fast for a person reverted to Islam, answer 196.

Index: Rules of prayers and fasting performed without ghusl, answer 034.

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Other Translation:

نمایه: روزه گرفتن و نماز خواندن در مناطقی که طول روز و شب زیاد است، سوال شماره 17

[1] . According to Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi (ha).

[2] . According to Ayatollah Khamenei (ha).

[3] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani, rules concerning Fasting and Long days.

[4] . The official website of the office of Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani (ra), rules of Fasting.

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Ascribing lies to Allah and his Prophet while fasting

Question 113: I was wondering, I know that ascribing lies to Allah acc the infallible (a) breaks ones fast, but is this only if someone says it to someone else? For instance what if someone kept a journal only for himself during Ramadan and then it turned out something he wrote was incorrect, would this break his fast? What if he ascribed a lie intentionally by writing?

Jazak Allah

Answer 113: Ascribing lies to Allah (SWT) and His Prophet (pbuh) is one of the things which invalidate our fast.

If a person who is observing fast, intentionally ascribes something false to Allah, the Almighty and the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and his vicegerents (a.s.), verbally or in writing or by making a sign, his fast becomes void, even if he may at once retract and say that he has uttered a lie or may repent for it. And, as a recommended precaution, he should refrain from imputing lies to Bibi Fatema Zahra (a.s.) and all the Prophets and their successors.

If a person intentionally ascribes to Allah or the Holy Prophet or the successors of the Holy Prophet a falsehood fabricated by some other person, his fast becomes void. However, if he quotes the person who has fabricated that falsehood, his fast will not be affected.

As a result, if he wrote something false to Allah and the Holy Prophet (pbuh) while he is fasting, his fast becomes void. Otherwise, if he wrote it in other months (excluding the holy month of Ramadan or a day he is fasting), his fast doesn’t become void. He must only repent to Allah (SWT), with sincere repentance! Maybe his Lord will absolve him of his misdeeds.[1]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index: Things from which a person keeping fast must abstain & Kaffarah (Expiation), answer 372.

[1] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Fasting » Ascribing lies to Allah and His Prophet.

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Fasting on Arafat Day / Mustahab Fast

Question 455: Salam alaikom. Is it compulsory to fast on the day of Arafah? Can you please tell us those days on which we have been strongly recommended to fast?

Answer 455: There are no restrictions limiting the times of fasting to a particular day, unless it is considered as haram on the day of Eid ul-Fitr and Qurban. It is recommended to fast on the Day of Arafa. But, if it is not possible for one to recite the Duas of ‘Arafa due to weakness caused by fasting, it is considered as Makruh to fast on that day. [1] Read More

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The Virtues of the Day of Arafat / Fast on this Day

Question 155: What are the virtues of the day of Arafat? Is it haram to fast on this Day?

Answer 155: There are numerous virtues claimed for the 9th of Dhu ’l-Hijjah which is known as yawm al-‘Arafah. This is the day where the pilgrims assemble on the plain of ‘Arafah to complete one of the essential rituals of the Hajj. Read More

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Nazr, Religious vows of Imam Sadiq on the 22nd Rajab

Question 343: Assalam o alAikum, I wanted to ask about Nazr (Religious vows) of 22nd Rajab ul Murjib. Which relates with Imam Jafer Sadiq as. In Pakistan and India Sunni and Shia are observing it every year. But, as I came across with some Saudi , Lebanese and Bahraini shia, they are not aware of it. Kindly explain

Answer 343: In Shia sources, there has not been mentioned any hadith related to this topic. Perhaps, the reason why the 22th day of Rajab has been considered as a joyful day unto the believer is that an enemy of Ahlul Bayt (pbuth) had been killed on this day, according to Sheikh Mufid.[1]

So, as a sign of gratitude for the perdition of the enemy (i.e. Muʿāwiyah ibn ʾAbī Ṣufyān), it is Mustahab to fast on this day.[2]

[1] . Sheikh Mufid, Muhammad bin Muhammad, Masar al-Shia, Pg. 59, Sheikh Mufid Congress, Qom, 1413 A.H.

[2] . Sayyid ibn Tawus, Iqbal al-A’mal, Pg. 667, Dar al-Kutub al-Islmaiya, Tehran, 1988; Ibid, Pg. 176.