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Fasting is the fourth pillar of Islam and an obligatory act of worship. Allah (SWT) mentions fasting in the second chapter of the Quran:

O you who believe! Observing the fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become the pious” [Al-Baqarah 2:183]

Fasting in Islam means refraining from eating and drinking (or any immoral activities) from dawn to sunset. A fasting day starts with a pre-dawn meal and ends with Iftar, the breaking of the fast. The length of the fast depends on the part of the world you reside in, as the number of daylight hours varies across the world. In the UK, a fasting day in Ramadan 2024 will comprise roughly of 14 hours. UKIM provides the latest updates on our prayer timetable and fasting times for Ramadan 2024.

Useful Tips on Meals and Health Issues

We need to choose wisely when it comes to preparing meals for Suhoor and Iftar. Traditionally, a lot of communities prepare treats like samosas or other fried snacks for Iftar. While it is okay to enjoy this part of Ramadan, particularly when it comes to motivating children to fast, we need to store enough energy to help us with our routine jobs during the day.

Our body needs healthy and nutritious food to go through the day without feeling lethargic or dehydrated. Food rich in fibre and low protein helps us keep going throughout the day and includes fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, and fish. Lentils, rice, and wholemeal bread also make up healthy food and can be used easily for delicious meal recipes. Dates are confirmed in the Sunnah diet and form an inseparable part of food during Ramadan. Watermelon is also a highly popular choice with those who fast as, apart from being a good source of fibre, it contains 90% water to keep us well-hydrated.

Those who love tea and coffee can also benefit from some clever tips on how to survive without the intake of caffeine throughout the day. Some people mention the weaning process in this regard, which means minimising the number of mugs we drink every day gradually over a few weeks preceding Ramadan. It helps our bodies adjust in an easier and better manner. In case of headaches and migraines, taking the prescribed tablets before Suhoor is highly effective.

Similarly, asthma inhalers and other medicines should be taken at Suhoor to keep in good health. In case of an illness that requires medication or food/water intake during the day, the individual is allowed to miss the fast and make up for it later.

Remember to consult your doctor and Imam before the start of Ramadan, so you have the necessary information. In case of severe weakness, old age or a permanent illness preventing an individual from fasting, Fidya can be given. Check out UKIM’s website for more information.

Rules Around Fasting

Like all acts of worship, there are certain rules around fasting that need to be observed for the fast to be valid. In the first place, we need to make an intention to fast before it begins. For Ramadan fasts, an intention made at the beginning of the month will suffice, according to some scholars.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not intend to fast before dawn, there is no fast for him.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 730)

According to some scholars, there is no specific dua for beginning each fast; instead, simply having the intention in the heart is enough. But some sources recommend the following dua to be read before the fast.

وَبِصَوْمِ غَدٍ نَّوَيْتُ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ 
-[Abu Dawud]

Wa bisawmi ghadinn nawaiytu min shahri ramadan.

I intend to keep the fast for tomorrow in the month of Ramadan.

Some other rules include the prohibition of eating, drinking and intimacy between couples. The fasting person is also prohibited from engaging in verbal abuse, swearing, or fighting.

Type of Things That Invalidate the Fast

According to mainstream scholars, the following matters invalidate the fast:

  • Eating or drinking,

Anything that is regarded as coming under the same heading as eating and drinking, e.g., blood transfusion,

  • Intercourse,
  • Masturbation,
  • Letting blood by means of cupping,
  • Vomiting deliberately,
  • The blood of menses and post-natal bleeding.

It is permissible to use a toothbrush, take a shower, use perfume, and have a nap or sleep during the fast.

Those Who Are Exempt from Fasting

There are certain people who are exempt from fasting. This includes conditions like sickness, travelling, pregnancy and breastfeeding, menses or post-natal bleeding, extreme old age and being overtaken by intense hunger and thirst in cases of war, famine, etc. Those who can make up the fast later should do so whenever possible after Ramadan until the next one. But those with on-going illness, extreme old age and the like are allowed to pay fidya.

Duas for Fasting

The following duas and supplications are useful to remember for fasting.

  • When the Crescent Moon is Sighted:

اللَّهمَّ أَهلَّهُ علينَا بالأمنِ والإيمانِ والسَّلامةِ والإسلامِ ربِّي وربُّكَ اللَّهُ

Allahumma ahillahu alayna bil-amni wal-iman was-salaamati wal-islam. Rabbi wa rabbuka Allah.

Oh Allah, make it a start full of peace and faith, safety and Islam. My lord and your lord is Allah.

  • The Dua for Vreaking Your Fast:

ذهب الظمأ وابتلت العروق وثبت الأجر إن شاء الله
-[Abu Dawud]

Dhahaba adh-Dhama’ wabtallatil-urooq wa thabatal-ajr inshaa’Allah.

Thirst is gone, the veins are wet, and the reward is confirmed by the will of God.

  • The Dua for Breaking Your Fast With a Group of People.

أفطر عندكم الصائمون ، وأكل طعامكم الأبرار ، وصلت عليكم الملائكة
-[Ibn Majah]

aftara indakum as-saa’imoon, wa akala ta’aamakum al-abraar, wa sallat alaikum al-malaa’ikah.

May the fasting people break fast at your place, and may the pious eat from your food, and may the angels pray for you.

  • Dua to Recite on Layla-tul-Qadr:

اللَّهمَّ إنَّك عفُوٌّ تُحبُّ العفوَ فاعْفُ عنِّي

Allahumma innaka afuwwun tuhibbu al-afwa fa’fu anni.

Oh! Allah, you are forgiving, and you love forgiveness, so forgive me.

 Pay Fidya with UKIM

If you’re exempt from fasting, you’re still able to fulfil your religious duty by way of fidya. UKIM accepts your fidya donations – donate today.

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