Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on Fiqh of Fasting
الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي بنى دينَه على قواعد وأركان، وجعل منها صومَ رمضان، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدّى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين. أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر. قال الله تعالى في كتابه الكريم : شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنْ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ، فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمْ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ .
Allah says in His Noble Book, the translation of which is, “The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur'an was sent down as guidance for mankind, with Clear Signs containing guidance and discrimination. Any of you who witnesses the month should fast it.” Muslims, the month of Ramadan fast approaches. On Sunday night, Muslims throughout the globe will begin scouring the night skies, looking out for the new moon that will herald its start. And then, when that moon is seen, we will begin the obligatory fast, one of the five pillars of the deen of Allah mentioned by the Prophet in the famous hadith,
بُنِيَ الْإِسْلَامُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ وَحَجِّ الْبَيْتِ وَصَوْمِ رَمَضَانَ
“Islam is built on five (pillars); bearing witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, establishing the prayer, paying zakat, performing Hajj to the House and fasting Ramadan.” And as one of the five pillars, the foundations upon which the deen is built, it is imperative that every one of us who is mukallaf, who is an adult of sound mind, be fully aware of all that it entails and all the legal rulings relating to it. Those rulings may be divided into two categories - those relating to the start and finish of the month and those relating to the act of fasting itself.
Ramadan, like all the other months of the Islamic calendar, is lunar, beginning and ending with the appearance of the new crescent moon, known as the hilaal in Arabic. It is important to note, here, however, that the month does not begin when this new moon is born, but rather when it is physically seen, as is clear shown in the aya above, when Allah says,
فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ
the translation of which is, “Any of you who witnesses the month - i.e. the new moon - should fast it.” And in the hadith of the Prophet,
صوموا لرؤيتِه، وأفطروا لرؤيتِه، فإن غُمَّ عليكم فعُدُّوا ثلاثين
“Begin the fast when you see it and end the fast when you see it. If it is clouded over, however, then complete the thirty days.” So, the only way Ramadan can begin is either by a physical sighting of the new moon or by the completion of thirty days of Sha’ban, not by any prior calculation.
This physical sighting of the moon is not considered to be official or binding unless it has been seen by a large number of people when the skies are clear or by at least two ‘adls - men of unsurpassed trustworthiness - when the skies are cloudy. These people must then bear witness to their sighting in front of the Muslim leader of the locality or one of his representatives, and when and if he is convinced of the truthfulness of their claims, he then announces to the wider community the beginning of the official fast. Thus, the beginning and end of the fast is a political decision made by an amir based on the reports he receives and the testimonies he hears. In this way, the Muslims act as one body and the unity and cohesion of the community is preserved.
And everybody who lives in that community is required to abide by that decision, and not step aside from the group and follow some other country’s position. That is an act of dissent - indeed, it is an act of open defiance and rebellion to the leadership of the land and the leader is within his rights to punish whoever does that. When I was in Morocco, a group of people there decided to ignore the official position regarding the start of the month and to follow another country, namely Saudi Arabia, thereby spreading fitna in the land. And we all know what Allah says about fitna in the Quran:
وَالْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ
the translation of which is, “Fitna is worse than killing.” What was the response of the king? He put them all in prison until they agreed to abide by the ruling of the land. Thus is the wellbeing and unity of the community preserved. I cannot stress enough how important this is. This is not a deen of disparate individuals, it is a deen of jama’ah.
Yes, it is true that if you see the moon yourself and nobody else does, you personally are required to fast. But you must also keep the fact you are fasting secret from the wider community if the start of the month has not been announced so as to avoid fitna.
Every act of worship requires an intention, a niyya. The Prophet said in a famous hadith,
إنما الأعمالُ بالنيات
“Actions are by intention.” And that intention must be made upon the commencement of the act. And fasting is no different. The intention to fast Ramadan must be made in the night preceding the start of the month. The Prophet said,
لا صيامَ لمن لم يبيِّتِ الصوم
“He who does not make his intention to fast in the night before the fast has no fast.” This intention can be made at any time during the night, starting at Maghrib on the last day of Sha‘ban and continuing up to Fajr, but it is safest to make the intention before you go to sleep just in case you fail to wake up in time. If the intention is made before Maghrib or after Fajr, then the day must be made up and the intention must be renewed the following night. This one intention, according to Imam Malik, is sufficient for the entire month, although anyone whose fast is broken in the course of the month through menstruation, travelling or illness, must then make a fresh intention when they recommence their fast. Similarly, anyone for whom fasting is not obligatory, such as someone who is travelling or ill, must make a fresh intention to fast every night. This is the position of Imam Malik. As for Imam ash-Shafi’i and Imam Abu Hanifa, they consider it to be obligatory for everyone to make a fresh intention every night.
This intention of which we speak must be clear, specific and unambiguous - it is not enough to simply intend to fast, you must intend to fast the obligatory fast of Ramadan; and you must be certain that it is Ramadan you are fasting - you cannot take a guess, for instance, that Ramadan will start tomorrow and say, ‘I intend to fast Ramadan tomorrow if it is Ramadan.’ You have to know for certain. If, for some reason, Ramadan begins without you knowing about it and you start the day not fasting, you must make your intention and start fasting the moment you find out and make up another day after the end of the month. We ask Allah to give us all a clear intention and a firm resolve. And protect us from the waswas of Shaytan and the doubts and misgivings of our own selves.
أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم
الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين. أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته
We have talked a lot about fasting, but we have not yet mentioned what fasting entails. The Arabic word for fasting is sawm. Sawm, linguistically-speaking, means abstention, whether that be abstention from doing certain actions or abstention from speaking, like in sura Maryam when Allah commands Maryam to say:
إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لِلرَّحْمَنِ صَوْمًا
the translation of which is, “I have made a vow of silence to the All-Merciful...” In the context of the Shari‘a, however, the meaning of sawm is somewhat different - it means intentionally abstaining from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse between the times of Fajr and Maghrib. Allah says:
فَالْآنَ بَاشِرُوهُنَّ وَابْتَغُوا مَا كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الْأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا الصِّيَامَ إِلَى اللَّيْلِ
the translation of which is, “Now you may have sexual intercourse with them and seek what Allah has written for you. Eat and drink until you can clearly discern the white thread from the black thread of the dawn, then fulfil the fast until the night appears.” So, as long as night remains, we are free to eat, drink and engage in marital sex, but as soon as the first syllable of the adhan of Fajr rings out and the first crack of dawn appears on the horizon, all such activities must immediately cease.
Nothing whatsoever should be introduced into the body, even if it is not traditionally considered to be food or drink. Any deliberate inhalation of smoke or incense breaks the fast, as does any medication which is ingested. And it does not matter if those things entered the body through an orifice other than the mouth, such as the eyes, ears or nose - as soon as they reach your throat or stomach, your fast is broken. Even if it happens accidentally according to Imam Malik. So be very careful while you are fasting - do not be too vigorous when washing your mouth and nose when doing your wudu and try to avoid activities or sports that will result in water entering your body. For as soon as it does your fast will be broken. However, a word of warning. Even if your fast is broken and you are going to have to make the day up, that does not give you carte blanche to eat and drink for the rest of the day. On the contrary, you are you required to continue fasting.
The prohibition against sexual intercourse also extends to any other sexual activity or stimulation which might lead to sexual fulfilment, even if that be simply looking or day-dreaming. It does however exclude wet dreams that occur during daytime sleep. They do not break the fast, for it is something over which you have no control. If it happens, you simply do ghusl and then continue your fast. Nothing else is required.
This is what is required of us when we fast, but there are also certain things that are recommended. The first of those is delaying the suhur, the pre-dawn meal, until the last portion of the night, and the second is hurrying to break the fast. The Prophet said,
لا تزالُ أمتِي بخير ما عجّلوا الفطرَ وأخّروا السحور
“My umma will continue to be in good state so long as they hurry to break their fasts and wait [until the end of the night] to eat their suhur.” In other words, until shortly before Subh. As for breaking the fast, hurrying to break it means eating and drinking something as soon as the time of Maghrib comes in before praying the prayer, preferably with dates and water or dates and milk for that was the sunna of our noble Prophet. And they will be served every night here in this mosque, so people are welcome to come here to break their fasts. And that will be followed with soup and bread after the prayer. There is nothing better than breaking the fast in company.
And then, after Isha, we will have the Tarawih, an act of worship that while voluntary was considered important enough by the second Khalifa, Umar ibn al-Khattab, that he turned it into an institution and established it every night in the mosque of the Prophet calling it the best of bid’as. And from that time until the present day, Muslims the world over have continued to keep this practice alive and fill their mosques with light and baraka throughout the nights of Ramadan. In this mosque, we will be praying twenty rakats each night, and in the course of the month aim to complete a khatm of the Quran. We have some wonderful huffadh who will be reciting in the riwayat of Imam Warsh, a riwaya with strong historical ties to the African continent. So we invite you all to come.
In the course of this khutba, we have mentioned but a small number of the rulings relating to fasting, but they will serve as a reminder of the tremendous thing that we are about to embark upon. Anyone who requires further details must not be afraid to ask, for a question unasked is a question unanswered. It is by means of asking that knowledge is obtained. Allah says:
فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
the translation of which is, “Ask the people of the Reminder - i.e. the people of knowledge - if you do not know.”
We ask Allah to make us people who know and people who ask when they do not know. We ask Him to bless this month of Ramadan and bless all who fast it and all who stand it in prayer. We ask Him to make it a month of openings for us and for all the Muslims, and a month in which our hearts are joined together and our differences forgotten. We ask Allah to give victory to His deen.
إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً. اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ.
وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وَعن عائشةَ وسائر أزواج النبي، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ (3) وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.
رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.
اللَّهُمَّ لاَ تجْعَلِ الدُّنْيَا أَكْبَرَ هَمِّنَا وَلَا مَبْلَغَ عِلْمِنَا وَلَا تُسَلِّطْ عَلَيْنَا بِذُنُوبِنَا مَن لاَّ يَخَافُكَ وَلَا يَرْحَمُنَا
اللَّهُمَّ أَصْلِحْ لَنَا دِينَنَا الذِي هُوَ عِصْمَةُ أَمْرِنَا وَأَصْلِحْ لَنَا دُنْيَانَا التِي فِيهَا مَعَاشُنَا وَأَصْلِحْ لَنَا آخِرَتُنَا التِي إِلَيْهَا مَعَادُنَا وَاجْعَلِ الحَيَاةَ زِيَادَةً لَنَا فِي كُلِّ خَيْرٍ وَاجْعَلِ المَوْتَ رَاحَةً لَنَا مِن كُلِّ شَرٍّ
إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.