Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on the rulings of Ramadan (21st August 2009)
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 وأدٌى 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 : “يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ أَيَّامًا مَعْدُودَاتٍ.”
Allah says in His Noble Book, the translation of which is, “O you who have iman, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you - so that perhaps you will gain taqwa - for a specified number of days.” O Muslims, the month of Ramadan is upon us. This very night, Muslims throughout the globe will be scouring the night skies, looking out for the new moon that will herald its beginning. We are on the threshold of the month of fasting, that month about which the Prophet said,
لو يعلمُ العبادُ ما في رمضانَ لتمنَّت أمتِي أن يكونَ سنةً
“If slaves of Allah were to know the true value of the month of Ramadan, my community would wish it lasted a year.”
As we mentioned last week, Ramadan has many great qualities and is a very special time of the year. But, first and foremost, it is the month of siyaam - the obligatory fast. It is the month in which we fulfil one of the five pillars upon which the deen is built. Ibn ‘Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,
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”
As I mentioned last week, I intend in the course of this khutba to briefly mention those legal rulings relating to fasting the month of Ramadan that every Muslim who is mukallaf - i.e. adult and of sound mind - must know. These rulings may be broken down into two categories - those relating to the start and finish of the month and those relating to the fasting itself.
Ramadan, like all the other months of the Islamic calender, 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, that the month does not begin when this new moon is born, but rather when it is physically seen. 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 the Prophet said,
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, for the month to begin, either the new moon must be physically seen or thirty days must pass, for a lunar month is either 29 or 30 days, no more and no less. As for astronomical calculations, they are not proofs in themselves, but merely guides as to when it might be possible to see the moon.
A moon sighting is not considered to be official or binding until it has been confirmed by a general sighting of many people in clear weather or by at least two ‘adls - men of unsurpassed trustworthiness - in cloudy weather. These people must then bear witness to their sighting in front of the Muslim leader of the locality or his representatives, and when and if he is convinced of the veracity 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. It is by this that the unity and cohesion of the community is preserved. If, however, you yourself are the one who sees the moon, even when nobody else does, you must fast and keep that fact secret from everyone else so as to avoid fitna. We are blessed, here in Cape Town, alhamdulillah, to have a highly scrupulous moon sighting committee who have great experience in looking for and sighting the moon every month and have come to know exactly when and where to look for it.
As every one of you knows,
إنما الأعمالُ بالنيات
“Actions are by intention.” Every act of worship that we do should be accompanied by an intention - a niyya. And fasting is no different. The intention to fast the month of Ramadan must be made before Fajr on the first day. The Prophet said,
لا صيامَ لمن لم يبيَّتِ الصوم
“He who does not intend to fast during the night before has no fast.” This intention can be made any time after Maghrib on the last day of Sha‘ban until 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 after Fajr, then the day must be made up. According to Imam Malik, this one intention suffices for the entire month, although anyone whose fast is broken in the course of the month because of menstruation, travelling or illness, must make a fresh intention when they recommence their fast. Similarly, anyone for whom fasting is not obligatory, such as a traveller or someone who is ill, must make a fresh intention every night they wish to fast. Making a fresh intention every night was considered by Imam ash-Shafi’i and Imam Abu Hanifa to be obligatory for everyone.
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 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 sure. If, for some reason, Ramadan begins without the news reaching you and you start the day eating, you must make your intention and start fasting the moment you find out and make up another day after the end of the month.
Fasting the month of Ramadan is obligatory for every sane adult Muslim, although there are certain categories of people who are exempted from this:
The first category of people exempted from fasting are women who are in a state of menstruation or post-natal bleeding. Indeed, they are forbidden from fasting.
The second and third categories of people for whom fasting is not obligatory are the ill and those who are travelling. Allah says:
فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ
the translation of which is, “But any of you who are ill or on a journey should fast a number of other days.“
So anyone who is suffering from an illness and fears that fasting will make him worse or delay his recovery, or fears that fasting will cause the onset of another illness, is permitted and, in certain cases, obliged to not fast. It should be noted here, however, that a person’s fear for his health must have a sound basis, be that from prior experience or doctor’s advice. Feeling hungry is not an illness!
Similarly, anyone who is travelling during Ramadan - and by travelling we mean going on a journey in which he may shorten his prayers - is permitted to not fast, although Imam Malik considered fasting to be preferable. This position has also been narrated from a large number of prominent tabi‘in. It is narrated that Ibrahim an-Nakha‘i, Sa‘id ibn Jubayr and Mujahid all said,
إن شِئتَ صُمتَ، وإن شِئتَ أفطرتَ، والصومُ أفضل.
“If you want to fast, fast; and if you want to not fast, don’t fast, but fasting is better.” Other categories of people who are permitted to not fast are pregnant women and nursing mothers who fear for their own health or that of their babies; the old and infirm and those who suffer from rapid dehydration and unquenchable thirst. The reason these categories of people are permitted to not fast is because their condition is considered to be tantamount to an illness. All of these categories of people are required to make up the days of Ramadan that they missed outside of Ramadan when and if they are able. Nursing mothers must also pay fidya - in other words feed a person - for every day that they missed, as must those who fail to make up the days they missed before the next Ramadan. The old and infirm are also recommended to pay this fidya when they find themselves unable to make up the days they missed.
Finally, as should be clear from what I said earlier, children are not required nor even recommended to fast until they reach the age of puberty. So no parent should force or pressurise their children into fasting. If a child of his own volition expresses a desire to fast, then by all means let him try, but do not punish him if he fails to complete the day. Fasting is hard enough on adults, let alone growing children!
أقول قولي هذا و أستغفر الله لي و لكم و لسائر 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:
فَالْآَنَ 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.” Thus, you are free to eat, drink and engage in marital sex throughout the entirety of the night, but as soon as you hear the first syllable of the adhan of Fajr, as soon as the first crack of dawn appears on the horizon, not a morsel more should pass your lips. By all means, chew and swallow what is already in your mouth, but do not put anything more into it, for your fast has begun.
The implication of the prohibition to eat and drink is that nothing may be deliberately introduced to the body by means of the mouth or throat, and that is indeed the case with smoking and the oral intake of medication also breaking the fast. And, according to Imam Malik, the fast is also broken by any of these things passing the throat accidently. However, a word of warning. Just because your fast is broken and you have to make that day up, it does not mean that you may continue 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. Wet dreams that occur during daytime sleep, on the other hand, do not break the fast. One simply does ghusl and continues one’s fast.
These are the obligatory elements of the fast, although there are also certain practices which are recommended:
قال النبي صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم: “تسحَّروا فإنّ السحورَ بركةٌ لأنه يقوِّي على الصيام وينشِّط.”
The Prophet said, “Have suhur, for suhur is a blessing that strengthens you for the fast ahead and gives you energy.”
and he also said,
لا تزالُ أمتِي بخير ما عجّلوا الفطرَ وأخّروا السحور
“My community will continue to be in a good way so long as they break their fast straight away and delay their suhur [until the end of the night].”
Everyone who fasts is encouraged to get up and have a pre-dawn meal, even if that only be to drink a glass of water, and to leave that meal until as close to Fajr as possible, although it is preferable to leave a short gap between the meal and Fajr whereby one would be able to recite 50 ayats of the Quran if one so wished. In other words, it is best to stop eating approximately 10 to 15 minutes before the adhan of Subh.
Similarly, it is also recommended to hurry to break the fast as soon as the time of Maghrib comes in, and to break it before praying the prayer.
رُوِيَ أن النبيَ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم كان يُفطِرُ على رُطَباتٍ قبل الصلاة
It is narrated that the Prophet used to break his fast with fresh dates before the prayer. However, out of respect for the mu’adhdhin and the adhan which he is calling, if one is seated in the mosque, one should wait for the adhan to finish before breaking one’s fast. We will, inshallah, be providing milk, water and dates and soup here in the mosque for iftar every night.
Another practice that is recommended in the month of Ramadan is that of the tarawih. The Prophet said,
من قام رمضانَ إيمانا واحتسابا غُفر له ما تقدم من ذنبِه
“Anyone who stands in prayer during the night in Ramadan, with belief and the anticipation of reward for doing so, will be forgiven all the wrong actions that he has committed up to that point.” The significance and value of the tarawih was not lost on the Companions with the second khalifah, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, instituting it as a nightly practice in the mosque. And from that moment forth, Muslims the world over have continued to keep this practice alive. In this mosque, we shall pray the tarawih, inshallah, immediately after ‘Isha, with ‘Isha being prayed at 8:15 every night. And we aim to complete the entire Qur’an within it in the course of the month.
This is a short synopsis of the major legal rulings which are connected to fasting and the month of Ramadan, and a reminder to us all of what it is we are about to embark upon. And, hopefully we have succeeding in clarifying these matters sufficiently for you. However, if there are still issues about which you are unsure, then please come and ask about them before the month gets underway and in the course of it.
قال الله تعالى: فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
Allah says, 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 Allah to bless this month of Ramadan and bless all who fast it. We ask Him to make it a month of openings for us and for all the Muslims, and a month in which all our hearts are joined and our differences forgotten. We ask Him to give victory to His deen.
إنَّ اللهَ ومَلائِكَتَهُ يُصلُّونَ على النَّبِي يَا أَيُها الذينَ آمنوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وسَلِّمُوا تَسْليماً. اللهمَّ صَلِّ وسَلِّم وبارِك عَلَيْهِ وعلى آلِهِ وصَحْبِهِ أجمعين.
وارض اللهم عن الخلفاء الراشدين أبي بكرٍ وعمرَ وعثمانَ وعلي ، وعن سائر الصحابة أجمعين، خصوصا الأنصارَ منهم والمهاجرين، وعن التابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
اللهم اهد أولات أمور المسلمين لما يرضيك ولاتباع سنة نبيك صلى الله عليه وسلم وثبت أقدامهم على الصراط المستقيم وأصلحهم يا رب العالمين.
اللهم بارك على شيخنا، و على أميرنا، وعلى جميع أمراءِ وزعماء المسلمين.
اللهم بارك على المسلمين في هذه المدينة ووفقهم لما تحبه وترضاه يا أكرم الأكرمين.
اللهمّ أَعِزَّ الْلإسلامَ والمُسِلمينَ (3) واَخْذُلِ الكُفْرَ والكافِرينَ، وانْصُرِ المُجاهِدينَ في سَبِيلِ اللهِ. واجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وكَلِمَةَ الكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلى.
ربنا ءاتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الأخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار.
اللهم لا تضعْ في مقامِنا هذا ذنبا إلا غفرْتَه، ولا عيبا إلا سترْتَه، ولا مريضا إلا شفيتَهُ وعافيتَه، ولا مسجونا إلا طلَّقْتَ سراحَه، ولا مسافرا في برِّك وبحرِك إلا سلِمتَهُ وغنِمْتَه.
إن الله يأمر بالعدل والإحسان وإيتاء ذي القربى وينهى عَنِ الفحشاءِ والمُنكَرِ والبغي، يعظكم لعلكم تذكرون، ولَذِكْرُ اللهِ أكبر والله يَعْلَمُ ما تَصْنَعُون. وقُومُوا إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يرحمكم الله