Is it necessary to make an intention before fasting? If yes, when to make that intention?
Narrated Salama bin Al-Akwa (radiallaahu `anhu):
Once the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) ordered a person on ‘Ashura’ (the tenth of Muharram) to announce, “Whoever has eaten, should not eat any more, but fast, and who has not eaten should not eat, but complete his fast (till the end of the day).
It was narrated by Ibn ‘Umar from Hafsah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
Whoever does not have the intention of fasting before Fajr, there is no fast for him.
Narrated by Imam Ahmad, the authors of al-Sunan, Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibbaan; they classed it as saheeh and marfoo’.
Obligatory or Voluntary?
Summary: For obligatory fasts, intention has to be made before Fajr that day. But for voluntary fasts, intention can be made later on during the day if one hasn’t eaten/drunk/had intercourse after Fajr that day. Read below for details.
It is essential to make the intention to fast the month of Ramadan at night, before Fajr. It is not sufficient to start fasting it that day without the intention. Whoever finds out at the time of Duha that today it is Ramadan and makes the intention of fasting has to refrain from eating until sunset, and he also has to make up that day. This is with regard to obligatory fasts. With regard to naafil (voluntary) fasts it is permissible to make the intention to fast on the day, if you have not eaten or drunk or had intercourse after Fajr, because it was proven in the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered upon her one day at duha time and said, “Do you have anything (any food)?” She said, “No.” He said, “Then I am fasting.” Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh.
Kitaab-us-Siyaam [Book of Fasting] starts today.
Alhamdulillah, perfect timing with Ramadan right around the corner. :)
Volume 3, Book 31, Number 115:
Narrated Talha bin ‘Ubaid-Ullah (radiallaahu `anhu):
A bedouin with unkempt hair came to Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and said, “O Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam)! Inform me what Allah has made compulsory for me as regards the prayers.” He replied: “You have to offer perfectly the five compulsory prayers in a day and night (24 hours), unless you want to pray Nawafil.” The bedouin further asked, “Inform me what Allah has made compulsory for me as regards fasting.” He replied, “You have to fast during the whole month of Ramadan, unless you want to fast more as Nawafil.” The bedouin further asked, “Tell me how much Zakat Allah has enjoined on me.” Thus, Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) informed him about all the rules (i.e. fundamentals) of Islam. The bedouin then said, “By Him Who has honored you, I will neither perform any Nawafil nor will I decrease what Allah has enjoined on me. Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “If he is saying the truth, he will succeed (or he will be granted Paradise).”
This indicates that the fasting that is obligatory is fasting in the month if Ramadaan. With regard to fasting on other occasions, it is not a sin if one does not do it.
But we should not ignore fasting on other occasions such as ‘Ashoora’, ‘Arafah, six days of Shawwaal and so on, because of the great reward that this brings and the great status it has. Moreover observing naafil fasts makes up for any shortfall that there may be in the obligatory fasts.
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say:
The first of his deeds for which a person will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayer. If it is sound he will have succeeded, and if it is lacking he will be a loser. If anything is lacking from his obligatory prayers, the Lord will say, ‘Look and see if My slave has any voluntary prayers, and use them to make up what is lacking from his obligatory prayers.’ Then all his deeds will be dealt with in like manner.
Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, no. 413; al-Nasaa’i no. 465. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
This indicates that observing naafil fasts will make up for any lack in the obligatory fasts.
P.S. you’l note that the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) gave the Bedouin (questioner in the Hadith) option to pray and fast voluntarily as well, instead of only telling him about the obligatory stuff , although the answer would have sufficed. This shows that he was trying to motivate him to do more than just the compulsory acts – the bare minimum.
Narrated Abu Huraira
Allah’s Apostle said, “Satan puts three knots at the back of the head of any of you if he is asleep. On every knot he reads and exhales the following words, ‘The night is long, so stay asleep.’ When one wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone; and when one performs ablution, the second knot is undone, and when one prays the third knot is undone and one gets up energetic with a good heart in the morning; otherwise one gets up lazy and with a mischievous heart.”
Narrated Samura bin Jundab:
The Prophet said in his narration of a dream that he saw, “He whose head was being crushed with a stone was one who learnt the Quran but never acted on it, and slept ignoring the compulsory prayers.”
Narrated ‘Abdullah :
A person was mentioned before the Prophet (p.b.u.h) and he was told that he had kept on sleeping till morning and had not gotten up for the prayer. The Prophet said, “Satan urinated in his ears.”
If you want Shaytan to urinate in your ears (literally), and you want to be lazy and get up with a mischievous heart, and you want your head being constantly crushed with a stone (for eternity), go ahead and keep ignoring your prayers. Go ahead and be deceived by Shaytaan when he tells you that the night is long and there’s still time for prayer. Leave your prayers, by all means!
But remember this. The night will soon come to an end. But the punishment that awaits you won’t EVER end. You’ll want to die but you won’t be able to die. You’ll want to live again, but it’ll be too late then. And nobody will care about you. Those in Paradise will be enjoying themselves. And they’ll thank Allah for not making them suffer like you. Don’t think that your loved ones in Paradise will feel bad about you. No. They’ll be busy feeling good about themselves. Shaytan, whom you listened to so obediently, will ditch+disown you right there. He’ll have his own punishment to face. Why would he care about you?
You, my friend, have a choice to make. To pray or not to pray? THAT is the question.
My Friday went great, Alhamdulillah. I told many people about the revelation-day. It was news to most of them. But yeah, it was an awesome experience. :)
You’re going to love today’s Hadith! See for yourself..
Narrated Talha bin ‘Ubaidullah:
A man from Najd with unkempt hair came to Allah’s Apostle and we heard his loud voice but could not understand what he was saying, till he came near and then we came to know that he was asking about Islam. Allah’s Apostle said, “You have to offer prayers perfectly five times in a day and night (24 hours).” The man asked, “Is there any more (praying)?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “No, but if you want to offer the Nawafil prayers (you can).” Allah’s Apostle further said to him: “You have to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan.” The man asked, “Is there any more fasting?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “No, but if you want to observe the Nawafil fasts (you can.)” Then Allah’s Apostle further said to him, “You have to pay the Zakat (obligatory charity).” The man asked, “Is there any thing other than the Zakat for me to pay?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “No, unless you want to give alms of your own.” And then that man retreated saying, “By Allah! I will neither do less nor more than this.” Allah’s Apostle said, “If what he said is true, then he will be successful (i.e. he will be granted Paradise).”
Yes, doing only the Faraidh (obligatory) is required of us. But there’s always the option of doing more (voluntary) worship. Why, you ask? Because it is for our own good. From another Hadith we get to know that on the Day of Judgement, a person will be brought who will have incomplete Fardh (obligatory) actions (meaning: he either left out some, or didn’t do them properly). Allah will ask the angels to fill in those spaces by his voluntary worship and then he’ll be sent to Paradise. But imagine if we go there and all we have with us is the faraidh, and some spaces are left blank. What will fill them up?
So, doing the voluntary worship is for our own benefit. It only takes a few minutes to pray the extra two Sunnah/nafal prayers. There’s no fixed amount of sadaqah (charity) we need to give. Half a date also does the job. And voluntary fasts are just so easy! You can do Iftar (break them) any time if it’s getting hard to carry them on. Intention counts, remember?
My lesson from this Hadith is to perform my faraidh properly and do a little more effort for nawafil, inshaAllah. :)