Ramadhaan - A Date with Dr Zakir
Introduction to Ramadhaan

Episode 3
(Duration – 46 minutes)

Yusuf Chambers: Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam and humanity Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh! May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be on all of you. I am your host Yusuf Chambers and I welcome you to this series of programmes entitled Ramadhaan – A Date with Dr. Zakir. Today we will be covering the topic Ramadhaan – an introduction. Dr. Zakir, Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh!


 Dr. Zakir: Walaikum Assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh! 


Yusuf: Dr. Zakir No introduction to such a topic would be complete without you defining the terms so could you define the term Ramadhaan?


Dr. Zakir: Alhumdulillah, Was Salaatu Was Salaam Aala Rasoolillah Wa Ala Aalihi Wa Ashaabihi Wa Ajma’een, Amma Baad.


The word Ramadhaan is derived from the Arabic word ‘Ramidah’ or ‘Ar-Ramdh’ which means intense scotching heat and dryness. Its also derived from the Arabic word ‘Ramda’ which means sun baked sand. In Islamic terminology, the word Ramadhaan, it signifies the intense heat in the stomach due to thirst. When a Muslim fasts, the thirst that is there, it produces heat in the stomach which is defined as Ramadhaan. Again Ramadhaan, it has another meaning, it means that that the good deeds they scotch the sins and the evil of a Muslim. So Ramadhaan is a month in which the sins are scotched away by the good deeds like how a sun scotches the ground in the same way. And heat normally it helps in forming, molding or reshaping virtually every matter in the same way Ramadhaan helps in molding, shaping and reforming the spiritual and the moral aspects of the human being. That is the reason we term this word as Ramadhaan.


Yusuf Chambers: Second definition of terms if you like is ‘Saum’ or fast as its sometimes or mostly translated in English. Amm…Could you shed some light on what are the implications of the term fast or Saum? 


Dr. Zakir:  Saum is an Arabic word which is singular, Siyam is plural Saum or Siyam in Arabic is derived from the word ‘Sama’ which means to abstain or to restrain from the normal things whether it be eating, drinking or talking and a person who observes Saum or abstains from these things is called as a ‘Sayim’. And this word is used in the Quran in Surah Maryam ch. no. 19 verse no. 26 when the angel speaks to Mary, may Allah be pleased with her, who is the mother of Jesus Christ (pbuh) and this word is used. And if you read this verse says that I have vowed to fast to Allah but here the meaning of the word Saum, fast doesn’t mean refraining from eating or drinking. It means refraining from speaking because when you go to the context, 


When you read one verse before in the Quran Surah Maryam ch. no. 19 verse no. 25 it says that Allah (swt) says to Mary, may Allah be pleased with her, that shake the palm tree towards yourself and the ripe dates will fall. 


And the next verse Surah Maryam ch. 19 verse 21 says that eat and drink from them and then it says that when you meet any human being tell them I vowed to fast for Allah. And I will not speak to any human being. 


So because here it says about speaking the word Saum is used here means that to abstain from speaking but the word Saum in Islamic terminology, in the Islamic Shariah, it means a person who does an act of worship and with the intention he does it for the sake of Allah and he or she abstains from eating drinking or nourishment as well as from sexual intercourse or from lustful semen ejaculation. In short the word Saum in Islam means a person who abstains from the fast-breakers. 


And the fast-breakers, the things that break the fast are food whether taking by mouth or by nose or drink any kind of drink whether it be water, milk, fruit juice, any drink taken from mouth or nose or any nourishment for the body taken from any source. As well as abstaining from a sexual intercourse. In short it means abstaining the stomach and the private part. This is what it means Islamically and this is the basic meaning but if you go ahead with the broader meaning it does not mean only abstaining the stomach and the sexual part from the things that break the fast, it even means that along with the fasting of the stomach and the sexual parts there is fasting of the tongue, of the eyes, of the ears and the other limbs of the body. That’s the reason when we use the word Saum.


Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) said,It’s mentioned in 


Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 3 in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 1903, our beloved Prophet said that 


“A person who does not abstain, does not leave false action and false speech, obscenity etc. Allah does not require of him to abstain from food and drink.”


That means beside abstaining from food and drink you also have to abstain from false speech, false action etc. and this message is further repeated by beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws), 


Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) said in a Sahih Hadith of 


Sahih Targheeb Vol. no. 1 Hadith no. 1068, our beloved Prophet said that 


“A person while fasting, when he abstains from food and drink, he should also abstain from false speech, from obscene language and if a person gets angry and if he argues with him or fights with him, he should say “I am fasting, I am fasting” 


So if we look at it when a person fasts there are basically 3 things that you should abstain from. 


No. 1 is the stomach and the private parts; they should abstain from things that break fast i.e. food, drink, and sexual act. 


The second is that the other parts of the body the tongue, the eyes, the ears, the limbs even they should fast. Fasting of the tongue means a person should abstain from backbiting, should abstain from slandering, from telling a lie, should abstain from gossiping, abstain from rumor mongering, abstain from vulgarity. Fasting of the eyes means he should abstain from looking at things which are unlawful like when he sees a na-mehram, he should lower his gaze, he should not watch unislamic movies or unislamic things. 


Fasting of the ears means you should abstain from hearing things which are Haraam, which are prohibited like abstaining from listening to music, abstain from listening to songs which are unislamic. So this is the way how the other parts of the body also fast. And the third thing is the fasting of the heart and the mind. They should abstain from things which take away person from the worship of Allah, from the Dhikr of Allah. So this overall is the meaning of the word Saum.


Yusuf Chambers: SubhanAllah! It certainly has a lot more in it than I was expecting. Thank you. Dr. Zakir, are there any other compulsory fasts other than the month of Ramadhaan that a Muslim must observe. 


Dr. Zakir: The fast can be broadly categorized into Fard fast that are obligatory and other is the ‘tatau’ fast i.e. the voluntary fast or the non-obligatory fast which InshaAllah we’ll be dealing may be on the episode 31. 


As far as the obligatory fast are concerned you can classify it under 4 types. 


The first as we are discussing the obligatory fast during the month of Ramadhaan. 


The second is if a person misses the fast of Ramadhaan for any reason, cover up the fast missed, its known as Qadha fast. 

The third is fasting fro expiation of the sins. If you have committed a sin and you have to fast give a Kaffara. That is the third type. And the fourth is fasting if you are vowed to fast. So these are basically the 4 types of Fard fasting which are there in Islam. 


Yusuf Chambers: JazakAllah Khair! Dr. Zakir, another question of great importance regarding the fast in Ramadhaan. Unfortunately there are many brothers and sisters who neglect the obligation of fasting during the month of Ramadhaan. Can you give us some words of advice and indeed from the Quran and the Sunnah, give us the proofs of the fact that it is an obligation upon the Muslims to fast in Ramadhaan?


Dr. Zakir: There are many verses in the Quran as well as many Sahih Hadith which very well clarify that it is Fard for the Muslims who are supposed to fast that they should fast, it’s a Fard. We shall deal with the details for whom it is a Fard, InshaAllah, tomorrow. 


If you read the Quran, Allah says in the Quran in Surah Baqarah ch. no. 2 verse no. 183


 “Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo” O you who believe “kutiba AAalaykumu alssiyamu kama kutiba AAala allatheena min qablikum laAAallakum tattaqoon” 


Which means “O you who believe fasting has been prescribed upon you as it was prescribed to people who came before you so that you may learn self restraint.” 


Here the Arabic word used is ‘kutiba’. Kutiba means prescribed, it is written amongst the other things which are compulsory it has been prescribed, It has been made compulsory for you also fasting as it was made compulsory for people who came before you, that means it was compulsory even for people who came before, the Jews, the Christians etc. but its also made compulsory for the Muslims. “Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo” for the believers and further it says point no. 1 its compulsory for you, point no. 2 is its compulsory for the people who came before you, point no. 3 “laAAallakum tattaqoon” So that you may learn self restraint. The Arabic word ‘tattaqoon’ is derived from the word ‘Waqa’ same as the root word for Taqwa which means you have to fear yourself from you know wrath of Allah in short the meaning of the word Taqwa it is somewhat like God Consciousness, piety means righteousness. So here Allah is telling fasting has been prescribed to you so that you may learn self restraint so that you learn Taqwa, you increase yourself in Taqwa in God Consciousness, in righteousness, in piety and when a person fasts what happens that he feels hungry and normally when a person is well fed that gives him more energy to many a times to things which are also prohibited and you commit sins. The moment you fast, your actions towards things which are prohibited goes down and your barometer of Taqwa goes high. That’s the reason fasting helps you to improve your self restraint and increase your Taqwa level. 


Further more it’s mentioned in the Quran in Surah Baqarah ch. no. 2 verse no. 185, Allah says


 “Shahru ramadana allathee onzila feehi alqur-anu hudan lilnnas


That “Ramadhaan was the month in which the Qu’ran was revealed as a guidance to humankind” 


wabayyinatin mina alhuda waalfurqan


And “in it are signs for guidance and judgment between right and wrong.” 


Immediately after that Allah says the people who witness this month, they should fast. Here again it becomes a Fard for the Muslims that if you are in this month of Ramadhaan, you should fast. And gives exceptions like, if you are ill or if you are traveling then the period can be made later on etc. etc. but here this verse says it is compulsory for every Muslim to fast in the month of Ramadhaan and the exceptions are there. 


Furthermore there are several Sahih Ahadith which make it compulsory for a Muslim to fast. I will just quote one which is the most important one. 


Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws), he said, its mentioned in 


Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 1 in the Book of Eemaan Hadith no. 8, our beloved Prophet said that 


“Islam is based on 5 pillars. 

The 1st is La ilaha illallah Muhammadur Rasool Allah, there is no God but Allah and Prophet Muhammad (saws) is the messenger of Allah. 

The 2nd is establishing prayers, Aqimus Salaah. 

The 3rd is giving Zakaat i.e. obligatory charity. 

The 4th is performing Hajj that’s the pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah. 

And the 5th is observing Saum i.e. fasting”


So from this Hadith of Muhammad (saws) of Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 1 in the book of Eemaan Hadith no. 8 it says that fasting is one of the pillars of Islam not only is it Fard, it is one of the principals, one of the pillars of Islam.  Amongst the 5 most important things for a Muslim one of them is fasting. So from these evidences we come to know that fasting is Fard for Every Muslim.


Yusuf Chambers: Well I don’t think it can be put in a much of a clear way, to be honest and I think that people should take advice and fast this Ramadhaan.


Dr. Zakir: InshaAllah.


Yusuf Chambers: The next question regards the history of fasting actually… amm… was the time period for the observing of a fast and abstaining from things which break the fast which you’ve already mentioned always the same since the beginning of time or for the Muslims?


Dr. Zakir: As far as the Muslims are concerned, when the first time it was mentioned in the Quran in Surah Baqarah ch. 2 verse 183 which I mentioned earlier that fasting was Fard, at that time the Muslims used to fast 3 days in a Month. Later on when the verse of the Quran was reveled of Surah Baqarah ch. no. 2 verse no 185 which I quoted the second time that Ramadhaan is the month in which Quran was reveled and in it is guidance for humankind and in it are signs for guidance and judgment, right and wrong. So the Muslims when they witness this month, they should fast. So then it became Fard for the Muslims to fast the complete Month of Ramadhaan. First it was only 3 days every month then it became one full month in the month of Ramadhaan.


As far as the things that break the fast are concerned, one of the thing that break the fast, it is sexual intercourse even with your wife. So previously when this verse of Surah Baqarah Ch. 2 verse no. 185 was reveled, it was not mentioned in detail. So the Muslims at that time, they used to abstain from sexual intercourse, approaching their wife for the full month of Ramadhaan even during the day and night. And it was very difficult for many of the Muslims, many of the Sahabas. 


And that reminds me of a quotation or an incidence which is mentioned in one of the commentaries of the Quran. If you read the commentary of the Quran by Qurtubi Vol. no. 2 page no. 210 it mentions there that 


“Umar bin Khattab, (may Allah be pleased with him), once after speaking to the Prophet, late in the night, he comes back home. And he has the urge to sleep with his wife and he spends the time with his wife and he has sexual intercourse with his wife. In the morning when he gets up he feels very bad, he is ashamed. Immediately he goes to the Prophet and he says that “I ask pardon from Allah and His Messenger for what I have done and my soul was attracted towards my wife and I had relationship with my wife in the night. Is there any way that I can be pardoned or is there any way that I can escape?” So the Prophet said “Is it true that you actually did this?” He said “yes Prophet” the Prophet was shocked how could Hazrat Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, do a thing at that time it was prohibited. So he said “Yes Allah’s messenger. I did it. Is there any way I can be pardoned?” 


So the Prophet said no one besides Allah can give the command and Alhamdulillah, Suma Alhamdulillah immediately after this the verse of Surah Baqarah ch. no. 2 verse no. 187 was revealed it says that “Permitted to you during the nights of the fast is approaching your wives.” 


And then it says “hunna libasun lakum waantum libasun lahunna” that they are your garments and you are their garments. That means your wives are your garments and you are the garments of your wife. 


And Allah says that “We know what you do secretly in the night but Allah forgave you and from now onwards you can approach your wives during the nights of the fast and you can eat and drink till the white thread of dawn is differentiated from the black thread.” 


So when this verse was reveled later on Surah Baqarah ch. 2 verse no. 187 then the rules were bit more relaxed that they could have sexual relationships with their wives in the nights but during the day, they have to abstain.


Furthermore as far as eating was concerned previously before Surah Baqarah ch. 2 verse no. 187 was reveled, the Muslims could eat and drink after the sunsets but the moment they sleep after that they can’t eat. Then they can eat only the next day after sunset. So there is an incident where one of the Sahabas Qais, may Allah be pleased with him, he worked very hard and he was fasting and when it was time to break the fast he comes home and tells his wife that I want to have some food so the wife says that there is no food in the house, I’ll just get it from outside. And she goes out to get food now because he was tired working the full day by the time the wife comes back he goes to sleep. When the wife comes back to the house she sees that husband has gone to sleep so now she says finish, once he’s gone to sleep, he can’t eat so that night he could not eat the next day he had to fast and by evening the next day he faints and the people go to the prophet that this is what happened because once you sleep you can’t eat. Later on this verse was reveled which I said earlier Surah Baqarah ch. 2 verse 187 which says besides approaching your wives at night, you can eat and drink till the white thread of dawn is differentiated from the black thread.


So then the rules that we follow today that fasting means that you have to abstain from food and drink and nourishment as well as from sexual intercourse right from dawn unto sunset and having the intention that we have to please Allah (swt). So this is the history how we finally got this. 


Yusuf Chambers: That was very interesting and I think we have got it easy as compared to Sahaba, Alhumdulillah. Previously as according to what you’ve already said regarding the history of fasting, Muslims were commanded to fast for 3 days and then one month. Is this an indication of a contradiction in the Quran?


Dr. Zakir: Actually there is no contradiction in the Quran. Allah says in the Qur’an in Surah Nisa ch. no. 4 verse no. 82


Afala yatadabbaroona alqur-ana walaw kana min AAindi ghayri Allahi lawajadoo feehi ikhtilafan katheera” 


“Do they not consider the Quran with care, do they not ponder over the Quran with care? Had it been from anyone besides Allah there would have been many contradiction. So no 2 verses of the Quran will ever contradict. But there is something like abrogation which people differ. According to me abrogation doesn’t mean contradiction. Abrogation means the verses that were reveled later 


As Allah says in Surah Baqarah ch. no. 2 verse no. 106 


“We do not cause any of the verse or ayats of Allah (swt)to be forgotten but We replace it with something similar or better.”


So many a times when things that were prohibited or things which were made compulsory they came in stages. Not that it was difficult was made easy. Sometimes things difficult were made easy, sometimes things initially were made easy so people get used to and then difficult. 


For example regarding prohibition of alcohol, the first verse to be reveled was Surah Baqarah ch. 2 verse no. 219 which says that 


“In alcohol, in intoxicants there is profit and loss. Loss is more than profit. It didn’t say it was Haraam, only gave a guidance that loss is more than profit.” 


Then Surah Nisa ch. 4 verse 43 says that when you are intoxicated don’t offer Salaah. It didn’t say that if you are not offering Salaah you can have intoxicants. If that’s what was mentioned then there is a problem. It only said do not be intoxicated while offering Salaah.  And since the Muslims have to offer 5 times Salaah that means having alcohol, intoxicants in the morning was out of the question. May be in the evening if you had by the time you get up in the morning you become sober. 


The final prohibition came in Surah Maidah ch. 5 verse no. 90

 “Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo” O you who have believed “innama alkhamru waalmaysiru” Most certainly intoxicants and gambling

waal-ansabu waal-azlamu” dedication of stones, divination of arrows 

rijsun min AAamali alshshaytan” These are Satan’s handiwork faijtaniboohu laAAallakum tuflihoon” abstain from this handiwork that you may prosper. 


So here we come to know that the ban, the prohibition on having intoxicants i.e. alcohol came in stages. It was easy first, only gave a guidance that it’s more evil than good, then while praying you don’t have intoxicants then final ban came. 


So similarly for fasting no 2 verses of the Quran contradict. Though there are dome people who say O you know the Quran, not that law need not be followed. I disagree with that. Abrogation doesn’t mean it’s a contradiction; abrogation means the last verse of the Surah Maidah Ch. 5 verse no. 90 includes the first 2 verses, if it’s banned overall it is even banned while offering Salaah. 


So same way here if you read Surah Baqarah ch. no. 2 verse no. 183 when it was said fasting is compulsory it did not specify the time 3 days. That we get from other sources, the Quran doesn’t specify. It only says fasting is Fard then it says in Surah Baqarah ch 2 verse 185 that you have to fast for the full month of Ramadhaan. So what was mentioned about 3 days every month fasting was actually from other sources. If it was mentioned in the Quran that you have to fast for 3 days and then it says after that fast for full month then there is a contradiction.


Further more previously it was said again in Surah Baqarah ch. 2 verse 184 that we have to fast but those who cannot fast, those who can fast with difficulties they have 2 option either fast or feed a person who is poor, who is indigent. 


So that time it was not Fard, if it is difficult for you to fast yet you can fast or you can feed a poor person but fasting is better but not Fard. Now this verse was general but afterwards when the verse of Surah Baqarah Ch. 2 verse 185 was reveled then it became Fard for everyone. Now this verse refers to those people who are ill, terminally ill or they are very elderly people. That means mentally they are fine but physically they cannot fast in their life. So if you are ill, terminally ill meaning means ill for a long period and your health may not get fine or if you are so elderly which you cannot fast and every year you will keep on getting more and more old so here it says if you can fast with difficulty its fine otherwise feed someone indigent or poor person.


Similarly as far as having sexual intercourse previously the rule was you should not have sexual intercourse in the full month of Ramadhaan whether day or night but this is not mentioned in the Quran. The Quran only says fast in the month of Ramadhaan, this you get from the other sources. The Quran is not contradicting, it is actually first fasting 3 days was infact easier then fast if its difficult.. if you don’t want to fast don’t fast feed a poor person so it was easier initially then later on it became difficult as far as the approaching your wife initially it was difficult that you cannot approach the full month and then Allah made it easier. So no 2 verses of the Quran contradict but because the Quran was reveled in a span of 22½ years so many things that were prohibited till one shot immediately or it came in stages. Many things which were Fard came immediately or came in stages. So fasting because initially it will be difficult on the people so it came in stages. But Alhamdulillah with all these things no 2 verses of the Quran ever contradict Alhamdulillah. 


Yusuf Chambers: Alhamdulillah. It seems though this is an indication of Allah’s mercy…


Dr. Zakir: Alhamdulillah


Yusuf Chambers: … that has been given to mankind.


Dr. Zakir: Alhamdulillah..


Yusuf Chambers: So many opportunities to implement His wonderful way, Alhamdulillah. Now the next question of great importance is when it comes to the fast, is it simply the doing away of food, drink and sexual relationships or other implications. 


Dr. Zakir: The things which are Fard for a person who fasts as I mentioned earlier one of them is to abstain from things that break the fast i.e. food, drink and having sexual relationship but besides this one another important factor is, is the intention, is the Neeya. Any deed without the neeya for the Aakhira it is useless. The neeya should be the, the intention is very important because intention is to intend to fast to please Allah (swt), it’s an act of worship. If the intention is not there then there is various types of fast for example a person may fast for political reason, a person may fast as a passive resistance, a person may fast as a hunger strike, I am starving, I’m hunger strike to get whatever he wants, you know there are people fasting non-muslims fasting. A person may fast for health reasons may be for dieting, he may fast may be to lose weight. He may fast may be a medical treatment but all these fasts they don’t have an intention, the neeya to please Allah (swt) so that’s the reason in the Islamic Shariah when we abstain from things that break the fast it should be accompanied by the neeya. Without the neeya, the fast is useless. Its very important, neeya is compulsory for every act of worship including fasting 


And our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) said, its mentioned in 


Sahih Muslim Vo no. 2 in the Book of Zakaat ch. no. 370 Hadith no. 2198, our beloved Prophet said that 


“When you have intention to approach your wife, to have relationship with your wife the moment you have intention even that becomes charity. The Sahabas asked: “Having relationship with your wife is also charity! How come our beloved Prophet?” the Prophet said that “If you have sexual relationship with people who are not your wives if its unlawful isn’t it a sin?” They said “Ya Rasoolullah, yes it is a sin.”


So that is if you have sexual relationship with a person you are suppose to have with the Neeya, that’s an act of charity. That means Neeya is very important, the moment you have neeya you have sawab for that.


And Allah says in the Quran in Surah Bayyinah ch. no. 98 verse no. 5 its mentioned 


“And He commanded that you worship Him alone and in sincere devotion, true in faith. Here the word used is ‘liya’budoo’ which means to worship but actually ‘A’budhu’ it means to humble but the word ‘‘liya’budoo’ in Arabic is normally used for worship, it actually means to humble. The other Arabic word used is ‘mukhlisoon’ which means to serve with piety and with dedication. So here we should serve only for Allah and your worship should be to Him alone that should be our Neeya that is our intention. 


And Allah says in the Quran in Surah Baqarah ch. No. 2 verse no. 29 that 


“We have created for you everything on this earth”


When Allah has created everything on this earth for us, not 1/10th, not 1/5th, not 1/4th, not half but everything for the human beings in this earth so but natural our servitude should only be to Him and no one else. If while you are worshipping Him, we worship somebody else then it is useless. We have to only worship Him and no one else. We can’t say that I am praying 2 Rakaat for Allah and 2 Rakaat for somebody else, we can’t say that I am sacrificing 1 goat for Allah and the 2nd goat for a king or a ruler. All our worship should be to Him alone and no one else and that reminds me of a Hadith,


The first Hadith in Sahih Bukhari where Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, he says that the beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) said 


“Innamal A’malu bin neeya” 


“Your deeds are based in your intention, your actions are judged on your intention. And anyone who has migrated with the intention for Allah and His Rasool, he has migrated for Allah and His Rasool. But if someone has migrated for the wealth in this world or for marriage, he has migrated for the wealth and marriage.” 


Your intention is important is important, why did you do it. You know, why did you migrate, why did you do Jihaad. So intention is very important for any act of worship including Saum i.e. fasting. 


Yusuf Chambers: Thank you very much. Furthermore regarding the intention, still on the intentions issue. Does one always have to make intentions regarding when you’re about to fast and secondly the timing of the intentions can you just say something a little bit about that? 


Dr. Zakir:  As far as the intentions is concerned as I mentioned earlier that intention is a Fard and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) said, 


Its mentioned in Sunan Nasai  in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 2331 our beloved Prophet said 


“A person’s fast is not accepted if he does not make an intention in the previous night.”


That means for all the Fard fasting compulsory fasting making intention the previous night is compulsory, it can be any part of the previous night; it can even be till as late as just before the Fajr time. Anytime of the night you can make the intention.  A person can make an intention ion the beginning of Ramadhaan and it can be valid for the full month of Ramadhaan unless it he breaks it if he is sick or if he is traveling then he has to again make an intention but one intention is also sufficient and many people think they have a misconception that verbally saying it aloud is a must which is not a requirement. I don’t have to say verbally that I intend to fast because my intention, neeya is from the heart. 


For example if I get up late in the night much before Fajr time for fasting suppose my son when we have got up to do our Suhoor late in the night and my son asks me that why have you got up? I will tell him because we have to fast! It’s already understood. The neeya is there, I don’t have to say that I have got up to fast. The neeya is there so aeeya is important, neeya is in the heart. You don’t have to say it with your tongue that’s what most of the people think and I don’t know of any Hadith which says that the Prophet or the Sahabas they ever said loudly that I intend to fast. Intention is in the heart and one intention is sufficient for the full month of Ramadhaan unless as I said its broken but this in only for the Fard fast. 


For a voluntary fast, fast which is not a Fard fast intention is not a Fard because there is a Hadith again mentioned in 


Sunan Nasai, in the Book of Fasting, Hadith no. 2323 


“Once the Prophet, he tells his wife that I want food to eat, the wife said there is no food to eat. So he said okay I am fasting”


That means his intention was not there before, in the previous night, he made it on the stop. He abstained from before dawn but his intention was afterwards, in the morning so for the voluntary fast it’s not compulsory to be made early the previous night except that it is a very important voluntary fast like Shura, the 10th of Muharram, Ash-Sura or it can be the day of Arafat. It’s preferable to make the intention before berceuse it’s a very important fast. 


For all the other voluntary fast, it’s not compulsory to be made before previous night. For the neeya there are other 3 things which are very important one thing, if its by force, and if something is broken then it can be forgiven or by error or by forgetfulness. 


As Allah says in the Quran in Surah Nahl ch. no. 16 verse no. 106 that after a person has believed then if he does something of unbelief, does something of Kufr except by force that means if he does something by force even Kufr or Shirk, Allah will forgive.


 So if someone forces a person to break the fast, his Neeya wasn’t there, he can be forgiven.


And Allah says in Surah Baqarah ch. no. 2 verse no. 286 that 


“O Lord please do not catch us, please do not hold us responsible when we err, when we make a mistake or when we forget” 


So if a person in his forgetfulness breaks his fast like have water, Allah will forgive him or if because of a mistake, Allah will forgive him which we shall deal later InshaAllah.


Yusuf Chambers: SubhanAllah! It is lot of very important information there regarding which I am sure going to be massive benefit to everyone who is listening and watching.


Dr. Zakir: InshaAllah.


Yusuf Chambers: Another thing which is being bothering me for sometime is that fact that fasting is one of the pillars of Islam, correct? Now, but is there anything which..ah… differentiates the act of worship, fasting, the pillar from the other 4 pillars, perhaps?


Dr. Zakir: As I mentioned earlier that there are 5 pillars of Islam and all of them are important but the differentiation between Saum, fasting as compared to other pillars is that the other pillars of Islam whether it be Salaah whether it be Zakaat whether it be Hajj it can be done by a person to show to the others for Riya, to be seen or to be heard. You know, may be I want to show myself that I am a very pious person so I am offering Salaah to show to the people, you know, I am going for Hajj to make a show of it can be possible, can be possible I give charity so that people will say I am a charitable person for show but fasting cannot be done for Riya, cannot be done to show other people, why? A person can easily fast and when no one is watching he can have food, he can have drink. If a person who truly fasts and abstains from things that break the fast, he is doing it only for Allah and no one else. So that’s the difference between Saum and the other pillars of Islam. And our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) said, its mentioned in Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 3 in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 1904, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) said; 


“Allah says that all the deeds done by the sons of Adam, they are for themselves only. He does it for himself but fasting is for Me. And I will reward him and fasting is a shield, a person fasting, he abstains from obscene things, he abstains from lying and abstains from yelling and If a person gets angry with him and abuses him, he says “I’m fasting, I’m fasting” 


And then the Hadith further goes on Muhammad (saws) says that 


“ I swear by Allah (swt) in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad that a breath of a person who fasts is sweeter to Allah than the scent of musk and a person who fasts, he feels happy twice. Once while breaking the fast and once when he meets his Creator, his Lord” 


So in this Hadith there are various aspects mentioned first is that fasting is only one for Allah (swt) and on one else, not for Riya. Secondly fasting is a shield, it’s a protection, it keeps you away from wrong things, from obscenity, from vulgarity and if someone is angry it says that you have to calm him down by saying 


“I’m fasting, I’m fasting” 


because there’s a Hadith where Muhammad (saws) says in 


Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 3 Hadith no. 2038 that 


“The Satan runs in the circulatory system of the human beings like the blood”


So when we fast, we feel hungry, when we are hungry, you know, the energy level goes down and the things which required for doing things away from Allah (swt) so Taqwa level goes up because when we eat food, it goes into the blood, when we restrict food the restriction of the pathway of the Satan is there. So that’s the reason when we fast, our Taqwa level increases. 


Yusuf Chambers: Dr. Zakir, Ramadhaan is truly a wonderful month and I have felt it, always felt it myself but brothers and sisters come together and seems to be a wonderful bond in that month between us all. Is there any special message about Ramadhaan and brotherhood?


Dr. Zakir: Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) said that the Muslim is one body. All the Muslims, they are one body and if we analyze and we look around, all the Muslims we are different, we are diversified as far as language is concerned, as far as color is concerned, as far as the race is concerned, as far as the country where we come from, we are diversified, different but we are united under one statement ‘La ilaha illallah Muhammadur Rasool Allah’ that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the messenger of Allah. So based only on this Kalma the Muslims throughout the world are united. 


And Allah says in the Quran in Surah Hujuraat ch. no. 49 verse no. 13 

Ya ayyuha alnnasu inna khalaqnakum min thakarin waontha wajaAAalnakum shuAAooban waqaba-ila litaAAarafoo inna akramakum AAinda Allahi atqakum inna Allaha AAaleemun khabeer” 


which means 


“O humankind We have created you from a single pair of male and female and have divided you into nations and tribes so that you shall recognize each other not that you shall despise each other. And the most honored in the sight of Allah (Swt) is the person who has Taqwa.” 


The criteria for judgment in the sight of Allah (swt) is not cast, is not color, is not race, is not sex, is not wealth, it is Taqwa, it is God consciousness, it is piety. And this month of Ramadhaan, 


Allah say in Surah Baqrah ch.. 2 verse 183


 “la allakum tattaqoon” 


So that you may learn self restraint, so that your Taqwa may increase. So more your Taqwa increases, all the Muslims in the world, they are united. Because we are like one brotherhood cast, color, creed cannot differentiate us, we are one and in the month of Ramadhaan our Taqwa increases and the brotherhood increases. And the best example of brotherhood was given at the time of the Prophet. The Sahabas came from different countries, different colors, different races; we have the example of Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, he was a Quraish. We have the example of Bilal, may Allah be pleases with him, he was from Ethiopia, he was Ethiopian. We have the example of Shuaib, may Allah be pleases with him, he was a Roman. We have the example of Salman Pharsi, may Allah be pleased with him, he was from Persia. 


So we are from different-different countries, different-different race, different-different colors and we go down the line of the history of Islam further we have the same thing we have Imam Bukhari, he was a great scholar, he was from Bukhara, he was not an Arab, we have Mohammad, the conqueror, he was from Turkey, he was a Turk. We have the example of Salman Ayyubi, he was a Curd, then we have the example of Allama Iqbal, he was from India so what we know that we have Muslims from different parts of the world and this brotherhood we learn more in the month of Ramadhaan because our Taqwa level increases in the month of Ramadhaan.


And our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) said, it’s a Hadith of 


Bukhari Vol. no. 1 Hadith no. 468, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) said that 


“One faithful believer, one Muslim to another Muslim is like a brick of a wall and he clasped his hand like that.”


And the beloved Prophet also said, it’s a Hadith of 


Sahih Muslim Vol. no. 4 Hadith no. 6219 that the beloved Prophet said 


“One Muslim should never oppress the other Muslim, he should not fail him, he should not lie to him, should always be truthful and one Muslim cannot go against another Muslim”


So that is the brotherhood which our beloved Prophet taught us and the best we learn is in this month of Ramadhaan.


Yusuf Chambers: JazakAllah Khair.. ah.. Dr. Zakir Naik. Thank you for this informing and very-very interesting ..ah.. set of answers you have given us today on ‘An Introduction to Ramadhaan’.


Brothers and sisters I hope that you have derived as much benefit as I have myself from the answers that Dr. Zakir Naik has given us. JazakAllah Khair for Dr. Zakir Naik giving us answers. Alhamdulillah, brothers and sisters join us again the same time tomorrow when we will be discussing “when is fasting obligatory and exempted” 


Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh!