Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

October 2004
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Our Dialogue

Eat Moderately Before Prayers
By Adil Salahi
Q. What was the pattern followed by the Prophet (Pbuh) when he was fasting?

A. When the Prophet (Pbuh) finished a day of fasting, he either ate a few dates, or he drank a little water if dates were not available. He then prayed Maghrib before eating his meal. This is the best course to follow. It is also much more healthy. After long hours of fasting, it is better to give our stomach just a little to digest while we pray Maghrib. When we have finished our prayers, we can proceed to eat a full meal. A person who prefers to eat his full meal first before going on to pray will soon discover that he is doing things the wrong way. He imposes a heavy burden on his stomach very suddenly, after it had been resting for a few hours. When he has finished his meal, the last thing he wants to do is to move about and pray. He wants to relax. Yet the time of Maghrib will become very short and he must go straightaway to prayer after having eaten. Otherwise, he may miss Maghrib prayer. No one would like to miss an obligatory prayer on a day of fasting. It is very important therefore to follow the Prophet’s (Pbuh) example and eat a little and pray before proceeding to finish our evening meal.

Pregnant Woman
By Adil Salahi
Q. If a woman is pregnant or nursing a baby, does she have to fast?

A. No, she does not have to fast if she fears for her health, her baby’s health, or both. If she does not fast, then she should make up for the days she did not fast. However, if she is having a lot of children, and it is inconvenient for her to make up since she is one year pregnant and one year or more nursing, then she can feed a poor person for every day that she did not fast instead of making up.
Rakahs in Taraweeh
By Adil Salahi
Q. What is the true number of Rakahs in Taraweeh prayers in Ramadan?

A. There is no specific limit to what a Muslim may offer of prayer as part of his voluntary night worship. In the early period of Islam, people in Makkah used to offer 20 rakahs of taraweeh prayers. People in Madinah offered a larger number reaching as many as 36 rakahs a night. They felt that the people in Makkah could do the tawaf in addition to their voluntary prayer. Since tawaf is similar to prayers, they added 16 rakahs to offset the particular privilege the Makkan people enjoined.

On the other hand, we have a clear statement from Hazrath Aisha (RA), wife of the holy Prophet (Pbuh), that he never offered more than 11 or 13 rakahs of night worship on any night whether in Ramadan, or in the rest of the year. There is no maximum number to which you have to limit yourself. If you decide to follow the Prophet’s example and stop at 11 rakahs including three for witr, you may wish to make your prayer longer by reciting longer passages from the Quran. On the other hand, if you are praying in a mosque and the congregation is offering 23 rakahs (including three for witr), you may follow them. The essence of Tarawih is completing one Quran in the whole of the month of Ramadan. Majority of the scholars in mosques pray twenty rakahs. Lets not get divided in the contents, but get united in essence. When the ummah deviates, they fall into futile debates.

Breaking the Fast on Time
By Adil Salahi
Q. What is the Prophet’s (Pbuh) guidance on breaking the fast on time?

A. Fasting starts at dawn and finishes at dusk. The Prophet (Pbuh) has recommended having the suhoor meal just before fasting starts as a blessing. It is learnt that the Prophet (Pbuh) used to delay the suhoor meal as much as possible so that he ate immediately before dawn. This he did because it makes fasting less hard for his followers. The same idea applies to finishing one’s fast. In this the Prophet’s (Pbuh) guidance is to break one’s fast immediately when it is time to do so. Sahl ibn Sa’ad, a companion of the Prophet (Pbuh) quotes him as saying: “ People will be well advised as long as they finish their fast without delay.” (Related by Muslim). This indicates clearly that it is the Prophet’s Sunnah not to delay finishing one’s fast, once we are certain that the sun has set. If they change this habit, then they are making themselves liable to further deviation from the Sunnah of the Prophet (Pbuh).

Accident During Fasting
By Abdullah Tariq
Q. A man while fasting had an accident after Zuhr and he was unconscious until Isha prayers and during this period, he was not given any food or medicine equivalent to food. When he woke up, he ate and drank. What is the status of his fasting? Was it acceptable or has he got to fast another day?

A. Since he was not getting any nourishing food to nullify his fasting during his unconscious period, his fasting is accepted. The period of unconsciousness is equivalent to sleeping and as such has no effect on his fast.
Sickness and Compensatory Fast
By Abdullah Tariq
Q. A man was sick during Ramadan and due to the sickness, he could not fast for seven consecutive days during Ramadan. Should he fast seven consecutive days to make up for the lapsed days or can he fast on any seven days during the course of the year?

A. He can fast on any seven days during the course of the year.

Missing Ramadan Fast
By Abdullah Tariq
Q. A man during the last few days of Ramadan did not fast. Then in Shawwal, he wanted to fast the six days in Shawwal as well. How should he go about these fasts? Should he fast the missed days first of Ramadan or fast the additional six of Shawwal days to get the extra benefit?

A. He will not get the reward mentioned in the Hadith, unless he completes the whole fasting days for the month of Ramadan and then followed the additional six days, all these days should be in Shawwal.

When the Sun Plays Hide and Seek
By Abdullah Tariq
Q. A man fasting during the month of Ramadan was in the open area in the desert. The time for Maghrib approached, but the sky was covered with clouds. The man was
certain that the time for Maghrib had come and broke his fast. A few minutes later the sky cleared and he saw the sun. Should he stop eating and drinking or continue to eat and drink? Should he compensate the missed day? Can he ignore the whole thing and continue eating and drinking assuming his fast is valid?

A. If he broke his fast with the belief that it was sunset, then no compensation is required. His fast is valid. But he should stop eating and drinking immediately, when he saw the sun again in the sky. But if he was not sure of the sunset. This means that he was careless and in this situation, he should fast one additional day. However it is recommended that fasting one additional day in both situations is better to be on the safe side.

Use of Ear Drops
By Abdullah Tariq
Q.A fastinq person has a pain in his ear and he needs to use some medicine drops into his ear. Does this nullify his fasting?

A. No, since his eardrops are very few and do not reach his stomach, his fasting is valid.

Wudhu Water In The Throat
By Abdullah Tariq
Q. While performing wudhu, a few drops of water passed into the throat of a fasting person. Is his fasting valid for the rest of the day or should he compensate by fasting another day?

A. His fasting is valid as it happened accidentally, with no intention on his part. Fasting to compensate for this day is not required.