Previously Asked Questions
Fasting and Ramadan Questions:

Most of your questions about this topic will be answered by reviewing the Explanatory Notes for Song 27 and 28 of the Guiding Helper.

> Can a woman who's breastfeeding fast? can she begin fasting as
> soon as her post-natal bleeding ends?

A breast-feeding woman can fast during Ramadan, but has the *option* of
not fasting without any need to expiate (but she has to make up the
fast later if she opts not to fast).

References:
   Guiding Helper Explanatory Notes, footnote(s):  1735
   and associated entries in the Notes of Sources

A woman under-going post-natal bleeding may not fast; she has no option
but to make up the fast after Ramadan after her post-natal bleeding
ends.

References:
   Guiding Helper Explanatory Notes, footnote(s):  1683
   and associated entries in the Notes of Sources

>  My question is about making up wajib fasts.
>
> I did not complete making up all of my wajib Ramadan fasts.
> The fasts are from Ramadan 2000, Ramadan 2001 and
> Ramadan 2002. As indicated in the guiding helper, I had a
> valid excuse for missing these fasts.
>
> I have 2 questions about this:
> 1-Do I simply make up all of my fasts and pay a zakat fee
> for each day missed? If so, how much and where and how do I pay it?

If you honestly had no chance to make up the fasts (or it was very
difficult (e.g., due to having a baby, feeding it, taking care of it,
other health reasons, etc.), then *no* payment is due.

If you had the opportunity to make up the fasts, and you did
not do so until the next Ramadan came, you can give about $5 (U.S. in 2003)
for each fast missed to any poor person (Muslim or non-Muslim).
You may give one poor person the entire amount (or you may divide
it up among several poor people).  If someone is unable to give this
amount (since he/she is poor), he/she is forgiven

Additionally, you should try your best to make up the fasts before
death some time.  But, there is no need to give more money even
if they are delayed for even more years.

As a side note, one reason for this money that is given for
delaying fasts is that Allah may forgive one for not making up the
fasts if one dies before they are all made up.  This is because
a possible interpretation of verse 184 in Surah Baqarah
"And those who are able can give food to one poor person (for each
day missed) ... but, if you fast it is better for you" is that one can be forgiven
for missed fasts if one gives a poor person food for each day missed - even
though it is wrong not to purposely make up missed fasts.

Reference(s):
   Footnotes 1745-1746 of the Explanatory Notes of the Guiding
   Helper and associated entries in the Notes of Sources

> 2-Since the 3 ramadans have passed and I have not completed
> making all of them up, does this mean I don't have to expiate and
> give food to the poor in addition to making up the fasts?

There is no need to expiate (meaning fast two months in a row,
free a slave, or feed sixty poor).

What you must do is for all missed fasts which are more than
one year old, you must give $5 (U.S.) to one or more poor
people and also try your best to fast one day for each day missed.

For example, if you missed 20 fasts in 2000, 20 fasts in 2001,
and 20 fasts in 2002, then you would give 40 x $5 = $200 for the
missed fasts of 2000 and 2001.  But, you will not give for the fasts
missed in 2002 yet because it is possible that you will make up
some of these this year (2003) before Ramadan comes.

Reference(s):
   Footnotes 1745-1746 of the Explanatory Notes of the Guiding
   Helper and associated entries in the Notes of Sources

> Also, if one "inhales" medication into his lungs by way of and
> asthmatic inhalor, does this break the fast.

The ruling in the Maliki school for this would be:

   a) If a person takes the spray due to minor irritation and not
      because he fears serious injury or death, it will ruin the fast
      but there is no need to expiate.  This is in conformity with the
      Maliki position that inhaling tobacco smoke particles (or other
      particles) *on purpose* (e.g., first-hand smoke not second-
      hand smoke) ruins the fast.
      Reference:
      [KF: volume 1: page 137: line(s) 35:  {fasting; question 12; point 8}]
   b) If a person takes the spray due to serious breathing problems
      or other serious/moderately-difficult problem (for example, the person
      will be unable to work efficiently throughout the day without the
      spray or will confined to bed), then taking the asthmatic inhaler does
      *not* break the fast.  This is in conformity with the Maliki view that
      swallowing non-food-particles/dust/flies/bugs due to being *overcome*
      does not break the fast.
    Reference:
       [DT: volume 1: page 376: line(s) 2: {explanation of Murshid verse(s)
        219-220; third fourth}]

As with any of the rulings in the Guiding Helper, we do not claim
to have the last say about them; however, the above seem to be the
popular positions in the Maliki school about what you asked.

> I read in the Muwatta it says:
> Yahya said that he heard Malik say, about fasting for six days
> after breaking the fast at the end of Ramadan,  that he had never seen any
> of the people of knowledge and fiqh fasting them. He said, "I have not heard
>  that any of our predecessors used to do that, and the people of knowledge
> disapprove of it and they are    afraid that it might become a bida and that
> common and ignorant people might join to Ramadan what does
>  not belong to it, if they were to think that the people of knowledge had given
> permission for that to be done and were seen doing it.
> Does this mean that the fast of Shawwal is makruh?

The popular position in the Maliki school states that fasting 6 days in Shawwal is
makruh if one openly does so, connects these six days to Ramadan, and consecutively
keeps fasts on six days without a break in between them.  If one does not do all of these
three things, then it is not makruh to fast in Shawwal.

Reference:
   "(2) And fasting six days in Shawwal is makruh if one connects these fasts
    with `Id and performs them publicly (without concealing them).  But, it
    is not makruh to fast six days in Shawwal [or more or less] if one breaks the
    days apart, moves them to the end of the month, or fasts them secretly (without
    public announcement"

   [KF: volume 1: page 136: line(s) 18-20:{Fasting, question 9 (makruhs of fasting),
   point 2 (fasting sic days of  Shawwal)}]

> If the Shayateen are locked up during Ramadan, where
> are our bad dreams from?

A narration of the hadith you are referring to is found in Sahih
Bukhari #1766:

  The Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace said):  When the
   month of Ramadan enters, the doors of the sky are opened, the doors
   of Hell are closed, and the evil jinn (shayateen) are chained.

The question you ask has been given a long answer in `Asqalani's
explanation of Sahih Bukhari: al-Fath al-Bari (hadith #1766):

The question is "How can you say that the shayateen are chained in
Ramadan while we see much bad and many acts of disobedience in
Ramadan?  If the shayateen were actually chained, all this bad
wouldn't happen!"

We will only mention Imam Qurtubi's answer which is:

    a) The chaining of the shayateen can either be understood literally
       or metaphorically although the former has more evidences for it.
       [Understanding it literally would entail that some sort of
        restraining device is placed on the shayateen.  The word in the
        hadith is sulsilat, which means "put in chains" and does not
        mean "lock up in a room" or something like that.  Thus, the
        shayateen may still have some mobility (albeit more restricted
        than before) even in Ramadan.

        Understanding it metaphorically would entail that since fasting
        prevents one from many misdeeds, the shayateen have harder
        times finding dupes among the practicing Muslims.  This "harder
        time" in finding dupes is described as a "chain" in the hadith]
    b) It is possible that only very bad shayateen are chained while
       others are free since the hadith does not state that *all* shayateen
       are chained.
    c) It is possible it is meant that there is fewer acts of disobedience
       committed in this month than other months.
    d) It is possible that the bad we see in Ramadan is not from shayateen
       but is from other causes such as wicked human souls and one's ugly
       practices.

Thus, it is still possible to see bad dreams in Ramadan since some shayateen
may be free or since these "bad" dreams actually are caused by one's own foul
nature - or they may just be Allah's test for a pious person.

As a side note, we (personally) almost never have problems with bad dreams. 
We used to when we were younger, but no more.  We saw that saying the
Nightmare Avoidance supplication (listed in the Appendix of the Guiding Helper)
directly before going to sleep prevents the shayteen from entering into our
dreams.  However, we have noticed if we change postures or get up, we must
repeat the supplication again.  Similarly, if we get up for Tahajjud or Fajr and
then sleep again, we have to repeat it again to avoid "undesirable" dreams.
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