Holding the Mus-haf during salaah

Question: I carry a copy of the Qur’an while offering Salah (Prayer) behind the Imam (the one who leads congregational Prayer). It should be noted that I concentrate much and my mind does not go astray, and the moves I make in Salah are only for opening and closing the Qur’an. Is this permissible? I hope you will explain the issue!

Answer: The Ma’mum (a person being led by an Imam in Prayer) has to listen attentively to the recitation of the Imam and contemplate the Words of Allah they are hearing. They should not be distracted by anything as Allah (Exalted be He) says:

listen to it, and be silent that you may receive mercy. [Surah Al-A`raf, 7:204]

Imam Ahmad (may Allah be merciful to him) said that religious scholars agreed by consensus that this Ayah is about listening to the recitation of the Qur’an in Salah. holding a copy of the Qur’an while offering Salah behind the Imam for the sake of following the Imam causes the person to make repeated moves which distracts the people offering Salah around them. This may affect the perfection of submission and humbleness to Allah in Salah, so it is prescribed to abandon it.

May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!

[Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’, 5/383]

The age at which a child is obligated to fast

Question: When does it become obligatory for the child to fast, and what is the age limit?

Answer: A child is ordered to pray when he reaches the age of seven, and beat them to do so at the age of ten, and it becomes obligatory upon him when he reaches puberty. And puberty is determined by:

1) Excretion of sperm due to (sexual) arousing;
2) Appearance of pubic hair around the private parts;
3) Having wet dreams, if sperm is excreted;
4) Reaching the age of fifteen years.

And similar is the case for a female, in addition to her coming on her menses.
The source for the aforementioned is what Imaam Ahmad and Abu Daawood have related on the authority of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam):

«Order your children to pray at seven and beat them to pray at ten, and separate them from each other in bed».

Also, ‘Aa.ishah (radhi-yallaahu ‘anhaa) related on the authority of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam):

«The pen (of obligation) has been lifted for three (individuals): the sleeper until he awakens, the young child until he reaches puberty, and the mentally ill until he comprehends».

And with Allaah lies all success and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) and his family and his companions.

The Permanent Committee for Academic Research and Fataawa, comprising:
Head: Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Ibn ‘Abdullaah Ibn Baaz;
Deputy Head: Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee;
Member: Shaykh ‘Abdullaah Ibn Ghudayyaan;
Member: Shaykh ‘Abdullaah Ibn Qu’ood

[Fataawa Ramadhaan – Volume 1, Page 233, Fatwa No.177; Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa.imah lil-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa. – Fatwa No. 1787]

Published: 6 December 2000

The fast of one who does not pray

Question: We need to know the ruling about the fast of one who does not pray (obligatory prayers)?

Answer: One who does not pray, (then) his fast is not correct and it is not acceptable from him. This is because the one who does not pray is a kaafir and apostate (murtad), as Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) says:

{But if they repent, offer prayers perfectly and give zakaah, then they are your brethren in religion} [Soorah at-Towbah, Aayah 11].

And also the statement of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam):

«The agreement which is between us and them is the salaah, so he who leaves it has disbelieved».

…and also His (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) saying:

«Between the man and shirk and kufr is leaving the salaah».

And certainly this is the statement of the general Companions, if it is not a concensus amongst them. ‘Abdullaah Ibn Shaqeeq (rahimahullaah) who was amongst the prominent Taabi’oon said: «The Companions of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) did not see the leaving off of any actions to be kufr except the prayer». And based upon this, if a person was to fast whilst he did not pray, then his fast is rejected and unacceptable and there is no benefit for him in front of Allaah on the Day of Judgement. And we say to him: Pray then fast, as for fasting and not praying then your fast is rejected because (any) act of worship is not acceptable from a kaafir.

[Shakyh Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen, Fataawa Ramadhaan – Volume 2, Page 751, Fatwa No. 763; Fiqh al-Ibaadaat libni ‘Uthaymeen – Page 178-179]

Published: 31 December 1999

Does one who does not fast become a disbeliever (kaafir)?

Question: Is the one who does not fast, even though he is not ill or anything, become a kaafir, despite performing his (obligatory) prayers?

Answer: One who does not fast because he rejects it’s obligation then he is a kaafir by concensus. As for one who does not fast because he is lazy and negligent then he does not become a kaafir, however he is in great danger due to his leaving off a pillar from the pillars of Islaam upon which their obligation has been agreed.

And with Allaah lies all the success, and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) and his family and his companions.

The Permanent Committee for Islaamic Research and Verdicts, comprising –
Head: Shaykh ‘Abdul ‘Azeez ibn Abdullaah ibn Baaz;
Deputy Head: Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee;
Member: Shaykh ‘Abdullaah Ibn Qu’ood
Fataawa Ramadhaan – Volume 2, Page 748, Fatwa No.759;
Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa.imah lil-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa. – Fatwa No.6060

Published: 30 December 1999

The menstruating and post-partum bleeding woman eating during the day

Question: Is the menstruating and post-partum bleeding woman allowed to eat and drink during the day in Ramadhaan?

Answer: Yes, she can eat and drink during the day in Ramadhaan, however, it is better if this is done out of sight (of others), particularly since if they have a child at home then this would cause problems for them (in having to explain their condition)

[Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Fataawa Muhimmah li-Nisaa. al-Ummah – Page 66]

Published: 30 October 2003

Sun does not set until late, so when should we break our fast

Question: We live in a land in which the sun does not set until 21:30 (09:30pm) or 22:00 (10:00pm), so when should we break our fast?

Answer: Break your fast when the sun has set. So long as you have a night and day in 24 hours, it is obligatory that you fast even if the day is long.

[Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Fataawa Ramadhaan – Volume 1, Page 212, Fatwa No.155]

Published: 21 November 1999

Nothing but water to break the fast

Question: If a person is fasting during Ramadhaan and is travelling to another country and he does not have anything except water, what does he do?

Answer: If a person is fasting and the sun sets and he does not find anything to break his fast with except water, then he should break his fast with the water because breaking the fast with fresh or dried dates is preferable but not obligatory.

And with Allaah lies all the success, and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) and his family and his companions.

The Permanent Committee for Islaamic Research and Verdicts, comprising –
Head: Shaykh ‘Abdul ‘Azeez ibn Abdullaah ibn Baaz;
Deputy Head: Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee;
Member: Shaykh ‘Abdullaah Ibn Ghudayyaan
Fataawa Ramadhaan – Volume 1, Page 188, Fatwa No.128;
Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa.imah lil-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa. – Fatwa No. 11803

Published: 17 December 1999

Fasted without taking the sahoor (pre-dawn meal)

Question: A person went to sleep before the sahoor in Ramadhaan whilst having the intention to take the sahoor. But, he slept through ’til the morning. Is his fast correct or not?

Answer: His fast is correct because the sahoor is not a condition for the correctness of the fast. Rather it is preferable, for that which the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:

«Take the sahoor for certainly in it is blessing». (This hadeeth has been) agreed upon by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim.

[Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Fataawa Ramadhaan – Volume 1, Page 185, Fatwa No.124; al-Fataawa libni Baaz – Kitaab ad-Da’wah, Volume 2, Page 161]

Published: 22 December 1999

Being united regarding the beginning and end of Ramadhaan, and how to achieve it

Question: Why are the Muslims not united with regard to the beginning and end of Ramadaan? How can that be achieved?

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

Undoubtedly for the Muslims to be united in starting and ending the fast is something desirable and it is something that is required by sharee’ah wherever possible, and there are only two conditions of achieving that:

1 –All Muslim scholars should do away with relying on calculations as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the early generations of this ummah did, and follow moonsighting or completing the number of days (in the month) as was explained by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in the saheeh ahaadeeth. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Fataawa (25/132, 133) that the scholars were unanimously agreed that it is not permissible to rely on calculations for proving the beginning and end of the fast and so on. Al-Haafiz narrated in al-Fath (4/127) that al-Baaji said: The consensus of the salaf is that calculations should not be relied on, and their consensus is proof for those who come after them.

2 – They should commit to following the sighting of the moon in any Muslim state that follows the sharee’ah of Allaah and adheres to its rulings. When it is proven in that country that the new moon has been sighted with shar’i proof, with regard to the beginning or end of the fast, then they should follow that, in accordance with the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Fast when you see it, and stop fasting when you see it, and if it is too cloudy then complete the number (of days)” and “We are an unlettered nation, we do not write or calculate. The month is such-and-such” and he gestured with his hands three times, and held down his thumb the third time, then he said, “or the month is such-and-such” and he  gestured with all of his fingers, meaning that the month may be twenty-nine days or it may be thirty. There are many ahaadeeth with similar meanings, from Ibn ‘Umar, Abu Hurayrah, Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan and others (may Allaah be pleased with them). It is well known that what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said was not addressed only to the people of Madeenah, rather it is addressed to the entire ummah at all times and in all places until the Day of Resurrection. When these two conditions are met, then all Muslim countries will be able to fast together and break the fast together, and we ask Allaah to enable them to do that and to help them to rule by Islamic sharee’ah and reject that which goes against it. Undoubtedly that is obligatory upon them because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission”

[al-Nisa’ 4:65]

And there are similar verses.

There is also no doubt that ruling all their affairs in accordance with sharee’ah is in their best interests and will unite them and help them against their enemies and help them to attain happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. We ask Allaah to open their hearts to that and to help them to achieve it, for He is All-hearing, Ever-near. End quote.

[Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him), Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah (15/74-76)]

Should he fast with his own country or with any country that sights the new moon?

Question: What should I do if the moon is sighted in some Muslim countries but the country where I am working completes the month of Sha’baan and Ramadaan as thirty days? What is the cause of the people’s differences in Ramadaan?

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

You have to stay with the people of your country. When they fast, then fast with them, and when they break the fast then break the fast with them, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The fast is the day when you fast, and the breaking of the fast (al-iftaar) is the day when you break the fast, and the sacrifice (al-adha) is the day when you offer the sacrifice.” And because dissent is evil. So you have to be with the people of your country. So when the Muslims in your country break the fast, then break the fast with them, and when they fast then fast with them.

As for the cause of differences, the reason is that some people see the new moon and some do not see it, then those who have seen the new moon may be trusted by others who follow their sighting, or they may not be trusted, and hence differences arise. One country may sight it and rule accordingly, and fast and break the fast on that basis, whereas another country may not be convinced of this sighting and may not trust the other country, for many reasons, political and otherwise.

What the Muslims must do is fast all together when they see the new moon, and break the fast when they see it, because of the general meaning of the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “When you see the new moon then fast, and when you see the new moon then break the fast, and if it is too cloudy then complete the number of days as thirty.” If they are all certain of the validity of the moon sighting, and that it is real and proven, then they must fast and break the fast accordingly, but if the people differ and do not trust one another, then you have to fast with the Muslims in your country, and break the fast with them, in accordance with the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):  “The fast is the day when you fast, and the breaking of the fast (al-iftaar) is the day when you break the fast, and the sacrifice (al-adha) is the day when you offer the sacrifice.”

It was proven from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that when Kurayb told him that the people of Syria had started fasting on a Friday, Ibn ‘Abbaas said: We saw it on Saturday, and we will carry on fasting until we see the new moon or we complete thirty days. He did not follow the sighting of the people of Syria because Syria is far away from Madeenah and there may be a difference in moonsighting between the two. He (may Allaah be pleased with him) thought that this was a matter that was subject to ijtihaad. You have a good example to follow in Ibn ‘Abbaas and the scholars who followed him and said that you should fast with the people of your country and break the fast with them. And Allaah is the Source of strength. End quote.

[Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him), Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanwwi’ah (15/100-102)]