7. Requirements for the validity of a fast.
There are a few requirement that one must meet in order for his fast to be valid. One must notice that these are requirements for the validity of a fast and not conditions for fasting to be obligatory on a person as we have already mentioned those earlier. Some of these may repeat themselves.
a. Islaam – As we mentioned above in the conditions, Islaam is required for a person’s fast to be valid and accepted. Even when a group of non-muslims decide to fast with other muslims for an event like Fast A Thon or when a police chief in the community fasts to show solidarity and they break their fast with the muslims then they will not be rewarded by Allah for this.
b. End of menstrual or post-natal bleeding – This almost always applies to the women. She cannot be in these states in order to fast. If this is the case for any woman then she cannot pray the salawaat (prayers) nor can she fast during this period. The expiation for this will be mentioned later on in another section. For more information or questions on this matter, she can go to www.islamqa.com to get her answers.
c. Pre-maturity (age of rushd) – Children of this age usually around seven, who are physically able are to be ordered to fast by their parents to become accustomed to fasting. This is not the age when a person is obligated to do it rather this is the age when if one does it then the fast is still valid. So when he reaches the age of buloogh and it is obligatory upon him, then it isn’t as tough upon him because he has done this before and knows what to expect. The Prophet (sall Allâhu’ alayhi wa sallam) said, “Order your children to fast at seven and punish them for not doing it at ten”
d. Sanity – Same as mentioned above that an insane person cannot and is not required to perform any act of worship. When he regains his sanity he is required to fast again, until then the fast is not valid.
e. Intention from the night – Merely being aware any time in the night that one is fasting is sufficient to make the following days fast valid. As mentioned earlier this is for the obligatory fasts. The Prophet (sall Allâhu’ alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whoever does not intend to fast from before dawn, there is no fast for him (i.e., his fast does not count).” [Abu Dawood, 2454; al-Tirmidhi, 730; classed as saheeh by al-Albaanee in Saheeh Abi Dawood]. This is an authentic hadith but there are certain complications surrounding it. This hadith doesn’t seem to apply to voluntary fasting because there are incidents with the Prophet (sall Allâhu’ alayhi wa sallam) when he would ask his wives whether they have food to eat and they would say that they had nothing to eat. So the Prophet (sall Allâhu’ alayhi wa sallam) would say that he is fasting. So from this we can deduce that it doesn’t apply to voluntary fasting and we can safely say that you can start a voluntary fast after you have started the next day.
One doesn’t have to pronounce the intention verbally unless there is evidence present in the sunnah of the Prophet (sall Allâhu’ alayhi wa sallam) saying that a verbal intention is required for the act. Having intention in the heart is sufficient. And in Ramadaan we have the intention at all times that we will be fasting until the end of the month.
Also, eating something at night with intention that one is doing so because he/she will be fasting the next day is enough. Conditional intention is accepted before knowledge of the status of the next day. When one goes to sleep on the 29th of Ramadaan, having not sighted the moon or have information regarding it, not knowing whether or not tomorrow will be the last of Ramadaan or Eid, first of Shawwal. So the intention would be if tomorrow is Shawwal I will not fsat and if tomorrow is Ramadhan I will fast.
Chapter 1: Fasting in Ramadhaan
1. A pillar of Islam
2. Obligation of Fasting
3. Sighting of the Moon for start of Ramadhaan
4. One reliable witness’ presence is sufficient
5. Conditions that make Ramadhan Obligatory for an Individual
6. Expiation for the inability to fast due to age or illness
7. Requirements of a valid fast
8. Obligations to fulfill during fasting
9. Recommended acts of fasting
Chapter 2: Conditions in which breaking fast is Permissible, Impermissible, or Recommended
Chapter 3: That which Invalidates Your Fast
Chapter 4: Repayment of Missed or Broken Fasts
Chapter 5: Recommended, Disliked, and Impermissible Days of Fasting
(Chapter 4 & 5 – Insha’Allah comming soon around Eid al Fitr)