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Questions on Ramadhaan
 
Answers By: Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Ibnul-Uthaymeen and the Committee of Major Scholars
Al-Istiqaamah

 

DETERMINING THE BEGINNING OF RAMADAAN

[Q]: Is it permissible to rely upon astronomical calculations in determining the start of Ramadhaan ?

[A]: "The Prophet ( sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam ) ordered the Muslims saying:

"Do not fast until you see the new moon, and do not stop fasting until you see it, and if it is concealed by clouds them count out (the thirty days of Sha’baan ) for it. "[1]

And he ( ’alayhis-salaatu was-salaam ) said:

"We are an illiterate nation that neither writes nor calculates (i.e. using astronomical calculations). The month is either like this, or this. Meaning: Sometimes it is of twenty nine days, and sometimes it is of thirty." [2]

And it is established in the Saheeh (no.1909) of al-Bukhaaree from Aboo Hurayrah ( radiyallaahu ’anhu ) that the Prophet ( sallallaahu ’alayhi was sallam ) said:

"Fast when it (the moon) is seen, and cease fasting when it is seen, so if is concealed by clouds then complete thirty days of Sha’baan . " And he ( sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam ) also said:

"Do not fast until you have seen the moon, and if it is concealed by clouds then complete thirty days. " [3]

There are plenty of ahaadeeth in this connection, and all of them point towards the obligation of actually sighting the moon, or if unable, then to complete the number of days in the absence of observing it. These narrations also point towards the impermisibility of using astronomical calculations in this regard. And Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah has actually stated an ijmaa’ (consensus) from the People of Knowledge about the impermisibility of relying upon astronomical calculations in this regard – and this is the truth about which there is no doubt. [4] And with Allaah alone is the ability." [5]

BRUSHING ONE'S TEETH WHILST FASTING

[Q]: Is it permissible to use a Miswaak to brush one's teeth, whilst fasting. And is it permissible to use toothpaste as well? What if some blood appears whilst I brush my teeth, does this invalidate my fast?

[A]: "There is no problem in cleaning one's teeth using either water, Miswaak or toothbrush, whilst fasting. Some have held it to be Makrooh (detested) to use a Miswaak whilst fasting, since it changes the smell of a person's breath. However, what is correct is that it is recommended to use a Miswaak in the beginning and the end of the day, since doing so does not change the odour, rather it just cleanses the mouth from impurities and small pieces of food that become lodged in one's teeth. As regards to the use of toothpaste, then using it is makrooh (detested), since it contains a distinctive taste and flavour which may then get mixed with one's saliva and then be swallowed. Thus, whosoever needs to use it should do so after taking the suhoor (the pre-dawn meal), before the time of Fair and fasting begins. However, if one can safeguard allowing the toothpaste and saliva to be mixed then swallowed, then there is no harm in using such toothpaste. If, whilst cleaning one's teeth with water, miswaak or a toothbrush - a small amount of blood flows out, then this does not break the fast, and Allaah knows best." [6]

CONCERNING THE TARAAWEEH PRAYER

[Q]: Some people insist that there is an ijmaa’ (consensus) from the four well known Imaams - Aboo Haneefah, Maalik, ash Shaafi’ee and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal ( rahimahumullaah ), on praying only twenty rak’ahs for taraaweeh . Is this correct?

[A]: "This is an erroneous claim. This is what has been stated in the Hanafee books of fiqh (jurisprudence), for we do not find any book that can be authentically ascribed to Aboo Haneefah (d.150H) ( rahimahullaah ) . Rather, what is apparent from looking into al-Muwatta of Imaam Muhammad (one of the main students of the Aboo Haneefah) is that Aboo Haneefah’s madhhab (school of thought) was to pray eleven rak’ahs.

Imaam Muhammad includes a chapter in al Muwatta (p.110), stating: "Chapter: Establishing the Night Prayer in the month of Ramadhaan , and the virtues contained in it." Under this chapter he relates four ahaadeeth . The first, third and fourth narrations do not make mention of any specified number of rak’ahs for the Taraaweeh Prayer, rather they just mention the excellence of establishing Prayer in congregation and the excellence of the night Prayer in Ramadhaan . However, in the second narration eleven rak’ahs is mentioned. Then Imaam Muhammad said (p.111): "And we take all of this." ... Thus, he has shown that his madhhab is eleven rak’ahs, and this can only be the madhhab of Imaam Aboo Haneefah ( rahmatullaahi ’alayhi ) as well.

Ash-Shaafi'ee (d.204H) ( rahimahullaah ) said:

"There is no limit to its maximum number, since it is an optional Prayer. Thus, if the standing is lengthened, whilst the number of prostrations shortened (i.e. the number of rak’ahs are fewer), then that is good and that is what is most beloved to me. However, if the number of prostrations and bowings are increased (i.e. the number of rak’ahs are increased), then this is also good. "[7]

So it is affirmed that Imaam ash Shaafi’ee ( rahimahullaah ) does not advocate restricting the number of rak’ahs to twenty. Rather, he gives preference for there to be fewer rak’ahs and an increase in the length of standing.

Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (d.241H) has approved of eleven rak’ahs as well as twenty - as Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah says in al-Ikhtiyaaraatul-’Ilimiyyah (p.38) and Shaah Waliyyullaah says in al-Misriyyah (1/174) and al-Musaffaa (1/177).

Imaam Maalik (d.179H) ( rahimahullaah ) also supports eleven rak’ahs, as Shaykhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned in al Ikhtiyaraat (p.38) and as Jalaalud-Deen as-Suyootee mentions in al-Haawee lil Fataawaa (p.350), where he said: al-Jooree, one of our companions said, from Maalik who said: '"That which ’Umar Ibnul-Khattaab gathered the people upon is more beloved to us, and that was eleven rak’ahs, and that was the prayer of Allaah’s Messenger ( salllallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam )." It was said to him: Eleven rak’abs with the Witr So he said: Yes, and thirteen is close." Then he said: "I do not know from where they have introduced these numerous rukoo’s (bowings)."[8]

Praying eleven rak’ahs is based upon a number of authentic narrations, from them:

[1] What al-Bukhaaree relates in his Saheeh (no.2013) from Aboo Salamah Ibn ’Abdur-Rahmaan who relates that he asked ’Aa‘ishah ( radiyallaabu ’anhaa ): How was the Prayer of the Prophet ( sallallaabu ’alayhi wa sallam ) in Ramadhaan ? So she said: "Allaah’s Messenger ( sallallaabu ’alayhi wa sallam ) did not used to pray more than eleven rak’ahs during Ramadhaan or in other than Ramadhaan . He would pray four rak’ahs, and do not ask about their beauty and length. Then he would pray another four, and do not ask about their beauty and length. Then he would pray three ( witr )."

[2] Jaabir ( radiyallaahu ’anhu ) said: "Allaah's Messenger ( sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam ) led us in the month of Ramadhaan with eight rak’ahs and witr . Then on the following night we gathered in the mosque and hoped that he would come out, and we continued in that state until morning. Then we entered our houses, so we said: O Messenger of Allaah, we gathered in the mosque last night hoping that you would pray with us. So he said: "I feared that it would become prescribed (i.e. obligatory) for you."[9]

[3] Imaam Maalik relates in his al-Muwatta (no. 248): From Muhammad Ibn Yoosuf, from as-Saa‘ib Ibn Yazeed who said: "'Umar Ibnul-Khattaab ordered ’Ubayy Ibn Ka’b and Tameem ad-Daaree to lead the people in Prayer with eleven rak’abs. And the reciter would recite some hundreds of Verses until one of us would lean upon a stick because of the length of standing, and we had not used to finish until the appearance of Fajr ."[10]

[4] ’Ubayy Ibn Ka’b came to Allaah's Messenger ( sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam ) and said: O Messenger of Allaah, something happened with me last night - meaning in Ramadhaan . So he said: And what was that ’Ubayy? He said: "Some women in my house said, we do not recite the Qur’aan , so can you lead us in Prayer? So I lead them in eight rak’ahs and prayed the witr. " And this was a Sunnah of his approval, since he remained quiet and he did not say anything.[11]

So all this goes to show that insisting that there is a consensus on praying only twenty rak’ahs for taraaweeh - claiming this to be the only view of all the four well-known Imaams - is not only incorrect, but is against the established evidence. As regards a detailed discussion regarding the whole issue, then this is not possible here, nor is it the place to discuss the correctness, or merits, of praying twenty rak’ahs over eight, or vice-versa. Rather, one can find such discussions in the relevant chapters in the books of fiqh, whilst remembering that: "Difference in opinion must not be a source of obstinancy nor anger."[12]

WHAT SHOULD I DO IN RAMADAAN:

[Q]: What should a fasting person do, and what is obligatory upon him?

[A]: "The fasting person must increase in obedience to Allaah, and to keep away from all the prohibited maters. It is obligatory upon the fasting person to safeguard the obligatory duties and to distance himself from all the prohibitions. So he should pray the five daily Prayers in their correct times and in congregation, and abandon lying, backbiting, cheating, dealing in usury, and all other prohibited matters. The Prophet ( sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam ) said: "Whosoever does not abandon falsehood in speech and action, then Allaah The Almighty and Majestic has no need that he should leave his food and drink. "[13] [14]

EYE DROPS AND VOMITING:

[Q]: Is it permissible to use eye or ear-drops whilst fasting, or does it invalidate the fast? And does vomiting also break the fast?

[A]: "Whosoever uses eye or ear drops for medicinal purposes, then this does not invalidate their fast, and this is the correct opinion. This is because such drops are not termed as being food or drink - neither are they called so by convention, nor by Islaamic terminology - and this is because such drops are administered through those places which food and drink are not administered. However, if taking such drops could be delayed until the night, then this would avoid entering into any difference of opinion. Similarly, whosoever vomits whilst fasting, then this does not invalidate their fast. This is because Allaah does not burden a soul with more than it can bear, and also that the Sharee’ah (Divinely Prescribed Islaamic law) is built upon facilitating ease and removing hardships, as Allaah - the Most High - said:

"And We have not made for you any hardships in the Religion." [Sooratul-Baqarah 2:221]

Also, the Prophet ( sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam ) said:

"Whosoever has an attack of vomiting then no atonement is required of hint, but whoever intentionally vomits, then let him atone for it. "[15] [16]

 

Footnotes:

[1] Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 1906) and Muslim (no. 1080), from Ibn ’Umar ( radiyallaahu ’anhu ).

[2] Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 1913), front Ibn ’Umar ( radiyallaahu ’anhu ).

[3] Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 1907), from Ibn ’Umar.

[4] Refer to Fathul-Baaree (4/159) of al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr.

[5] Answered by Shaykh ’Abdul-’Azeez Ibn Baaz in Fataawas-Siyaam (p.13).

[6] Answered by Shaykh Ibn Jibreen in Fataawas Siyaam (p.40).

[7] Quoted by Ibn Nasr al-Marwazee in Qiyaamul-Layl (p.92).

[8] Tanqeedus-Sadeed bi Risaalati Ijtihaad wat-Taqleed (p.266-268) of Shaykh Badee’ud-Deen as-Sindee.

[9] Related by Ibn Nasr (p.90) and others. Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr indicated in Fathul-Baaree (3/10) that the narration is strong.

[10] Shaykh al-Albaanee says in Salaatut-Taraaweeh (p.4)): "And its chain of narration is Saheeh Jiddan (extremely authentic)."

[11] Hasan: Related by Ibn Nasr al-Marwazee (p.90). It was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albaanee in Salaatut-Taraaweeh (p.68).

[12] From Aadaahul-Khilaaf (p.7) of Shaykh Saalih al Humaid.

[13] Related by al-Bukhaaree (4/99). from Aboo Hurayrah ( radiyallaahu ’anhu ) .

[14] Answered by Shaykh Ibnul-’Uthaymeen in Haqeeqatus-Siyaam (pp.24-25).

[15] Saheeh: Related by Aboo Daawood (2/310). It was authenticated by Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah in Fataawas Siyaam (p.14).

16. Answered by the Committee of Major Scholars in Fataawas-Siyaam (p.44).


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