Q&A with Imam Elahi


Q: How can I best prepare my mind and body for the month of Ramadan? 
 Think of anything that may increase your piety and submission to God's will. Anything that brings more love and peace to your heart. Read the message of the Prophet (pbuh) in which he described the blessings, opportunities and responsibilities of the faithful during this divine month.

Q: When should one make the intention to fast during the month of Ramadan, and what must we have in our mind when thinking about it? 
 The easiest way is to make intention on the first night of Ramadan that one would fast throughout the month with the purpose of getting closer to Allah (swt).

Q: Who is required to fast?
 Every baleq (age of puberty) Muslim who is healthy physically and mentally and is not traveling during the month of Ramadan must fast. However, the elderly and women during their monthly cycle or nifas (post pregnancy bleeding) are exceptions. Women who are pregnant or nursing may postpone their fast.

Q: What are some things that invalidate the fast? 
 Purposefully eating, drinking, or inhaling thick dust or smoke, sexual emission, ascribing false things to Allah and His prophet.

Q: What if medicine is prescribed by a doctor and the times that it needs to be taken is during the hours of fasting, is it forbidden to take the medicine?
A: If the person is sick, he/she shouldn't fast. However, taking medicine by injection doesn't invalidate the fast. Taking medicine by the mouth invalidates the fast.

Q: What if fasting makes me weak. It makes it difficult for me to concentrate on my work, it makes me dizzy and sleepy and at a time like this when I'm busy with University and community it's too much added pressure. If this happens, can I call it a 'sick day' and try to make the fasting up later?
 Make an effort to rise before dawn to eat and drink as much as you need to make it through the day. Plan your day so that you get your studying done in the morning when your brain is still sharp. It is permissible to break your fast if it makes you too weak, in a way that you are seriously unable to do your daily work. However you must feed a poor person for each day and make it up later when you can.

Q: What if I forgot that I was fasting and accidentally ate something? Does this invalidate my fast? 
 No it doesn't, if you stop eating as soon as you remember you are fasting.

Q: What is the distance that is considered 'traveling' in regard to fasting?
A: If the total journey (round trip) is more than 28 miles, starting from the last boundary of a city or the end of locality in big cities, and this journey is not a part of your regular routine. You must make up the entire day's fast later, even if you fasted part of a day before starting on your journey. If you are traveling before noon, you must keep fasting until you pass the boundary of your city or end of locality. If you are traveling in the afternoon you must keep your fasting until the dusk regardless of your trip's length.

Q: Regarding the kind of bleeding which invalidates our fast, does this include a wound or even a small cut on our hand?
A: The only blood that would invalidate a fast is the one from Haidh (woman's menstrual cycle) and Nifas (post pregnancy blood) regardless of the amount. Any other bleeding including a cut on the body doesn't invalidate the fast.

Q: What if I don't pray, should I still fast?
A: Although we must go with the whole package in our faith to reach real salvation, fasting and prayer are two different duties and negligence of one doesn't justify cancellation of the other one.

Q: What are some physical benefits to fasting? 
 The Prophet (pbuh) said fast and you become healthy. It gives the body a break and enables it to fight infection and helps the body to purge toxins that have been stored up in the cells over time. Build up of the chemicals in the body out of eating and drinking is responsible for many kinds of health problems. Reviving the cells, improving circulation and strength, cleaning the stomach, clearing the skin and giving the body the power of self-healing. Remember that the Quran prescribes piety as the purpose of fasting. It helps to protect the soul from evil, establish spiritual discipline, become humble in relationship with God and His people, increase in patience and perseverance, and to develop a sense of sympathy and support for the hungry. The real philosophy of fasting is to change the heart. Remember we don't fast merely because of its benefits but out of obedience to Allah's command.

Q: What if I break my fast intentionally, how can I make it up?
A: The kaffara for intentional break is either to fast for two consecutive months or feed sixty poor people. In the case of fasting for two month, there should be continuity during the first month and the first day of the second month, if the fast was broken during that period without any excuse, he/ she should start all over again. If it is not possible for him/her to do either of them he should give charity as much as he can and ask Allah's forgiveness.

Q: If for some reason a day (s) need to be made up for fasting, when should we make up the missed time? Can we make it up anytime in our lifetime, or does it have to be completed by the next Ramadan? 
 If one missed fasting out of sickness and one couldn't make it up for the same reason till next Ramadan, one should feed a poor person for each day - no need to ever make it. If one is no longer sick, or if one missed a fast for other reasons, one should make it up any time later. However, if he didn't make it up before the next Ramadan, in addition to making up the fast, he should also feed a poor person for each day he had missed.

Q: Is it permissible to fast on the Eid? 
 No, it's not permissible to fast Eid of Fitr or Eid of Adha.

Q: What should we do when we hear different opinions about the start and end days of Ramadan? 
 You should follow the method of ascertaining the first day of a month based on the opinion of your mujtahid (religious authority) and when you hear different news about the new moon follow the one that gives you more certainty.

Q: What kind of prayers should we do during Ramadan? What dua is recommended to say during this month? 
 Every month is God's month, yet the month of Ramadan is very special. The fasting faithful are special guests of God during Ramadan. Reciting the whole Quran and doing the special daily supplications and prayers bring one closer to God during this heavenly opportunity. For the details you can refer to the book of Mafatih-Aljanan.

Q: Anything else that is recommended during the month of Ramadan? 
 The Night of Power or Laylatul Qadr is the high point of this month and deserves to be celebrated till the dawn time. Acts of charity and inviting other fasting people to your house to break your fast together are especially rewarding acts of this month.