A Beginner's Guide to Ramadan & Fasting

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A Beginner’s Guide to: Ramadan

Beginning of the month and its


The obligation to fast during


“Oh you who have
Those exempt from fasting

believed, decreed upon
Description of fasting

you is fasting as it was
decreed upon those before

Etiquettes (Adab) of Fasting
you that you may become
Suhoor and Iftar
Qur’an 2:186

Good deeds in Ramadan

The Night of Power (Laylat ul-Qadr)
11. ‘Itikaf (Seclusion)


13. Zakat ul-Fitr

14. Advice about eating the right Food
Prayer (du'a) at the time of breaking
the fast.

About Leeds New Muslims
led under the supervision of

eikh Muhammad El-Turabi.

1. Introduction
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord and
Creator of the worlds. To Him we turn in repentance and ask for guidance. Upon Him we rely
and to him we will return. Oh Allah bless Muhammad your messenger and prophet, his family,
his companions and all who follow Your guidance.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Fasting (Sawm in Arabic) during
this month is one of the five fundamental ‘pillars’ of Islam as is mentioned in a hadith which is
narrated by Ibn 'Umar:
Allah's Apostle said: “Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):
1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's
2. To establish the (obligatory) prayers dutifully and perfectly.
3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity).
4. To observe fast during the month of “Ramadan.”
5. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)
Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 7

Ramadan is a blessed month which is of great benefit to us in both this life and the next. It is
the month of fasting, prayer, reflection and remembrance of Allah the Exalted. It is a chance
for us to draw near to Him and to re-discover the purpose for our existence. Whoever fasts
the whole of the month of Ramadan sincerely and correctly will have his/her previous wrongs

2. Beginning of the month and its duration

As the Islamic calendar is lunar, the months are determined by the new moon. Every new
moon represents a new month. With the advancement of science in the modern era, methods
for sighting and calculating the birth of the new moon have become more sophisticated,
causing Muslim scholars to disagree about what is a legally valid way to declare the new
month as having arrived. As a result, the community is often split about which days to start
and end the fast which also may cause Eid (the festival at the end of Ramadan) to be
celebrated on different days in different mosques. This can cause confusion for new Muslims
(and even for the not-so-new Muslims). It is allowed for a Muslim to follow his/her mosque in
these matters and consider their fasts as valid and complete.

3. The obligation to fast during Ramadan
Every person who has reached the age of puberty, is of sound mind, is Muslim, is capable of
fasting and who has knowledge of the month having entered is obliged to fast subject to the
following exceptions.

4. Those exempt from fasting
Exceptions are of two types; those who are not allowed to fast and those who have
permission to not fast. Anyone who is menstruating, bleeding from childbirth, too weak to fast
to the extent that there is the fear that he/she will die if he does not break the fast, pregnant or
a nursing women who fears that themselves or their babies will die should not fast.
Travellers, the sick, pregnant, those who are breast-feeding and have reason to believe it may
harm themselves or the child, any who are overwhelmed by hunger or thirst and those who
have to take medicine and cannot avoid doing so have permission to break the fast.
In some cases the fast should be made up at the end of Ramadan and in others it is not
required and advice should be sought from a scholar or imam if in doubt. It is important not to
break the fast if there is no valid reason. If the fast is broken for no legitimate reason then it
should be made up after the end of Ramadan and that person must either free a slave, fast for
two months in a row or feed 60 people.

5. Description of fasting
Fasting means to give up eating, drinking and having sexual relations from the beginning of
Salat ul-Fajr until the beginning of Salat ul-Maghrib. In other words from the first light of dawn
until sunset. To do any of these things during that period of time is to break the fast. Smoking,
taking medicine and chewing gum are all considered to break the fast as does wilful
ejaculation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) continued to clean his teeth whilst fasting as he
would have if he was not fasting.
The times of the fast can be found at your local mosque or on their website. If you do not have
access to a mosque then times can be found on the internet for your local area. As with all
acts of worship, it should be done with the correct intention. This must be made at the
beginning of the month, before the start of the first fast and it should be to fast the whole of
Ramadan. It is not necessary to make an intention at the beginning of each day.

6. Etiquettes (adab) of fasting
Fasting is more than just abstaining from eating, drinking and sexual relations. It is a process
which should help you to discipline yourself and to enable your mind to be in control of your
body. This will help you to become a better Muslim and ultimately closer to Allah. The person
fasting should try to avoid all sins – both minor and major. Of course, sin should always be
avoided, but it is especially important during Ramadan if more than just hunger and thirst are
desired from this blessed month.

  The Messenger of Allah said,
"Fasting is a shield (or a screen or a shelter). So, the person observing fasting should
avoid sexual relations and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if
somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, 'I am fasting." The
Prophet added, "By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the
mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. (Allah
says about the fasting person), 'He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake.
The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good
deeds is multiplied ten times."
Sahih Muslim Volume 3, Book 31, Number 118
7. Suhoor and Iftar

Suhoor is the meal which is taken before the beginning of the fast. It is recommended to
delay the suhoor as late as is possible so long as eating does not continue once the fast has
started. This meal was emphasised by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)
because of the blessings which are in it. It does not invalidate the fast to miss this meal.

Iftar is the breaking of the fast. It is strongly recommended to eat something as soon as the
time for the fast is finished. It is sunna (the practice of the Prophet peace be upon him) to eat
either dates or to drink water at this time before praying salat ul-maghrib but any food or
drink which is halal is acceptable. Missing or delaying this meal does not invalidate the fast
but it is strongly disliked to do so.

8. Good deeds in Ramadan
Good deeds in Ramadan are multiplied in reward many times over. As is mentioned in the
above hadith (a report about the prophet peace be upon him), the fast is for Allah alone.
Most people have time during their day when no-one can see them when no-one would
know if they ate or not. It is therefore only witnessed in full by Allah. Our Prophet (peace and
blessing be upon him) is reported to have said; “It is the month of patience, and the reward
of patience is Paradise.” He used to give more charity in Ramadan than any other month
and gave the most during the last ten days. It is a good time to read more of the Qur’an and
to increase your dhikr (rememberance of Allah which can be done in a number of ways such
as reciting and reflecting upon His names) and optional prayers etc.
It is important to not overburden yourself with extra deeds. Thirty days is a long time and it is
useful to plan ahead and think about your limits. The best advice is to try and slowly increase
your extra deeds as the month goes on so that at the end you reach the limit you have set
yourself. It is all too easy to get carried away and ‘burn out’.

9. Taraweh
Taraweh is a prayer which is performed each night after Salat ul-Isha in mosques during
Ramadan. It is not an obligation to attend. Most mosques try to complete one 30th of the
Qur’an every night and by the end of Ramadan they aim to have recited all of it. It is prayed
in slightly different ways from mosque to mosque, but is always done in sets of two rak’ahs
or units of prayer and usually last about an hour.
Many Muslims place a lot of emphasis on attending this prayer to the point where one may
feel it is an obligation, but that is not the case and it is completely optional.

10. The Night of Power
The Night of Power (Laylat ul-Qadr in Arabic) is the night in which Allah sent down the
Qur’an in its entirety to the lowest of the heavens and it is also the night which the first
revelations were received by the Prophet (peace be upon him) from the angel Gabriel
(Jibra’il in Arabic) and is known to have been one of the last ten days of Ramadan.
No-one knows the exact date, but many believe it to be the 27th night and this is the night
which many mosques have programs of dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and prayer. It is
believed that a good deed is rewarded at least 1,000 times more than usual, and Allah
states in the Qur’an that it is ‘...better than a thousand months.’ (Qur’an 97:3)
It is important to take into account the fact that the Islamic day starts at sunset and not at

11. ‘Itikaf (seclusion in the Mosque)
Itikaf is performed by those who are able during Ramadan especially in the last ten days. It
is not obligatory but is recommended and was the practice of the Prophet (peace be upon
him) and his companions (may Allah be pleased with them all). Many mosques will provide
facilities for ‘Itikaf. It entails not leaving the mosque for its duration (the minimum is 1 full
day) with the intention of getting closer to Allah with the exception of things such as going to
the bathroom etc. Those in Itikaf are engaged in the remembrance of Allah (Dhikr), like
doing extra Salat, recitation and study of the Quran etc.


12. Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
is the festival on the first day of the month after Ramadan (known as ‘Shawwal’). It
is not permissible to fa
st on this day. Early in the morning after sunrise, a prayer is performed

in the mosques and it is recommended that everyone attend, male and female, wearing their
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13. Zakat ul-Fitr
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This is an obligatory charity which must be paid before the Eid prayer and is used to feed the
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poor. Ask your local mosque for details of how much it is and how to pay it. It is usually a very

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14. Advice about food duri er.
ng Ramadan

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It is very important to eat a healthy diet duri
ng the newsletter.
ng Ramadan. Fasting can be very good for your

health if done properly, but eating junk food during the night can make the fast harder and be

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bad for your health. The NHS have issued a booklet containing advice on what to eat and how

to stay healthy during Ramadan. This can be found at the following website:
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15.Prayer (du'a) at the time of breaking the fast

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The following du'a can be said just before breaking the fast:

ُت ْرَطْفأ َكِق ْز ِر ىَلَع َو ُتْلَّك َوَت َكيَلَع َو ُتْنَمآ َكِب َو ُتْمُص َكلَ يّنإ َّمُھّللا

(Allahumma inee laka Sumtu wa bika aamantu wa 'alika tawakkaltu wa 'alaa rizqika afTartu).

“Oh Allah, indeed for you I have fasted and in you I have believed and upon you I have relied
and with your provision I have broken my fast”.



Adab - manners or etiquettes.

Dhikr - remembrance of Allah

Eid - festival - There are two main festivals in the Islamic Calendar the first at the end of
Ramadan (which is called Eid ul-Fitr) and the the second to celebrate the Hajj (which is
called Eid ul-adha).

Hadith - Report about the prophet which could be a description of his appearance, a report
about either his actions or his words and his his tacit approval of something. It is the main
source used by scholars to understand his sunna which is the second source of knowledge
about Islam after the Qur'an.

Imam - Someone who is appointed to lead the prayers in the mosque, although it can be
used for any person who is leading prayers or who is a respected scholar.

Itikaf - seclusion (see section 10)

Jibra'il - The angel Gabriel

Laylat ul-Qadr - The Night of Power (see section 9)

Sahih al-Bukhari - the most reliable collection of hadiths according to the majority of Muslim

Sahih Muslim - The second most reliable collect of hadiths.

Sawm – Fasting

Taraweh - The prayers done in the mosque after the night prayer during Ramadan (see
section 8)

About Leeds New Muslims

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Services Offered by Leeds New Muslims

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  • ramadhan notes v2.0
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