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Newsletter for July 2014
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TYPES OF FAST (SAUM)
Shaikh Saduq (r.a.) had narrated a tradition from the Infallible Imam Ali Zain-al-Abedin (a.s.) in his book Man La Yahzuhruhu al-Faqih, volume 2 pages 52-54:
“Fast is of forty different types: ten are as obligatory as the fasts of the month of Ramzan; ten are prohibited; fourteen are optional: one may fast during them or he may not; add to that the three different kinds of conditional fast. Add also disciplinary fast, permissible fast, and the fast making up for one who had to go on a journey or who fell sick.
Obligatory Fasts: It includes the fast of the month of Ramazan and of two consecutive months for each one day of fast in the month of Ramazan deliberately missed, and the fast of two consecutive months as an atonement for “Zihar”; Surah Mujadela Ayahs 2-4 refers. Another of such fast is fasting for two consecutive months if a Muslim kills another Muslim by mistake and is unable to free a slave. Surah Nisa Ayah 92 refers. Another such obligatory fast is fasting for three days as act of atonement for breaking an oath if one is unable to feed the needy; Surah Mai’dah Ayah 89 refers. Yet another obligatory fast is fasting for three days if one is injured while shaving his head while performing pilgrimage rites and he cannot offer sacrifice and additional seven days when he returns home; Surah Baqarah Ayah 196 refers. And the fast of one who hunts and is still in “Ihram” is also obligatory; Surah Ma’idah Ayah 95 refers. Then the Imam (a.s.) turned toward al-Zuhry and said: “Do you know how its equivalent is met by fasting? The (hunted) game is first to be estimated, then the estimated value is to be measured by its equivalent in charity, then such a measure is to be weighed, so he should fast one day for each half of measured unit.” And the fast of Nazr and I’tekaf is also obligatory.
Prohibited Fasts: It is forbidden to fast on Eid-al Fitr, Eid-al Azha, the three days of Tashreeq (the cutting and sun-drying of sacrificed meat), and the fast of doubt: Allah ordered us to fast it with the month of Sha’ban and every one among us is prohibited from singling himself out to fast when everyone else is not sure whether it is the inception of the month of Ramazan or not.” Al-Zuhry said: “May I be sacrificed for you! But if he did not fast during the month of Sha’ban, what should he do?” The Imam Said: “He should make the intention on the uncertain night that he is fasting the month of Sha’ban; so, if it turns out to be the month of Ramazan, he will receive his reward, but if it becomes evident that it was indeed the month of Sha’ban, he will not have committed any harm.”
Al-Zuhry asked the Imam: “How can the voluntary fast be made up for compulsory one?” The Imam (a.s.) replied: “If someone voluntarily fast one day during the month of Ramazan without knowing that it was the month of Ramazan, then he finds out that it was, should he fast again? The obligation is regarding the day itself.
Wisal fast (fasting only the last day of each Lunar month) is prohibited, and to fast each day of your life is likewise prohibited.
Optional Fasts: It is to fast on Fridays, Thursdays and Mondays, the white (13, 14, and 15 of Lunar months as the moon shines during them) days, the first six days during the month of Shawwal following the month of Ramzan, the fast on the standing at Arafat, all these occasions are optional; one may or may not fast during those days.
Permission Fasts: A woman cannot fast an optional fast without the permission of her husband; a slave may not fast without the permission of his master, and a guest may not fast an optional fast except with the permission of his host; the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) said: “Whoever visits some folks, he should not observe an optional fast except with their permission.”
Disciplinary Fasts: A boy reaching adolescence is ordered to fast as he reaches the age of adulthood, though it is not obligatory on him to do so. Likewise, if one is forced, due to a sudden ailment, to break his fast at the inception of the day, then he gains his strength thereafter, he should fast rest of the day as a self-disciplinary act although he is not obliged to do so. Likewise, if a traveler eats at the beginning of the day then reaches home, he should abstain from eating for rest of the day as a self-disciplinary act and not not as an obligation. As regarding the fast of one who forgets and eats or drinks, or if he does so only as a measure of “Taqiyya”, without doing so on purpose, Allah, the Most Exalted and Most Great, has permitted him to do so and will reward him for it.
As regarding the fast when travelling or suffering from ailment, there are different opinions on this subject. But as far AhlulBayt is concerned, one should break his fast and make it up latter as Allah, the Most Exalted and Most Great says: “And if one of you is sick or travelling, (the fast of) a number on other days (suffices)”
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