Process of Saum


  1. Fasting commences at dawn and ends at sunset. Before dawn, the suhur meal is eaten.
  2. The next meal, Iftar, is eaten immediately after sunset. Iftar is also referred to as breaking the fast, traditionally done with dates and water followed by a meal, as per the example set by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Sunnah (Way of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)) for Saum

  1. To have a suhoor meal even if it consists of a few dates or a few drops of water.
  2. To have the intention of fast before going to bed at night.
  3. To eat suhoor shortly before dawn and to break the fast just after sunset.
  4. To break the fast with dates or water.
  5. To abstain from backbiting, losing temper, lying, etc.

Valid Reasons for not Observing the Saum

  1. Being on a journey
  2. Sickness
  3. Risk of life
  4. Jihad
  5. Unconsciousness
  6. Insanity
  7. People who are unable to observe the fasts of Ramadan due to some reason should abstain from eating and drinking openly but should show due reverence for the sacred month.
  8. A person who fulfills the conditions which make observance of the fast incumbent upon them, and then their fast is invalidated due to some reasons, are required to conduct themselves like the ones observing the fast.
  9. The fasts of Ramadan which have been missed due to some reasons, must not be deferred indefinitely but observed as soon as possible.
    1. It is not necessary to fix the day for observing the missed fast.
    2. A person has to be mindful in his intention of the year of the missed fast of which he intends to observe on a particular day.
    3. For observing the missed fast, one has to have the intention during the night. To have the intention after the break of dawn would be useless for such a fast would be considered only as a voluntary fast (Nafl).
    4. If a person has missed some Ramadan fasts, but before he could observe them on other days, the next Ramadan has approached, he has to observe the Ramadan fasts and defer the missed fasts of the previous Ramadan to a later time.

Expiation (Kaffarah)

  1. Expiation is obligatory only in the case of the Ramadan fasts when they are rendered void intentionally without any genuine reason. Fasting for two months continuously.
  2. If a break occurs, one has to start afresh and fast for full 60 days continuously regardless the number of fasts observed earlier.
  3. If more than one fasts are rendered void during the same month of Ramadan, one will be required to make only one expiation.
  4. If a person cannot observe the fast due to some reasons, it is obligatory upon him to feed 60 indigent persons in the morning and evening, if possible, on the same day.
  5. While feeding the poor it has to be seen that they are grown up and one should be moderate, the food should neither be very cheap nor expensive.
  6. Expiation will not be valid if one and the same needy person is fed in the morning and evening.

Atonement (Fidyah)

  1. A person who is extremely weak due to old age or disease cannot fast and has no hope of early recovery has been allowed by Shari’ah not to fast, but to feed a needy person.
  2. Quantity of fidyah for one fast is same as that of Sadaqatul Fitr. It may be given in the shape of corn, cooked food, its price, or by feeding a poor person twice a day in the morning and the evening. If a person, after paying of fidyah, regains health, he should observe the missed fasts.
  3. If a dying person, who has to observe some missed fasts makes a will, that fidyah should be paid for his missed fasts out of his property, it is incumbent upon his heirs to pay off the required fidyah.
  4. If the dying person has made no will, the heirs themselves may pay off fidyah for his missed fasts, hoping from Allah that He will accept it.

Voluntary Fasting

  1. After commencement, a voluntary fast becomes obligatory; if it breaks or is rendered void due to some reason, it has to observe again on another day.
  2. It is not permissible to break even a voluntary fast without a genuine reason; however, it can be broken on a comparatively lesser ground as against an imperative fast.
  3. If a person observing a voluntary fast is invited to a feast and he feels that his refusal to partake of food will displease the host, or the host will not touch food without his participation, the faster may break the fast and observe it on another day.
  4. It is highly undesirable for a woman to observe a fast other than the Ramadan fasts without leave of the husband. If she has commenced a fast, she will have to break it if the husband so desires; then in case she has to observe the fast in another day, she will do so by the husband’s consent.
  5. If a person observing a voluntary fast receives a guest and fears that the guest would mind if he does not take food with him, he is allowed to break the fast.
  6. It has not been approved to start fasting a day or two before the commencement of Ramadan. The Holy Prophet (PBUH), said: “Nobody is to commence fasting, a day or two before Ramadan; however if a person has been fasting on a particular day, he may.” (Bukhari)

Conditions of Saum

  1. Whilst fasting, no food or drink is consumed.
  2. Abstinence from sexual relations, nourishment, and comforts such as chewing gum or smoking is also obligatory during the hours of fasting.
  3. It is expected that one tries to control their tongue and temper whilst fasting.

Types of Saum

  1. There are six types of saum.
  2. 1. Fard: Fast of Ramadan. If the fastings of Ramadan are missed due to a genuine reason, it is imperative to observe them later.
  3. 2. Wajib: If one has made a vow to observe some fast it is wajib to do so.
  4. 3. Sunnah: The fast which the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, himself observed or urged his followers to observe. Ashura fast on the ninth and tenth of Muharram, fast of the day of Arafah on ninth of Dhulhijjah, and fast of the Ayam Baid (thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth of every lunar month).
  5. 4. Nafl: Six fasts of the month of Shawwal, fast of every Monday and Thursday, fast of the fifteenth of Sha’ban, and eight fasts during the first ten days of Dhulhijjah.
  6. 5. Makrooh: Fasts observed only on Saturday or Sunday, only on the tenth day of Muharram, fast of women without her husband’s permission, fasting without a break.
  7. 6. Haram: Fasts on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, on the day of Eid-ul-Adha, and during the tashreeq days (eleventh to thirteenth of Dhulhijjah).