Chapter on Fasting – Imam Ibn ‘Abdi’l-Barr al-Qurtubi (Kitab al-Kafi)

Kitab al-Kafi

(That Which is Sufficient in the Maliki Fiqh of the People of Madina)

by Ibn ‘Abdi’l-Barr an-Numayri al-Qurtubi (d. 463/1071)

Chapter on Fasting

Section: Those obliged to fast, and the age of adulthood at which fards and hudud become obligatory

Fasting is obliged for every Muslim who has reached puberty or menstruated, free or slave, when they have not lost their sanity through insanity, imbecility or [Shaytanic] whispering. Malik used to consider madness to be like unconsciousness and menstruation. He said, “If someone faints in the month or Ramadan or becomes possessed in it and then recovers, he makes up the fast but does not make up the prayer.” This is my view, and Allah knows best, about a mad person who becomes insane and then recovers and that recurs in him. This person is like someone who faints, although Ibn al-Qasim reported from Malik that if someone becomes an adult while he is completely mad and remains such for some years and then recovers, then he makes up the fast for those years but does not make up the prayer, as is the case with a menstruating woman. Ibn Habib said that “some years” is about five years. When, however, it is many years, like ten and fifteen, he does not make that up. That is Ibn Habib’s explanation while it is not known from Malik. It cannot be examined because this sort of definition is only established by acquaintance. What is reported from Malik is about someone who becomes an adult when he is mad, or was sane and then went mad after becoming adult, and Ramadan arrives while he is mad and then he recovers and is cured: he must make up that particular fast.

‘Abdu’l-Malik ibn ‘Abdu’l-‘Aziz said, “If a mad person becomes an adult he does not have to make up the fast. If a sane person becomes mad and Ramadan comes while he is mad and then he recovers, he must make it up.” Abu ‘Umar said, “That which I say is that the responsibility is removed from the mad person until he recovers and from the child until he reaches puberty as is confirmed from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Neither of them owe fasting when he is in Ramadan in that state until the mad person recovers or the child become adult. That is the position of most transmitters. Neither fasting nor the prayer nor any of the physical obligations are imposed on someone who is not an adult.

According to Malik, the age of adulthood for men is the wet dream or growth of pubic hair or the passage of a length of time after which it is known that he must have reached it. The age of adulthood in women in menstruation or a wet dream or growth of pubic hair or pregnancy or the passage of the length of time after which it is known that she normally becomes an adult.

It is related from Malik that the hudud punishments are only carried on when adulthood is confirmed by hair growth, when a man has not had a wet dream or a woman menstruated or either of them reached the age at which it is known that one has wet dreams. At that point the hadd-punishment is imposed on him when he does something which render the hadd-punishment mandatory. Asbagh ibn al-Faraj said that Ibn al-Qasim told him, “I heard Malik say, ‘The action with us is based on the hadith of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab: “If razors are used on him, I impose the hadd on him.”‘” Asbagh said, “Ibn al-Qasim told me, ‘I prefer that the hadd only be carried out on him [when adulthood is proven] by both hair growth and maturity.’” Asbagh said, “What we say is that the limit of adulthood at which the fards become obliged is fifteen. I prefer that and think it best because at that point the one who attends the fighting in jihad receives a share of the booty. I argue by the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar who presented himself to fight at the Battle of the Ditch when he was fifteen and the Prophet allowed him but he had not allowed him to fight at Uhud when he was fourteen.”

Abu ‘Umar said, “This is about the one who knows his birthday. As for someone who is ignorant of his birthday and has not had a wet-dream or denies it, one acts with him according to what Nafi’ related from Aslam from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab: he wrote ordering the amirs of the armies to impose the jizya only on those on whom razors were used [i.e. on pubic hair, meaning those who were adults].”

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‘Uthman said about a boy who stole “Look. If the pubic hair has begun to grow, then cut off the hand.” ‘Atiyya al-Qurazi said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, examined the Banu Qurayza and all who had pubic hair were killed according the judgement made by Sa’d ibn Mu’adh, but he was ashamed to kill those who had not yet grown pubic hair. I was among those whose hair had not grown, so they left me. Sa’d ibn Mu’adh gave a judgement on them that their fighters be killed and children captured. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to him, ‘You have given the judgement of Allah on them.”‘ (The Four)

There is disagreement about the age at which someone who has not had a wet dream and has not had pubic hair grow becomes an adult: it is said that it is eighteen and it is said that it is more than that by however much. It is said that it is fifteen. Those who said this include ‘Abdullah ibn Wahb and ‘Abdu’l-Malik ibn al-Majishun among the people of Malik. It is the verdict of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdu’l-‘Aziz, al-Awza’i, ash-Shafi’i and a group of the people of Madina and others. They make no distinction between the hudud and the obligation of duties. The people of knowledge recommend that girls and boys be commanded to fast when they are able to do it and commanded to pray when they are seven and beaten to make them do it when they are ten.

If someone becomes Muslim or an adult or his intellect returns to him during part of Ramadan, he fasts what remains of it but not what has already passed. If that is part of the day, he does not make up that day except voluntarily.

Section: What renders it obligatory to fast and the judgement regarding the intention for it

It is only becomes obligatory to fast the month of Ramadan by the completion of Sha’ban as thirty days when the new moon is not seen before thirty days. If the new moon is seen, then is mandatory to fast. In the sighting of the moon of Ramadan one only accepts what is accepted about sighting the new moon of Shawwal: that is two just men or more. Women and slaves are not accepted in that testimony. If the sky is cloudy, there is no disagreement among Malik and his people that one accepts the sighting of the new moon by two reputable men in a city with a mosque or elsewhere. If the sky is clear and there is nothing to prevent seeing the new moon in and two reputable men claim that they have seen it in a city with a mosque, it is said that judgement is according to their testimony so that people have to fast, just as such testimony is accepted in all judgements. It is said that if they alone see it when the sky is clear but not other people, that is doubtful, and the testimony of what is doubtful is not accepted.

Those who take this position among the people of Malik and others say that it is not accepted in the case of the clear night unless there is a large group and a large number. Two men are accepted in the case of cloudiness and its uncertainty. The first view is the final position of the school of Malik, and it is well known (mashhur) from him and the ‘amal is based on it. When the new moon is clearly seen in a city or land or its sighting is confirmed by definite testimony and then that is transmitted from them to others by the testimony of two witnesses, they are obliged to fast and not permitted to break the fast.

‘Abdu’l-Malik stated something similar about a clear sighting. In regard to testimony, he said about that that is only obliged for the people of a land in which testimony is established by the judgement of their ruler of that on their behalf, unless the testimony is confirmed with greatest Ruler (i.e. the Khalifa) so that all people are obliged to fast. This is the final position of the school of the Baghdadi Malikis.

It is said that each land fasts by the sighting of its people, and they are only responsible for that. It is said that in the case of locations which are far away from towns, when the testimony is confirmed during the day, then the people are obliged to refrain from eating and to make up a day. If that is the sighting of the new moon of Shawwal, then breaking the fast obliged. The two ‘id prayers are performed when the new moon is seen before midday. If it is after it, then it belongs to coming night. That is why someone who sees the new moon of Shawwal does not break the fast in the day and the one who sees the new moon of Ramadan in the day must fast.

If anyone sees the new moon of Ramadan on his own, he fasts, and if he does not fast, he must make it up and do kaffara if he did not fast deliberately. If someone sees the new moon of Shawwal on his own, he breaks the fast secretly, fearing to provoke suspicion and to provide an opening for the people of innovations.

It is only permitted to fast the month of Ramadan when someone makes the intention to fast in the night between sunset and dawn. It is like that with every mandatory fast and non-mandatory fast since actions derive from intentions. The fard and voluntary fast are only valid with an intention made before dawn. Malik does not recommend making the intention every night of Ramadan, but says that it is enough to make it on the first night because the intention for fasting it is formed at the beginning of its first day, except in the case of the traveller, menstruating woman and the sick person. When someone breaks the fast because of travel, illness or menstruation and then wants to start fasting again, the intention which was made to fast Ramadan at the beginning is not enough. He must make the intention for the rest of the month. When fasting any fast which is continuous, like the fast for dhihar divorce, kaffara on account of homicide, or kaffara for deliberately breaking the fast in Ramadan, or fasting a month or consecutive days because of a vow, the intention made at the beginning is valid for all of that without the necessity of renewing the intention every night of that fast according to Malik’s verdict.

It is the same for someone whose custom is to fast Mondays and Thursdays and in the case of similar regular fasts. The general position of the school is that if someone does not have a specific obligation in fasting, then it is only valid when the intention is made in the night. As for that which is obliged at a certain time and which he was already doing before its time, or is fasting at the beginning of its time, he does not need to make an intention for it in the night.

We consider that the intention in the fard and nafila are the same, as we already stated about the basic position of the School. There are some of Malik’s adherents and the people of Madina who think that intention at night is mandatory every night on every journey, and mandatory both while on the journey and at home. That is also related from Malik. The position of Malik that someone unconscious must make it up is reported from him in a sound transmission. The first verdict, however, is the final position of his School.

If someone intends to fast Ramadan as a voluntary fast, that is not adequate, whether he is travelling or resident. It is the same if he intends to fast a month he owes for a vow: it neither satisfies Ramadan nor his vow. He does not fast another than Ramadan in Ramadan. If someone must make up Ramadan but does not make it up until another Ramadan comes, and then he fasted that month for the previous month, there are three positions reported from Malik about it. One is that it satisfies this month and he still must make up the other month. The other is that it satisfies the requirement of the first month and he must make up the current one. The third is that it does not satisfy either of them. In any case he must feed for the first month if he was negligent. It is said that he expiates it by feeding 60 poor people as if he had broken it intentionally. Some of the people of Malik say that, but it is a position which has no logic nor did anyone state it previously.

As for the captive who for whom the months are unclear, when he learns that when he fasted Ramadan by his intention that he guessed the month correctly, that satisfies the requirement. But if he fasted after it or before it, then it does not satisfy it. If that extends over a number of years, the fasting of the first year has not been satisfied for him. If it is the Sha’ban of the following month, then it makes up the first month. It is like that with every year: his fasting satisfies it and he makes up the days he did not fast from every month. If the captive fasts another month intending it to be Ramadan by his intention and his ijtihad, that does not satisfy the requirement.

Section: the fast of a traveller and sick person, and someone who has an excuse not to fast due to unconsciousness or some other reason

The traveller should only break the fast in a journey in which he can shorten the prayer. The distance was already mentioned in the chapter on prayer. It is like that if he intends to remain in a place for four days or more while on a journey: he fasts. A traveller can choose between fasting or breaking the fast. Fasting in the journey satisfies the obligation. We think that fasting in it is better than not fasting for someone who is able to do it. It is not permitted to fast a voluntary fast in the journey and then to fail to perform the obligatory fast in Ramadan.

A traveller does not break the fast until he has started his journey. It is not permitted for anyone to intend not to fast in the night while he is resident on account of a journey he is going to make the following day. If someone chooses to fast in Ramadan during his journey, he must make the intention every night. If someone fasts in the morning and then travels, he does not break it. If he breaks it in Ramadan, he must only make it up and owes nothing else. It is said that he must do kaffara, but that is not strong in tradition or by examination. That which the majority of scholars say is that he owes no kaffara. He must only make it up. If it is a voluntary fast, he owes nothing at all. If he breaks the fast before he leaves since he is resolved to travel, he must make it up and do kaffara. ‘Abdu’l-Malik ibn al-Majishun said, “There is no kaffara for this either.” He mentioned that Anas did that and al-Hasan gave a fatwa to that effect.

If someone intends to fast in the night when he is travelling, and starts fasting in the morning, he should not break the fast. But if he does break it, he only has to make it up. Ibn Abi Uways related that from Malik. It is said that he has to make it up and do kaffara. Ibn al-Qasim related that, but the first verdict is sounder in my view, and I take that verdict because the basis for the traveller is permission and choice, and that accords with the basic position. It is an interpretation that he can break it. Al-Mughira and ‘Abdu’l-Malik say that he if breaks it by having intercourse, then he owes kaffara. If he breaks it by eating or drinking, he owes no kaffara. A sick person does not break it unless he experiences hardship which cannot be borne. That has no definition, and Allah knows best. He is excused by an excuse. If the sick person can endure and fasts in a state in which he can break the fast, that satisfies the duty.

Anyone who is obliged to fast some days of Ramadan because of an illness or journey and neglects that until the next Ramadan arrives while he was able to fast, fasts those days when he breaks the fast at the end of Ramadan, and in addition feeds a mudd to a poor person for every day, according to the mudd of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. If he dies before he makes those days up, it is recommended that his heirs feed people on his behalf for that if he failed to leave a bequest stipulating that. That is not mandatory for them, but it was mandatory for him to make that bequest. If he is excused by an illness or journey until the next Ramadan comes, he owes nothing.

One does not fast on account of a vow made by the deceased or anything else, whether the dead person was a relative or not.

We prefer making up Ramadan consecutively, but it is allowed to do it on separate days.

A wet dream does not invalidate the fast but menstruation does. If a woman menstruates during the day, her fast is invalidated, and she must make up that day. If someone is in a state of janaba in the morning in Ramadan, or morning comes when a woman has become pure of menstruation in the night, each of them makes an intention to fast before having a ghusl, and Malik and Ibn al-Qasim state that that does not harm their fast. ‘Abdu’l-Malik says that when a woman becomes pure of menstruation before dawn and then delays her ghusl until dawn, she does not fast because she was not pure for part of it, and she is not like the one who is in janaba in the morning and fasts because the wet dream does not break the fast while menstruation does. That is what Abu’l-Faraj stated in his book, reporting from Abdu’l-Malik. Then he said, “Muhammad ibn Maslama said, ‘If she neglects ghusl until dawn, she fasts that day.” Ibn al-Jallab mentioned from ‘Abdu’l-Malik that when she becomes pure before dawn in a time in which ghusl is possible and fails to do so and does not have a ghusl until morning, that does not harm her, as is the case of someone in a state of janaba. If the time is short and ghusl is not possible in that time, then she is not permitted to fast. Muhammad ibn Maslama says about this that she both fasts and makes it up. That is what Ibn al-Jallab mentioned from both of them. The sound verdict in the matter is what Malik and Ibn al-Qasim stated. That is the position of most of the people of Malik, and it is the position of the majority of scholars.

Malik said, “When a woman becomes pure at night during Ramadan, and does not know whether that was before or after dawn, she fasts and also makes up that day. A woman with false menstruation does not fail to fast except in the days in which she stops praying. A menstruating woman makes up the fast but not the prayer. A traveller who does not fast in his journey and then returns to his home during the day does not have to refrain from food. The same is true for a menstruating woman who becomes pure during the day after dawn.

If a traveller arrives in the day and finds that his wife has become pure [i.e. during the day so that she is not fasting], he can have intercourse with her if he wishes.

If someone is unable to fast because of old age, he does not fast and feeds a mudd of wheat for every day if that is his stable food. Otherwise he feeds people from whatever is his stable food measured by the mudd of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Malik recommends that and others make it mandatory.

A pregnant woman, like a sick person, breaks the fast and then makes it up. If she feeds as well, it is good. That is when she fears for herself or for what is in her womb, and cannot fast. As for a nursing woman, when she fears for her child, she breaks the fast and makes up the days she missed and for every day feeds a mudd to a poor person as well as making it up. It is the fairest of the verdicts in that, Allah willing. In the case of someone who is unconscious for all or part of the day in Ramadan, Malik says that it does not satisfy the duty if he fasts, whether it is before or after dawn.

If he faints and is unconscious for a short period of the day, his fasting on that day satisfies the duty. It is the same whether the unconsciousness occurs a little before or after dawn. It is said that it if he faints before dawn, and does not recover until dawn, it does not satisfy it, be it a little or a lot. It is said that unconsciousness after dawn for someone who has intended to fast during the night does not harm him, be it short or long. This is more likely to be correct, Allah willing. All of that is the verdict of Malik and his companions except for ‘Abdu’l-Malik. He stipulated that the unconsciousness should be connected to illness before or after it. Otherwise, he is like someone who sleeps, and Allah knows best.

Section: what the faster is forbidden, what invalidates his fast and what does not invalidate it

The meaning of fasting in the Shari’a is to refrain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse. That is its obligation. Its sunna is that the faster should avoid lies, slander, betrayal and what is not proper in word and deed. If anyone eats, drinks or has intercourse forgetfully or through arriving at an interpretation through ijtihad during the day in Ramadan, he only has to make it up. It is like that for every mandatory fast. If it is a voluntary fast, then he owes nothing. It is said that if he has intercourse forgetfully in the month of Ramadan, then he owes kaffara as well as making it up. ‘Abdu’l-Malik said that it and related it from Malik. The first verdict, however, is the final position of the school.

A wet dream experienced by a man or a woman does not invalidate the fast. When menstruation comes while a woman is fasting, it invalidates the fast. It is not valid to fast while menstruating. A menstruating woman makes the fast up after she is pure again. If someone eats, drinks or has intercourse intentionally, remembering that he is fasting, and his fast is voluntary one, he must make it up. It is like that with every mandatory fast except Ramadan: there is no kaffara for the one who breaks it deliberately. It is sin and rebellion. If, however, that occurs in Ramadan, then the person owes kaffara as well as having to make it up. Kaffara for that consists freeing a slave, fasting two consecutive months or feeding sixty poor people. These are the three actions which satisfy its kaffara. Malik recommended feeding in that.

Feeding sixty mudds for sixty poor people is done using the mudd of the Prophet, peace be upon him. This is the least of what will satisfy the duty of feeding. If he feeds a mudd and a half or two mudds for every poor person, that is good. He does not exceed two mudds by the mudd of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He does not satisfy the duty if he feeds less than sixty poor people with the food of sixty poor people. He does not satisfy the duty if he repeats the days for the same poor person sixty days. He does not satisfy the duty is he feeds less than sixty poor people. He is permitted to feed those same poor people for the another kaffara of another day, whenever it is.

This is incurred whether intercourse was in the vagina or not when there was ejaculation. It is the same if he kisses a woman deliberately or touches her deliberately and then ejaculates. The meeting of the private parts obliges kaffara, and the fast is invalidated whether or not there is ejaculation. It is the same if the glans of the penis disappears into the vagina or anus of a person or animal deliberately in Ramadan. He must make up the fast and he owes kaffara.

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If she has intercourse with his wife and she is willing, she also owes kaffara for herself as well as having to make it up. One kaffara is not enough for both of them according to Malik and his people. If he forces her to do that, then he must pay the full kaffara for her in addition to his own kaffara. This is the final school of Malik, and that of most of his people. Sahnun said that he owes no kaffara for her because there is no kaffara for her. It is cancelled for her because she was forced. He must make it up however. The slave and slavegirl only do kaffara by fasting. Malik said, “If they own anything, they can feed people from it and I hope that it is will satisfy the requirement. Malik and his people make no distinction between the person who breaks the fast intentionally by eating, drinking or intercourse in the obligation of kaffara and making up as I mentioned.

His position and that of his companions varies about someone who intentionally cancels his intention to fast in part of the day or intends to break it when he has not eaten or drunk. It is said that he must make it up and owes kaffara, and it is said that he must make it up and does not owe kaffara. It is said that he owes neither until he actually eats or drinks something, even though it is rarely intentional that he remembers that he is fasting: this is the soundest of it. Sahnun said, “The one who intends at night to break it does kaffara, but someone who intends that during the day is not harmed, but it is still recommended that he make it up. Making up the fast is mandatory for anyone who is obliged to do kaffara, and kaffara does not remove that requirement, whether the type of kaffara is freeing, feeding or fasting two months.

If he breaks the fast for two or more days deliberately, he owes kaffara for each day, whether he does the kaffara before the second act of intercourse or not.

If someone breaks the fast in Ramadan forgetfully and then eats in that day or deliberately or has intercourse, if it is based on a [mistaken] interpretation, he makes up the day and owes no kaffara. If he intends to violate the sanctity of his fast out of boldness and disdain, then he must do kaffara as well as make it up.

According to the basic position of Malik, it is mandatory that he not do kaffara because if someone eats forgetfully, he believes that that person breaks the fast and so must make up that day, so what respect does he violate? He is not fasting. In the view of scholars other than Malik, anyone who forgets he is fasting and inadvertently eats does not break the fast. ‘Abdu’l-Malik said that if someone eats or drinks forgetfully and then eats deliberately in that day, he owes no kaffara. If he has intercourse deliberately in that day, he does owe kaffara. So here he distinguished between eating and intercourse, and that differs from the basic position of Malik, and derives from the verdict of ash-Shafi’i.

If someone breaks the fast one day in Ramadan forgetfully, he does not owe anything except making it up. It is recommended that he continue to fast because of the disagreement and then make up the day. If he breaks it intentionally, he sins and only has to make up that day and does not continue because there is no reason for him to refrain as the faster refrains here since he is no longer fasting, according to a group of scholars, because of breaking the fast deliberately.

As for kaffara, there is no disagreement among Malik and his people that it is not obliged in that [i.e. in case of forgetfulness]. That is the position of the majority of scholars. Malik said, “Someone who breaks the fast one day when he is making up Ramadan through intercourse with his wife or something else is not obliged kaffara, but he must make up that day. This is the meaning of what he states in the Muwatta’. Ibn al-Qasim related the same from him in the Chapter on Dhihar in the Mudawwana. It is related from him in another place in his books that someone who breaks the fast when making up Ramadan owes two days. Ibn al-Qasim gave that fatwa and then retracted it. Yahya ibn Yahya related from Ibn al-Qasim that which indicates that someone who owes a day of Ramadan which he broke intentionally and then breaks his fast intentionally when making it up owes two days, like hajj. If he broke it because of an excuse or allowance and then deliberately breaks it while making up, he only owes one day. That is because Ibn al-Qasim said, “When a man fasts one day voluntarily and then breaks the fast without excuse, he must make up the fast. If he then breaks it deliberately, he must make up two days.

In the case of any oral medicine, snuff or injection which reaches the stomach, that breaks his fast, and he only has to make it up and nothing else. It is said that it is recommended to make it up in the case of injection, but not mandatory, and we consider that to be the correct verdict because breaking the fast occurs through that which enters by the mouth and reaches the throat and stomach.

If someone makes himself vomit intentionally, he must only make up the fast. Someone who vomits involuntarily owes nothing when none of that reaches his stomach. Anyone who deliberately swallows pebbles or stones must only make up the fast. The later Malikis say that it is only recommended that the fast be made up by someone who swallows pebbles deliberately or someone who makes himself vomit, because pebbles and vomit are not food, and fasting is a prohibition against eating, drinking and intercourse. One of them said that he has to make it up and do kaffara because he has deliberately broken the fast. That which the Salaf, most scholars and later ones follow is that the one who vomits deliberately breaks the fast deliberately and must make it up.

It is related that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, vomited and broke his fast. (At-Tirmidhi) Ibn ‘Umar said, “Whoever makes himself vomit while he is fasting must make it up. Whoever is overcome by having to vomit owes nothing.” The like of that is related from the hadith of Abu Hurayra from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

If someone has the custom of putting kohl in his throat, he does not do so.

It is disliked for someone fasting to kiss since it is feared he might be enticed to intercourse and ejaculation. If he is kisses and is safe, he owes nothing. If someone kisses and has a prostatic flow, he must make up that day. Making it up here is also recommended.

If someone must fast two consecutive months for to perform the kaffara on account of breaking the fast of Ramadan or the kaffara for the dhihar divorce or homicide and breaks the fast one day, he starts the fast anew from the beginning, unless it is a woman who menstruates or has bleeding after childbirth. If that is the case, she builds on what she has already done when she becomes pure again. It is the same for a sick person when he starts the fast again when he is physically able to do so. If he does not do so, then he must start from the beginning. It is the same for someone who breaks it forgetfully.

Section: Days when it is not permitted to fast

It is not permitted for anyone to fast on the Day of Fitr or the Day of Adha. The same applies to the days of tashriq although when someone performing hajj tamattu’ does not find sacrifices, he is obliged to fast three days in hajj, and he has not fasted them before the Day of Sacrifice, Malik and his people grant him an allowance to fast during the days of tashriq. It is said that it is not permitted for anyone to fast them, just as the case with the Days of Fitr and Adha, especially since the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade that they be fasted. (Muslim)

The first is the verdict of Malik, and it is the most appropriate because they are part of the days of the hajj and Allah says, “There is three days’ fast on hajj” (2:196). That is related from Ibn ‘Umar and ‘A’isha. It is the verdict of Ibn Shihab and ‘Urwa. No one voluntarily fasts the days of Mina, which are the days of tashriq. Yusuf ibn ‘Umar mentioned two verdicts about someone who breaks the fast which is the result of a vow out of forgetfulness, and whether he is obliged to continue fasting or whether he is permitted for to eat. According to Malik, he fasts it because of his vow or his vow to fast Dhu’l-Hijja.

If someone owes a fast of consecutive months and then falls ill and then recovers and is strong enough to fast that day, he fasts it and adds it to his fast which he was fasting for dhihar or homicide, but does not make up Ramadan in them. No one is permitted to fast the Day of Doubt out of fear that it is part of Ramadan. If he is certain that it is part of Sha’ban, he is permitted to fast it voluntarily. If there is doubt, then he is not permitted.

…[section of vows deleted]

Section: Voluntary Fasting

Malik says it is permitted to fast all the time for someone who is strong enough to do so when he breaks the fast in the days in which it is not permitted to fast. Ibn ‘Abdu’l-Hakam mentioned that he said, “There is no harm in constant fasting as long as he does not fast on the Day of Fitr, the Day of Sacrifice, and the days of tashriq since the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade fasting them. It is permitted to fast on the Jumu’a and other days of the week. It is permitted to fast the Day of ‘Arafa, but it is better for the hajji not to fast it in order to have strength in supplication. It is permitted to fast the Day of ‘Arafa and it is recommended and desirable. It is like that with encouragement and excellence in fasting the Day of ‘Arafa for those not at ‘Arafa.

Whoever voluntarily fasts and becomes a faster is obliged to complete the fast. If he breaks it intentionally, he must make it up. If he breaks it due to illness, menstruation or forgetfulness, he owes nothing. The person who forgets must refrain for the rest of the day from eating, drinking and intercourse.

Fasting Mondays and Thursdays is recommended because of what comes in them, and fasting three days of every month is good. Malik does not acknowledge fasting the white days: 13th, 14th and 15th. He objected strongly to fasting the six days at the beginning of Shawwal.

Malik has two positions about someone who fasts a voluntary fast while at home and then sets out on a journey and breaks the fasts, and then fasts voluntarily in the journey and then breaks it. One is that he makes it up and the other is that he does not. That is analogous, and it is more cautious to make it up.

Section: General section on fasting

Part of the sunna is to hurry to break the fast and to delay sahur. The obligatory day of fasting extends from dawn until sunset. When the faster is certain that the sun has set, it is lawful for him to break the fast. If he supposes that the sun has set when there are clouds or something else and breaks it and then the sun appears, he must make that day up. If he breaks the fast while unsure whether it has set, he does kaffara as well as making it up, unless it was probable that it had set. If someone is unsure about dawn, Malik obliges him to refrain from eating. If he eats in spite of being unsure, he must make that day up, just like someone who forgets: his position on that does not vary. Some of the people of Madina and others do not think he owes anything unless it is clear to him that dawn has come. If someone has sahur while making up Ramadan at dawn or after it, thinking that it is still night, and then learns that it was not, Malik says that he is not obliged to fast that day. He breaks the fast and makes up the day he owes and nothing else. All the night is a time in which eating, drinking and intercourse is allowed for the one who wishes to do so.

Whoever breaks the fast which consists of two consecutive months due to illness, menstruation, forgetfulness or through ijtihad is permitted to continue from what he has done. If he breaks it for a journey, he is obliged to start again.

If he intends to fast Dhu’l-Hijja, although he knows about the Day of Sacrifice and Days of tashriq, he begins Dhu’l-Hijja and makes up the Day of Sacrifice and the days of tashriq and builds on what he has done. It is recommended for him here to begin it immediately. If he fasts Sha’ban and Ramadan for both his kaffara and fard, the fast of Ramadan does not satisfy either of them, and he makes up three months: one month for Ramadan and two consecutive months because in Ramadan one does not fast for anything else. This was already mentioned about the ruling of intention in fasting in this chapter. It is said that he only makes up two continuous months and the duty of Ramadan is satisfied for him.

If someone is fasting in the morning and intending to make up a day of Ramadan, and then he remembers that he has made it up already, he completes its fast; and he is not permitted to break the fast according to Ibn al-Qasim. The analogy of the position of Malik according to most of his companions is that he can break the fast if he wishes, although Malik recommended that he fast it, as he recommended that if someone who wishes to fast Monday starts fasting Sunday morning thinking it Monday, he can do that. Malik said that he should continue with his fast. If he wishes, he can fast Monday and if he likes, he can leave it.

There is nothing wrong with a faster being cupped when he does not fear to become too weak to complete the fast. The marfu’ traditions about it are confused and contradictory. Someone who has not eaten, drunk or had intercourse is not obliged to make up the fast on account by breaking the fast except by incontrovertible and unopposed evidence.

There is nothing wrong with the faster using the siwak during any part of day according to Malik when the siwak is dry, but he dislikes using it when it is wet to ensure that no food reaches his throat. Other scholars disliked it because of not allowing the foul breath of the faster to remain. Those who take that verdict do not make a distinction between the wet and dry because it is not food. We explained the meaning of the position of Malik and others in the Kitab at-Tamhid and al-Istidhkar. Praise be to Allah.

Section: I’tikaf

In the Shari’a, i’tikaf designates staying in the mosque and not going about for the sake earning and other things nor doing what is permitted of intercourse and other things while remaining resident in the mosque. The basis of i’tikaf linguistically means to remain constant with something. I’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan is sunna. It is permitted in other than Ramadan. There is According to Malik and most of the people of Madina there can be no i’tikaf except when fasting. I’tikaf is valid on every day in which it is valid to fast. I’tikaf is invalid in every day in which fasting is invalid. It is not permitted to do i’tikaf on the day of the ‘id or the days of Mina.

The minimum period for i’tikaf is a day and a night. Malik prefers that no one do i’tikaf less than ten days. If someone vows ten days in general without specifying them, he must do them continuously. If he breaks that for a valid excuse, he continues and builds on what he has done. If he separates them without excuse, he starts all over again.

There is no i’tikaf except in a communal mosque (jama’a). If someone wants to do i’tikaf for ten days and vows to do so, he only does his i’tikaf in the general mosque. If he does i’tikaf in another mosque, then he is obliged to leave it to attend Jumu’a and Malik says that then his i’tikaf is invalid. ‘Abdu’l-Malik says that he goes to Jumu’a, attends it and returns to his place and that his i’tikaf is still valid.

If someone wants to do i’tikaf for a day or more, he should enter the place of i’tikaf before sunset on the night on which he intends to do i’tikaf in the morning, and he should leave his i’tikaf after sunset of the last of the days of his i’tikaf. It is permitted for him to enter before dawn. Malik recommends that someone who does i’tikaf for ten days should spend the night of Fitr in the mosque until he goes out to the place of prayer.

If the person doing i’tikaf for the last ten days becomes ill and subsequently recovers before the Day of Fitr, he should return to his place of i’tikaf and build on what he already done. If the ‘id comes, he goes to his home because it is a day in which it is not valid to do i’tikaf. This is transmitted by Ibn al-Qasim, while Ibn Nafi’ related from him that he breaks the fast and goes out to the ‘id with the people and then returns to his i’tikaf without entering his home. He does not resume staying in the mosque on the day of the ‘id. That is the verdict of ‘Abdu’l-Malik. He said, “His ruling on the Day of Fitr here is like the night of the fast.” Sahnun chose that.

If he does i’tikaf for five days in Ramadan and five in Shawwal, he leaves the mosque on the Day of Fitr and goes to his family and then returns before sunset that day. ‘Abdu’l-Malik says that he remains in the mosque for the day and does not go to his people and that day of his is like the normal nights of i’tikaf.

The person doing i’tikaf must not leave the mosque for anything except a human need or nourishment and food which he requires. He does not leave it to visit a sick person or to attend a funeral. Since he does not leave for such actions of piety, it is more fitting that he not leave for other things. If he must give testimony, and is summoned to do so, he leaves and gives it if there is no one available to represent him in that. Then, according to Malik and others, he continues the i’tikaf, building on what he has done, since it was an obligation he performed, after which he resumed his i’tikaf. If there is someone to represent him, he does not go out. If he is brought out unjustly or by force, he builds on what he has done unless it was a vow of continuous days.

When someone doing i’tikaf falls ill or menstruates, he or she builds on their previous i’tikaf as soon as the sick person becomes well and the menstruating woman becomes pure. Both of them return to the mosque immediately, be it day or night.

There is nothing wrong in writing a little in the mosque for something which he needs nor in reciting Qur’an, but there should be no buying or selling. The person should not occupy himself with trade or goods nor any need which will distract him from dhikr and from what he is doing. While he is clinging to the mosque, there is no harm in designating someone to attend to his business.

It is permitted for someone in i’tikaf to contract a marriage and wear perfume, which is not the case for someone in ihram. If someone stipulates a period in his i’tikaf for a period in which he can go out when he sees fit to do so, his precondition does not help him according to Malik, and he must observe i’tikaf according to its sunna.

That which invalidates i’tikaf is unconsciousness and intercourse with women. Allah Almighty says, “But do not have sexual intercourse with them while you are in retreat in the mosques.” (2:187). If someone kisses or touches without ejaculation, his i’tikaf is invalid according to Malik and a group of the people of Madina. Some of them said, “I’tikaf is not invalid except when he has an ejaculation or penetrates.” The first is the sounder, Allah willing.

If someone commits a major wrong action in his i’tikaf – by drinking wine or something else – then his i’tikaf is invalid. Anyone who breaks the fast deliberately in i’tikaf invalidates his i’tikaf according to Malik. That is the verdicts of the one who says, “There is no i’tikaf except by fasting.” For someone who permits it without fasting, it is not invalidated in his view. Success is by Allah.


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