Supreme Synopsis: Fasting Ramadan

This post is part of a series of posts taken from Hanbali Acts of Worship, based on Ibn Balbān’s Akhṣar al-Mukhtaṣarāt (The Supreme Synopsis). The comments ‹between chevrons› come from its commentary Kashf al-Mukhaddarāt.

Fasting Ramadan is required of every Muslim who is responsible and able upon sighting the crescent moon [of Ramaḍān] (even if sighted by a single upright male), completing thirty days of Shaʿbān, or the existence of something preventing its sighting on the night of the thirtieth of Shaʿbān (like clouds, mountains, or the like ‹e.g., smoke›). If seen during the day, it belongs to the next night.

If one becomes eligible for its obligation during it ‹i.e., during the day, such as a minor reaches maturity while not fasting, someone sick recovers from an illness, someone insane recovers their sanity,› a traveler arrives while not fasting, or a woman’s menstruation ends: one restrains [from food] and makes it up. Whoever breaks a fast due to old age or a chronic illness feeds one poor person each day.

Breaking the fast is recommended for someone who is sick and for whom fasting is difficult, and for a traveler shortening ‹prayers›. If a woman who is pregnant breaks her fast, or a woman who is nursing ‹breaks her fast› out of fearing for herself, she makes up ‹whatever fasts she broke›. Or if either one ‹broke her fast our of› fear for her child, ‹she must make it up› and whoever provides for the child must give food ‹which is one mudd [0.51 liters] of wheat or half a sāʿ [2.04 liters] of something else, for each day. He can give all of the food to a single poor person, all at once›. Whoever loses consciousness or is insane the entirety of the day: his fast is not valid, and the one who lost consciousness makes it up.

An obligatory fast is not valid except with a specific intention during some part of the night ‹by believing himself to be fasting for Ramaḍān, making it up, performing a vowed fast, or a fast that is a communal obligation›. Voluntary fasts are valid from someone who has not done something to invalidate it with an intention made during the day, categorically ‹whether the intention is before noon or after it›.

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