Alhamdulillah… Infinite thanks and praises are due to the Almighty Allah, for the arrival of the month of Ramadan. I send abundant peace and blessings upon the best man who ever observed the month of Ramadan, our beloved Sayyidinā Muhammad, his household, his companions and all those who follow his guided path till end of time.
It’s Ramadan again and, we have already fasted 20 % of this year’s Ramadan. This article presents some 6 practical aspects of Ramadan. It serves as the second part of the “What You Need to Know About Ramadan”. The first part discussed 10 Ramadan Essentials You Need to Know. Feel free to suggest in the comments areas some practical aspects of Ramadan, which you think should be known by others.
Practical Aspects of Ramadan
This 6 practical aspects of Ramadan discusses some physiological activities which Muslims observe during the month of Ramadan. It outlines what they do and what they don’t. It’s by achieving these activities that fasting can be rewarded and be regarded as complete.
Muslims fast from Dawn do Sunset
The first aspect of the practical aspects of Ramadan is that fasting begins from dawn and ends at sunset. This means, we stop eating, drinking, or any sexual activities before the Adhān (call) for Fajr prayers is said.
You don’t have to wait till you hear the Adhān. Perhaps, one should put in the effort and take note of the time for Fajr, for his location, every day. Don’t rely solely on the Mu’adhdhin of your local mosque or even the radio. The Mu’adhdhin as well as the DJ on duty at the radio station, may err. And that may cause you to continue eating beyond the permissible time. We bear the full responsibility, if this happens. The mu’adhdhin or the DJ doesn’t.
In 7 Habits of the Prophet During Ramadan, I’ve outlined useful tips regarding this, which you can’t afford to miss. Check it out here. It’s however worth thanking Muslim organizations that work tirelessly to provide us with accurate times for prayers. The same goes to app developers, who come out with apps with very accurate time notification for prayers. The best I’ve used, so far, is the Muslim Pro app. (You can google it up, or search for in your App Store or Google Play.)
We Fast from Food
The first ‘common sense’ of fasting is to fast from food. And that stands as a significant aspect among the practical aspects of Ramadan. To overcome or to minimize our urge for food during a fasting day, we are encouraged to have a proper saḥūr (dawn meal), to support our body system sustain during the daytime.
Furthermore, taking the saḥūr is also one of the ‘habits’ (Sunnah) of the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Prophet, ṣallā Allāhu alayhi wa sallam, said in a ḥadīth authenticated by Imām al-Bukhārī and Muslim:
“Take your Saḥūr, for there is a blessing in Saḥūr.”
And when we break our fast, we’re encouraged to take in some food, in fact we should hasten in doing it, and that will support us to perform our night prayers (‘Ishā’ and Tarāwīḥ) more productively. In a ḥadīth reported by Imām al-Bukhārī and Muslim, the Prophet, ṣallā Allāhu alayhi wa sallam, said:
“People will remain to be in good, so long as they rush for their Ifṭār”.
We fast from Drinks
This is second ‘common sense’ of fasting is fasting from drinks. And it stands side by side with the previous aspect of the practical aspects of Ramadan.
Yes. Once fasting, no drinks consumption is allowed. Similar to food consumption, we should take in sufficient fluids between sunset and dawn, to enhance our body endurance during the day, especially in hot and dry days.
Since we fast from taking in drinks, when fasting, we are advised to be extra careful when taking a shower or performing ablution. Please don’t swim if you’re not a professional swimmer.
In fact, even the professional swimmer’s fasting voids, if he swims, when fasting, and gets the water to penetrate through to his belly. But if that happens genuinely by accident, then that can be overlooked.
We fast from Sexual Intercourse
The third ‘common sense’ is to fast from any form of sexual activity. And perhaps, this is the most sensitive aspect among the practical aspects of Ramadan for the married fasting Muslims.
Likewise consumption of food and drinks, sexual intercourse or any activity that may cause one to release semen during the fasting period is not allowed, when fasting. Please note that, this is also from dawn to sunset. Feel free, however, to enjoy your ḥalāl intercourse and intimacy anytime between sunset and dawn. But please don’t forsake your tarāwīḥ. This reminder is important, especially for the newly weds, errrm, who are observing Ramadan together as ḥalāl couples for the first time.
It’s worth noting that, the fasting man or woman can kiss his or her spouse when fasting, provided they both have strong control over their sexual feelings. Yes, it’s permissible to do so. But you do so at your own risk, for your fast voids if you take the risk and miss your step. There’s a mention of that in 9 Important Ramadan-Related Issues.
We Fast from Unethical Practices
One of the significant, yet widely overlooked among the practical aspects of Ramadan is committing unethical practices during and, in fact, outside Ramadan. In Islam, unethical practices are sinful. This may include, among others, backbiting, arrogance, showing off, cheating, telling lies and discriminating against others.
A Muslim should aim for the purification of his heart and the cleansing of his sins, which he might have accumulated since the previous Ramadan. This can be achieved by avoiding unethical practices as possible. Paying attention to minor sins, and putting in effort to abstain from them, enable us to be more mindful of the major ones. Inshā Allah!
Imām al-Bukhārī reported in ḥadīth from the narration of Abū Hurairah, raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhu that the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, Allah will have no need of him giving up his food and drink.”
This implies that the objective of fasting is far beyond just abstaining from food, drink and sex. In fact, it’s also about establishing an effective self-discipline. The best form of self-discipline is to be able to discipline ourselves regarding unethical practices.
We Fast from Corruption
Corruption is just one of the unethical practices, but it requires special attention due to the extent of its danger to all communities. For that, I’m giving it a special indication among the practical aspects of Ramadan.
Anyone who engages in the practice of corruption does so in the hope to earn something in the end. Most of the time, whenever something is earned through the practice of corruption, there’s someone somewhere to be victimized, in a way or another. Thus, any income earned from corruption is ḥarām in Islam. Do not fast or break your fast with ḥarām income. To do that, fast from corruption. During Ramadan and, of course, outside Ramadan.
Engaging in corruption can be equal to murder, if our involvement in it leads to someone losing his life. Involving in corruption can be equal to character assassination if that leads to someone losing his reputation and credibility. It can also be worse than telling lies, if it leads to fake statement against anybody.
Those were some 6 practical aspects of Ramadan, which I believe you should know. If you already know them (and that is my assumption), please forward this article to whom may find it beneficial.
Our next article of “What you need to know about Ramadan” will be a discussion of some spiritual aspects of Ramadan, inshā Allah. To receive it delivered right to your inbox, click here to sign up for updates from GSalam.Net.
Allah knows best.
Allahu Hafiz 🙂