Background reading material for medicine & fiqh session for 3rd year students held on 26th February 2000 at the Kulliyah of Medicine, International Islamic University, Kuantan by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.

1.0 TAHARAT and SALAT, ahkaam al taharat wa al salat

A. Preparation: ablution, wudhu; place, makaan; dress, thawb

B. Obligation and exemption, takliif & rukhsat

C. Regulations & Etiquette, ahkam wa adab al salat

D. Salat in difficult circumstances

E. Prayer of the Sick, salat al maridh


2.0 SAUM, ahkaam al siyaam

A. Obligation, taklif

B. Regulations & Etiquette, ahkam & adab al saum

C. Fasting in difficult circumstances

D. Fasting of the Sick and the elderly, saum al maridh wa al kabiir

E. Medical and Psychological Aspects


3.0 ZAKAT, ahkaam al zakaat

A. Obligation, taklif

B. Regulations & Etiquette (ahkam & adab al zakat)

C. Zakatable Wealth, nisab

D. Beneficiaries of zakat, asnaaf al zakat

E. Administration of zakat collection and distribution, idaarat al zakat


4.0 HAJJ, ahkaam al hajj

A. Obligation, taklif

B. Public Health & Safety

C. Regulations & Etiquette, ahkam & adab al hajj

D. Pilgrimage in difficult circumstances

E. Pilgrimage of the Sick, hajj al maridh





Protocol: Taharat is needed for acts of ibadat. Salat is not accepted without wudu, ta tuqbalu salaat bi gahyr tahuur (MB #110). Ibadat is direct communication with Allah. Protocol requires that humans do not present themselves in front of the Lord unless they are physically pre and clean.


Duality of taharat: taharat has a physical dimensions (2;222, 5:6, 8:11, 25:48, 56:79, 74:4, 76:21). It is also has a spiritual and ritual dimension (2:232,  3:42, 3:55, 5:41, 7:82, 9:103, 11:78, 27:56, 33:33, 33:53, 58:21, 80:41, 98:2) . Physical purity is conducive to spiritual purity. Physical purity enhances feelings of self esteem and self confidence since deliberate and sophisticated acts of cleanliness are only found in adult sane humans. The high self esteem thus engendered translates into emotional and psychological good feeling in preparation for the act of worship.


General cleanliness, nadhafat: The human has to be clean more and above the requirements of ritual purity, taharat, that is needed for salat. The concept of cleanliness is comprehensive including body, clothing, environment, and general appearance. Cleanliness is part of iman. Cleanliness is a pre-requisite for successful and pleasant social intercourse. Since acts of worship are generally held in congregation, cleanliness will ensure that there are no unpleasant odors. Body and environmental hygiene will also limit the spread of infectious diseases.


Physical impurity, najasat: physical impurity is due to excretory products of humans or contact with materials defined by the Law as impurities, najasat


Ritual impurity: A person may be ritually impure even if there are no physical signs of impurity and this occurs in three instances: post-coital impurity, janaba;,  menstruation, haidh  (2:222); and post-natal bleeding, nifaas. The polytheists are referred to by the Qur'an as impure, najas (9:28) even if they are physically clean. This partly explains the obligatory bath on accepting Islam.



Merits of wudhu, fawaid/fadhl of wudu: Wudu had physical, psychological, and social or emotional benefits as explained above in the discussion of taharat.


Procedures of wudhu, kaifiyat al wudhu: Wudhu is washing or wiping with a wet hand the exposed parts of the body once (MB 126) or twice (MB 127) or thrice (MB 128). The obligatory parts involved are: the face, the hand s and forearms, the head and the feet (5:6). There are additional non-obligatory acts that are recommended during wudhu. Water is run down the elbow (BG 45). Istinshaar is blowing of the nose to remove pollutants (MB 130). Madhmadhat is rinsing the mouth with water (BG 36). Istinshaaq is sniffing water into the nose (BG 36). Madhmamdhat and istinshaaq are done with separate scoops of water (BG 47), this will prevent cross transfer of micro-organisms between the nostrils and the oral cavity. The external meatus of each ear is wiped with wet fingers (BG 39). It is recommended to wipe the whole head with a wet hand,  mash kulla al ra-as (MB 143) but any part of it is adequate. The head can be wiped once or three times (BG 30, 31).  For a person wearing a turban it suffices to wipe on the turban (BG 43). It is allowed to wipe on the socks, mash ala al khuffain/mash ala al jiirat (MB 153-156, BG 43), instead of washing the feet provided the socks were worn in a state of wudhu (BG 53). The socks are wiped on the top and not the bottom (BG 55). The socks can be worn for three nights and three days and are not removed except in cases of ritual impurity, janabat (BG 56, 57, 60). A patient wipes on socks or bandages over wounds in wudhu.  The inter-digital space between fingers and toes is wiped clean (BG 36). It is allowed for a person to pour water for another one in wudhu (MB 141). All acts of wudhu start is with the right hand, tayammun (BG 41, 42). It is sunnat not to converse during wudhu. Wudhu is completed with a supplication, dua (BG 52).


Acts that nullify wudu, nawaqidhu al wudu: The following materials or acts will abrogate wudhu: urine, bawl; feces, ghait,  flatus, and riih al dubr,  when there is a sound and an odor (BG 66, 76); ejaculate, mani; urethral discharge,madhi (BG 64), prostatic discharge, wadi; menstruation, haidh, deep sleep (BG 75);  epistaxis (BG 69), vomiting (BG 69), eating camel meat (BG 70), touching the external genitals, mass al farj (BG 68).


Acts that do not nullify wudhu:  The following do not nullify wudhu: medical treatment involving bleeding like cupping, hijaam (BG 74), touching a woman, mass al mar’a, bleeding from a fresh wound, inter-menstrual bleeding (BG 63), dozing (BG 62),  and kissing (BG 65). 


Repeating wudhu: Wudhu is not repeated in cases of doubt, la yatawadhau min al shakk (MB 112). It is repeated when either feces, urine or flatus are passed (MB 138-140). It is also repeated on waking up from sleep (MB161-163)


Acts prohibited when in a state of impurity: A person who has no wudhu can not touch the Qur'an (BG 72). The name of Allah can be mentioned even if one has no wudhu (BG 73). It is recommended to have wudhu when reciting Qur'an or reading any book with Qur'anic verses in it because prostration of recitation, sujuud al tilawat, may be necessary. It is recommended to have wudhu while in the mosque but it is not prohibited to enter the mosque without wudhu..


Wudhu of children, wudhu al sibyaan: MB 488-490



Obligatory bath: Bath is obligatory in the following situations: coitus involving vaginal penetration even without ejaculation (4:43, 5:6, BG 95), male and female sexual emissions without coitus such as in a wet dream (BG 94, BG 96, BG 97), end of menstruation, end of post-natal bleeding, after washing a dead body (BG 98), and conversion to Islam (BG 99). It is obligatory to take at least one bath in a week, wujuub al ghusl marratan fi al usbuui (MB 502) preferably on Friday (BG 100, 101). A pilgrim must bathe before assuming the state of ihraam.


Etiquette of bathing: Hair should be separated during washing, tahliil al sha'ar inda al ghusl (MB 185). The bather should hide from being seen by people, al tasattur min al naas (MB 199). Plaited hair need not be undone, it suffices to pour water over it (BG 105). Bathing in stagnant water is forbidden. No bathing is needed in inter-menstrual dysfunctional bleeding; prayer can be performed after wudhu (BG 18, BG 19). No prayer is allowed in post-natal bleeding until purity (BG 128).



It is one of the special favors of Allah to the ummat that the earth is a cleanser (BG 109). In the absence of water, tayammum is carried out for both wudhu and ghusl (4:43, 5:6, MB 133, BG 112). Tayammum is carried out when there is little water that must be saved for drinking. Tayammum is also carried out in extreme cold and disease conditions that would be aggravated by use of water. Tayammum is for example carried out when there is a wound (BG 114, 116). In such cases the patient can wipe over the bandage (BG 115). Tayammum is wiping the face, hands, and forearms after lightly touching soil with dry hands (4:43, 5:6). There is no need to repeat a prayer performed after tayammum if water is subsequently found before the end of the time of salat



The purpose of clothes is to cover nakedness (7:26-27, 16:8), protect the body from the elements of weather, and to enhance appearance. Good dress is recommended (BG 412). Clean clothes are required (74:4). Perfume can be worn. Nakedness in salat is offensive, karahiyat al ta'arriy fi al salat: MB 239. Silk is forbidden for men (BG 415, 416, 417) except for medical indications (BG 418). Ornamentation is part of dress (16:14, 35:12). Gold and silver are allowed for women and not men (BG 420). It is permitted to pray while wearing sandals, al salat fi al ni'aal  (MB 254, GB 170). It is also permitted to pray in socks, khuffayn (MB 255).




Establishment of salaat is the main supporting pillar of Islam and is a distinguishing characteristic of believers (2:3, 2:177, 2:277, 4:162, 5:55, 7:170, 8:3, 9:18, 13:22, 14:37, 14:40, 21:73, 22:35, 22:41, 24:37, 27:3, 31:4, 35:18, 42:38). It has far-reaching positive impacts on the behavior of the worshipper (23:1-2, 29:45, 31:4-5, 70:19-35, 74:42-47, 87:14-15). Salaat is ordained for all believers (2:45, 2:153, 4:103, 6:72, 11:114, 14:31, 17:78, 20:14, 20:132, 22:77-78, 24:56, 29:45, 30:31, 31:17, 73:20, 98:5, 108:2). Believers observe salaat assiduously (2:238, 6:92, 23:9, 70:34, 107:4-5).  Neglecting salaat is a cause of severe punishment (19:59, 74:41-43, 75:31-32).


Children should be told to pray at the age of 7 years, the age of discrimination, sinn al tamyiiz. They are punished for not praying at the age of 10. Adult obligation to pray is at puberty or age 15 whichever is earlier. Sanity, ‘aql, and presence of mind are conditions for obligations. It is offensive to be excessive in ibadat, karahiyat al tashaddud fi al ibadat (MB 609).



Women in menstruation, haidh, or post-natal bleeding, nifaas, are exempted from salat but they have to make up the missed ones (MB 216). They can however attend  the 2 festival prayers, shuhuud al eidayn, but do not have to carry out the physical acts of prayer.




Five conditions must be fulfilled for validity of salaat: (a) Purification of the body from excrement of stool and urine,  taharat min al hadath al kabiir & saghiir. (b) Purity of the garment, taharat al thaub (c) Purity of the place, taharat al makan (d) Covering nakedness, satr al awrat and (e) Facing the direction of the kaaba, istiqbal al qiblat


INVALIDATORS OF SALAT, mubtilaat al salat

Extraneous action: It is forbidden to engage in any other actions while praying. Some acts can be permitted provided they are necessary and the movements involved are not excessive. It is permitted to pray while carrying a baby (MB 323, GB 178). A dangerous animal like a snake can be killed (BG 179).


Extraneous speech: Talking in salat is forbidden, maniu al kalaal fi al salaat (MB 624, BG 172, BG 173). No return of greetings is allowed when in salat (MB 629). If the imaam makes a mistake, men can draw his attention by tasbiih and women by clapping (BG 174)


Eating: No food or drink can be consumed during prayer. It ie recommended to rinse the mouth thoroughly before starting prayer to prevent eating any food remnants during salaat.



Wudhu is obligatory for adhaan (GB 156). The words of adhan are repeated twice, al adhaan mathna (MB 371). The voice is raised in adhan, rafiu al saut fi al adhaan  (MB 373). Those listeners must respond to the adhan, al radd ala al muaddhin (MB 375-376). The followers have to repeat after the muaddhin except 'hayya ala al salaat' and 'hayya ala al falaah' to which the response is 'la hawla wa la quwattan illa bi Allah' (BG153). A prescribed  supplication, dua, is recited at the end of the adhan, dua inda al nidaa (MB 377, BG 159).


It is permissible to pray non-obligatory prayer between adhaan and iqamat, nafilat bayna al adhaan wa al iqamat ( MB 382). It is prohibited to pray any nafilat after iqamat (MB 386).


When the call is made, the worshippers should come to salat with calmness (MB 398).  Running and rushing too much are discouraged. When late, they pray what they find of the prayer and  make up what they missed (BG 335).


If the prayer is called and the meal is ready, it is recommended to start with the meal (MB 403, BG 188). Salat should be delayed in case of urgent physiological needs for urination and defecation (BG 193)



The direction of the kaaba, qiblat, must be faced wherever the worshipper is (2:115, 2:144, 2:149-150, MB 260). It suffices to face the general direction of the kaaba (GB 165). Facing the qiblat is not obligatory for nafilat when on a moving vehicle (GB 166). It is forbidden to pray facing graves (GB 169).



Mosques should be built and furnished in a simple way. Excessive decoration of mosques is forbidden (GB 206, 207). Mosques should be kept clean (MB 288). Spitting in the mosque is offensive (MB 266, GB 205).

The mosque is a place of prayer. It is also a community center in which educational and community activities can be carried out. The following activities can be carried out: sitting in the mosque (MB 297), lying down to rest in the mosque (MB 298), and medical care in the mosque (MB 291, GB 201). The following activities can not be carried out in the mosque: execution of  punishments, huduud (GB 201) and business transactions (GB 200). Prayer is permitted in the market mosque (MB 299).



The term masjid does not necessary mean a built structure. All the earth was made a mosque for Muslims with the exception of the bath, hamaam, and the cemetery, qabr (BG 167). Obligatory prayers are best performed in the mosque. Nafilat prayers are best performed at home (BG 322).


Salat can be undertaken in open spaces. A barrier, sutrat, must be placed in front to prevent passers-by interfering with the worship (BG 182, BG 185). The barrier should be at a reasonable distance (MB 314). It is a sin to pass infront of a person praying (MB 321, BG 180). All other causes of distraction should be removed from infront of the person praying (BG 192). When praying outside, the worshipper should not look at the sky (BG 193).


The Law is flexible about salat in a hospital environment. It permits salat in bed, al salat ala al firaash (MB 251) as well as salat facing a bed (MB 319). It is permitted to pray behind a sleeping person (MB 322)



Salat is held from morning into the night (17:78). The times of salat are a fixed interval (BG 129). There is high merit to pray salat in its time interval (MB 325-329). It is even higher merit to pray at the start of the time interval (BG 140).


When on a journey,  two adjacent salaats can be combined (MB 336) either in the time of the first one, jamu taqdiim, or the time of the second one, jamu taakhiir.


Salat al dhuhr can be delayed in extreme heat (BG 133). Salat al isha can be delayed until later in the night (MB 351, BG 130, BG 132). Sleep before salat al isha is offensive (BG 130). It is also offensive to engage in conversation after salat al isha (BG 130). The prophet used to pray salat al fajr when it was still dark (BG 130).

It is prohibited to pray at three time periods that sun-worshippers use to pray. Salat is prohibited after salat al fajr until sunrise (MB 357-360, BG 136). Salat is also prohibited just before sunset (MB 361, MB362, BG 136). Salat is forbidden at midday until the sun crosses the meridian (BG 136).


A forgotten prayer is offered when remembered MB 366. Missed prayers can be prayed in congregation, salat al jamaat ba'ada dhahaab al waqt (MB 365).



Congregational prayer is obligatory ( MB 339) and is more pure (BG 336). Salat al jamaat is 27 times better than individual prayer (BG 314). Salat al jamaat is so important that all should make the effort to attend including the sick (MB 400) and the blind (BG 317). A person already in the mosque should join those praying salat al jamaat and repeat a salat that he prayed already on his own; the repetition is counted for him as nafilat (BG 319).

Regular attendance of congregational prayer is a sign of faith. The two most difficult congregation prayers for the hypocrites are salat al fajr and salat al isha (BG 315).


The best reciter of the Qur'an has priority in selection of the imaam (BG 327). Handicaps such as blindness do not disqualify a person from being imaam (BG 338). A woman can be imaam of other women (BG 337). Once selected, the Imaam must be followed closely (MB 409, BG 320, BG 340). It is a sin to raise the head ahead of the imaam (MB 412).


The imaam must consider the weak in the congregation (BG 154). The aim is a short but perfect salat (MB 419). Salat is shortened if a baby is crying (MB 420). The Imaam should shorten the qiyaam (MB 417-418); this will relieve those with dependent edema and postural hypotension. The imaam should not prolong the salat by reading long chapters of the Qur'an (BG 323, BG 325).  If the imaam prolongs the salat, the follower with a need is allowed to leave (MB 416).


The congregation must stand closely in rows (BG 329). The most forward rows are the best for men (BG 330) while the most rear rows are best for women (BG 330). It is forbidden to pray alone behind a line. One person should be pulled from the line to make a new line at the back (BG 334)



The procedure of salat, sifat al salat, was described in hadiths of the prophet and his companions (BG 210, 211, 215). The following is the sequence of these acts.


Start: Salat starts with takbirat al ihraam. The hands are raised when reciting takbirat al ihraam (MB 425, BG 216). The right hand is put over the left hand (MB 426). Takbir is repeated every time there is a change of position (BG 323). The worshipper looks at the imaam (MB 431). It is prohibited to look at the sky (MB 432) or to allow distraction of the eyes (MB 433). Supplication to start the salat, dua iftitaah al salat (BG 212, 213) takes various forms some long and some short.


Recitation: Recitation of surat al fatihat follows dua iftitaah al salat. No salat is valid without this recitation (BG 218).  The recitation includes basmalah at the start of surat al fatihat (BG 219, BG 221) and ta'amiin at the end (BG 222). Surat al fatihat is followed by one other surat in the first 2 rakaats and is recited without an additional surat in the third and fourth rakaats (BG 224). Prostration of Qur'anic recitation, sujuud al tilawat (MB 569), preceded by takbiir is undertaken  at specified verses of the Qur'an, ayaat al sujuud (BG 270, 271, 272, 273, 276). Qunuut is recommended in the last rakaat of salat al fajr (BG 241, 244).


Bowing: Bowing is performed with calmness it being necessary to stay stationery for a moment, tama'aniinat fi al rukuu (MB 461). Hands are put on the knees during bowing (MB 453) with fingers spread out or joined closely together (BG 237). It is required to ensure straightening the back after bowing, istiwau al dhahar fi al rukuu (MB 454).


Prostration: Prostration is on 17 bones (MB 464, BG 234). spreading out arms (BG 235), iftiraash fi al sujuud (MB 460). The palm is put firmly on the ground while the elbow is raised (BG 236). Sitting down between two prostrations, al mukth bayna al sajdatayn (MB 465), is required.


Testament, tashahhud: The prophet described how to sit down in tashahhud (MB 469). Recitation of tashahhud, has several variants. The index finger is used to point or it can be moved (BG 246). There is a supplication, dua al tashahhud, and a prayer for the prophet, salaal ala al nabi


Prostrations of forgetting: When an obligatory act is forgotten, there is prostration for forgetting, sujuud al sahaw (MB 631, BG 262, BG 263). These are 2 prostrations before tasliim for each act of forgetting (BG 269). If the worshipper doubts how many rakaats have been prayed, an attempt must be made to remove the doubt and prostration of forgetting at the end is necessary (BG 265). Followers have to what the forgetting imaam is doing (BG 268) even if they realize he is forgetting and is making a mistake.


Closure: Formal closure of salat is with tasliim (MB 476). The salat is formally closed after the first tasliim. The second tasliim is sunnat. The following can be done after the formal closure of the salat: supplication, dua, (BG 255), remembrance of Allah, dhikr (BG 256),  and recitation of ayat al kursi (BG 258).



Al salawaat al khams, the five daily prayers: The 5 canonical prayers are obligatory. Salat al fajr is offered at dawn. Salat al dhuhr is offerred at mid-day and salat al asr is offered at mid-afternoon. Salat al magrib is offered at sunset. Salat al isha is offered at night. These five prayers are obligatory for all Muslims. All the other prayers described below are either obligatory for some people only or are nafilat.


Salat al jumu'at: Friday is a special day of prayer for Muslims but unlike Judaism and Christianity, Islam leaves it as a day of work. When the call to prayer is made, Muslims hasted to the prayer. When the prayer is concluded, Muslims resume their business (62:9-10). Salat al jumuat is obligatory for all Muslims (MB 492) exceptions being servants, women, children, the sick, and the traveler (BG 376). Any 40 residents are obliged to hold salat al jumaat in their location (BG 372). Use of perfume on Friday is recommended (MB 493). Good clothes should be worn (MB 497). Bathing is required (MB 504 and 504). Two calls. The first one is a warning and the second one is just before the start of the khutbat (MB 509). Listening to the khutbat is an integral part of the salat (MB 520). It is forbidden to speak during the khutbat including admonishing another person to be quiet. A late-comer should pray 2 short rakaats of salat al nafilat before sitting down to listen to the khutbat. The imaam delivering the khutbat must do so standing up (BG 359) and leaning on a weapon such as a sword or a stick (BG 378). The imaam's voice is raised so all can hear (BG 360). It is preferable that the khutbat be short (BG 361). The Qur'an must be recited in the khutbat (BG 362, BG 374). Salat al jumaat is 2 rakaats prayed after the khutbat with loud recitation of the Qur'an. A late-comer who prays only one rakaat with the imaam can make up the missed rakaat (BG 358). Salat al jumu'at can be delayed on a hot day (MB 506).


Salat al layl: Waking up at night and praying is a sign of faith and is encouraged (17:78-79, 25:64, 51:17-18, 52:49, 73:1-6, 73:20, 76:26). There is no limit to the number of rakaats that can be prayed at night but each two must be concluded with tashahhud and tasliim, salaat al layl mathna mathna. Witr is the last prayer of the night (MB 542). It can be offered at any time of the night between salat al isha and salat al fajr (MB 541, BG 296). The rakaats in witr are odd in numbers: one, three, five, seven. nine etc (BG 293).


Salat al tatawu'u: This consists of prayers before, qabliyat, and after, ba'adiyat,  the 5 prescribed prayers (BG 281, BG 282, BG 283, abd BG 284). Salat al tatawu'u is 2 rakaats at a time (BG 291).


Salat al eid: Salat al eid is a community gathering to which all should come including menstruating women who attend but do not actually pray (BG 389). Food is taken before salat eid al fitr (MB 528, BG 387) but not before salat eid al adh'ha (BG 388). It is sunnat to use one route to the congregation place and return by a different route (BG 397). It is also sunnat to go to salat al eid on foot (BG 399). The salat al eid congregation is best held in an open space but if it rains it is held in the mosque (BG 400). Salat al eid consists of 2 rakaat followed by 2 sermons, khutbat (BG 390, BG 394). Adhan and iqamat are not required (BG 392). There are 7 takbirs in the first rakaat and 5 in the second (BG 395). No salat nafilat is allowed before or after salat al eid at the place of the congregation (BG 391).


Salat al istisqau: Salat al istisqau (MB 547) is offered to pray for rain in times of drought.


Salat al kusuuf is prayer during eclipse of the sun (MB 561). The prayer is continued until the eclipse is over (BG 401).


Salat al khussuf: This is prayer offered during the eclipse of the moon.


Salat al haajat:

Salat al khawf: This is prayer during a military engagement. Some pray while others guard them (p. 711 4:102, BG 379, BG 380, BG 381). If the danger is extreme prayer can be performed while riding or standing (2:238-239). One rakaat is sufficient when in danger (BG 383, BG 384).


Salat during wind storms: BG 404


Salat during earthquakes: BG 405

Salat al janazat:  Salat al janazat is performed to pray for the dead. It is preceded by several measures including taking care of the terminal patient, preparing the corpse, and resolving legal obligations. The dying should be taught the testament 'la ilaaha illa al llaahu' (BG 428). Surat Yaasiin is read to them (BG 429) in addition to supplications, dua (BG 430). On death, the body is covered (BG 431). Kissing the body is allowed (BG 432). Debts of the deceased must be settled before proceeding further with rituals of burial (BG 433). The body is washed; men preferably should wash men and women wash women; a man could wash a woman (BG 443, 444). Care must be taken not to damage the body such as breaking bones (BG 468). The body is shrouded in simple white garments (BG 439) with no extravagance (BG 442). Salat al janazat is held for all the dead even those executed for infringement of huduud (BG 445). No salat al janazat is held for those who died of suicide (BG 446). Salat al janazat is held just before burial. It could be held after burial (BG 447) and for a deceased buried elsewhere, salat al ghaib (BG 449). Salat al janazat consists of 2 takbirs without any bowing or prostration. Salat al fatihat is recited (BG 456) in addition to supplications (BG 457, BG 458, BG 459). The funeral should be hastened (BG 460). Women are forbidden to follow the funeral procession (BG 463). Those who see a funeral procession passing by should stand up in respect (BG 464) even if the deceased is a non-Muslim. The body is placed in a niche, lahad,  in the grave (BG 468). Wailing for the dead is forbidden (BG 475, BG 476). Food is prepared for the bereaved. The dead should not be reviled in any way (BG 482). Cemeteries are visited to pray for the dead (BG 480, BG 481).




The following are considered difficult physical circumstances: extreme heat,  extreme cold,  rain & flooding, earthquake, and a long journey. The following are considered difficult psychological conditions: fear, khawf, urgent need for relief of stool or urine, hunger when food is presented, overwhelming sleep, forgetting, and mind wandering.



Salat can be delayed for weather conditions that can change for example delaying salat al dhuhr on a hot day (MB 332). The traveler can shorten the prayer, qasr al salat (4:101, MB 575 and MB 576). This applies to the 4-rakaat prayers: salat al dhuhr, salat al asr, and salat al isha. Salat al maghrib and salat al fajr are prayed in full (BG 341, 342, 344, 345, 346). The traveler is permitted to join 2 adjacent prayers, jamu al salat fi al safar (MB 586, BG 347, 348). There is merit in shortening the prayer by the traveler (BG 350). It is offensive for the traveler to refuse making use of the exemptions given (BG 343). The minimal distance for shortening prayer is 48 miles (BG 349). If there is no way at all for holding salat, it can be mad up at a suitable time later.


E. SALAT OF THE SICK, salat al maridh


The patient may have the following physical handicaps: inability to face the qiblat, inability to stand, inability to sit, inability to read, inability to bow, and inability to prostrate.



The following are solution alternatives: make-up salat, qadha al salat; resting for moments in a sitting position to regain energy for the next movement; praying in a sitting position (MB 588-589); praying while sitting down and cross-legged (BG 353); praying while lying down on one side of the body (MB 587, BG 351); resting on a staff in salat; Praying by gesturing  with one part of the body eg finger (BG 260, 261, 352); and finally praying in the mind with no motions. The sick stop qiyam al layl (MB 592) and try to fulfil the 5 prescribed prayers. Salat can be interrupted for an urgent need (MB 627) that could be medical or otherwise.





Three conditions are considered in fasting: age, mental condition, physical condition. Obligation to fast the month of Ramadhan is on those who have reached puberty or the age of 15. Fasting of children (MB 954) is for training but is not obligatory. The insane and those with physical conditions that can be aggravated by fasting are exempted. The sick are allowed to make up for lost days later (2;183-185).


Excuse from saum with no kaffarat: The following conditions excuse from fasting and do not have to make it up: Old age, shiekh kabiir; weakness, 'ajz; and illness with no hope of cure, maradh muzmin.


Excuse from saum with kaffarat:  The following conditions permit breaking the fast but with make-up later: travel, safar;  illness with recovery expected;  mistakes in saum such as eating or drinking forgetfully


NON-OBLIGATORY FASTING, siyaam al tatawu'u

The following are permitted non-obligatory fasting: fasting Mondays (BG 552), fasting 6 days in the month of shawal (BG 553), fasting 3 days in every month (BG 556)


The following types of fasting are forbidden: fasting of the 2 days of eid al fitr and eid al adh-ha (BG 558), fasting during ayaam al tashriik (BG 559, BG 560),  singling out Friday as a day of fasting (BG 561, 562), fasting in the second hald of the month of Sha'abaan (BG 563), and fasting the day of Arafat for the pilgrim (BG 566). The woman can fast non-obligatory fasts only with consent of her husband (BG 557).


Decisions of non-obligatory fasting should consider three types of rights: rights of the self,  haqq al nafs; rights of the family, haqq al ahl (MB 962), and rights of the body, haqq al jasad (MB 963). A balance is needed among these rights. A balance must also be established between fulfilling these rights and ibadat.


B. REGULATIONS & ETIQUETTE, ahkam & adab al saum


Fasrting has two main pillars, arkaan al saum: intention, niyyat al saum and abstinence from food or drink, imsaak 'an al ta'aami wa al sharaabi-



The merits of fasting, fadhl al siyaam, are many and varied. The spiritual merits are expiation of sins. The medical merits are appetite and weight control. The social merits arise from the self control and self-discipline. The fasting person is enjoined to desist from quarreling, loud talk, cruel acts, forged talk. Fasting also helps in sexual self control.



The following are etiquettes of fasting,  adaab al siyam: Intention of fasting, niyyat al siyaam, before fajr (BG 532); delaying  suhuur such that there is a very short time remaining before fajr (MB 935); hastening breakfast (MB 952, BG 534, BG 535),  breaking the fast with dates and water (BG 536), avoiding overeating at breakfast or suhuur, and avoiding falsehood or foolishness during fasting (BG 538).



Start and end of the month of fasting is based on seeing the crescent, al saum wa al iftaar bi ru'uyat al hilaal (MB 928-929). In cloudy skies, completion of Ramadhan is by counting 30 days from the start of the fasting (BG 527). It is prohibited to fast 1 or 2 days before Ranadhan (MB 932, BG 527). It is prohibited to fast a doubtful day (BG 528).




The following are permitted during the day: using the tooth-pick, siwaak; washing or bathing in water with care being taken not to swallow any water; applying kuhl (BG 543); kissing a spouse if there is no fear of sexual temptation; injection of medication, venupuncture or cupping (MB 92, BG 540, BG 542), washing or rinsing inside the mouth and nostrils. Swallowing saliva needs to be clarified.



Suhuur is not compulsory (MB 936) but is highly recommended. Salaat al tarawiih in a community mosque is highly recommended. There high  merit of standing up in prayer during Ramadhan (MB 972). There is high merit in itikaaf in the last 10 days of Ramadhan (MB 978). Itikaaf can be only during the night (MB 980). A person in itikaaf can enter the home for a need (MB 979). Normal marital relations are not allowed during itikaaf (2:187).


OFFENSIVE ACTS OF FASTING, makruhaat al siyaam

It is offensive to perform continuous day and night fasting, wisaal (MB 955, MB 956, BG 537). Fasting every day for life, siyam al dahr, is discouraged. Kissing is offensive for young couples or those who can not control themselves from sexual arousal (BG 539).


PROHIBITIONS OF FASTING, muharramaat al siyaam

Sex: Sexual intercourse is forbidden in the day but allowed at night (2:187, MB 933). Sexual intercourse during the day leads to punishment: fasting 2 consecutive months or feeding 60 poor (MB 941, BG 549).


Food and drink: Eating and drinking are forbidden during the day but allowed at night (2:187, MB 934). Eating and drinking in forgetfulness MB 940 or eating before sunset by mistake MB 953 you continue the fasting with no need to repeat.


NULLIFICATION OF FASTING, mubtilaat al siyaam

What abrogates fasting and requires make-up, qadha:  deliberate eating and drinking, akl 'amdan; deliberate sexual intercourse, jimaa'u; menstruation, haidh; post-natal bleeding, nifaas; masturbation, istimnaan; eating or sexual intercourse by mistaking time to be after maghrib. Spontaneous vomiting does not require atonement but induced vomiting does (BG 545).



The prophet (PBUH) taught measures to ensure that fasting does not cause physiologic damage. Fasting continuously from day to day, wisaal, was forbidden (KS330: Bukhari K30 B20, Bukhari K20 B48-50, Bukhari K96 B5,  Muslim K13 H55-61, Abu Daud K14 B25, Tirmidhi K6 B62, Darimi K4 B14, Muwatta K18 H38-39, Muslim #2426, 2427, 2429, 2430, 2433, 2434, 2435). Early breakfast (KS330 Bukhari K30 B45, Muslim K13 H47-51, Abu Daud K14 B21, Tirmidhi K6 B13, Nisae K22 B23, Ibn Majah K7 B24, Darimi K4 B11, Muwatta K18 H6-8). Exemption of the traveler from fasting (KS330-331 Bukhari K30 B33-38, Bukhari K30 B43-45, Bukhari K56 B71 &134,  Bukhari K64 B47, Muslim K130 H52-54, Muslim K130 H88-109, Abu Daud K14 B20 & 43-45, Tirmidhi K22 B46-62 & 74, Ibn Majah K7 B10-12, Darimi K4 B15-16, Muwatta K18 H22-26,). Muslim # 2467, 2468, 2470, 2471, 2472, 2474, 2475, 2476, 2477, 2479, 2480, 2481, 2482, 2483. Delaying suhuur (KS 331 Hakim p. 147). Temporary exemption of a menstruating woman and she has to replace the days not fasted (    ). Exemption of the pregnant, the breast-feeding woman, the elderly, and the sick (KS334: Bukhari  K65 surat 2 B25, Tirmidhi K6 B21, Nisae K22 B51 & B62 & B64, Ibn Majah K7 B21, Muwatta K18 H25).   


Body weight: The aim should be maintaining normal body weight or actually reducing it if overweight


Food intake: Over-eating at breakfast and suhuur should be avoided. Over-eating will cause indigestion.


Type of food: The diet should contain sufficient fiber to prevent constipation. Fiber and slowly digested foods with a long stomach transit times are preferred. Enough water should be taken at night both for preventing dehydration and preventing constipation. Adequate fluid and salt intake prevents lethargy in the afternoon caused by low blood pressure. Hunger is a cause of headache especially later in the day. Intake of adequate calcium, magnesium, and potassium will prevent muscle crumps.


Temperature control: Hot places should be avoided. Attempts should be made to keep cool.


Adequate sleep: Inadequate sleep is a cause of headaches


Prevention of hypoglycemia:  In non-diabetics hypoglycemia may be due to insulin overproduction on intake of refined sugar. In diabetics it may arise due to insulin injections with inadequate dietary intake.


Peptic ulcers are aggravated by raised acid levels


Kidney stones may be due to low fluid intake


Joint pains may be due to excess solutes



Travel: The prophet fasted on a journey (MB 943) and also broke the fast on another journey (BG 546). A Muslim may or may not fast on a journey (MB 944, MB 945, MB 946, MB 947, and MB 948). It is however preferable to take the exemption and break the fast during a journey.


Difficult weather: Fasting in conditions of extreme heat leads to dehydration. Care should be taken to take enough fluids at suhuur and not to expose oneself to extreme environmental temperatures. In very cold areas, the metabolic rate is raised to be able to generate sufficient heat for maintaining body temperature. In such conditions extra care should be taken to consume enough food and to cover oneself properly to minimize heat loss. Regions of the world near the two poles may have extremely long days in summer and very short ones in winter. It is recommended that the times of suhuur and breakfast of the nearest temperate region should be followed rather than following sun-rise and sunset.


D. FASTING OF THE SICK, saum al maridh and FASTING OF THE OLD, saum al kabiir

The very sick with chronic disease and the elderly do not fast but feed the poor instead (BG 548). The heirs can perform make-up fasting, qadha al saum,  for days missed by a deceased disabled by disease (MB 948, MB 950, BG 551).



Breaking routines: Fasting breaks the normal routines of life that revolve around meals. It creates a different psychological milieu that liberates the mind from the routines of life and gives it an opportunity to reflect on the bigger issues of the creator, the good and the bad.


Empowerment: A fasting person is able to control the appetite for food and to withstand hunger for a whole day. This is an exercise in self-control and self-discipline that empowers the person. This empowerment can be transferred to other life activities. Fasting is a means of instilling sexual self-control, al saum li man khaafa al 'uzuubat (MB 927)



Professor Omar Hasan Kasule February 2000