Fiqh Principles Related to Fasting

Now that Ramadan has arrived, many questions arise concerning various matters related to fasting. Many of these questions can be brought back to a certain set of principles to be answered. The following is a list of principles put together by Shaikh Waleed As-Su'aidan, one of the students of Shaikh Bin Baz. He resides in a town south of Riyadh called Ad-Dilam, the same town that Shaikh Bin Baz hails from and was first appointed as Judge in. The Shaikh is known to specialize in a field of knowledge known as Taq'eed (applying set principles to various Islamic issues). He has written several works on various issues by using set principles that are derived from the Qur'an and Sunnah. He is someone who I have personally benefited greatly from during my short visits to see him. May Allah reward him for his efforts that have greatly benefited Islam and the Muslims.

I have summarized the principles stated by the Shaikh here without going into the details that he mentioned. For those who would like the full version of what the Shaikh has written along with his other works, please refer to the following website: http://www.saaid.net/

Principle #1: The start and end of Ramadan is not established except through moon-sighting to begin with, or completing thirty days of the month instead.

Principle #2: The things that break one's fast are Tawqeefiyyah (i.e. evidence is required from either the Qur'an or Sunnah to prove that something breaks one's fast).

Principle #3: With regards to passageways, if something enters through the usual passageway then it is given predominance, whereas if it enters through other than its usual passageway then nourishment is given predominance.

Perhaps this principle requires further explanation. Every human has passageways that things enter through to reach the stomach and the brain. The usual passageway to the stomach is the mouth, and the usual passageway to the brain is the nose. So if something enters through these usual passageways to the stomach or the brain, the person's fast breaks regardless of whether that thing provides nourishment to the body or not. Whereas if something enters through other than these usual passageways (such as through the eye, ear, anus, etc.), then we look at whether that thing provides nourishment to the body or not. So if it is nourishing, replacing food and drink, the person's fast breaks. However, if it is not nourishing, the person's fast does not break regardless of what enters.

Principle #4: The things that break one's fast do not take affect except with remembrance, knowledge, and will (i.e. if someone breaks their fast forgetfully, ignorantly, or unwillingly, it does not affect their fast).

Principle #5: There is no expiation for the things that break one's fast, except if there is evidence to prove expiation for a particular thing.

Principle #6: Whoever deems permissible the sanctity of Ramadan (by breaking their fast) without a reasonable Shar'i justification, they are required to continue their fast for the rest of the day.

Principle #7: The one who it is deemed permissible to fast and permissible to break their fast (through reasonable Shar'i justifications, such as travel and sickness), the Sunnah for them is to choose the lighter of the two.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2nd of Ramadan 1429