Fiqh of Fasting Summarized – Ramadan 2020

In this article, I have summarized the basic Fiqh of Fasting in an easy-to-read list. I have split the list into two parts. The first list features issues that are agreed upon between the madh’habs. the second list features issues of difference of opinion in which I just listed my opinion without going in detail.

Regarding the issues of difference of opinion, please follow your local scholars, and if you require detailed discussion, please post your questions in the comment section below.

The Agreed Upon Fiqh of Fasting

  1. Fasting means to avoid food, drink, and sexual intercourse from the beginning of the time of Fajr until the beginning of the time of Maghrib).
  2. Having the correct intention is crucial. Intention means that in your heart you recognize that you are fasting today for the sake of Allah. The intention should precede the fast and doesn’t need to be verbalized.
  3. The early morning meal before dawn is called Suhoor and it is Sunnah (recommended) to eat a light Suhoor.
  4. The meal for breaking the fast is called Iftaar and should be eaten as soon as the sun sets before praying Maghrib. It is also Sunnah.
  5. It is important to avoid all sins and bad manners while fasting. These things decrease the reward of fasting.
  6. If someone eats or drinks forgetfully while fasting, then the fast is still valid.
  7. But if someone has sexual intercourse forgetfully, the fast is broken.
  8. Eating, drinking, or having sexual intercourse purposely while fasting invalidates the fast. Speak to your local scholar about how to make up for them. (There is a difference of opinion on how to make up for it)
  9. Praying Taraweh is a Sunnah (recommended). Tarawih means to pray extra Salah in sets of two after Esha. Tarawih can be prayed any time between Esha and Fajr.
  10. It is Sunnah to eat dates and drink water for Suhoor and Iftaar.
  11. Overeating at Suhoor and Iftaar is Makruh (disliked).
  12. It is recommended to spend as much time as possible reciting Quran and praying at night during Ramadan.
  13. Women can’t fast during menstruation or post-natal periods and need to make up their fasts after Ramadan.
  14. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding also have concessions. Speak to your local scholar for details about this.
  15. Elderly and chronically ill people who can’t fast for health reasons need to pay Fidyah instead. Fidyah means to feed one poor person per fast.
  16. People who are sick or traveling are also excused from fasting and may make it up after Ramadan.

Some issues of difference of opinion

  1. There is no set number of Rakah for Taraweh. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to pray 11, and the Sahabah used to pray 23. (This number includes the Witr)
  2. It is best to pray Taraweh late at night during the last one-third of the night.
  3. It is better to pray Taraweh individually as this leads to better concentration and private conversation with Allah.
  4. If someone missed Suhoor, their fast is still valid because they went to sleep with the intention to fast the next day.
  5. Fidyah is only allowed in cases where there is no chance of making up the missed fast, eg: old age or chronic illness.
  6. There is more reward in delaying the fast when traveling or sick, than in fasting during these conditions.
  7. Completing the entire Quran in Taraweh is not Sunnah but it is a good deed.
  8. Dua can be made in any language during the Sajdah of Taraweh or the Qunoot. It does not need to be in Arabic.
  9. It is permissible to eat Suhoor until Fajr time begins. It is not Sunnah to stop eating five minutes before Fajr time sets in.
  10. It is not a sin to leave out the Taraweh. However, doing so robs one’s Ramadan of great rewards and benefits.
  11. It is permissible to hold the Mushaf (or mobile device) in the hand and read from it when praying Taraweh.
  12. A male child (seven or older) may lead adults in Taraweh Salah if the child meets the requirements for Imamat.
  13. Zakah al-Fitr is an obligation that must be paid before Eid Salah. It is, however, permissible to pay it in money. It is not necessary to pay it in food portions.

Please remember that these thirteen points are matters of difference of opinion. So please maintain the proper Islamic manners when dealing with these matters of difference of opinion. and Allah knows best what is the correct opinion.

I hope you found these lists beneficial. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar

Ismail Kamdar is the Founder of Islamic Self Help, author of over a dozen books, faculty manager of IOU, and a freelance writer.


Jazakillahu khairan brother,

The summarized version is helpful.
In regards to zakat on gold, I wanted to verify if the hanafi position is the strongest opinion?

Ismail Kamdar

In my opinion, the stronger opinion is that Zakah is only obligatory on Jewelry if it is kept as an investment or to hoard wealth. Zakah is not obligatory on Jewelry kept for wearing. Allah knows best.

See Fiqh al-Zakah by Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, pp. 185-205 for details

JazakAllahu Khairan.BaarikAllahu feek


Leave a Reply