The Prophet’s Guidance Concerning Fasting
a. His Guidance in Fasting Ramadhan:
of a witness. In caseAccording to his guidance he (peace be upun him) would only begin the fast of Ramadhan after a verified sighting of the new moon or the evidence it was not sighted and without a witness he would complete 30 days of Sha`baan.
If the new moon could not be sighted on the 29th of Sha`baan due to clouds, he (peace be upun him) completed thirty days of the month. He (peace be upun him) did not fast on the day of doubt, or tell anyone to do it.
He (peace be upun him) terminated the fast at the end of the month based on the testimony of two witnesses.
If two witnesses gave a testimony about sighting the moon after Eid prayer time had passed, he (peace be upun him) would break his fast, order people to do so and would perform the Eid prayer at its time the following morning.
He (peace be upun him) used to hasten to break of the fast [at sunset] and ordered the people to do so. He also used to delay his suhoor and encourage others to do the same.
He (peace be upun him) used to break his fast before performing the maghrib prayer. He (peace be upun him) would break his fast with fresh or dry dates, and if unavailable, with water.
Upon breaking his fast he (peace be upun him) would say:
"Dhahab ath-thama'u wabtallatil-`urooqu wa thabatal-ajr 'in shaa Allaah." (Thirst has gone, the veins have been moistened and the reward is assured, if Allah wills.)
He (peace be upun him) used to intensify his acts of worship in Ramadhan. The angel Gabriel would meet with him in this month to review the Qur'an.
During Ramadhan he (peace be upun him) also increased charity, good deeds, recitation of the Qur'an, prayer, remembrance of Allah and i`tikaaf.
He (peace be upun him) used to perform certain acts of worship particular to Ramadhan. Sometimes he continued fasting without breaking it at night, although he (peace be upun him) prohibited his companions from doing so. He allowed them to continue only to the time of suhoor.
b. His Guidance in What Is Allowed and Prohibited While Fasting
His guidance was that when one fasts he should abstain from improper speech, noisy arguments, insults and replying to them. He instructed that if one is cursed or insulted he should only say, “I am fasting”.
While travelling, he (peace be upun him) sometimes observed fasting and sometimes broke his fast, and he gave his companions the option to do either .
He (peace be upun him) would order his companions to break their fast when they approached an enemy.
He (peace be upun him) did not specify any certain distance after which a traveller would be excused from fasting.
When his companions would start a journey, they would break the fast even before leaving the residential area and affirmed that this was the sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upun him).
It might be that on a day of fasting he (peace be upun him) would be in a state of sexual impurity at the break of dawn, but he would then perform ghusl and observe the fast as usual.
He (peace be upun him) would kiss one of his wives while fasting in Ramadhan.
He (peace be upun him) would clean his teeth with a toothstick, rinse his mouth and nose and pour water on
He (peace be upun him) ruled that a fasting person need not make up the day if he ate or drank out of forgetfulness.
He (peace be upun him) permitted sick and travelling persons to break the fast and make up the missed days later. He (peace be upun him) also permitted a pregnant or nursing women to do the same if they feared harm to themselves.
c. His Guidance in Voluntary Fasting:
His guidance was most complete and perfect for achieving the desired objective with ease. He (peace be upun him) used to fast until it was said that he would never stop fasting. And he would refrain from fasting until it was said that he was not going to fast. He (peace be upun him) never fasted a full month except for Ramadhan, but he never fasted in any other month
According to his guidance, it is disliked to single out Friday as a day to fast, but he took care to fast on Mondays and Thursdays.
He (peace be upun him) never missed fasting on the days of the full moon ( the 13th, 14th and 15th of every lunar month), whether at home or on a journey, and he encouraged others to fast them.
He (peace be upun him) also used to fast the first three days
He (peace be upun him) encouraged fasting six days from the month of Shawaal, saying that fasting them after the fast of Ramadhan is equivalent to fasting the entire year. He always fasted the day of 'Ashuraa', mentioning that it expiates the sins of the past year.
With regard to the day of `Arafah, he (peace be upun him) said that it expiates the sins of the past year and the coming year. But his guidance for Hajj pilgrims was not to fast on the Day of `Arafah.
It was not of his guidance to fast every day of the year. On the contrary, he (peace be upun him) said, “Whoever fasts every day has neither fasted nor broken the fast.”
Sometimes he (peace be upun him) would intend to fast voluntarily and then break his fast. And he (peace be upun him) would sometimes ask his family, "Do you have any food?" If they said no, he (peace be upun him) would say: “Then, I am fasting”.
And he (peace be upun him) said: “If one of you is invited to a meal while fasting, he should say, 'I am fasting'.”
d. His Guidance in I`tikaaf
He (peace be upun him) was regular in i`tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadhan until he died. Once he missed it in Ramadhan but made the days up during the month of Shawwal.
He (peace be upun him) once did i`tikaaf in the first ten days of Ramadhan, then the middle ten days, then the last ten days, seeking Laylatul-Qadr. Then it became clear to him that it is in the last ten days, so he continued to do it then, until he died.
He (peace be upun him) always combined i`tikaaf with fasting.
He (peace be upun him) used to order a tent to be set up for him in the mosque in which to seclude himself.
When intending i`tikaaf, he began it after performing the fajr prayer.
His mattress would be placed for him inside his tent, which he entered alone.
He (peace be upun him) would only enter his house for answering the call of nature.
He (peace be upun him) used to put his head into Aisha’s room to comb his hair, even when she had her menses.
Some of his wives used to visit him during his i`tikaaf, and when she got up to leave he (peace be upun him) would get up and escort her. These visits were at night.
He (peace be upun him) did not have sexual relations with any of his wives during i`tikaaf, not even kissing.
He (peace be upun him) used to perform i`tikaaf ten days every year, in the year before he died he did it for twenty days.