The Importance of Intention (Niyyah) for Fasting Ramadan
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Praise be to Allaah.
“The intention (niyyah) means resolving to fast. It is essential to have the intention the night before, night by night, in Ramadaan.”
(Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, vol. 10, p. 246)
“Some scholars were of the view that in the case of a repeated act of worship, it is sufficient to form the intention once the first time one does, unless the sequence of repetition is interrupted, in which case a new intention must be formed. On this basis, if a person has the intention of fasting on the first day of Ramadaan that he will fast this whole month, that is enough to cover the whole month, so long as he does not have an excuse to break his fast and thus break this continuity, such as traveling during Ramadaan. In that case, when he wants to resume fasting he must form the intention of fasting again.
This is the more correct opinion, because all the Muslims, if you ask them, will say that they intend to fast the whole month from beginning to end. So even if the intention is not formed literally, it is there by implication, because the basic principle is that it does not stop. Hence we say that if the continuity is broken for some permissible reason, then one starts fasting again, the intention must be renewed. This is the view which brings peace of mind.”
It is essential to make the intention to fast the month of Ramadan at night, before Fajr. It is not sufficient to start fasting it that day without the intention. Whoever finds out at the time of Duha that today it is Ramadan and makes the intention of fasting has to refrain from eating until sunset, and he also has to make up that day, because it was narrated by Ibn ‘Umar from Hafsah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not have the intention of fasting before Fajr, there is no fast for him.” Narrated by Imam Ahmad, the authors of al-Sunan, Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibbaan; they classed it as saheeh and marfoo’.
This is with regard to obligatory fasts. With regard to naafil fasts it is permissible to make the intention to fast on the day, if you have not eaten or drunk or had intercourse after Fajr, because it was proven in the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered upon her one day at duha time and said, “Do you have anything (any food)?” She said, “No.” He said, “Then I am fasting.” Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh.
And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.
- al-Sharh al-Mumti’, vol. 6, p. 369-370).
- Standing Committee for Research and Issuing Fatwas. 10 / 244
Courtesy of Islamqa
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