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RAMADAN: I DON'T FAST, WILL I BE PUNISHED?

By NBF News

I do not fast. Will I be punished on the Day of Resurrection? Fasting in Ramadan is one of the pillars on which Islam is built. Allah tells us that He has prescribed it for the believers of this ummah [nation], as He prescribed it for those who came before them.

Al-Bukhaari (8) and Muslim (16) narrated that Ibn 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: 'Islam is built on five (pillars): the testimony that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; establishing prayer; paying zakah; Hajj; and fasting Ramadan.'

Whoever does not fast has abandoned one of the pillars of Islam, and is committing a major sin. Indeed some of the pious believers were of the view that he is a kaafir [disbeliever] and apostate - we seek refuge with Allah from that.

Whoever does not fast in Ramadan without being sick or having any other excuse that allows him not to fast is more evil than the adulterer or drunkard, indeed they doubted his Islam and thought that this was heresy.

The brother who asked this question is advised to fear Allah and to beware of His wrath, vengeance and a painful punishment. He should hasten to repent to Allah before the destroyer of pleasures that splits people apart [i.e., death] takes him unawares. Today there is action and no reckoning, but tomorrow there will be the reckoning and no action. Note that whoever repents, Allah will accept his repentance, and whoever draws closer to Allah one hand span, Allah will draw closer to him one cubit. For Allah is Most Generous, Forbearing and Most Merciful.

If you try fasting and find out how easy it is and what comfort it brings and how close it brings you to Allah, you will never give it up.  Think about what Allah says at the end of the verses on fasting: 'Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you'[al-Baqarah 2:185]

The phrase, 'so that you may be grateful to Him' shows that fasting is a blessing for which we must give thanks. Hence some of the pious wished that the whole year was Ramadan.  We ask Allah to help you and guide you, and to open your heart to that which will bring you happiness in this world and in the Hereafter.

My question is complex. First, during the first Ramadan that my wife and I were married, we did something that we are ashamed of and have sincerely repented for; and that is having intercourse while fasting. Unfortunately, this occurred two or three times.

I have come to know that the correct action for this is to: first free a slave or second, fast for 60 days continuously. The first option of freeing a slave is not possible, so my question is about fasting.

I could fast for 60 days but since it is continuous, I believe that I would not be able to provide for my family (fasting weakens me, and my job is a physical one. Without energy, it becomes unbelievably difficult). It is hard enough to make it through Ramadan and earn enough money (with Allah's will) to provide for my family. What options are left to me.

I am aware of the Hadith where a poor man came to the prophet and he was given the options free a slave, fast, and he couldn't do either, so he was given dates to give to the poorest family, which was his, so he took them to his family. How does this apply to me? I alhamdulillah, am not rich, but am not poor either. My wife and I feel tremendous guilt about this. Please help! Also, if one is to fast, is the 60-day for each time one had intercourse during the daytime in Ramadan?

Praise be to Allah. Our advice is that you should try to fast the two consecutive months during cold days when the days will be shorter and it will be less difficult for you, or during the annual leave which your employer gives you, and other opportunities which you can make use of for this purpose. If you really and truly cannot fast, then it is permissible for you to feed 60 poor persons. You could give them food in stages - according to what you are able to do - until you have fed the complete number.

Your wife also has to make a similar expiation if she was a willing partner in the act of intercourse during the day in Ramadan. If the number of times that intercourse took place happened on different days, then you have to offer expiation for each day on which the sanctity of the sacred month was broken. The author of Kifaayat al-Taalib said: 'The number of expiations corresponds to the number of days, not to the number of times the act was repeated on one day before the payment of any expiation.

This is by consensus (of the scholars).' It was said in Haashiyat al-Dasooqi: 'It is not counted by the number of times a person ate or had intercourse in one day.' The author of Mughni al-Muhtaaj said: 'Expiation is counted by the number of misdeeds… (whoever had intercourse on two different days must pay expiation twice)… because each day is a separate, independent act of worship, so the expiation for both cannot be combined… If the act of intercourse happened several times in one day, the separate acts are not counted [i.e. one expiation is sufficient].'

Allah burdens not any person, but that which he can bear.

The Hadith to which you referred in your question was narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: 'Whilst we were sitting with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), a man came to him and said: 'O Messenger of Allah, I am doomed!' He said, 'What happened to you?' He said: 'I had intercourse with my wife whilst I was fasting.'

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked: 'Could you find a slave you could set free?' He said, 'No.' He asked, 'Are you able to fast for two consecutive months?' He said, 'No.' He asked, 'Can you feed 60 poor persons?' He said, 'No.' The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fell silent. Whilst we were (sitting) like that, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was brought a container of dates.

He said, 'Where is the one who was asking?' The man said, 'I (am here).' He said, 'Take these and give them in charity.' The man said, 'Who is poorer than I am, O Messenger of Allah? There is no household between the two lava fields (i.e., in Madinah) that is poorer than my household.' The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) smiled until his back teeth could be seen, then he said: 'Feed it to your family.'' (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 1936).

According to a report narrated by Ahmad from 'Aa'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), whilst the Prophet was sitting in the shade of the fortress of Hassan, a man came to him and said, 'I have been burnt, O Messenger of Allah!' He asked, 'What is wrong with you?' He said, 'I had intercourse with my wife whilst I was fasting.' She ['Aa'ishah] said: that was in Ramadan. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to him, 'Sit down,' so he sat down at the back of the gathering.

Then a man came with a donkey on whose back was a basket of dates, and said: 'This is my sadaqah (charity) O Messenger of Allah.' The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, 'Where is the burnt one who just came?' He said: 'Here I am, O Messenger of Allah.' He said: 'Take this and give it in charity.' He said, 'Where should it go except to me and my family, O Messenger of Allah? By Him Who sent you with the truth, I cannot find anything for me and my family.' He said: 'Take it.' So he took it. (al-Musnad 6/276).

We ask Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, to forgive us our sins and transgressions and to accept our repentance, for He is the Acceptor of Repentance, the Most Merciful.