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Kinds Of Fast

THE FAST HAS THREE FARDS [1] :

1 - Niyya (to intend);

2 - To know the earliest time of the niyya, as well as its latest time;

3 - To fend off the things that will break the fast starting from dawn (fajr sadiq) up to sunset, [that is, within the shar'i day [2] ].

THERE ARE EIGHT KINDS OF FAST:

1 - The fasts that are fard. Fard fasts also have two kinds: the one which is performed at a certain time, fasting during Ramadan-i sharif.

2 - The fast that is fard and yet which is not performed at a certain time. Examples of this are the fasts of qada [3] and kaffarat [4]. But the fast of kaffarat is fard-i amali. That is, he who denies it does not become a disbeliever.

3 - The fast that is wajib [5] and which is performed at a certain time, too, such as vowing to fast on a certain day or on certain days.

4 - The fast which is performed at haphazard times.

5 - The fast that is sunna [6], e.g. fasting on the ninth and tenth days of Muharram.

6 - The fast that is mustahab [7], examples of which are fasting on the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth days of every Arabic month, fasting only on Fridays, fasting on the day of 'Arafa, which is the day previous to the 'Iyd of Qurban (Ad'ha). It is also said (by some savants) that it is makruh [8] to fast only on Fridays. A person who wants to fast on Friday had better fast on Thursday and Saturday, too. For it is better not to do something which is said to be sunnat or makruh.

7 - The fast that is haram [9]. It is haram to fast on the first day of the 'Iyd of Fitra and on any of all four days of the 'Iyd of Qurban.

8 - The fast that is makruh: to fast only on the tenth day of Muharram, only on Saturdays, on the days of Nawruz and Mihrijan, [which are the twentieth days of March and September], to fast every day throughout the year, and to fast without talking at all.

GLOSSARY
[1] fard: an act or thing that is commanded by Allahu ta'ala in the Qur'an al-karim. Fard (or fard) means (any behaviour or thought or belief which is) obligatory. Islam's open commandments are called fard (pl. faraid).
[2] shar'î The word 'shar'î' is an adjective. It means 'that which is prescribed by the Islamic Sharî'at (canon law)'.
[3] qada': i) decree of a qadi (Muslim judge); ii) performance of an 'ibada after its due time.
[4] kaffara: specified penalty that should be paid along with qada'.
[5] wajib: (act, thing) never omitted by the Prophet, so almost as compulsory as fard and not to be omitted. Wajib al-wujud: Being whose existence is indispensable and nonexistence is impossible.
[6] sunnat: i) act, thing that was, though not commanded by Allahu ta'ala, done and liked by the Prophet ('alaihi 's-salam) as an 'ibada (there is thawab if done, but no sin if omitted, yet it causes sin if continually omitted and disbelief if disliked; the Sunna; i) (with fard) all the sunnas as a whole; ii) (with the Book or Qur'an al-karim) the Hadith ash-sharif; iii) (alone) fiqh, Islam.
[7] mustahab: (act, thing) deserving thawab if done but no sin if omitted, nor disbelief if disliked.
[8] makruh: (act, thing) improper, disliked and abstained by the Prophet ('alaihi 's-salam); makruh tahrima: prohibited with much stress.
[9] haram: an action, word or thought prohibited by Allahu ta'ala.