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What Breaks The Fast (Part 1)


In the month of Ramadan, while one knows that one is fasting and while one has intended before the dawning of the previous fajr for the fast, eating or drinking something alimentary, that is, putting some nutritious, medicinal, narcotic or intoxicant substance into the stomach through the mouth, or having or being made to have sexual intercourse breaks the fast and necessitates qada [1] and kaffarat [2]. According to this definition,smoking breaks the fast and necessitates both qada and kaffarat. For, the solid and liquid motes in the smoke go into the stomach together with the saliva. After such things as cupping and backbiting, which are certainly known not to break the fast, if one eats something consciously because one thinks that one's fast has already been broken, one's fast will be broken this time and qada and kaffarat will be necessary. If a person who has made his niyya (intention) after the dawn in Ramadan does something to break his fast before dahwa, both qada and kaffarat are necessary according to the two imams. For he misses the opportunity to fast while it is present. But according to Imam-i-a'zam only qada is necessary. If one eats and drinks after the dahwa time, kaffarat is not necessary according to all three imams [3]. The penalty of kaffarat is the recompense for desecrating the honour and dignity of the blessed month of Ramadan. It is the punishment for intentionally breaking the fast of Ramadan which is sahih according to all four Madhhab [4]. For this reason, it being a condition to make the niyya before dawn in Shafi'i Madhhab, if a person in Hanafi Madhhab purposely breaks during the day the fast for which he did not make niyya before dawn, or if he is forced to break it or has to break it because of a good excuse (though he may have made niyya before dawn), he does not make kaffarat. When one breaks one's fast of qada or vowed fast or supererogatory fast, one does not make kaffarat. If a person who did something which necessitates only qada on one day of Ramadan does the same thing purposely on another day, it is necessary for him to make kaffarat, too.

[1] qada': i) decree of a qadi (Muslim judge); ii) performance of an 'ibada after its due time.
[2] kaffara: specified penalty that should be paid along with qada'.
[3] imam: i) profound 'alim; founder of a madhhab; ii) leader in congregational salat; iii) caliph.
[4] madhhab: all of what a profound 'alim of (especially) Fiqh (usually one of the four-Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki, Hanbali) or iman (one of the two, namely Ash-ari, Maturidi) communicated.