Getting Ready For Fasting

When the new moon is seen in a city on the thirtieth night of Sha'ban, it is necessary to begin the fast all over the world. The new moon seen during the day is the new moon of the following night.

[Also, a Muslim who goes to one of the poles or to the moon must fast there during the day if he does not intend to be safari (traveler). On days longer than twenty-four hours he begins the fast by time and breaks it by time. He adapts himself to the time followed by the Muslims in a city where the days are not so long. If he does not fast he makes qada [1] of it when he goes to a city where the days are not long.] The first day of Ramadan (determined and thereby the fast is) started upon seeing the new moon can be a day after that which is estimated by calculation. But it cannot be the day before. The case is the same with the day of 'Arafa, during which we stay for the waqfa at 'Arafat. It is said on the 283rd page of the book, Bahr, "If a captive who is in a disbelievers' country does not know the correct time of Ramadan, he makes an enquiry and fasts for a month whenever he guesses it is the month of Ramadan. Later on, when he is informed about the correct time, he will make qada of the days he fasted before Ramadan. If he started his fast after the correct day, yet made his intention before sunrise (every day he fasted), all the days he fasted are counted as qada. If a day he fasted coincided with the first day of Iyd-i Fitr, he will make an additional qada for that day." In those places where the Ramadan or 'Iyd are started by relying upon calendars instead of by watching for the new moon in the sky, the fasting and 'Iyd may have started a day before or after the correct time. Even if the fast's first and last days coincided with the correct time of Ramadan, it would be questionable whether they were Ramadan days or not. Ibni Abidin 'rahmat-ullahi aleyh' says in the chapter discussing Ramadan, "Fasting is tahrima makruh [2] on days that are not known for certain that they are the correct days of Ramadan. It is not an excuse to be unaware of worships in an Islamic country." Therefore, in places where Ramadan starts by relying upon a calendar or in those countries which are led by la-madhhabis, it will be necessary to fast two additional days of qada. It is written in the book Majmua-i Zuhdiyya, "A person who sees the new moon of the month of Shawwal cannot break his fast. In cloudy weather, it is necessary for two men or one man and two women to give the testimony of having seen the new moon of Shawwal. If the sky is clear, it is necessary for many people to witness the moons of Ramadan and Shawwal." It is stated in Qadihan, "If the new moon sets after sunset, it belongs to the second night (of the new month); if it sets before sunset it belongs to the first night.

In order to get ready for the fast of Ramadan-i-sharif, it is necessary to stop fasting by the fifteenth of Sha'ban and to strengthen the body by eating strong and delicious food, and thus to prepare it to do the fard. Workers, soldiers and students who have the habit of performing the fasts of sunna after the fifteenth of Sha'ban must perform them in their leisure time after Ramadan. It is also sunna to postpone the sunna in order to do the fard [3].

[1] qada': i) decree of a qadi (Muslim judge); ii) performance of an 'ibada after its due time.
[2] makruh: (act, thing) improper, disliked and abstained by the Prophet ('alaihi 's-salam); makruh tahrima: prohibited with much stress.
[3] 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).