Linguistically, the word fasting in the Arabic language means unconditional ‘restraint’ (imsak) from any action or speech during any time.
According to the Sacred Law, fasting is the act of:
Refraining from entering anything into the body cavity, whether deliberately or accidentally, from true dawn to the time the sun sets and refraining from engaging in sexual activity.
Refraining from entering anything into the body cavity’ refers to the acts of entering food, drink, or medicine into the body cavity, regardless of whether this is a typical item one would enter into the body cavity or not.
From the time the sun begins to rise to the time the sun sets’ refers to the true entering of the Fajr time to the entering of the Maghrib time.
‘Accompanied with the intention of fasting’ means that one must intend to fast in order to distinguish if one is really performing an act of worship or not when one refrains from eating, drinking, or having sexual intercourse. For example, if one were to merely stay away from food, drink, or sexual activity without an intention to fast, then this fast is not valid and does not count.
Who Is Excused From Fasting ?
Fasting the month of Ramadan is not obligatory upon a menstruating woman or a woman in the state of lochia (post-natal bleeding) because fasting is not permitted while they are in this state. [Imdad al-Fattah]
Stipulations For a Valid Fast?
stipulations for a valid fast : #) the intention,
#) to be free from menstruation and lochia #) to be free from anything else that would break the fast.
[ Nur al-Iydah]
What Happens If One Decides Not to Fast?
It is a condition that the intention to fast remains with one.
If during the night one decides to not fast the next day after previously intending to fast it, then one is not considered to be fasting for that day. If one renewed the intention, however, then one is considered to be fasting.
the principle returns to deliberately performing an act that vitiates the fast by one’s own free will and without a valid reason. Deliberately means that one remembers that one is fasting and purposely performs an action that breaks the fast.
It also includes acts performed by force of a third party. Accidentally means that one remembers that one is fasting but broke the fast by one’s own doing without the intention to purposely break the fast. [Tahtawi, Hashiyya al-Tahtawi; Related in Radd al-Muhtar]
“Oh Allah, for You I fasted, and in You I believe, and on You I place my reliance, and on Your provision I break my fast. And I intend the fasting of tomorrow for the month of Ramadan. Forgive me for what I did before and what I do after.”