How Do I Fast?

Fasting in Islam is simple and easy. It involves abstaining from the following during *daylight hours:

  1. All manner of food and drink. This includes taking medications. If you have a medical need where you must take your medicine during the day then you may abstain from fasting. Never risk your health by fasting if you have a serious medical condition. Consult your physician.
  2. Sexual activity. This includes looking at sexually stimulating imagery, foreplay, etc.
  3. Smoking.
  4. Coarse language.
  5. Excessive anger.

In general, the fast is about putting one's focus on God, striving to do actions that will bring you closer to God and engaging in all manner of worship (prayer, dhikr, reading Qur'an, giving charity, visiting the sick and elderly, etc.). Abu Hurayrah narrated,

“The Prophet said, “Fasting is a shield. When one of you is fasting, he should neither behave in an obscene manner nor foolishly. If a man fights or abuses him, he should say, ‘I am fasting, I am fasting’.” Sunan Abi Dawud, 2363

الصِّيَامُ جُنَّةٌ إِذَا كَانَ أَحَدُكُمْ صَائِمًا فَلاَ يَرْفُثْ وَلاَ يَجْهَلْ فَإِنِ امْرُؤٌ قَاتَلَهُ أَوْ شَاتَمَهُ فَلْيَقُلْ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ

* Daylight hours are considered from the time the Fajr prayer begins/enters (not the iqamah time) until the sun sets (the Adhan for Maghrib).

Accidentally Breaking One's Fast

"Whoever eats out of forgetfulness while fasting, let him complete his fast, for it is Allah Who has fed him and given him to drink." — Prophet Muhammad

The Virtue of Fasting

"Every slave of God who observes fast for a day for God's sake, God will remove, because of this day, his or her face farther from the Hell-Fire to the extent of seventy years' distance." — Prophet Muhammad

The Importance of the Ramadan Fast

"Whoever breaks the fast during Ramadan without an allowance or illness, then if he fasted for all time, his fasting would not make up for it." — Prophet Muhammad