Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ramadan The Concept of Qada and Kaffarah

The validity of fasting depends on the following:

Abstaining from food, liquids and sexual activity from dawn to sunset.
The intention to fast must be made every day before dawn. The intention (niyyah) may be made during night before going to sleep or it can also be made at the time of Suhoor before dawn. Suhoor is eating before fasting. It should be as close to Fajr time as possible. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

        'Partake Suhoor, for there is blessing in Suhoor.'(Bukhari, Muslim)

It is desirable to break the fast of Ramadan as soon as possible after sunset. Breaking the fast with dates or water is a tradition of the Prophet. Following is one of the Du'a for breaking fast:

        (O Allah! For You did I fast and with Your bounties did I break the fast.)

The things which invalidate fast are of two kinds. The first one requires Qada (only making up missed days), the other one not only requires Qada but also Kaffarah(a penalty).

The following are the things that require Qada only:
  • Eating or drinking intentionally. This includes non-nourishing items taken by mouth.
  • Deliberately causing oneself to throw up.
  • The beginning of menstruation or post-childbirth bleeding even in the last moment before sunset.
  • Ejaculation for reasons other than sexual intercourse.
  • Intending to break the fast before sunset even if one changes his mind, since intention is one of the pre-requisites of the validity of fasting.
  • Eating, drinking or having intercourse after dawn on the mistaken assumption that it is not dawn yet. 
Similarly, engaging in these acts before Maghrib on the mistaken assumption that it is already sunset.

Things that not only require Qada but also Kaffarah are the following:
Sexual intercourse during fasting(dawn to dusk). The penalty is to fast an additional period of 60 continuous days. If one is not able to do so then he must feed sixty poor people-one average meal each.

Before the days of the Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W.), slavery was a common practice in the Arab world. Islam eliminated slavery from the society in a very short period of time. A useful approach was to allow people free a slave as a charity or as a penalty for a sin. Thus during the time of the Prophet(S.A.W.), setting a slave free was the penalty one must pay as a kaffarah, if he or she had a slave.

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