ASSALAM O ALAIKUM
O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you, as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may (learn) self-restraint (Holy Qur'aan 2 : 183)
Sawm (fasting) means to refrain from eating, drinking and cohabiting from subha sadiq (early dawn) to sunset with a niyyah (intention) of observing fast. Fasting in the month of Ramadhaan is one of the five pillars of Islaam and is fardh (compulsory) upon every muslim who is sane and mature. Fasting has many physical, moral, and social benefits. However, Allah has made fasting compulsory so that we become pious and God-fearing. Fasting will not be valid without niyyah. It is not necessary to express the niyyah in words. However it is preferable to recite Allahumma asoomu laka ghadan (O Allah tomorrow I shall be fasting for you only). In the case of Ramadhaan, it is better to make niyyah in the night. However, should a person fail to do so, then it is permitted to make the niyyah during the day before zawaal (midday).
MUSTAHAB (DESIRABLE) ACTS IN FASTING
1. To eat sehri (the meal before subha sadiq).
2. To delay the sehri up to a little before subha sadiq (early dawn).
3. To break the fast immediately after sunset.
4. To break the fast with dates. If dates are not available then with water.
5. To recite this du'a at the time of breaking the fast :- Allahumma laka sumtu wa bika aamantu wa ala rizqika aftartu O Allah! I fasted for You and in You do I believe and with Your provision (food) do I break my fast.
THINGS MAKROOH (DETESTABLE) WHILE FASTING
1. To chew items such as rubber, plastic etc.
2. To taste food or drink and spit it out.
3. To collect one's saliva in the mouth and then swallow it.
4. To clean teeth or mouth with tooth powder or toothpaste.
5. To complain of hunger or thirst.
6. To quarrel, argue with filthy words.
THINGS THAT BREAK THE FAST
1. To eat, drink or indulge in cohabitation intentionally.
2. To burn agarbatti (incense) and inhale its smoke.
3. If water goes down the throat while gargling.
4. To vomit mouthful intentionally.
5. To swallow vomit intentionally.
6. To swallow something edible, equal to or bigger than a grain of gram, which was stuck between the teeth. However, if it is first taken out of the mouth and then swallowed, it will break the fast whether it is smaller or bigger than the size of the grain.
7. To drop oil or medicine into ear or nose.
8. To swallow the blood from gums with saliva. However, if the blood is less than the saliva and its taste is not felt then the fast will not break.
10. To eat and drink forgetting one is fasting and thereafter, thinking that the fast is broken to eat and drink again
12. To apply medicine to the anus.
13. For women to apply medicine to the urinary organs.
14. To swallow intentionally a pebble, piece of paper or any item that is not used as food or medicine. In all the above circumstances, only a single fast will become qadha except in the case of number one (1), where qadha and kaffarah both will become obligatory. (Consult an aalim regarding the rules of kaffarah).
THINGS THAT DO NOT BREAK THE FAST
1. To eat, drink or indulge in cohabitation in forgetfulness.
2. To vomit without intention.
3. To vomit intentionally less than mouthful.
4. To have a wet dream.
5. To oil the hair.
6. To use surma (collyrium) in the eyes.
7. To drop water or medicine in the eyes.
8. To clean teeth with wet or dry miswaak (a stick used for cleaning teeth).
9. To apply or smell attar (perfume).
10. To swallow a fly, mosquito, smoke or dust unintentionally.
11. To swallow one's saliva or phlegm.
12. Water entering the ears.
13. To take an injection.
SUNNAHS IN THE MONTH OF RAMADHAAN
1. To observe taraweeh.
2. To increase the recitation of the Holy Qur'aan.
3. To observe i'atikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadhaan.
Sawm is a shield, as long as he (the fasting person) does not tear it up. (Nasa'ee)
Note: Fasting is a protection from Shaytãn or from Allah's punishment in the Hereafter.
One who indulges in sins whilst fasting such as lying, backbiting etc., they become the cause of the fast becoming wasted. All good deeds are for the one who renders them, but Fasting. Fasting is exclusively for me (Allah). (Bukhãri)
Fasting is a shield and a powerful fortress. (Ahmad, Bayhaqi)
I swear by that being in whose possession is the life of Muhammad! The odour of the mouth of a fasting person is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk.(Bukhãri)
Fasting is exclusively for Allah, the reward of it (being limitless) no one knows besides Allah. (Tabrãni)
Verily, Allah and His angels send mercy upon those who eat suhoor. (Tabrãni)
Eat suhoor because in suhoor lies barakah. (Mishkãt)
Whosoever gives something to a fasting person in order to break the fast, for him there shall be forgiveness for his sins and emancipation from the fire of Jahannam; and for him (the one who gives) shall be the same reward as for him (whom he fed), without that person's (the one who was fed) reward being diminished in the least. (Ibne Khuzaymah, Bayhaqi)
Whoever gave a person, who fasted, water to drink, Allah shall give him a drink from my fountain where after he shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Jannah. (Ibne Khuzaymah)
The fasting person experiences two (ocassions) of delight: at the time of iftãr and at the time he will meet his Rabb.(Bukhãri)
Not a single prayer made by a fasting person at the time of breaking fast is rejected. (Ibne Mãjah)