Surah Al-Baqarah Part 21

{185. The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan, i.e., is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasting) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasting) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah – i.e., to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Most Great)- for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.}

 

The Virtue of Ramadan and the Revelation of the Qur’an in it

Allah praised the month of Ramadan out of the other months by choosing it to send down the Glorious Qur’an, just as He did for all of the Divine Books He revealed to the Prophets. Imam Ahmad reported Wathilah bin Al-Asqa` that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”The Suhuf (Pages) of Ibrahim were revealed during the first night of Ramadan. The Torah was revealed during the sixth night of Ramadan. The Injil was revealed during the thirteenth night of Ramadan. Allah revealed the Qur’an on the twenty-fourth night of Ramadan.” (Ahmad 4:107)

The Virtues of the Qur’an

Allah said: ”…a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong)” Here Allah praised the Qur’an, which He revealed as guidance for the hearts of those who believe in it and adhere to its commands. Allah said: ”and clear proofs” meaning, as clear and unambiguous signs and unequivocal proof for those who understand them. These proofs testify to the truth of the Qur’an, its guidance, the opposite of misguidance, and how it guides to the straight path, the opposite of the wrong path, and the distinction between the truth and falsehood, and the permissible and the prohibited.

The Obligation of Fasting Ramadan

”So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan, i.e., is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasting) that month.” This Ayah requires the healthy persons who witness the beginning of the month, while residing in their land, to fast the month. This Ayah abrogated the Ayah that allows a choice of fasting or paying the Fidyah. When Allah ordered fasting, He again mentioned the permission for the ill person and the traveler to break the fast and to fast other days instead as compensation. Allah said: ”…and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasting) must be made up] from other days.” This Ayah indicates that ill persons who are unable to fast or fear harm by fasting, and the traveler, are all allowed to break the fast. When one does not fast in this case, he is obliged to fast other days instead. Allah said: ”Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you.” This Ayah indicates that Allah allowed such persons, out of His mercy and to make matters easy for them, to break the fast when they are ill or traveling, while the fast is still obligatory on the healthy persons who are not traveling.

Several Rulings concerning the Fast

The authentic Sunnah states that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, traveled during the month of Ramadan for the battle for Makkah. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, marched until he reached the area of Kadid and then broke his fast and ordered those who were with him to do likewise. This was recorded in the Two Sahihs. (Fath Al-Bari 3:213 and Muslim 2:784) Breaking the fast mentioned in this Hadith was not required, for the Companions used to go out with Allah’s Messenger during the month of Ramadan, then, some of them would fast while some of them would not fast and neither category would criticize the others. If the command mentioned in the Hadith required breaking the fast, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, would have criticized those who fasted. Allah’s Messenger himself sometimes fasted while traveling. For instance, it is reported in the Two Sahihs that Abu Ad-Darda’ said, “We once went with Allah’s Messenger during Ramadan while the heat was intense. One of us would place his hand on his head because of the intense heat. Only Allah’s Messenger and ‘Abdullah bin Rawahah were fasting at that time.”

We should state that observing the permission to break the fast while traveling is better, as Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said about fasting while traveling:

”Those who did not fast have done good, and there is no harm for those who fasted.” (Muslim 2:790)

In another Hadith, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”Hold to Allah’s permission that He has granted you.’‘ (Muslim 2:786)

Some scholars say that the two actions are the same, as ‘A’ishah narrated that Hamzah bin ‘Amr Al-Aslami said, “O Messenger of Allah! I fast a lot, should I fast while traveling” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”Fast if you wish or do not fast if you wish.” (Fath Al-Bari 4:211 and Muslim 2:789)

It was reported that if the fast becomes difficult (while traveling), then breaking the fast is better. Jabir said that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saw a man who was being shaded (by other people while traveling). The Prophet asked about him and he was told that man was fasting. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”It is not a part of Birr (piety) to fast while traveling.” (Fath Al-Bari 4:216 and Muslim 2:786)

As for those who ignore the Sunnah and believe in their hearts that breaking the fast while traveling is disliked, they are required to break the fast and are not allowed to fast.

As for making up for missed fasting days, it is not required to be consecutive. One may do so consecutively or not consecutively. There are ample proofs to this fact. We should mention that fasting consecutive days is only required exclusively during Ramadan. After the month of Ramadan, what is required then is to merely make up for missed days. This is why Allah said: ”..the same number (should be made up) from other days.”

Ease and not Hardship

Allah then said: ”Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you.” Imam Ahmad recorded Anas bin Malik saying that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”Treat the people with ease and don’t be hard on them; give them glad tidings and don’t fill them with aversion.” (Ahmad 3:131)

It is reported in the Sahihayn that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to Muadh and Abu Musa when he sent them to Yemen:

”Treat the people with ease and don’t be hard on them; give them glad tidings and don’t fill them with aversion; and love each other, and don’t differ.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:660 and Muslim 3:1587)

The Sunan and the Musnad compilers recorded that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”I was sent with the easy Hanifiyyah (Islamic Monotheism).” (Ahmad 5:266)

Allah’s statement: ”Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days)” means: You were allowed to break the fast while ill, while traveling, and so forth, because Allah wanted to make matters easy for you. He only commanded you to make up for missed days so that you complete the days of one month.

Remembering Allah upon performing the Acts of Worship

Allah’s statement: ”…and that you must magnify Allah [ i.e., to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Most Great)] for having guided you” means: So that you remember Allah upon finishing the act of worship. This is similar to Allah’s statement:

”So when you have accomplished your Manasik, (rituals) remember Allah as you remember your forefathers or with far more remembrance.” (2:200) and:

”…Then when the (Jummuah) Salah (prayer) is ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the bounty of Allah (by working), and remember Allah much, that you may be successful.” (62:10) and:

”…and glorify the praises of your Lord, before the rising of the sun and before (its) setting. And during a part of the night, glorify His praises, and after the prayers.” (50:39-40)

This is why the Sunnah encouraged Tasbih (saying Subhan Allah, i.e., all praise is due to Allah), Tahmid (saying Al-Hamdu Lillah, i.e., all the thanks are due to Allah) and Takbir (saying Allahu Akbar, i.e., Allah is the Most Great) after the compulsory prayers. Ibn Abbas said, “We used to know that Allah’s Messenger has finished the prayer by the Takbir.” Similarly, several scholars have stated that reciting Takbir the during ` Id-ul-Fitr was specified by the Ayah that states: ”(He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e., to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Most Great)] for having guided you…” Allah’s statement: ”…so that you may be grateful to Him.” means: If you adhere to what Allah commanded you, obeying Him by performing the obligations, abandoning the prohibitions and abiding by the set limits, then perhaps you will be among the grateful.

{186. And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad concerning Me, then answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.}

Allah hears the Servant’s Supplication

Imam Ahmad reported that Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari said, “We were in the company of Allah’s Messenger during a battle. Whenever we climbed a high place, went up a hill or went down a valley, we used to say, ‘Allah is the Most Great,’ raising our voices. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, came by us and said:

”O people! Be merciful to yourselves (i.e., don’t raise your voices), for you are not calling a deaf or an absent one, but One Who is All-Hearer, All-Seer. The One Whom you call is closer to one of you t han t he neck of his animal. O Abdullah bin Qais (Abu Musa’s name) should I teach you a statement that is a treasure of Paradise: ‘La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (there is no power or strength except from Allah).” (Ahmad 4:402)

Furthermore, Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Allah the Exalted said, ‘I am as My servant thinks of Me, and I am with him whenever he invokes Me.” (Ahmad 3:210)

Allah accepts the Invocation

Imam Ahmad also recorded Abu Said saying that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”No Muslim supplicates to Allah with a Du’a that does not involve sin or cutting the relations of the womb, but Allah will grant him one of the three things. He will either hasten the response to his supplication, save it for him until the Hereafter, or would turn an equivalent amount of evil away from him.” They said, “What if we were to recite more (Du’a).” He said, ‘There is more with Allah.”’ (Ahmad 3:18)

Abdullah the son of Imam Ahmad recorded Ubadah bin As-Samit saying that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”There is no Muslim man on the face of the earth who supplicates to Allah but Allah would either grant it to him, or avert a harm from him of equal proportions, as long as his supplication does not involve sin or cutting the relations of the womb.” (Ahmad 5:329)

Imam Malik recorded that Abu Hurayrah narrated that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”One’s supplication will be accepted as long as he does become get hasty and say, ‘I have supplicated but it has not been accepted from me’ “(Ahmad 2:396)

Three Persons Whose Supplication will not be rejected

In the Musnad of Imam Ahmad and the Sunans of At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah narrated that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”Three persons will not have their supplication rejected: the just ruler, the fasting person until breaking the fast, and the supplication of the oppressed person, for Allah raises it above the clouds on the Day of Resurrection, and the doors of heaven will be opened for it, and Allah says, ‘By My grace! I will certainly grant it for you, even if after a while.”’ (Ahmad 3:544)

{187. It is made lawful for you to have sexual relations with your wives on the night of As-Siyam (fasting). They are Libas [i.e., body-cover, or screen] for you and you are Libas for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He turned to you (accepted your repentance) and forgave you. So now have sexual relations with them and seek that which Allah has ordained for you (offspring), and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your fast till the nightfall. And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I` tikaf in the Masjids. These are the limits (set) by Allah, so approach them not. Thus does Allah make clear His Ayat to mankind that they may acquire Taqwa.}

 

Eating, Drinking and Sexual Intercourse are allowed during the Nights of Ramadan

These Ayat contain a relief from Allah for the Muslims by ending the practice that was observed in the early years of Islam. At that time, Muslims were allowed to eat, drink and have sexual intercourse only until the Isha’ (Night) prayer, unless one sleeps before the Isha’ prayer. Those who slept before Isha’ or offered the Isha’ prayer, were not allowed to drink, eat or sexual intervourse sex until the next night. The Muslims found that to be difficult for them.

Allah said: ”They are Libas [i.e., body-cover, or screen] for you and you are Libas for them.” Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Sa id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Muqatil bin Hayyan said that this Ayah means, “Your wives are a resort for you and you for them.” Ar-Rabi bin Anas said, “They are your cover and you are their cover.” In short, the wife and the husband are intimate and have sexual intercourse with each other, and this is why they were permitted to have sexual activity during the nights of Ramadan, so that matters are made easier for them.

Abu Ishaq reported that Al-Bara’ bin Azib said, “When the Companions of Allah’s Messenger observed fast but would sleep before breaking their fast, they would continue fasting until the following night. Qays bin Sirmah Al-Ansari was fasting one day and was working in his land. When the time to break the fast came, he went to his wife and said,’Do you have food?’ She said, ‘No. But I could try to get you some.’ His eyes then were overcome by sleep and when his wife came back, she found him asleep. She said, ‘Woe unto you! Did you sleep?’ In the middle of the next day, he lost consciousness and mentioned what had happened to the Prophet,peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Then, this Ayah was revealed ”It is made lawful for you to have sexual relations with your wives on the night of As-Siyam (fasting)” until… ”and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your fast till the nightfall.” Consequently, they were very delighted.” Al-Bukhari reported this Hadith by Abu Ishaq who related that he heard Al- Bara’ say, “When fasting Ramadan was ordained, Muslims used to refrain from sleeping with their wives the entire month, but some men used to deceive themselves. Allah revealed: ‘‘Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He turned  to you (accepted your repentance) and forgave you.”

Ali bin Abu Talhah narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, “During the month of Ramadan, after Muslims would pray ‘Isha’, they would not touch their women and food until the next night. Then some Muslims, including `Umar bin Al-Khattab, touched (had sex with) their wives and had some food during Ramadan after’ Isha’. They complained to Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Then Allah sent down: ”Allah               knows that you used to deceive yourselves,  so He turned  to you (accepted your repentance) and forgave you. So now have sexual relations with them” This is the same narration that Al-` Awfi related from Ibn Abbas. (At-Tabari 3:496)

Allah said:’‘ ..and seek that which Allah has ordained for you (offspring)”

Abu Hurayrah, Ibn ` Abbas and others said that this Ayah refers to having offspring. (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:377-378) Qatadah said that the Ayah means, “Seek the permission that Allah has allowed for you.” S id narrated that Qatadah said, ”and seek that which Allah has ordained for you”.

Time for Suhur

Allah said: ”…and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your fast till the nightfall.” Allah has allowed eating and drinking, along with having sexual intercourse, as we have stated, during any part of the night until the light of dawn is distinguished from the darkness of the night. Allah has described that time as ` distinguishing the white thread from the black thread.’ He then made it clearer when He said: ”of dawn.”

As stated in a Hadith that Imam Abu Abdullah Al-Bukhari recorded, Sahl bin Sad said, “When the following verse was revealed: ”Eat and drink until the white thread appears to you, distinct from the black thread” and ”of dawn” was not revealed, some people who intended to fast, tied black and white threads to their legs and went on eating till they differentiated between the two. Allah then revealed the words, ”of dawn”, and it became clear to them that it meant ”the darkness of” night and ”the light of day. ” (Fath Al-Bari 8:31)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ash-Shabi said that Adi said, “I took two strings, one black and the other white and kept them under my pillow and went on looking at them throughout the night, but could not make any distinction between the two. So, the next morning I went to Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and told him the whole story. He said:

”Your pillow is very wide if the white and black threads are under it!” (Fath Al-Bari 8:31)

Some wordings for this Hadith read,

”Your Qafa (back side of your neck) is wide!” (Fath Al-Bari 8:31)

Al-Bukhari recorded that ` Adi bin Hatim narrated: I said, “O Messenger of Allah! What is the white thread from the black thread? Are they actual threads?” He said:

”Your Qafa is wide if you see the two threads. Rather, they are the blackness of the night and the whiteness of the daylight.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:31)

Suhur is recommended

Allah allowed eating and drinking until dawn, it represents proof that Suhur is encouraged, since it is a Rukhsah (concession or allowance) and Allah likes that the Rukhsah is accepted and implemented. The authentic Sunnah indicates that eating the Suhur is encouraged. It is reported in the Two Sahihs that Anas narrated that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”Eat the Suhur, for there is a blessing in Suhur.”  (Muslim 2:771)

Muslim reported that Amr bin Al-As narrated that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”The distinction between our fast and the fast of the People of the Book is the meal of Suhur.” (Ahmad 3:44)

Imam Ahmad reported that Abu Said narrated that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”Suhur is a blessed meal. Hence, do not abandon it, even if one just takes a sip of water. Indeed, Allah and His angels send Salah (blessings) upon those who eat Suhur.”

There are several other Hadiths that encourage taking the Suhur, even if it only consists of a sip of water. It is preferred that Suhur be delayed until the time of dawn. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Anas bin Malik narrated that Zayd bin Thabit said, “We had Suhur with Allah’s Messenger and then went on to pray.” Anas asked, “How much time was there between the Adhan (call to prayer) and the Suhur” He said, “The time that fifty Ayat take (to recite).” (Fath Al-Bari 4:164 and Muslim 2:771)

Imam Ahmad recorded Abu Dharr saying that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”My Ummah will always retain goodness as long as they hasten in breaking the fast and delay the Suhur.” (Ahmad 5:147)

There are several Hadiths that narrate that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, called Suhur “the blessed meal.”

It is also recorded in the Two Sahihs that Al-Qasim said that ` A’ishah narrated that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”The Adhan pronounced by Bilal should not stop you from taking Suhur, for he pronounces the Adhan at night. Hence, eat and drink until you hear the Adhan by Ibn Umm Maktum, for he does not call the Adhan until dawn.” (Fath Al-Bari 4:162 and Muslim 2:768)

Imam Ahmad reported that Qays bin Talq quoted from his father that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”Dawn is not the (ascending) glow of white light of the horizon. Rather, it is the red (radiating) light.” (Ahmad 4:23)

Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi also recorded this Hadith, but their wording is:

”Eat and drink and do not be rushed by the ascending (white) light. Eat and drink until the redness (of the dawn) appears.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 3:389)

Ibn Jarir (At-Tabari) recorded that Samurah bin Jundub narrated that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”Do not be stopped by Bilal’s Adhan or the (ascending) whiteness, until it spreads.” (At-Tabari 3:517)

There is no Harm in beginning the Fast while Junub (a state of major ritual impurity)

Issue: Among the benefits of allowing sexual activity, eating and drinking until dawn for those who are fasting, is that it is allowed to start the fast while Junub (in the state of impurity after sexual discharge), and there is no harm in this case if one takes a bath any time in the morning after waking up, and completes the fast. This is the opinion of the Four Imams and the majority of the scholars. Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded that `A’ishah and Umm Salamah said that Allah’s Messenger used to wake up while Junub from sexual intercourse, not wet dreams, and he would take a bath and fast. Umm Salamah added that he would not break his fast or make up for that day. (Fath Al-Bari 4:182)

Muslim recorded that A’ishah said that a man asked: “O Messenger of Allah! The (Dawn) Prayer starts while I am in junub, should I fast?” Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, replied, “And I. The prayer starts while I am Junub and I fast” He said, “You are not like us O Messenger of Allah! Allah has forgiven you your previous sins and latter sins.” Allah’s Messenger said “By Allah! I hope that i have the most fear from Allah among you and the best knowledge of what Taqwa is.” (Muslim 2:781)

Fasting ends at Sunset

Allah said: ‘‘…then complete your fast till the nightfall.”  This Ayah orders breaking the fast at sunset. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Umar bin Al- Khattab said that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”If the night comes from this direction (the east), and the day departs from that direction (the west), then the fasting person breaks his fast.” (Fath Al-Bari 4:231 and Muslim 2:772)

It is reported that Sahl bin Sad As-Saidi narrated that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”The people will retain goodness as long as they hasten in breaking the fast.” (Fath Al-Bari 4:234)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”Allah the Exalted said, ‘The dearest among My servants to Me are those who hasten in breaking the fast the most.” (Ahmad 2:237)

Prohibition of Uninterrupted Fasting (Wisal)

There are several authentic Hadiths that prohibit Al-Wisal, which means continuing the fast through the night to the next night, without eating. Imam Ahmad recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

”Do not practice Al-Wisal in fasting.” So, they said to him, “But you practice Al-Wisal, O Allah’s Messenger!” The Prophet replied, “I am not like you, I am given food and drink during my sleep by my Lord.” So, when the people refused to stop Al-Wisal, the Prophet fasted two days and two nights (along with those who practiced Wisal) and then they saw the crescent moon (of the month of Shawwal). The Prophet said to them (angrily):”If the crescent had not appeared, I would have made you fast for a longer period.” That was as a punishment for them (when they refused to stop practicing Al-Wisal). (Ahmad 2:281, Muslim 2:774, Fath Al-Bari 4:238)

The prohibition of Al-Wisal was also mentioned in a number of other narrations. It is a fact that practicing Al-Wisal was one of the special qualities of the Prophet , for he was capable and assisted in his practice of it. It is obvious that the food and drink that the Prophet used to get while practicing Al-Wisal was spiritual and not material, otherwise he would not be practicing Al-Wisal. We should mention that it is allowed to refrain from breaking the fast from sunset until before dawn (Suhur). A Hadith narrated by Abu Said Khudri states that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: ‘Do not practice Al-Wisal, but whoever wishes is allowed to practice it until the Suhur.” They said, “You practice Al-Wisal, O Messenger of Allah!” He said: ”I am not similar to you, for I have One Who makes me eat and drink during the night.” This Hadith is also collected in the Two Sahihs.

The Rulings of Itikaf

Allah said: ”And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in Itikaf in the Masjids.” Ali bin Abu Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, “This Ayah is about the man who stays in I`tikaf at the mosque during Ramadan or other months, Allah prohibited him from touching (having sexual intercourse with) women, during the night or day, until he finishes his Itikaf.” Ad-Dahhak said, “Formerly, the man who practiced Itikaf would go out of the mosque and, if he wished, would have sexual intercourse (with his wife). Allah then said: ”And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in Itikaf in the Masjids.” meaning, ‘Do not touch your wives as long as you are in Itikaf, whether you were in the mosque or outside of it’.” It is also the opinion of Mujahid, Qatadah and several other scholars, that the Muslimsused to have sexual intercourse with the wife while in Itikaf if they departed the mosque until the Ayah was revealed.

Those who are in Itikaf are not allowed to have sexual intercourse as long as they are still in  Itikaf in the mosque. If one has to leave the mosque to attend to a need, such as to relieve the call of nature or to eat, he is not allowed to kiss or embrace his wife or to busy himself with other than his Itikaf. He is not even allowed to visit ailing persons, but he can merely ask about their condition while passing by. Itikaf has several other rulings that are explained in the books (of Fiqh), and we have mentioned several of these rulings at the end of our book on Siyam (Fasting), all praise is due to Allah. Furthermore, the scholars of Fiqh used to follow their explanation of the rules for fasting with the explanation of the rules for Itikaf, as this is the way these acts of worship were mentioned in the Qur’an.

By mentioning Itikaf after fasting, Allah draws attention to practicing Itikaf during the month of the fast, especially the last part of the month. The Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is that he used to perform Itikaf during the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan until he died. Afterwards, the Prophet’s wives used to perform Itikaf as the Two Sahihs recorded from A’ishah the Mother of the believers. It is reported in the Two Sahihs that Safiyyah, the daughter of Huyai, went to Allah’s Messenger to visit him in the mosque while he was in Itikaf. She had a talk with him for a while, then she got up in order to return home. The Prophet accompanied her back home, as it was night. Her house was at Usamah bin Zayd’s house on the edge of Al-Madinah. While they were walking, two Ansari men met them and passed by them in a hurry, for they were shy to bother the Prophet while he was walking with his wife. He told them: ”Do not run away! She is (my wife) Safiyyah bint Huyai.” Both of them said, “All praise is due to Allah, (How dare we think of any evil) O Allah’s Messenger!” The Prophet said (to them): ”Shaytan reaches everywhere in the human body, that the blood reaches. I was afraid lest Shaytan might suggest an evil thought in your minds.” (Fath Al-Bari 4:326 and Muslim 4:1712)

Imam Ash-Shafi`i commented, “Allah’s Messenger sought to teach his Ummah to instantly eliminate any evil thought, so that they do not fall into the prohibited. They (the two Ansari men) had more fear of Allah than to think evil of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Allah knows best.”

The Ayah (2:187) prohibits sexual intercourse and anything like kissing or embracing that might lead to it during Itikaf. As for having the wife helping the husband, it is allowed. It is reported in the Two Sahihs that A’ishah said, “Allah’s Messenger would bring his head near me (in her room) and I would comb his hair, while I was on my menses. He would enter the room only to attend to what a man needs.” (Fath Al-Bari 4:320 and Muslim 1:244)

Allah’s statement: ”These are the limits (set) by Allah” means, ‘This is what We have explained, ordained, specified, allowed and prohibited for fasting. We also mentioned the fast’s objectives, what is permitted during it, and what is required of it. These are the set limits that Allah has legislated and explained, so do not come near them or transgress them.’ Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, “Allah’s set limits mentioned in the Ayah mean these four limits (and he then recited): ”It is made lawful for you to have sexual relations with your wives on the night of As-Siyam (fasting)” and he recited up to: ”then complete your Sawm (fast) till the nightfall.” My father and other’s used to say similarly and recite the same Ayah to us.”

Allah said: ‘‘Thus does Allah make clear His Ayat to mankind” meaning, ‘Just as He explains the fast and its rulings, He also explains the other rulings by the words of His servant and Messenger, Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.’ Allah continues: ”to mankind that they may attain Taqwa.” meaning, ‘So that they know how to acquire the true guidance and how to worship (Allah).’ Similarly, Allah said:

”It is He Who sends down manifest Ayat to His servant (Muhammad ) that He may bring you out from (types of) darkness into the light. And verily, Allah is to you full of kindness, Most Merciful.” (57:9)

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