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 Questions on Ramadhaan

Questions on Ramadhaan
Answers By: Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Ibnul-Uthaymeen and the Committee of Major Scholars


[Q]: Is it permissible to rely upon astronomical calculations in determining the start of Ramadhaan ?

[A]: "The Prophet ( sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam ) ordered the Muslims saying:

"Do not fast until you see the new moon, and do not stop fasting until you see it, and if it is concealed by clouds them count out (the thirty days of Sha’baan ) for it. "[1]

And he ( ’alayhis-salaatu was-salaam ) said:

"We are an illiterate nation that neither writes nor calculates (i.e. using astronomical calculations). The month is either like this, or this. Meaning: Sometimes it is of twenty nine days, and sometimes it is of thirty." [2]

And it is established in the Saheeh (no.1909) of al-Bukhaaree from Aboo Hurayrah ( radiyallaahu ’anhu ) that the Prophet ( sallallaahu ’alayhi was sallam ) said:

"Fast when it (the moon) is seen, and cease fasting when it is seen, so if is concealed by clouds then complete thirty days of Sha’baan . " And he ( sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam ) also said:

"Do not fast until you have seen the moon, and if it is concealed by clouds then complete thirty days. " [3]

There are plenty of ahaadeeth in this connection, and all of them point towards the obligation of actually sighting the moon, or if unable, then to complete the number of days in the absence of observing it. These narrations also point towards the impermisibility of using astronomical calculations in this regard. And Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah has actually stated an ijmaa’ (consensus) from the People of Knowledge about the impermisibility of relying upon astronomical calculations in this regard – and this is the truth about which there is no doubt. [4] And with Allaah alone is the ability." [5]


[Q]: Is it permissible to use a Miswaak to brush one`s teeth, whilst fasting. And is it permissible to use toothpaste as well? What if some blood appears whilst I brush my teeth, does this invalidate my fast?

[A]: "There is no problem in cleaning one`s teeth using either water, Miswaak or toothbrush, whilst fasting. Some have held it to be Makrooh (detested) to use a Miswaak whilst fasting, since it changes the smell of a person`s breath. However, what is correct is that it is recommended to use a Miswaak in the beginning and the end of the day, since doing so does not change the odour, rather it just cleanses the mouth from impurities and small pieces of food that become lodged in one`s teeth. As regards to the use of toothpaste, then using it is makrooh (detested), since it contains a distinctive taste and flavour which may then get mixed with one`s saliva and then be swallowed. Thus, whosoever needs to use it should do so after taking the suhoor (the pre-dawn meal), before the time of Fair and fasting begins. However, if one can safeguard allowing the toothpaste and saliva to be mixed then swallowed, then there is no harm in using such toothpaste. If, whilst cleaning one`s teeth with water, miswaak or a toothbrush - a small amount of blood flows out, then this does not break the fast, and Allaah knows best." [6]


[Q]: Some people insist that there is an ijmaa’ (consensus) from the four well known Imaams - Aboo Haneefah, Maalik, ash Shaafi’ee and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal ( rahimahumullaah ), on praying only twenty rak’ahs for taraaweeh . Is this correct?

[A]: "This is an erroneous claim. This is what has been stated in the Hanafee books of fiqh (jurisprudence), for we do not find any book that can be authentically ascribed to Aboo Haneefah (d.150H) ( rahimahullaah ) . Rather, what is apparent from looking into al-Muwatta of Imaam Muhammad (one of the main students of the Aboo Haneefah) is that Aboo Haneefah’s madhhab (school of thought) was to pray eleven rak’ahs.

Imaam Muhammad includes a chapter in al Muwatta (p.110), stating: "Chapter: Establishing the Night Prayer in the month of Ramadhaan , and the virtues contained in it." Under this chapter he relates four ahaadeeth . The first, third and fourth narrations do not make mention of any specified number of rak’ahs for the Taraaweeh Prayer, rather they just mention the excellence of establishing Prayer in congregation and the excellence of the night Prayer in Ramadhaan . However, in the second narration eleven rak’ahs is mentioned. Then Imaam Muhammad said (p.111): "And we take all of this." ... Thus, he has shown that his madhhab is eleven rak’ahs, and this can only be the madhhab of Imaam Aboo Haneefah ( rahmatullaahi ’alayhi ) as well.

Ash-Shaafi`ee (d.204H) ( rahimahullaah ) said:

"There is no limit to its maximum number, since it is an optional Prayer. Thus, if the standing is leng