We need to have an aspiration to seek out and learn the rulings of fasting. In the ḥadith: ‘Whomsoever Allāh intends good to come from, He allows him to be well-versed in the rulings of this dīn,’ there should be no doubt that knowledge [of this dīn] is from among the greatest ways a servant [of Allāh] is able to increase his closeness to his Lord, just as it is from among the most magnanimous acts of obedience.
[Remember] that you currently face a season of greatness, so learn the rulings regarding fasting:
- its prerequisites,
- its recommended aspects,
- the mannerisms and behaviour that are appropriate to it.
For, truly, [learning these things] will aid you in achieving perfection in your fasting according to the manner it was revealed [to the Prophet [ﷺ]] and make you deserving of all the rewards that come with it. [Educating oneself in these matters] will also protect the individual from accidentally falling into that which spoils the fast, or makes it obligatory on him to enact expiatory action, or that completely nullifies it. I caution you from venturing towards making your own judicial rulings [concerning fasting] in this month. For the dīn of Allāh is not some sort of widened playground for the likes of just anyone to speak concerning. Thus, do not count [speaking on the rulings of this dīn] something that is permissible or allowable for yourselves.
وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا ﴿٣٦﴾
‘And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – about all those [one] will be questioned.’
I caution you also from venturing towards any act [during your fast] without first being fully aware of its ruling. For how many people have taken on a disposition of carelessness regarding how they break their fast, the timing of when they start it, what they eat or drink or the medicines they take. Then, only after [Ramaḍān] is finished do they come and ask concerning it. If they had only come and asked before they acted. If they had only asked before they eagerly carried out the action for such is the command of Allāh:
فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٧﴾
‘So ask the people of the (prior) remembrance if you do not know.’
And our Prophet [ﷺ] said: ‘The only cure for ignorance is to ask.’
Thus, the remedy for an ignorant person is for him to ask. It is only the inattentiveness of some people in this matter that has caused them to have deficiencies in their fast. Rather, it has led some of them to have to engage in expiatory action that they lack the ability to carry out all because they were ignorant [when they acted], and because they refused to seek counsel from the people of knowledge [concerning the matter at hand].
Source: Kayfa Nastaqbil Ramaḍān: 15-16
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī