Q. Is there any special message about Ramadan and Brotherhood?

A. (#drzakir): Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “All the Muslims are one body”. If we analyse and look around all the Muslims, we are different! we are diversified! As far as language is concerned, as far as colour is concerned, as far as the race is concerned, as far as the country where we come from, we are diversified, we are different but united under one statement – “La-illaha illalla muhammad-ur-rasoolullaha” – there is no God worthy of worship except Allah and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the messenger of Allah. So based only on this qalimah the Muslims throughout the world are united and Allah says in the Quran in Surah Al-Hujurat Ch. 49 V. 13, “O humankind we have created you from a single pair of male and female and have divided you in nations and tribes so that you shall recognize each other not that you shall despise each other and the most honored in the site of Allah is one who has Taqwah”. The criteria for judgement in the site of Allah subhanwatala is not caste, is not colour, is not race, is not sex, is not wealth, it is Taqwah – it is God consciousness, it is piety. And in this month of Ramadan Allah says in Suran Al-Baqarah Ch. 2 V. 183, “…So that you may learn self-restraint”. So that your Taqwah may increase. So more your taqwah increases all the Muslims in the world they are United. Because we are like one brotherhood, caste color creed can’t differentiate us. We are ONE. The best example of the brotherhood was even at the time of the Prophet. The sahabaas came from different countries, different colours, different races. We have the example of Abu Baqar (may Allah be pleased with him) – he was a Quraish. Hazrat Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) – he was from Ethiopia, he was an Ethiopians. Hazrat Shuaib (may Allah be pleased with him) – he was Roman. We have example of Salman Farsi (may Allah be pleased with him) – he was from Persia. And when we go down the line of history of Islam further we have the same thing. We have Imam Bukhari, he was a great scholar – he was from Bukhara, he was not an Arab! We have Muhammad the Conqueror – he was from Turkey, he was a Turk. We have the example of Salman Ayoubi – he was a Karak. We have Alama Iqbal – he was from India. So what we know we have Muslims from different parts of the world. And this brotherhood we learn more in the month of Ramadan because our Taqwah Level increases during this month. And our beloved Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said, “one faithful believer to another believer is like a brick of wall and he clasped his hands. He also said, “one Muslim should never oppress the other Muslim, he should not fail him, he should not lie to him, should always be truthful and one Muslim cannot go against another Muslim”. That is the brotherhood that our beloved Prophet taught us. And the best we learn in this month of Ramadan.


Q. Does one always have to make intentions when you are about to fast and what are the timings of the intentions?

A. (by #DrZakir Naik): Intention is a Fardh and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has said, “a person’s fast is not accepted if he does not make the intention in the previous night”. It means for all the fardh fasting i.e. compulsory fasting, making intention the previous night is compulsory. It can be any part of the previous night, it can be as late as just before the Fajar time. Anytime of the night you can make intention. A person can also make the intention in the beginning of Ramadan and it can be valid for the whole month of Ramadan, unless he breaks it if he is sick or if he is travelling then he has again to make the intention but one intention is also sufficient. And many people think, they have a misconception that verbally saying it aloud is a must which is not a requirement. I won’t say verbally, “I intent to fast”! because my intention is the niyaah from the heart and I don’t know any hadith that our Prophet or any sahaaba said it loudly. Intention is in the heart. And one intention is sufficient for the full month of Ramadan. But this is only for the fardh fast. For a voluntary fast, intention is not a fardh because there is a hadith which says, “once the Prophet tells his wife that I want food to eat and his wife says that there is no food to eat, so he said, ok I am fasting…” that means his intention was not there before, in the previous night, he made it on the spot. He abstained from it before dawn but his intention was afterwards in the morning. So for the voluntary fast it is not important to make the intention the previous night except it was an important voluntary fast like Ashura – the 10th of Muharram or it can be the day of Arafat. It’s preferable to make the intention for such fasts in the previous night because these very important fasts.  For the niyaah there are other three things which are very important. One thing is – if it is broken by force then it can be forgiven or by error or by forgetfulness. As Allah says in Quran in Surah An-Nahal Ch.16 V.106, “After a person has believed then if he does something of unbelief except by force, Allah will forgive”.  So if someone forces a person to break the fast, his niyaah was not there, then he can be forgiven. And Allah says in Surah Al-Baqarah Ch. 2 V. 286, “O Lord please do not catch us, please don’t hold us responsible when we err, when we make a mistake or when we forget”. So if a person in his forgetfulness breaks his fast, Allah will forgive him or if the cause of a mistake Allah will forgive him.