Ramadan Q & A #1
by: Ahmad Musa Jibril

QA1: Is it an innovation to pray more than eleven raka'at as the prophet stated?

I'm aware that it is the opinion of some scholars that praying over 11 raka'at is an innovation. Their evidence is based on the hadith of Aisha (radia allahu anha) that the prophet (sallah allahu alayhi wasalam) never went over eleven raka'at in Ramadan or outside Ramadan.

The reply to that is the prayer of the night in Ramadan (taraweeh) and outside of Ramadan is unlimited:
a) Because Aisha (radia allahu anha) spoke in what she knew before her, and possibly most of the prophet's prayer was 11 raka'at or when he was in her house he prayed 11. That is not to say he may have prayed in his other wives house on same nights or on different nights more than that.

b) Aisha (radia allahu anha) used to sleep as the prophet prayed, especially during her menstrual cycle. In fact, we know of the hadith where the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) used to pinch her to move her legs.

c) Just as Aisha (radia allahu anha) said the prophet's night prayer was only 11, we have other in authentic hadith that indicate the prophet's prayer was more than 11. In the authentic hadith by Ibn Abbas (radia allahu anh), he said, "The prophet never went over thirteen raka'at in Ramadan or outside Ramadan in night prayers."

d) The prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) said, "The prayer of night is two and two if you fear fajer make witr."

The prophet did not limit the night prayer. The way it is worded in Arabic is that the prayer of the night is as though he is saying the prayer of the night is two and two and two and two….and so on, and if you fear fajer make witr. Had there been a limit he would have mentioned that in this hadith.

There are other additional hadith where the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) mentions the night prayer without a limit such as the saying "Whomever stays with his imam in night prayer (meaning taraweeh) until his Imam leaves, Allah will write him as though he prayed the entire night."

Note the hadith said until the Imam is finished which indicates and unlimited number of raka'at .

e) Umar (radia allahu anh), who is of the great khulafa, whose sunnah we may follow and who would never innovate, ordered prayer to be 11 raka'at in the hadith of aisha and ordered prayer to be 23 as well.

I think the best way to reconcile numerous ahadith would be that because of the hadith of Aisha (radia allahu anha) saying he only prayed 11, we pray 11 as it seems like the prophet did most of the time. However, we do not limit our prayer to 11 raka'at based on the other ahadith that indicate so.
The number of raka'at should not be a reason for disputes and fitnah among Muslims as is known to have happened among let us say- Hanafis who will not pray unless you do 20, or supposed Salafis who denigrate if one goes beyond 11 raka'at.

And, Allah knows best.

QA2: It is Sunnah when breaking the fast to say what is narrated in the hadeeth, which is to say Bismillaah. This is obligatory according to the correct view because the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) enjoined that. The words "Allahumma laka sumtu wa 'ala rizqika aftartu, Allahumma taqabbal minni, innaka antaal-samee' al-'aleem (O Allah, for You I have fasted and with Your provision I have broken my fast, O Allah accept (this fast) from me for You are the All-Hearing, All-Knowing) are da'eef (weak), as stated by Ibn al-Qayyim (Zaad al-Ma'aad, 2/51). Is this correct?

This hadith as popular as it is in Arabic and English is weak due to (irsal). Irsal means a tab3y (generation right after sahabah) narrator of a hadith attributed the hadith to the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) without informing us who the middle man was between himself and the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) . And, he for sure had not met the prophet (sallah allah alieh wasalam). For that reason the hadith is classified as mursal and is weak.

As to what one should do authentically, he should make general dua'a. The authentic hadith in Sunnah Ibn Majah narrates that the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "For one who fasts is a dua'a that will not go unanswered before he breaks his fast.", and then say before eating, "Our thirst went away and veins got wet and the ajer has been confirmed inshallah." (Authentic in Sunan Abu Dawood)

"ÐåÈ ÇáÙãà æÇÈÊáÊ ÇáÚÑæÞ¡ æËÈÊ ÇáÃÌÑ Åä ÔÇÁ Çááå" [ÕÍíÍ ÃÈí ÏÇæÏ].

Transliterated as:
Thaba althama', Wa ibtalit Al urook, wathabat Al-Ajru inshallah.

Then say bismallah and eat.

QA3: Does vomiting break the fast?
Vomiting breaks the fast only if one vomits intentionally for the authentic hadith in bukhari and Muslim states that the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "Whomever vomits unintentionally needs not make up another day, and whomever vomits on purpose must make up for that day."

QA4: I have asthma and I use an inhaler must I make up for the days I use the inhaler ?

The answer is that the inhaler used by those suffering from asthma does not void the fasting because it goes through the breathing tubes and not to the stomach like food. It also does not fall under food or drinking. In order for it to be considered something invalidating the fast you would need proof from Qur'an, Sunnah or Ijma.

QA5: Is it permissible to use toothpaste in Ramadan since I need to go to work and usually brush my teeth after fajer?

The prophet (sallah allahu aleih wasalam) used to use the miswak in Ramadan, proven by many authentic hadith.

If you were to examine the pure miswaks that are freshly cut you will find they have a very unique hot taste. Unlike today where we get miswaks month or even years after they were cut. Yet, the prophet (sallah allahu alieh wasalam) used them during his fast.

Based on that using Qiyaas, we know that toothpaste is like miswak in that both are used to clean the teeth as well as freshen one's breath. Both also have a taste that might remain slightly in the mouth and be swallowed. Since they are similar in Qiyaas then the ruling is the same in their permissibility.

And, Allah knows best.

-Ahmad Musa Jibril



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