Advice for those Fasting in Ramadaan (Q&A) – Shaykh ibn Al-‘Uthaimeen
Imaam Muhammad bin Saalih Al-‘Uthaimeen
48 Su’aalan fis-Siyaam (binothaimeen.org)
Selected excerpts from the recently released Al-Ibaanah Book publication “Lessons on Fasting, Taraaweeh & Zakaat + 48 Questions & Answers on Fasting”
Question: For many people in Ramadaan, their main focus is only that of basking in food and sleep. So Ramadaan becomes a month of laziness and inactivity. Likewise, some people play all night and then sleep during day. What is your advice to these kinds of people?
Answer: I believe that this in reality consists of a waste of time and a waste of money. If people do not have any other objective than to vary their meals, sleep during the day and spend the night doing things that are of no benefit to them, then this is without doubt a waste of a valuable opportunity, which may not repeat itself again for some people in their lifetimes.
Therefore, the determined one is he who goes through Ramadaan the way it should it be done, which is sleeping in the first part of the night, performing the Taraaweeh Prayer, and then standing in prayer during the last part of the night if one is able to. And one should not go to extremes in eating and drinking.
Those who have the ability should strive to feed those who are fasting (when its time to break the fast) either in the masaajid or in other places. This is since whoever feeds a fasting person, he will receive the same reward as the one fasting. So if a person feeds his brothers who are fasting, he will receive the same reward as them. Therefore, those whom Allaah has granted wealth should taken advantage of this opportunity to obtain a great reward.
Question: What is the ruling on fasting in Ramadaan when one does not pray?
Answer: The one who fasts but does not pray, his fasting is of no use to him, nor will it be accepted from him, nor will it free him from his indebtedness (of prayer). In fact, fasting is not required on him so long as he does not pray.
This is since one who does not pray is like a Jew and a Christian. So what do you think about a Jew or a Christian that fasts but yet remains upon his religion – is it accepted from him? No. Therefore, we say to this individual: “Repent to Allaah by praying, and (then) fast.” And whoever turns to Allaah in repentance, Allaah will accept his repentance.
Question: Should children below the age of fifteen be ordered to fast as in the case with prayer?
Answer: Yes, children who have not yet reached the age of puberty should be ordered to fast if they are able to do it. This is what the Companions would do with their children.
The scholars have stated that a guardian should order whichever youth he possesses guardianship over to fast so that they could practice it and become attached to it, and so that the foundations of Islaam could become instilled in their souls to the point that it becomes like second-nature to them.
However, they are not required to fast if doing so will be difficult on them or bring harm to them. I would like to point out here an issue that some fathers or mothers do, and that is preventing their children from fasting, in direct opposition to what the Companions used to do.
They claim that they are preventing their children from fasting out of mercy and compassion for them. But the reality is that mercy for one’s children is in ordering them to practice the rites of Islaam and to grow accustomed and attached to them. This without a doubt is from the best and most complete forms of raising and cultivating one’s children.
It is authentically reported that the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Verily a man is a guardian for the members of his household and he will be questioned as to his flock.” 
That which is required for guardians with respect to those whom Allaah has given them authority over, such as family members and youth, is that they fear Allaah with regard to them and order them with what they were commanded to order them, such as implementing the rites of Islaam.
Question: What is your opinion concerning people who sleep throughout the day in Ramadaan? Some of them pray in congregation while others do not. Is their fast valid?
Answer: The fast of these types of people is valid and they have fulfilled their responsibility. However, it is very deficient and in opposition to what Allaah’s objective is behind fasting. Allaah says:
“O you who believe. Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you in order that you may gain Taqwaa (fear and dutifulness to Allaah).” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 183]
And the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Whoever does not abandon false speech, acting upon that (falsehood) and ignorance, then Allaah has no need of him abandoning his food and drink.”
It is well known that missing the prayer and not showing any concern for it is not from Taqwaa (dutifulness to Allaah) nor is it from abandoning acting on falsehood. So it contradicts what Allaah and His Messenger intended by the obligation of fasting.
It is strange that these people sleep the entire day and then spend the whole night awake. Perhaps they may even spend the night engaged in vain pastimes that have no benefit or in doing something unlawful by which they would be acquiring sin.
So my advice to these individuals and their likes is that they fear Allaah and ask Him to help them observe the fast in the manner that He is pleased with, which is spending the fast engrossed in dhikr (remembrance) of Allaah, recitation of the Qur’aan, praying and showing kindness to the creation as well as doing other things mandated in the Religion.
The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was the most generous of people, and the most generous that he would be was in the month of Ramadaan when Jibreel would meet him and teach him the Qur’aan. So during this time, the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would be more generous in spreading good than a pleasant breeze. 
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no. 2409) and Muslim (no. 1829)
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no. 1902) and Muslim (no. 2308)
Published on: September 22, 2006