Can we shorten the fast to specific hours?
Some practical advice
We have reached the pinnacle of lengthy Ramadhan-day light hours in the UK. The longest days are in June and it falls in Ramadhan. The question is – do we still need to keep such a lengthy fast from dawn to dusk, or can we shorten it?
Allah wants ease, not hardship
Although Allah clearly mentions:
He wishes ease for us and doesn’t wish ‘hardship’. (Al-Baqarah)
The Prophet (May Allah send peace and blessings upon him) said:
Deen is easy. (Bukhari)
The above statements do not mean that Allah will not test us with difficult circumstances. We must remember not long ago we kept fasts in short and cold days. The days being long is another test for the believers, and through the last few years we have seen that IT IS POSSIBLE to fast and continue with the daily tasks! Nevertheless, the endurance is much greater hence the reward is larger!
There are NO theological bases for shortening the fasts
There are NO theological bases for shortening the fasts to specific hours as Allah, the All-Mighty said
And complete the fasts to the night” (Al-Baqarah 2:187).
We must follow the natural phenomenon, if the night is early then we end our fasts early and if it is late then we follow the command of Allah by fasting till late.
Allah had already excused sick and elderly people from fasting if they don’t have the capacity to fast. There is no need to change the fundamentals of Islam by changing the ‘dawn to dusk’ order of fasting.
Dr Salih Ahmed has dedicated an article in Ramadhan journal issue titled ‘Ramadhan health tips’, the gist of it is that ‘our diet is the most important aspect of fasting’. Everyone must ensure that they eat and drink properly, without missing suhoor, the pre-dawn meal and learn how to save energy.
Children, who are mature Islamically, must be encouraged to fast. Parents and guardians must ensure that they consume a healthy suhoor meal. Also, write letters to schools to exempt them from sporting activities during Ramadhan.
Children in primary schools, who are mainly non-Baligh (immature Islamically) should abstain from fasting during school days. Parents can train them to fast during the weekends and for specific hours. Fasting is not compulsory on them hence they can avoid them for the summer period.
May Allah make all the ibadaah (worship), in particular fasting, easy for us, Aameen.
By Mawlana Muhammad Rayhan