Is the fasting of a person who does not intend for missed Ramadan fasting with his heart or tongue until imsak time but intends later until noon valid?

The Details of the Question

- When is the intention (niyyah) time for fasting?

- If a woman who missed fasting in Ramadan due to menstruation wants to perform them as qada later and if she does not make intention at night because of not knowing the intention time for missed fasting and if she makes intention toward noon thinking "I have not had breakfast; so, I will fast today", will her fasting be valid since she does not know the time when to make intention for missed fasting?  

- If she sometimes made intention at night and sometimes decided to fast in the morning when she got up and if she did not remember how many days she made intention in the morning when she performed fasting for the days she missed in Ramadan due to menstruation, would her fasting be valid?

- Would her fasts be accepted since she did not know the time for intention? Does she have to perform fasting again for all those days she missed since she does not remember how days she made intention in the morning and how many at night? Is it valid in other madhhabs?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is sufficient to intend to fast with the heart, that is, to have the intention and awareness of fasting the next day; expressing the intention with the tongue is regarded mandub.

The time to make intention (niyyah) for Ramadan fasting, fasting vowed to be performed on certain days, and all nafilah (supererogatory) fasting is the period from the sunset to the peak time of the sun (zawal) the next day.

The fact that the intention of such fasts can be made after fajr sadiq (dawn) is conditional upon not eating or drinking anything after fajr and not doing anything contrary to fasting. Otherwise, the intention made during the day will not be valid. (Qasani, Badaius-Sanai, II, 581)

It is sufficient to have an absolute intention, for example, saying "to perform fasting tomorrow..." for Ramadan fasting, fasts vowed to be kept on certain days, and all nafilah fasts.

However, it is more virtuous to make the intention at night and to indicate the fast to be performed, for example saying, "to perform the Ramadan fasting tomorrow...".

The time to make intention for missed fasting, kaffarah (atonement) fasting and absolute vow fasting is the period from sunset until fajr sadiq (dawn). The intention made after the beginning of fajr sadiq will not be valid. When intending such fasting, it is necessary to specify by saying "for such and such a missed day fasting..." "for such and such kaffarah fasting...", "for such and such vow fasting...".

According to Shafii madhhab, the intention for fasting other than nafilah fasting has to be done at night. If the intention to fast is not made until the time of imsak, one is considered to have not intended to fast on that day. On the other hand, nafilah fasting can be intended until the peak time of the sun (zawal). (Shirazi, al-Muhadhdhab, II, 598- 600)

Hanbalis are of the same opinion as Shafiis. Malikis, on the other hand, hold the view that intention has be made at night even for nafilah fasting.

In conclusion, it is the common view of all madhhabs that intention for missed fasting has to made at night; and not knowing it is not an excuse in an Islamic country. Therefore, she has to perform again for the fasting days that she did not intend in time.

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