The obligatory etiquettes of fasting are what a person must adhere to and must safeguard them.
By Shaykh Saalih Al-Uthaymeen
Firstly, the fasting person must carry out all acts of worship that Allah سبحانه و تعالى obligated on him. From among the most important acts of worship is the five established prayers, which is one of the most important pillars of Al-Islam after the two declarations of faith. It is therefore obligatory to preserve the prayer and carry out all its pillars and conditions.
This means the fasting person must pray these prayers in the congregation inside the Masjid at their fixed times, along with their pillars, conditions, and obligations. For verily (praying in a proper manner) is from the piety which is one of the wisdoms behind the legislation of fasting. Neglecting the prayer contradicts piety and necessitates punishment.
Secondly, the fasting person must stay away from all statements and actions that Allah سبحانه و تعالى and His Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم have made impermissible.
So we must avoid lying which is to narrate what is contrary to the reality. The worst lie is to fabricate a lie against Allah and His Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم. Such as saying Allah and His Messenger have made permissible that which is actually impermissible and vice-versa.
Allah the Most High said:
وَلَا تَقُولُوا۟ لِمَا تَصِفُ أَلْسِنَتُكُمُ ٱلْكَذِبَ هَٰذَا حَلَٰلٌ وَهَٰذَا حَرَامٌ لِّتَفْتَرُوا۟ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ ٱلْكَذِبَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ ٱلْكَذِبَ لَا يُفْلِحُونَ
“And say not concerning that which your tongues put forth false: “This is lawful and this is forbidden,’ so as to invent lies against Allah. Verily, those who invent lies against Allah will never prosper.”[An-Nahl: 116]
Likewise it is mentioned in Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and in other collections, from the narrations of Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه and others, that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said:
“Whoever intentionally fabricates a lie against me, let him take his sitting place in the Hell-fire.”[Al Bukhari and Muslim]
Likewise The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم has warned against lying when he said:
“Stay away from lying, for verily lying leads to criminality and criminality leads to the Hell-Fire; and a man will continue to lie and persist in lying until he will be written with Allah as a liar.”[Collected Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Thirdly, the fasting person must abstain from backbiting, which is to mention your brother in his absence in a manner that he dislikes. (The ruling is the same) whether what you said about him is something that relates to his physical features such as calling him ‘that lamed man, or that one-eyed man, or that blind man in a blemish manner.’ (Likewise, if you are backbiting him about) something that relates to his character, by saying he is ‘stupid, a retard, a sinner etc.’ It is the same whether you are saying about him is true or false.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said:
“If what you have said about him is true then you have backbitten him. And if what you have said about him is false then you have slandered him.”[Collected by Muslim]
Allah has forbidden backbiting in the Qur’an, resembling it to the ugliest picture. He compared it with a man eating the flesh of his dead brother.
As He the Most High said:
وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“And do not backbite another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.” [Al-Hujurat: 12]
Also, the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم informed us of what he saw the night in which he ascended to the Heaven.
‘”He passed by some folk who have nails of brass and they scratched their faces and chests with them.’ So he asked: ‘Who are these people O Jibril!’ He said: ‘These are those who eat the flesh of the people and transgress against their honor'”[Collected by Abu Dawud]
Fourthly, the fasting should stay away from tale-carrying, which is to to narrate one person’s statement about another individual to that person in order to bring corruption between them. It is from the major sins.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said regarding the tale carrier:
“The tale carrier will not enter paradise.” [Collected by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Likewise, it is also mentioned in the authentic books of Al-Bukhari and Muslim from the narration of ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم passed by two graves and said:
“Verily the dwellers of these two graves are being tortured and the reason for their torturing is for something that you consider twifle. As for one of them he used to not avoid soiling himself with his urine. And the other one used to walk around gossiping.”[Collected by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Gossiping corrupts the individual as well as society at-large; it divides between the Muslims and creates enmity amongst the believers.
Allah, the Most High, said:
وَلَا تُطِعْ كُلَّ حَلَّافٍ مَّهِينٍ هَمَّازٍ مَّشَّآءٍۭ بِنَمِيمٍ
“And obey not everyone who swears much, and is considered worthless, a slanderer going about the calumnies.”[Al-Qalam: 10, 11]
Therefore be aware of those who bring tales to you about others because they will tale-carry to others about you.
Fifthy, the fasting person should stay from cheating in all his dealings and transactions including trading, renting, manufacturing and transactions including trading, renting, manufacturing, mortgaging. Likewise (he should stay away from deceit) when advising and counseling. Certainly, cheating is one of the major sins.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم has freed himself from the cheaters in his statement:
“Whoever cheats us is not from us” [Collected by Muslim]
And in another wording he said:
“Whoever cheats is not from us” [Collected by Muslim]
Cheating is deception and a violation of trust. It causes the people to not have reliance on one another. And any earnings which stem from deceit, is an evil and disgusting earning; it only causes its people to become more remote (and distant) from Allah.
Sixtly, the fasting person must stay away from stringed instruments, which include all musical instruments such as the flute, rebec (i.e a bowed string musical instrument), violin, piano, fiddle, etc. All these instruments are unlawful in their essence. Their impermissibility becomes even worse if they are merged with singing and beautiful and arousing voices.
Allah said regarding the impermissibility of music:
وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِى لَهْوَ ٱلْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ
“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e Music, singing, etc) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allah, the Verses of the Qur’an) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-Fire).”[Luqman: 6]
It is authentically reported that when Ibn Mas’ud was asked regarding the meaning of this verse, he responded saying,
“I swear by Allah, the One whom none has the right to be worshipped but He alone, it is (referring to) music.”
A similar meaning is narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn ‘Umar. Ibn Kathir also mentioned the same meaning from Jabir bin ‘Abdullah, Ikrimah, Sai’d bin Jabayr, and Mujahid. Hasan said:
“This verse is revealed on the subject matter of music and stringed instruments.”
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم warned us (to stay away from) stringed instruments and connected it with fornication.
He صلى الله عليه و سلم said:
“There shall be from my nation, some folk who will legalize fornication, the wearing of silk (for men), the usage of intoxicants, and music instruments.” [Collected by Al-Bukhari]
This has indeed occurred in this era of ours. There are some Muslims who utilize these musical instruments and listen to them as if they are permissible. This is (an example in which) the enemies of Al-Islam have succeeded in their plots against the Muslims. This consequently, turns them away from the remembrance of Allah and causes them to lose focus on their religious and worldly affairs. Many of the Muslims today prefer to listen to music over the Qur’an, the prophetic narrations, and the speech of the scholars which contains the explanation of the Islamic legislations and their wisdoms.
Therefore be cautious, O Muslims, of those things which nullify the fast or decrease its reward. Safeguard your fast from false statements and actions.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said:
“Whoever did not shun false statements and acting with it, then Allah is not in need of him leaving his food and his drink.” [Collected by Al-Bukhari]
Jabir رضي الله عنه said:
“If you fast, then let your hearing, your sight and tongue fast from lying and unlawful things; and stay away from harming your neighbors. Let tranquility and dignity overshadow you; and the days in which you fast should not be like the days in which you do not fast.” [Ibn Rajab mentioned it in Lataif Al-Ma’rif pg. 292]
O Allah! Preserve our religion for us and restrain our limbs from falling in to what angers You. Forgive us, our parents and all the Muslims with your mercy. For verily You are the Most Merciful.
May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family members, his Companion, and whoever follow their footsteps until the Day of Judgement.
[Taken from Sittings During the Blessed Month of Ramadhaan by Shaykh Saalih Al-Uthaymeen]