Islam and the Quran

Intention (Niyyah) for Fasting in Ramadan

Question: When and how should we make the intention (niyyah) for fasting in Ramadan?

Anyone who witnesses the month of Ramadan is responsible for fasting through that month because Allah (swt) decrees:

“(It is) the month of Ramadan when the Quran, the Criterion which is a guide for humanity and which also includes the explanatory verses of that guide, was sent down. So, whoever among you witnesses that month must spend it fasting. Whoever is sick or on a journey may fast for the same number of days on other days. God desires ease for you. He does not desire difficulty. This ease is in order that you complete the number of days and (at the end of fasting) you glorify God (during the prayer of Eid) for guiding you to this and that you fulfill your duties towards Him.” (Baqarah 2:185)

According to the verse, a Muslim cannot skip the fast of Ramadan unless he/she is sick or on a journey. Therefore, witnessing the month of Ramadan itself is the intention (niyyah) of a Muslim to fast. Deciding to fast for the sake of gaining God’s acceptance means the accomplishment of (niyyah) the intention. Therefore, you do not have to pronounce certain words to make a valid intention for the Ramadan fast.

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