WHO MUST FAST? Fasting is obligatory upon every sane, adult and healthy Muslim male who is not on a journey at the particular time. As for female, in addition to above conditions, she is not expected to be menstruating or having post-child bleeding at the particular time. In addition to the above, elderly persons, pregnant and breast-feeding women may not fast. If a person is insane at times and sane at other times, he must during his period of sanity. If for example, he becomes insane during the day, this does not invalidate his fast for that day just like someone who because unconscious because of some other reasons. This is so because he had the intension of fasting when he was sane or conscious as the case may be. The same is applied in the case of epileptic patients. Children should be instructed to fast at the age of seven only if they can withstand the rigour of fasting. Some scholars have said a child may be smacked at the age of ten, if he does not fast just as in the case of solat. The child will be rewarded for fasting, and the parents will be rewarded for bringing him up properly and guiding him to do well. We must however note that fasting becomes obligatory on him only when he attains adulthood. Extra care must be taken with the girl-child; she may want to be secretive of her menstruation and fast all through the fasting period. Parents need to be vigilant. Girls must be taught to accept that menstruation in the life of a woman is a normal process. ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE OF AN ADULT A person is deemed to have reached adulthood when any one of the following three things occurs: 1. Emission of semen whether in a wet dream or otherwise for boys and commencement of menstruation for girls 2. Growth of coarse public hair around the private parts 3. Attainment of the age of fifteen years. It can be seen from above that from Islamic perspective, a girl who starts menstruation at the age of eight for example, is deem to be an adult. This assertion is without apology to any other ideological definitions. The period of Ramadan is no doubt jam-packed with a lot of spiritual reawakening activities. These activities are demanding but at the same time interesting to those who value them. The prophet (S.A.W) has on so many occasions emphasized the significance of this period to us. It is a period when there is special offer for the ticket to Al-Jannah. Unfortunately most Muslims do not fully acknowledge this. Muslims are advised to make maximum sacrifice for these 29 or 30 days taking cognizance of the fact that this Ramadan may be your last. Many strong and able bodied Muslims with whom we observed last years’ Ramadan with are no more. We would never know which years’ Ramadan is our last. The busy office or business schedule that is preventing us from giving adequate attention to Ramadan or the lazy attitude we exhibit cannot intercede for us on the day that we shall be meeting our Lord. We pray that Allah (S.W.T) give us the will and strength to be able to utilize this period positively in the service of Allah (SWT). May Allah (SWT) answer all our prayers in a way that is beneficial to us. As a way of helping you to get maximum reward, the du’a that should be offered after each obligatory prayer are presented below. If you do not already know them do avail yourselves of this Ramadan period to learn them. AL AZKAR BA’ADA SALATUL MAFRUTHDATI (DUA’ TO BE OFFERED AFTER THE COMPULSORY SALAT) 1. Astagfirullah (3 times) 2. Allahumma antas sallam wa minkas sallamu tabarakta ya zal jalali wal ikram 3. Lailaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul mulku walahul hamdul, wa huwa ala kulli shai’in qadeer. 4. La hawla wala quwwata illa billahi, la illaha illallahu wala na abuda illa iyyahu, lahun ni’imatu walahul fadlu wa lahuth thana’ul hasan. 5. La ilaha illallahu mukh’lisina lahuddina walaw karihal kafiru na. 6. Allahumma la mani’a lima a’adtaita, wala mu’udtiya lima ma na’ata, wala yan fau zal jaddi minka jaddu. 7. Subhanallah 33times, Alhamdulillah 33 times, Allahu akbar 33times La ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul mulku walahul hamdu, wahuwa ala kulli shai’in qadeer 8. La ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul mulku walahul hamdu, yuhyi, wa yumitu wa huwa ala kulli shai’in qadeer (10 times after each of salatus subh and magrib) 9. Ayatul Qursiyyu 10. Iklas, Falaq and Nas (3 times after each of salatus subh and maghrib and once after each of other sala). 11. Iklas, falaq and Nas (3 times after each of salatus subh and maghrib and once after each of other salat).