Q: I would like to ask a few questions concerning Ramadan. Firsty where is it best for an unmarried women to prayer Taraweeh?? How do you prayer Taraweeh meaning like what surah do you recite.etc.? Secondly I have exams this Friday but at the moment I’m unable to fast. I might be able to fast from Wednesday but is it permissible for me to wait to fast after my exams are finished?? I usually study aloud and require a lot of water while studying?? Also there is usually a build up of saliva in my mouth while studying and from what I’ve heard that causes you to make up for that day of fast.Thirdly is it permissible to watch television or movies without haraam content while fasting??
Wa Alaikum As Salaam
A: It is best for women (married and unmarried) to perform their Taraweeh Salah at their homes. This is based upon the Prophets’ guidance which he gave to women. In this regard, it is narrated that Umm Salma (R.A.) the wife of the Prophet (S.A.W.), reports that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said ‘the best masjid (place for Salah) for women is the inner most part of their homes.’ (Hakim in Mustadrak Vol. 1 Pg. 209)
In another tradition, Umm Salma (R.A.) narrates that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: ‘A women’s Salah in the inner most room of her house is better than her salah in her verandah, and her salah in her verandah is better than her salah in her courtyard.’ (Tabrani Majma’uz Zawaa’id Vol. 2 Pg. 334)
Another narration states that Umm Humaid (R.A.) relates ‘The men folk of our tribe use to prevent their women folk from attending the masjid. I approached the Prophet (S.A.W.) and told him that we (women) desire to attend the masjid and perform salah behind him, but our men folk prevent us.’ Upon this, the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: ‘Your Salah which you perform in the inner most portion of your home is better than the salah performed in your verandahs, and your salah performed in your verandahs is better than the salah performed in your courtyards, and the salah performed in your courtyard is better than the salah performed with jamat.’ (Tabrani Majma’uz Zawaa’id)
It is also narrated that Aisha (R.A.) once said during her time, (after the Prophet (S.A.W.) had passed away), ‘Had the Prophet (S.A.W.) seen the condition of the women at that time he would have prevented them from the masjid.’ (Sahih Al Bukhari)
Based on the above guidelines given to women by the Prophet (S.A.W.), it is evident that indeed the best place for a woman’s salah is at her home. The general body of jurist experts (Fuqaha) of the four schools of Islamic Jurisprudence have stated that it is not encouraged that women go to the masjid for salah. Instead, it is best for them to perform salah in the privacy of their homes. (Ash Sharh Al Muhazab, Vol. 4 Pg. 198. Al Mughni Vol. 18 Kitabul Fatawa (Allama Khalid Saifullah Rahman Vol. 2 Pg. 413-414).
Hence, it is best for women to perform the Taraweh Salah in her house, instead of going to the mosque. (Kitabul Fatawa Vol. 2 Pg. 414)
If you are performing Taraweeh individually, you should recite the Surah’s which you have memorized and know very well. While reciting the Surahs, you should maintain the sequence (order) in which they have been given in the Holy Quran.
If you are unable to observe the fast, then that is acceptable. However, doing exams is not a valid reason for missing the fast. You must therefore, observe the fast while doing exams (when you are not in a state of your menses). As an ease to your situation, you can study during the nights, so you can drink as much water you need. If you are studying during the day, do not do so in a loud manner which will require you to drink water.
If there is a build-up of saliva in your mouth and you swallow it, this will not break your fast. Hence, no make up fast for that day is required. However, one should not intentionally gather saliva in the mouth and then swallow it.
The purpose of observing the fast of Ramadan is to achieve the quality of Taqwa. Fasting itself trains a person to achieve this quality. This can only be achieved when one refrains from food, drink and fulfilling the desires of his ‘nafs’ (base-self). As such, one is required to protect oneself from sins committed with the tongue, eyes and ears. It is for this reason, the Prophet (S.A.W.) ordered the believers to avoid backbiting, slandering and other evils while observing the fast.
With respect to television, there are many things that are displayed and shown which are filled with a lot of sins. This is why one must generally refrain from looking at movies etc., and more so, in the month of Ramadhan while observing the fast. Even if what you are looking at may be free from haram content, it is generally still based on fiction, and people are seen in a compromising position with respect to their dress (clothing), speech and behaviour. After all, it is nothing but that which is futile, a waste of time and that which no benefits can be gained. Hence, you should avoid looking at the shows and movies that are shown on the television.
If the content is that of lectures in Islam and other programmes of Islam which helps you to learn and benefit in your religion, then this would be allowed.
And Allah Knows best
Mufti Waseem Khan