Fasting is a form of worship, which is entirely private. The All-Knowing Allah knows that his servant is fasting. You are required to take food before dawn and abstain from eating and drinking until it is time to break the fast. But if you eat and drink secretly in between, no one except Allah will know about it. This private nature of fasting ensures that you have a strong Faith in Allah who knows everything.
Only if your Faith is true and strong, you will not think of eating and drinking secretly, even in the hottest summer, when your throat dries up with thirst, you will not drink a drop of water. To do all this how strong must the fear of Allah be in your heart?. Had you the slightest doubt in Allah, and in meeting Him in the Hereafter, you would not complete such a fast.
This strength could be developed only when you understand the fundamental elements of fasting which are illustrated as follows:
There is agreement among Muslim scholars that the center of intention is the heart. Whatever a person wants to do and for what reason and for the sake of whom will be known by none but Allah the Ail-Knower. Thus, the invention needs not to be uttered. The exception is on pilgrimage, where the verbal utterance of intention is premised. In the case of fasting, the intention is determined by the heart seeking to please Allah and obeying His commands.
Regarding the inevitability of FASTING IN RAMADAN having intention and about the sincerity in acts of worship, Allah the Highest said:
And they have ordained nothing else than to worship Allah, keeping religion pure for Him ’ (Al-Bayyinah, Verse: 5).
This is also emphasized by Allah s Messenger ( Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) who said:
“Actions are judged according to the intention behind them, and for everyone is what he intended” (Bukhari and Muslim).
Thus, the intention is obligatory upon every Muslim upon whom the fasting regulations and rulings are binding. This is indicated in the Hadeeth narrated by Hafsah (may A Allah be pleased with her), Allah’s Messenger ( Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him ) said:
“He who does not resolve to fast (i.e. the intention to fast) before it is Fajr (dawn), then there is no fast from him”. (Ahmed and Ibn Khuzaimah).
The fact that one knows he is fasting the next day is “intention”.
The fact that one takes Suhoor (pre-dawn meal), he will have achieved the requirement of “intention”. The fact that one refrain whatever nullifies fasting during daylight hours, with the intention of fasting, he will have achieved the requirements of “intention”, even if he did not observe Suhoor. There is near consensus among Muslim scholars that after the intention, there is no harm in eating, drinking, or having sexual activities as long as it is done before dawn.
Refraining from eating, drinking, and anything that nullifies the fast from dawn to sunset.
Allah the Highest said: Eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. Then strictly observe the fast until nightfall’. (Al-Baqarah, Verse: 187)
Abstention from sexual relations and the like from dawn to sunset.
Just like eating and drinking Allah the Highest has forbidden sexual relations during the fast by day but permitted it after the fast is broken at night till the next fast commences. This is indicated in the Qur’an: