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Frequently asked Questions pertaining to Fasting (Part 1)

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Q: Is fasting obligatory on a minor child?

A: Fasting is not obligatory on a minor child. However, minor children should be encouraged to fast from a young age.

 

Q: Does a pregnant woman have to fast?

A: A pregnant woman is exempted from fasting, if illness or harm is genuinely feared upon herself or the foetus. She will have to make Qadha of the fasts later. However, if there is no such fear, fasting remains obligatory upon a pregnant woman.

 

Q: Does a sick person have to fast?

A: A sick person is exempted from fasting altogether if there is genuine reason to believe that the current illness will intensify by fasting or that he/she will suffer another illness on result of fasting or that his/her recovery will be prolonged due to fasting.

 

Q: Can a traveller omit fasting?

A: A Shar’ī musāfir (traveller) who embarked on his/her journey prior to dawn is permitted to omit the fast of that day. As long as he/she is a Shar’ī musāfir, he/she may omit fasting.

 

Q: What about travelling during the day?

A: If a person embarked on a journey during the day, he/she will have to fast that day.

 

Q: Will the application of eye drops break the fast?

A: Using eye drops will not break the fast.

 

Q: Can eardrops be used whilst fasting?

A: When the eardrum is perforated (has a hole/tear), then applying eardrops will invalidate the fast as this will allow the drops to go to the inner ear and throat, subsequently reaching the stomach. Otherwise, it will not invalidate the fast.

 

Q: Can we use insulin injections whilst fasting?

A: It is permissible to use insulin injections. Injections do not break a fast.

 

Q: Will a nasal spray break the fast?

A: Yes, a nasal spray will break the fast.

 

Q: Can mouthwash be used whilst fasting?

A: It is disliked to use mouthwash whilst fasting.

 

Q: Is it permissible to brush teeth and use toothpaste whilst fasting?

A: It is disliked to use toothpaste whilst fasting.

 

Q: Can an addicted smoker smoke whilst fasting?

A: It is not permissible to smoke whilst fasting. Smoking will result in Qadhā and Kaffārah. A smoker may use a transdermal nicotine patch.

 

Q: What is the ruling for using suppositories whilst fasting?

A: Insertion of suppositories up the rear passage will invalidate the fast.

 

Q: I forgetfully ate whilst fasting. Is my fast valid?

A: If one was totally unaware that he was fasting, the fast will not be broken regardless of what was consumed.

 

Q: By mistake, I swallowed water whilst doing wudhu. Is my fast valid?

A: By doing an act mistakenly will break one’s fast. However, only Qadhā will be necessary.

 

Q: I engaged in intercourse with my spouse. Is my fast valid?

A: Intercourse will invalidate the fast and will make Qadhā and Kaffārah compulsory.

 

Q: Will engaging in intimacy break the fast?

A: Merely being intimate is disliked if it will lead one further. If one experiences ejaculation, the fast will be broken.

 

Q: I had a wet dream whilst fasting. Is my fast broken?

A: A wet dream will not invalidate the fast.

 

Q: What is the Kaffārah?

A: A Kaffārah is expiation for a violation. It is fasting for 60 days consecutively without any interruption for those capable of fasting. If one cannot fast, he will have to give monetary Kaffarah i.e feed one person one meal a day for 60 days or feed 60 people one meal or give the the cash equivalent.

 

Q: When will Kaffārah be binding?

A: Eating, Drinking and having intercourse intentionally during a ramadhan fast after commencing without a valid reason.

 

Q: Can a sick person pay fidyah instead of fasting?

A: A person who cannot fast due to old age or a chronic or terminal illness which they have no hope of recovering from may give fidyah. As long as a person’s condition remains such that they cannot fast, they will keep giving fidyah for each fast.

 

Does the use of an injection break the fast?

  1. The fast is not nullified. However if the injection is injected directly into the stomach or brain, the fast would break. (Ahsanul Fatawa, V: 4, P: 432)
  2. Dosages of Insulin injected to the abdomen does not invalidate the fast as it is not injected directly into the stomach.

 

Does the use of a drip break the fast?

  1. No. (Fataawa Mahmoodiya, V: 10, P: 149, Farooqiyyah)

 

Can I have a blood test done whilst fasting?

  1. Yes, you could do so provided that you do not become so weak that fasting becomes difficult. (AhsanulFatawa, V: 4, P: 435, Sa’eed)

 

If one vomits, does it break the fast?

  1. The fast is only broken if one had vomited a mouthful involuntarily and swallowed it voluntarily or if one had voluntarily (induced) vomited a mouthful whether swallowed or not. (al-Fataawa al-Hindiyyah– V: 1, P: 203/4)

The definition of “mouthful (vomit)” is that which one cannot hold back in one’s mouth without difficulty.

 

Is it permissible to swim whilst fasting?

  1. It is not advisable to swim whilst fasting. If water is swallowed by mistake or enters through the nose and reaches the brain then the fast will break and a Qadha will have to be kept. (Tahtaawi Alaa Maraqil Falaah, P: 671)

 

Is it permissible to apply oil to the head whilst fasting?

  1. Yes it is permissible to do so. (al-Fataawa al-Hindiyya– V: 1, P: 203)

 

I am writing exams during Ramadaan and find it difficult to concentrate whilst hungry. Can I delay my fast until after Ramadaan?

  1. It is not permissible to do so. Keep your fast and pray to Allah Ta’ala to make it easy for you.(Fataawa Raheemiya V: 2. P: 34)

 

I am an asthmatic. Does the usage of the pump break my fast?

  1. It is advisable that you use your pump at Sehri time and Iftaar time. However, if you do have an acute attack, you could use your pump. This will break your fast however.

 

Will my fast break if my nose bleeds?

  1. No, the fast is not broken by mere nosebleed. However if blood flows down the throat, it will break if one tastes the blood in the throat or the blood swallowed is more or equal to the saliva swallowed with it. If the blood is less than the saliva, the fast is still intact. (al-Fataawa al-Hindiyyah– V:1, P: 203)

 

Can one take a bath after Sehri, to be cleared from the state of Janaabat (requiring Fardh Ghusal)?

  1. It is not advisable to unnecessarily delay the Fardh Ghusl. However if one is the position that he wants to partake of Sehri before taking the Ghusl then it is permissible.

 

If one is fasting and sprays perfume on oneself and accidentally inhales some of the perfume, will it break the fast? Will Qadha have to be made?

  1. One’s fast does not break by wearing, feeling or smelling fragrance. As such, it is permitted to apply perfume (itr) whilst in the state of fasting. However, if one was to intentionally inhale something that has a perceptible body, such as smoke (like the smoke of lobaan, the vapour of perfumes, agharbatti, Oudh etc.), then one’s fast would become invalid. (Tahtawi ala Maraqil Falaah, P:660)

 

Does masturbating break the fast?

  1. One is not allowed to masturbate, whether fasting or not. However if one does masturbate whilst fasting then the fast will break and a Qadha will have to be kept. (Raddul Muhtaar, V:. 2, P: 399)

NB: One should make sincere and abundant Taubah for this debase act.

 

Is it permissible for a husband and wife to kiss whilst fasting?

  1. It is permissible, provided that:
  2. i.One does not swallow the saliva of his/her partner.
    ii. One has control over his/her desire and is not driven by desire to sexual intercourse or ejaculation.(Raddul Muhtaar, V: 2, P: 410)

However such an action in the state of fasting is not advisable. If the saliva of the spouse is swallowed then not only is Qadha to be made but also Kaffaarah (i.e. fasting consecutively for 60 days).

I am a diabetic and not in a position to keep fast. How do I compensate for the missed fasts?

  1. Allah Ta’ala has granted permission to people like yourself to compensate the fast with contributions for poor Muslims. The Jurists have equated this amount to that of Sadaqatul Fitr (money given on Eid day to the poor). The current (Ramadhaan 1439) price in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa is R20.00 or more for each fast. It could be paid at the beginning of Ramadhan or at the end. (Shaami) This money may not be discharged before Ramadaan.

 

 

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)
Council of Muslim Theologians

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