The Fiqh of Fasting (Ramadan)
The Fiqh of Fasting (Ramadan) compiled by Hafiz Ghulam Haider Ali Qadri . May Allah سبحانه و تعالى rewards his efforts immensely. Ameen. This article explains the do’s and don’ts of fasting, according to the Hanafi Mazhab (school of fiqh). This includes whether injections, in particular the Covid vaccinations, can be administered whilst fasting.
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In Allah’s Name we begin, The Compassionate, The Most Merciful
Peace and Blessings on his Messenger
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious the Most Merciful. All praise be to Allah Almighty; The Lord of the universe. May the salutations, peace and blessings be upon the beloved Holy Prophet, his noble family and his faithful companions.
Fasting is the fourth pillar of Islam, and is from amongst the most important actions that Allah the Exalted has decreed for the believer to perform. Its virtue is high and the reward is vast. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) said; “By Him in Whose Hands is my soul, the scent emitted from the mouth of a fasting person is better with Allah Almighty than the scent of musk.” Allah Almighty says about the fasting person, “he has left his food, drink and desires for my sake. The fast is for Me. So, I will reward him for it.”
It is reported on the authority of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) said: “That person who leaves the fast of one day in Ramadan without a valid reason, and without any illness, then even if he fasts for an entire era that cannot make it up (qadha).” [Bukhari, Musnad Ahmad, Sunan Abu Dawud, Jaami Tirmidhi, Sunan Ibn Majah].
This saying of the beloved Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) demonstrates the value of a fast in the days of Ramadan, as compared to a fast at any other time; that even if one fasts for months on end those fasts cannot truly compensate and make up for the loss of leaving a fast in Ramadan. This is because the excellence which is awarded to a believer for keeping the fast in the month of Ramadan can never be achieved at any other time. When there is such a severe warning from the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) concerning leaving the fast in Ramadan (without a valid reason), can you imagine how much more serious it is if one fasts in Ramadan and then breaks the fast (without a valid reason).
Fasting is obligatory (Fardh) on all Muslims who fulfil the criterion and conditions. Fasting is to abstain, during the day, from allowing anything to enter into the stomach and brain: through the mouth, nose, or cavity in the body, whether intentionally or by mistake. In addition, fasting is to abstain from sexual gratification; and one’s abstention from eating, drinking or sexual gratification is to be in unison with the intention of fasting.
The cause, which obligates the fasting of Ramadan, is one’s presence in the time that it is correct to fast in (between dawn and dusk) and mandatory to do. The arrival of each day of Ramadan is a reason obligating one to fast that particular day. The arrival of the month of Ramadan is a cause obligating one to fast its month, and each day is a cause for the fast of that day. Thus, the month of Ramadan is a general cause to fast, while each day is the cause for the fast of that day. The legal consequence that is derived from fasting is: the compulsory obligation that one is obliged to perform, is cleared. The individual is rewarded in the hereafter, by the will of Allah The Exalted, and Allah Almighty knows best.
It is obligatory to undertake the fasts of the month of Ramadan, provided one meets four conditions;
- Islam (the verses of Quran and Ahadith, with respect to Ramadan, are aimed at Muslims)
- Sanity (fasting is not compulsory upon an insane person)
- Maturity (fasting is not compulsory upon one who has not attained biological maturity/puberty)
- Knowledge that fasting is obligatory (every Muslim in a Muslim society is assumed to have this knowledge therefore ignorance is no excuse for him in this situation).
The criteria for fasting to be obligatory in Ramadhan is that one must be:
- Be a resident (if one is travelling, then fasting is not compulsory, though if it is achievable, then it is better to undertake its performance)
- Free from menstrual bleeding (Haidh) and postnatal bleeding (Nifas)
- Free from ill health (one is required to be of sound health – if one is ill then he is permitted to leave the fast and make up the day, upon recovery)
The conditions that validate the fasting of Ramadan are three;
- the intention
- to be free from anything that is contrary to fasting, such as menstrual periods (Haidh) or postnatal bleeding (Nifas)
- to be free from all things that break the fast.
It is not a condition of fasting in Ramadan to be specific in the intention (niyyah) to fast nor to form the intention at night (prior to dawn). The intention (niyyah) is; knowing in one’s heart that one will fast that day. It is rare that one would fast without an intention however, in the exceptional case that one does not intend the fast overnight, then one may still do so up to the time, just before midday (prior to the sun’s zenith).
Fasting is to abstain from:
- food and drink
- sexual intercourse
- that which has the same legal status of both, such as medicine entering the body through a deep cut.
Note: It is not a condition to be free from major ritual impurity (janaaba). This means that a person may have had unconscious seminal discharge while sleeping, or one may have had sexual intercourse prior to dawn and did not remove the filth, until after dawn. This discharge that remains on the body or clothes until after the dawn arrives does not affect the fast.
THAT WHICH DOES NOT NULLIFY THE FAST
The things that generally do not nullify fasting:
- Eating and/or drinking forgetfully; the fasting person who forgetfully ate or drank should complete his fast, for Allah Almighty has fed him and given him to drink [Bukhari/Muslim]. If one sees a fasting person involved in any of these actions, then it is obligatory (waajib) upon you to remind them (that they are fasting). If one does not remind them, one is sinful. However, if the person fasting is very weak and you know that if you remind them, they will stop eating and the weakness will increase to an extent that it will become difficult for him to fast, and if he does eat (what he is eating), then he will comfortably complete the fast, and he will also be able to complete his other worship (Ibadaat) properly, then in such a condition, to remind him is not the best option. Some of the scholars of Fiqh have said that if one sees a young person (in this condition), then he should remind him, and if he sees an old person (in this situation), then there is no harm in not reminding him, but this ruling is based on the majority, meaning that most youngsters are usually strong, and old people are usually weaker, and the reality is that it is not really based on being young or old, but rather it is based on strength and weakness. Therefore, if a young person is as weak (as earlier mentioned) then not reminding him is not disapproved, and if an old person is strong, then to remind him is obligatory (waajib) [Raddul Mukhtar]
- Having sexual intercourse forgetfully; if, however one knowingly had sexual intercourse or kissed or touched a female or was intimate with her or hugged her and there was seminal discharge then the fast has been broken and if a female touches a male and he has seminal discharge then the fast will not break.
- Having involuntary seminal discharge due to thinking about something of a sexual nature does not break the fast, even if one thought about it for a while. And the reason fasting is not void is because there has been no sexual intercourse. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) said “Three things do not break a person’s fast; vomit, cupping and seminal discharge”. [Tirmidhi]
- Applying oil to the body Likewise, the application of eyeliner (kohl) does not break the fast even if the taste appears in the throat, and even if the colour appears in the saliva. Hadhrat A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) applied eyeliner (kohl) while he (pbuh) was fasting.
- If one is subjected to cupping (hijama), the fast is not broken. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) was cupped whilst he was muhrim (in the state of ihram) and while fasting. [Bukhari]
- If a fasting person backbites
- If one intends to break his fast, but does not do so: the fast is not broken because the person did not undertake the action
- If smoke enters the throat unintentionally, the fast does not break as it was unintentional and therefore unavoidable.
- If dust, even the dust of flour, or the taste of medicine accidentally enters the throat while one remembers he is fasting (one may have had medicine prior to dawn and the taste lingered in the mouth until long after dawn)
- If one awakens in the state of major ritual impurity (janaaba) (due to a sexual dream or sexual intercourse before dawn) the fast does not break, even if one remains in this state for the entire day or many days (this would not of course be practically feasible for a practising Muslim as he would have to pray Fajr salah, after suhoor and would therefore have to purify himself of the major ritual impurity by performing ghusl and also then pray all the salah prayers during the day). (Hadhrat A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her and upon her be peace) said “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him, his family and companions) would be overtaken by the dawn when he was in a state of major ritual impurity (when he was fasting))”. [Abu Dawud]
- If one had forgotten he was fasting and he was rinsing the mouth and/or nostrils, and without intent, water went down the throat. If, however one remembers he is fasting and water accidentally goes down his throat, whilst rinsing his mouth and/or nostrils, then the fast is broken.
- Swallowing one’s own saliva and the wetness that remains after washing out the mouth
- If one is submerged in water and it enters inside the opening of the ears
- If one places a twig in his ear or an ear bud and withdraws wax with it and then renters the twig back into his ear again
- If nasal mucus enters the nasal passage and is sniffed back into the throat and swallowed
- If one unintentionally vomits (even if it is a mouthful) and even if he then swallows that vomit that emerged unintentionally, (even if it is a mouthful), The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) said “If one had a sudden attack of vomiting while one was fasting, no atonement (qadha) is required of him (i.e., the fast is not broken), if he vomits intentionally, he must make atonement (qadha) [Abu Dawud]. If one intentionally vomits a mouthful whilst he remembers he is fasting then the fast is definitely broken.
- Intentionally vomiting less than a mouthful even if the vomit that came up goes back inside; Intentionally vomiting a mouthful or more, breaks that fast
- If a person swallows the traces of food that remain between his teeth (provided it is less than the size of a chickpea)
- Chewing something like sesame that comes from outside the mouth until it melts (provided it is not swallowed and the taste does not appear in the throat). If one swallows a sesame that was stuck between the teeth, then the fast does not break, as mentioned earlier
WHAT NULLIFIES THE FAST, REQUIRING IT TO BE MADE UP (QADHA), WITHOUT REQUIRING EXPIATION (KAFFARAH)
The following cases do not require expiation (kaffarah) on the basis that the nature of the things that are eaten are such that they contain no nourishment or they may contain nourishment but there is a valid reason for their consumption. Eating something of this nature would not impose the expiation (kaffarah), although the day must be made up (qadha). Moreover, the act which does not include the completion of desire concerning the genitals holds the same ruling, such as the discharge of seminal fluid due to kissing.
Other examples include the swallowing of paper which does not require the expiation on the basis that originally, it contains no nourishment. Equally, if there is something that is insufficient to provide nourishment, such as raw rice or dough then the expiation (kaffarah) is not required, whilst one is only liable to make up the day (qadha). Therefore, if the breaking of the fast is not for nourishment or fulfilment of sexual desire then there is no expiation (kaffarah) but the day mut be made up (qadha).
Things which nullify the fast but DO NOT necessitate the expiation (kaffarah):
- If the one fasting eats raw rice, flour, or wheat grain, the fast is nullified although the expiation is not necessitated.
- If the one fasting eats a mouthful of salt, he is not liable for expiation for the reason that it is not one’s desire to have a mouthful of salt
- Eating soil that has no medical benefit and not being in the habit of eating it, if one is in the habit of eating this non-beneficial soil then the expiation becomes necessary as the trigger for the expiation is one acting according to one’s desires, whilst fasting, and not the physical act itself
- Eating the stone of a fruit, cotton or paper
- Eating uncooked quince or raw quince, a fruit which has to be cooked prior to eating
- Eating a raw walnut, if one the other hand one eats a raw almond, then the fast breaks and the expiation is imposed
- Swallowing a pebble, metal or soil
- Taking an enema or pouring drops (of medicine) through the nostrils
- The forceful pouring of something down the throat
- To drip water or oil into the ears, The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said “the fast is broken with whatever enters” [Musnad Abu Ya’la]
- Applying medicine to a wound of the stomach or head, which then penetrates a cavity, reaching inside the stomach or brain
- If rain or snow enters the throat and is swallowed by accident (there is a difference between forgetfulness and accidental. If one swallows forgetful of the fact that he is fasting then the fast does not break)
- If one accidentally breaks his fast with the water used for gargling, in that it seeps down one’s throat
- Swallowing toothpaste or mouthwash, swallowing blood from the gums or toothpaste/mouthwash if they dominate over the saliva
- Nasal spray if the medication passes the throat
- Using medicinal inhalers such as an Asthma inhaler (There are two views in relation to this; the preferred view is that it nullifies the fast, therefore one should continue with the fast but make it up (qadha) later as well)
- If one is coerced to break his fast
- If a female is coerced to indulge in sexual intercourse, then the expiation is not imposed on her however she will have to make up the fast (qadha)
- If water is poured inside a person who is sleeping
- Having an Endoscopy (due to the lubricant)
- Taking an enema or pouring drops (of medicine) through the nostrils, breaks the fast but does not require expiation
- To drip water or oil into the ears
- Eating on purpose, after eating forgetfully, one would still have to make up the fast (qadha)
- If one has sexual intercourse forgetting that he is fasting, and then after remembering continues to have sexual intercourse intentionally, one would still have to make up the fast (qadha)
- If a person eats after making his intention of fasting, in the day (and not pre-dawn), expiation is not necessitated if one breaks his fast after having formed his intention in the daytime
- If a person begins the day as a traveller and then intends residence and thereafter breaks his fast by eating
- If a person becomes a traveller after starting the day as a resident, and thereafter breaks his fast by eating (while he is a traveller), in other words if the Fajr salah passes over one who has intended to fast that day and before he becomes a traveller, then it is not permitted for him to break his fast that day, although if he does, then only the day is required to be made up (qadha) and there is no expiation
- If a person abstains from eating with no intention of fasting and no intention of breaking fast then the day is not deemed a fast, however, the expiation (kaffarah) is not necessary upon this person, though he is required to make up the day (qadha) because the intention is a requirement
- If one eats the pre-dawn meal (sahoor) or has sexual intercourse during which he has doubt about the rising of dawn (fast closing time) where in reality dawn had already taken place, the fast is broken and is required to be made up (qadha) but there is no expiation (kaffarah)
- If one opens the fast believing the sun had set, when, in fact, it had not
- Seminal discharge caused by other than sexual intercourse; the discharge of bodily fluids induced by physical stimulation deliberately (by touching the genitalia) or accidentally by kissing or touching another does not impose the expiation, though the fast is void and required to be made up (qadha)
- If smoke is intentionally inhaled into the throat breaks the fast (this includes cigarettes) and makeup (qadha) is required but expiation is not imposed
- Intentionally vomiting (a mouthful or more) nullifies the fast, which must be made up (qadha) but it does not obligate the performance of expiation (kaffarah). The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) said: “Whoever intentionally vomits must make up the day.” [Abu Dawud]
- If a person intentionally returns a mouthful of vomit back inside (the stomach) after it has forcefully risen and he remembers he is fasting then he is not liable for expiation (kaffarah) whilst the fast is void and must be made up (qadha), whereas if he had forgotten that he was fasting then the fast would remain valid, because it is like a person who eats out of forgetfulness
- If a person eats the food that is stuck between his teeth, the size of a chickpea, the fast breaks as it is possible to avoid eating something of this size as opposed to something like a sesame seed
- If a person intended to form his intention of fasting in the daytime (after the pre-dawn sahoor time), but he eats forgetfully before making his intention in the day then he is not liable for expiation (kaffarah) although he is liable to make up the day (qadha). This means that one absentmindedly ate during the day before observing his intention in the daytime. If he first intends to fast and then forgetfully eats, the fast remains valid
- If one becomes unconscious, even for the entire month of Ramadan (then he is given the status of that of a sleeping person and he is liable to make up the missed days (qadha) except the actual day in which he fainted. If one is unconscious for part of the month of Ramadan or the entire period of Ramadan, he is liable to make up the days (qadha).
- If one suffers from insanity for part of the month then he is to make up the days (qadha) but there is no expiation (kaffarah). If one is insane for the whole month of Ramadan, then he is not required to make up the days (qadha) as that would subject him to hardship, through performance. If one is insane for part of the month of Ramadan, he is liable to make up the days (qadha) though if one suffers from insanity for the entire month then he is not liable to make up the days (qadha) and there is also no expiation (kaffarah) on him
WHAT NULLIFES THE FAST: REQUIRING EXPIATION (KAFFARAH) AND A MAKE UP DAY (QADHA)
There are actions which if performed willingly and intentionally, without being compelled, result in the termination of the fast and require a compulsory make-up day (qadha) and expiation (kaffarah) to atone for the violation.
The actions are:
- Having sexual intercourse breaks the fast of both parties and makes them liable for expiation and to make up the fast (the ruling is the same even if the intercourse is momentary and brief)
- Eating or drinking whether it is for nourishment or for a medicinal benefit (even if it is minimal)
- To swallow rain water after it enters the mouth
- Eating raw meat, even if it is damaged
- Eating the fat (or grease of meat)
- Eating jerked (or cured) meat
- Eating a seed of wheat (or chewing it and then eating it). Except if the seed is chewed and consequently melts away (leaving no trace in the throat) because it is such a trivial quantity that by melting away and not appearing in the throat (it sticks to the teeth), which means nothing has entered the stomach
- If one swallows a seed of wheat, sesame or something of the like (things from outside the mouth: meaning they were not stuck between one’s teeth and were put in the mouth and swallowed)
- Eating a beneficial type of soil
- Eating soil that is non-beneficial, such as dry earth (provided one is in the habit of eating it)
- Eating a small amount of salt
- Swallowing the saliva of another
- Intentionally vomiting a mouthful, if it is less than a mouthful then the fast does not break
THE EXPIATION (KAFFARAH) AND THAT WHICH EXCUSES IT
There are several actions that if performed whilst fasting, during the day, in Ramadan, results in the nullification of the fast and require a makeup day (qadha), and an obligatory expiation (kaffarah) in order to atone for the major violation.
The expiation (kaffarah) consists of fasting for two consecutive months. And if one is unable to do so, then the expiation is to feed sixty deprived persons twice. In the event that the expiation (kaffarah) is not performed, then it remains as an unperformed obligation upon the person concerned.
If one intentionally eats because one incorrectly believes that his fast has been broken, by a certain act, but in actual fact that act did not break his fast then that person is liable for expiation (kaffarah) and to make up the fast (qadha). If, however, one has been given a legal ruling by a scholar (of a different madhab/school of jurisprudence, due to their understanding of the issue) who has advised him that such acts do break his fast, then in that case he is not liable for expiation (kaffarah) but he will still be required to make up the fast (qadha). If one believes that his fast is broken, based on an incorrect understanding of a hadith, then in that case the expiation (kaffarah) is also excused. In both these instances one is still required to make up the day (qadha).
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) narrated: While we were sitting with the beloved Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) a man came and said “O Messenger of Allah! I have been ruined. “The Holy Prophet (pbuh) asked what was the matter with him. He replied, “I had sexual intercourse with my wife while I was observing the fast.” The Holy Prophet (pbuh) asked him, “Can you free a slave?” He replied in the negative. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) asked him, “Can you keep the fast for two consecutive months?” He replied in the negative. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) asked him, “Can you afford to feed sixty poor persons?” He replied in the negative. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) kept silent and while we were in this state, a big basket full of dates was brought to the Prophet. He (pbuh) asked “Where is the questioner?” He replied, “I am here.” The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said to him; “Take this basket of dates and give it in charity.” The man said, “Should I give it to a person poorer than I, By Allah, there is no family between the two mountains of Medina who are poorer than I.” The Holy Prophet (pbuh) smiled until his blessed premolar teeth became visible and then said, “Feed your family with it.” [Bukhari]
Subhaan Allah (Glory be to Allah Almighty) look at the benevolent and compassionate nature of our beloved Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) that he pardons the one who has erred and rather than penalise him and place on him the expiation of having to give charity he instead gifts the expiation to the one who was himself liable for it. Allah Almighty has truly blessed the creation by sending his merciful and empathetic beloved (pbuh) to us.
If one violates the rules of fasting, in the day of Ramadan, then he has made himself liable for expiation (kaffarah), however, the expiation is excused if during that same day a female received her menstrual period (Haidh) or she gave birth and was in the state of postnatal bleeding (Nifas) or during that same day the person was afflicted with an illness, one which allows the breaking of the fast. If, however one intentionally makes himself ill, in order to escape from the expiation, then he has not succeeded because he is still liable.
The expiation (kaffarah) is not excused, if subsequent to one breaking the fast, an instance arises where one has a legitimate reason for not keeping the fast (i.e., travelling). The expiation is still due as it has already become imposed on him. For example, if a person eats or drinks thereby breaking the fast it becomes necessary to perform the expiation (kaffarah). If, however, such a person is forcefully taken or willingly goes on travel (if one is travelling then fasting is not compulsory) in that same day, one still remains liable, for the expiation, as the act which prompted the expiation (breaking the fast) had already taken place.
The expiation (kaffarah) is to fast two consecutive Islamic months, and these two months must not coincide with the two Eid days (Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha) or the days of Tashreeq (11th, 12th and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah) for there must be no break between the sixty days, otherwise the expiation (kaffarah) will be invalid. If one is unable to fast for two consecutive months then the expiation is to feed sixty deprived people who are to be treated to two meals a day, at their respective times, so that they are content. Note: The sixty deprived people who are treated to one meal, on that day, must be the same sixty people who are treated to the second meal on the same day; or the deprived persons may be treated to two meals in two days or two dinners for two nights, i.e., one every night Note: if one deprived person is fed for sixty days, then it is valid, because it is equivalent to sixty people.
One expiation (kaffarah) suffices for violations (breaking the fast) committed on many days throughout Ramadan even though these violations are committed on days of Ramadan, of two different years. This is provided that the expiation does not fall between two violations. For example; if one breaks the fast on the first day and then immediately after that pays the expiation, should he commit a further violation later on in the month of Ramadan, then a separate expiation will have to be given. Therefore, one expiation suffices for multiple violations committed over many years provided no other violation is committed after having paid the expiation.
WHEN IT IS NECESSARY TO REFRAIN FROM EATING DURING THE DAY
- If one breaks his fast, it is necessary to abstain from eating for the remainder of the day, he is also required to make up the day (qadha)
- If a woman becomes pure from her menstrual periods (Haidh) or postnatal bleeding (Nifas) straight after the true dawn (subh sadiq – end of suhoor) then she must refrain from eating from the remainder of the day, she is required to make up the day at a later time. As for one in a state of menstrual periods (Haidh) or postnatal bleeding (Nifas), it is forbidden for her to fast, because fasting whilst in this state is forbidden and to imitate something forbidden is also forbidden, and similarly it is not necessary upon the sick or the traveller to abstain from food, because they have permission, in the shari’ah, to eat due to their hardship. However, it is sunnah for the one who is permitted to eat, to do so in private, not openly.
- If one becomes biologically mature (reaches puberty) after true dawn (subh sadiq -end of sahoor) or a non-believer accepts Islam after true dawn, they must abstain from eating for the remainder of the day. And they are not required to make up the day (qadha) because prior to dawn (sahoor) they were not subject to the commands of the Shari’ah regarding fasting
DISLIKED ACTIONS WHEN FASTING
- To taste something with no reason is disliked, if a woman has a harsh husband who will rebuke her for an increase of salt in the food, then she may taste it. If, however he will not then it is not permitted, the meaning here is to taste, with the tongue, that which isn’t substantial enough to enter below the throat
- Chewing something without a reason is disliked, it is however permitted if there is a need for it, such as chewing a small child’s food when feeding. However, this is provided nothing reaches the inside of the body with the saliva. Equally chewing on gum (which has no taste) is disliked. The reason for this dislike is based on the notion that other people who see this will accuse the person of breaking the fast and it is not lawful for a person to assume a position where he will be accused. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) said: “He who believes in Allah and the last day, should not stand in the position of blame.” This is the case even if one is not fasting for a valid reason. If, on the other hand something of it enters the body with the saliva, the fast is deemed void
- Kissing and caressing while fasting is disliked if one is not sure of himself regarding bodily fluids being discharged or that such acts could lead to sexual intercourse. If, however, one is in control and sure that these things will not result in seminal discharge or intercourse, then it is permitted. If one kisses and caresses another with lust and it results in seminal discharge, the fast will break and it will have to be made up (qadha)
- Gathering the saliva in the mouth and then swallowing it
- Any act which is believed to weaken one from fasting, such as cupping (hijamah), acupuncture etc
WHAT IS NOT DISLIKED WHEN FASTING
- Kissing and caressing is not disliked provided one is sure (and in control of himself) that it will not lead to seminal discharge or intercourse. Hadhrat A’ishah (upon her be peace and Allah be pleased with her) reported that “the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) would kiss and caress his wives while fasting, and he had more power to control his desires than any of you.” [Bukhari/Muslim]. If one discharges through kissing or touching, one must make up that day, but is not liable for expiation [Al-Hidayah]
- Rubbing oil or lotion onto the moustache
- The application of kohl eyeliner is not disliked, because there is no direct link between the eyes and the brain. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) applied kohl whilst fasting [Ibn Majah]
- Cupping (or acupuncture) is not disliked, provided that one believes he will not tire from such a thing
- Blood-letting is not disliked if one believes he will not tire from it. Blood donating is also of this category as this could have a synergistic incapacitating effect.
- There is no dislike to brush the teeth using the siwak (toothbrush) at the end of the day; rather, it is sunnah just like it is at the beginning of the day, even if the siwak is moist or wet with water (if toothpaste is used and it is swallowed it will invalidate the fast therefore it is best to avoid using toothpaste whilst fasting, unless one can do so without endangering one’s fast). The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) would use the siwak at the beginning of the day and at the end while fasting. [Abu Dawud, Jami’ Tirmidhi], The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) also said “The siwak is sunnah, so perform siwak any time you wish.” [Jami’ As-Saghair]
- Rinsing the mouth or nostrils for other than wudu is not disliked and neither is taking a bath, or dressing in wet cloths to cool down; it is transmitted that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) poured water upon his head while fasting due to thirst or heat. [Abu Dawud], Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) would wet his clothes and wrap himself in them while fasting. [Bukhari]
WHAT IS RECOMMENDED WHILST FASTING
- The pre-dawn meal (sahoor) is recommended; The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) said; “Observe sahoor, for verily there is blessing in the sahoor.” [Bukhari]
- To delay the pre-dawn meal to shortly before dawn is recommended. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) said: “Three things are from the qualities of the Messengers: to break the fast immediately upon sunset, to delay sahoor and to place the right hand over the left hand in prayer.” [Tabarani, Al-Haythami], There are some people who do not observe the pre-dawn meal (sahoor) or who observe it too early. This is not moderation and it is not endorsed. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) and his companions (Allah be pleased with them all) observed the pre-dawn meal (sahoor) to acquire strength for fasting the day and would delay the pre-dawn meal (sahoor) to the extent that the time between observing the meal and dawn was equal to the time one could recite fifty verses. [Bukhari]
- To hasten in breaking the fast on a day where there is no obstruction or clouds in the sky is recommended in accordance with the above hadith.
CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH LEAVING/BREAKING THE FAST IS PERMISSABLE
The circumstances in which it is deemed permissible and for which there is no sin for the breaking of fast are eight:
- Hunger and thirst
- Old age
In each of the cases, one is permitted to break or leave the days of fasting at hand and make up the days later when one is able. For example: an old and frail man who suffers from an illness is allowed to leave the fast and pay a fee (fidya). If this person regains strength for fasting, he must make up the days that he missed. Similarly, Ramadan may be missed in the following scenarios.
- It is permissible to break one’s fast, for one who is ill and fears (with good reason) aggravation in his illness or a delay in his recovery. The fear which is considered genuine allowing one to break his/ her fast is that which is based upon one’s predominant belief through past experience or on the information from a physician who is skilful and upright.
- A pregnant or nursing (breastfeeding) woman is permitted to leave the fast if she fears a loss of mind, death, or illness upon herself or child (regardless if the child is her own or a child she nurses) If the fear is present, she is to delay the fast to a later date. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) said: “Allah has remitted half the prayer to a traveller, and fasting to the traveller, the woman who is suckling an infant and the woman who is pregnant.” [Abu Dawud]
- It is permitted to break the fast if one suffers unbearable thirst or hunger in which he fears his demise or that he may lose his mind or senses.
- The traveller is legally permitted to leave the fast. However, to fast is better provided it will not harm him and provided that most of his companions accompanying him are also fasting and that each person is funding his own expenses separately, though if they are sharing the expenses of the travel or are not fasting, then it is better to leave the fast and be in accordance with the group. In any case, the traveller is permitted to leave his fast opting instead to make up the day at a more convenient time. Allah Almighty says “If anyone amongst you is ill or on a journey, then prescribed number should be made up from later days.” [Surah Baqarah (2), 184]
WHAT IS REQUIRED OF A PERSON WHO LEAVES HIS FAST DUE TO AN EXCUSE
If a person dies before his excuse ends such as illness or travel, he is not required to make a will instructing his heirs, to redeem the days he lost. The reason is due to his excuse which remains. For example, a sick person who dies before regaining sound health is under no obligation to make a will for the days he lost because his excuse remains. Note; a missed fast is redeemed by paying the Fidya (substitute fee).
If one finds other days in which he can make up (qadha) the missed days, then he must do so (when an ill person regains sound health or when a traveller becomes a resident). If, however, he does not make up the days, then he is required to leave a will instructing his heirs to redeem the days (pay the fidya substitute fee) he was healthy for or the days he was a resident for (that is, the days he was able to make up but did not).
Consider the following. X fell ill for 15 days of Ramadan. Thereafter, he recovered for ten days and then died. Prior to death, he must make a will instructing his family to make up only ten days of fasting for him because he was only fit and able for ten days and they are the days that he is responsible for. One is responsible for the days he had the ability to fast but did not. In the event that one dies and was not in an able position to make up days, then he is not responsible. Note: If the deceased left no instructions for the fidya (substitute fee) to be taken from a third of his estate, then it is not necessary that the fidya be given on his behalf. If, however, someone wishes to volunteer, then it is accepted.
It is not a stipulation to make up the fasts of Ramadan (qadha) successively, i.e., one day straight after the other, joining all the days together. However, it is permitted to do so. It is also permitted to make up the missed fasts intermittently from time to time. In saying this, it is recommended that the fasts be made up successively and not be delayed more than they have to; in order to make haste in pious actions.
If another Ramadan comes along, yet one has not fasted the make-up fasts (qadha) from the previous Ramadan, then one is to perform the current one and thereafter make up the make-up (qadha) fasts of the previous Ramadan. And there is no fidya (substitution fee) for delaying these missed fasts up to the current Ramadan.
It is permitted for a frail old person to not keep the fasts of Ramadan. They must however pay the fidya (substitute fee) for every day missed. The fidya is half a measure of wheat (which equals 1.6 kg), or the equivalent in cash.
PERMISSIBILITY OF AN INJECTION WHILST FASTING
It is considered particularly pertinent to discuss the permissibility of administering injections, whilst fasting, due to the Covid-19 vaccination drive that is currently underway in the UK. This is a pressing concern that is at the forefront of the minds of the community especially the elderly and vulnerable who are yet to be vaccinated and may be invited to do so, during the month of Ramadan, whilst they are fasting.
According to the position of the Hanafi school of Fiqh; It is permissible to have an injection whilst in the state of fasting. The fast is only considered to be invalidated when a substance with an observable body reaches the digestive system (stomach) and/or the brain via the natural openings of the body like the mouth, nose, throat, ears etc. Injections that are given to administer medicine or vaccinations into the body, whether intravenous (through the veins) or intramuscular (through the muscles) do not break the fast. This is because having an intramuscular injection, the medicine does not travel to the stomach or brain through any specific passage (manfaz) but rather it spreads through the entire body through pores (masamaat) and for anything to spread through the pores will not break the fast.
It is stated by the great jurist-consult of Hind Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Mustafa Ridha Khan Qadri (Allah have mercy on him) “Being administered an injection does not cause a fast to be invalidated as the medication from the injection does not reach the stomach. Having an injection is comparable to being bitten by a snake or a scorpion: as the venom does not enter the stomach therefore the fast does not become invalidated. The injection is analogous to this; if it is free from any haram ingredients then it is permissible to use.” [Fataawa Mufti e Azam Hind, Vol 3, pg 302]
It is stated by the distinguished Hanafi jurist-consult Hadhrat Mufti Jalal Al-Deen Amjadi (Allah have mercy on him) “The fast will not break by receiving an injection, whether it is intramuscular (through the muscles) or intravenous (through the veins), because it is a comprehensive formulation that besides sexual intercourse and its likes, the only thing that breaks the fast are medicine and nourishment that reach the stomach or brain via a passage (manfaz) besides the pores (masamaat) and veins (shiryan).” [Fataawa Dhuroori Masaa’il, pg 5]
It is further stated by Hadhrat Mufti Jalal Al-Deen Amjadi (Allah have mercy on him) in another fatwa: “By receiving an injection, the fast will not break, whether it is intramuscular or intravenous.” [Fataawa Faqih e Millat, Vol 1, pg 344]
This is the correct position, according to the Hanafi school of Fiqh; Anything that enters the body through the pores (masamaat) of the skin, the veins (shiryan) or muscles does not break the fast. The fast only breaks when something enters directly into the stomach or brain via an open passage (manfaz) like the throat, nose and ears.
And Allah Almighty knows best.
Compiled by Hafiz Ghulam Haider Ali Qadri
Waltham Forest Islamic Association
14th April 2021 / 1st Ramadan 1442 AH
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