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Rulings and Etiquettes of Fasting

Allah has blessed His slaves with certain seasons of goodness, in which rewards for good deeds are multiplied, bad deeds are forgiven, people’s status is raised, and the hearts of the believers turn to their Master.
One of the greatest acts of worship is fasting. In the month of Ramadan, the hearts of the believers turn to their Most Merciful Lord, fearing their Lord above them, and hoping to attain His reward and the great victory (
Paradise).
As the status of this act of worship is so high, it is essential to learn the rulings that have to do with the month of fasting so that the Muslim will know what is obligatory, in order to do it, what is haraam, in order to avoid it, and what is permissible, so that he need not subject himself to hardship by depriving himself of it.ٍ 

Some of the virtues of fasting

The virtues of fasting are great indeed, and one of the things reported in the hadith is that Fasting has no equal and the du’aa’ of the fasting person will not be refused.
The fasting person has two moments of joy: one when he breaks his fast and one when he meets his Lord and rejoices over his fasting.
Fasting will intercede for a person on the Day of Judgement, and will say, “O Lord, I prevented him from his food and physical desires during the day, so let me intercede for him.”
The smell that comes from the mouth of a fasting person is better with Allah than the scent of musk.
Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will remove his face seventy years’ distance from the Fire.
Whoever fasts one day seeking the pleasure of Allah, if that is the last day of his life, he will enter Paradise. In Paradise there is a gate called al-Rayyaan, through those who fast will enter, and no one will enter it except them; when they have entered it will be locked, and no-one else will enter through it.” 

Etiquette and Sunnah of fasting·      

We should make sure that we eat and drink something at suhoor, and that we delay it until just before the adhaan of Fajr. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Have suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing (barakah).”
·       Not delaying iftaar, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The people will be fine so long as they do not delay iftaar.”
·       The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if fresh dates were not available, he would eat (dried) dates; if dried dates were not available, he would have a few sips of water.”
·       After iftaar, Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), would say: “Dhahaba al-zama’, wa’btallat al-‘urooq, wa thabat al-ajru inshallah (Thirst has gone, veins are flowing again, and the reward is certain, inshallah).”
·       Keeping away from sin, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When any of you is fasting, let him not commit sin” and “Whoever does not stop speaking falsehood and acting in accordance with it, Allah has no need of him giving up his food and drink.” And “It may be that a fasting person gets nothing from his fast except hunger.”
·       Not allowing oneself to be provoked, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If someone fights him or insults him, he should say, ‘I am fasting, I am fasting.’’
·       Being generous by sharing knowledge, giving money, using one’s position of authority or physical strength to help others, and having a good attitude. Ibn Abbas said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the most generous of people, and he was most generous of all in Ramadan when Jibreel met with him, and he used to meet him every night in Ramadan and teach him the Qur’an. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was more generous in doing well than a blowing wind.”
·       Combining fasting with feeding other people is one of the means of reaching Paradise, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever gives food to a fasting person with which to break his fast, will have a reward equal to his, without it detracting in the slightest from the reward of the fasting person.”


Some of the rulings on Fasting:

·       In the event of any sickness that makes people feel unwell, a person is allowed not to fast. The basis for this is the aayah: “… and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days on which one did not observe fast must be made up] from other day”. But if the sickness is minor, such as a cough or headache, then it is not a reason to break one’s fast.
·       If there is medical proof, or a person knows from his usual experience, or he is certain, that fasting will make his illness worse or it would delay his recovery, he is permitted to break his fast; indeed, it is disliked for him to fast in such cases. If a person is seriously ill, he does not have to have the intention during the night to fast the following day, even if there is a possibility that he may be well in the morning, because what counts is the present moment
·       Students’ exams are no excuse for breaking fast during Ramadan, and it is not permissible to obey one’s parents in breaking the fast because of having exams, because there is no obedience to any created being if it involves disobedience to the Creator.
·       The sick person who hopes to recover should wait until he gets better and then make up for the fasts he has missed; he is not allowed just to feed the poor. The person who is suffering from a chronic illness and has no hope of recovery and elderly people who are unable to fast should feed a poor person with half a saa’ of the staple food of his country for every day that he has missed. (Half a saa’ is roughly equivalent to one and a half kilograms of rice). It is permissible for him to do this all at once, on one day at the end of the month, or to feed one poor person every day. He has to do this by giving actual food he cannot do it by giving money to the poor; but he can give money to a trustworthy person or charitable organization to buy food and distribute it to the poor on his behalf.
·       If a person’s reason for not fasting is obvious, such as illness, there is nothing wrong with him eating or drinking openly, but if the reason is hidden, such as menstruation, it is better to eat and drink in secret, so as not to attract accusations and the like. 

Niyyah (intention) in fasting

·       Niyyah (intention) is a required condition in obligatory fasts, and in other obligatory fasts such as making up missed fasts or fasts done as an act of expiation.
·       The intention may be made at any point during the night, even if it is just a moment before Fajr. Niyyah means the resolution in the heart to do something; speaking it aloud is bid’ah (a reprehensible innovation), and anyone who knows that tomorrow is one of the days of Ramadan and wants to fast has made the intention.
·       The person who is fasting Ramadan does not need to repeat the intention every night during Ramadan; it is sufficient to have the intention at the beginning of the month. If the intention is interrupted by breaking the fast due to travel or sickness – for example – he has to renew the intention to fast when the reason for breaking the fast is no longer present. 

When to start and stop fasting

·       Once the entire disk of the sun has disappeared, the fasting person should break his fast, and not pay any attention to the red glow that remains on the horizon.
·       The Sunnah is to hasten in breaking the fast. If a fasting person cannot find anything with which to break his fast, he should have the intention in his heart to break his fast, He should beware of breaking the fast before the correct time.
·       If a person is certain, or thinks it most likely, or is not sure whether he broke the fast before the proper time, he should make up the fast later on, because the basic principle is that the day is still there and has not ended.
·       When the dawn comes – which is the white light coming across the horizon in the East – the fasting person must stop eating and drinking straightaway, whether he hears the adhaan or not.


Things that break the fast

·       Apart from menstruation and post-natal bleeding, other things that can break the fast are only considered to do so if the following three conditions apply: if a person knows that it breaks the fast and is not ignorant; if he is aware of what he is doing and has not forgotten that he is fasting; if he does it of his own free will and is not forced to do it.
·       Among the things that break the fast are things that are classified as being like eating or drinking, such as taking medicines and pills by mouth, or injections of nourishing substances, or blood transfusions.
·       Injections that are not given to replace food and drink but are used to administer medications such as penicillin and insulin, or tonics, or vaccinations, do not break the fast, regardless of whether they are intra-muscular or intravenous. But to be on the safe side, all these injections should be given during the night, unless seriously needed during the day.
·       Kidney dialysis, whereby the blood is taken out, cleaned, and put back with some chemicals or nourishing substances such as sugars and salts added is considered to break the fast.
·       Puffers used for asthma do not break the fast, because this is just compressed gas that goes to the lungs – it is not food, and it is needed at all times, in Ramadan and at other times.
·       Having a blood sample taken does not break the fast and is permissible because it is something that is needed.

The following things do NOT break the fast:

1.       Having the ears syringed; nose drops and nasal sprays – so long as one avoids swallowing anything that reaches the throat.
2.       Tablets that are placed under the tongue to treat angina and other conditions.
3.       Anything inserted into the vagina, such as douches, scopes, etc. or insertion of a scope or intra-uterine device (IUD or “coil”) and the like into the uterus.
4.       Insertion into the urethra – for males or females – of a catheter, opaque dye for diagnostic imaging, medication or solutions for cleansing the bladder.
5.       Dental fillings, tooth extractions, cleaning of the teeth, use of Siwak or toothbrush.
6.       Rinsing, gargling or applying topical mouth sprays.
7.       Subcutaneous, intramuscular or intravenous injections – except for those used to provide nourishment.
8.       Use of a laparoscope (instrument inserted through a small incision in the abdomen) to examine the abdominal cavity or to perform operations.
9.       Taking biopsies or samples from the liver or other organs – so long as this is not accompanied by the administration of solutions.

·       Anyone who eats and drinks deliberately during the day in Ramadan with no valid excuse has committed a grave major sin and has to repent and make up for that fast later on. If he broke the fast with something haraam, such as drinking alcohol, this makes his sin even worse.
·       If one forgets, and eats and drinks, then let him complete his fast, for Allah has fed him and given him to drink, and he does not have to make the fast up later or offer expiation.
·       If a person sees someone else who is eating because he has forgotten that he is fasting, he should remind him.
·       If a person is obliged to fast, but he deliberately has intercourse during the day in Ramadan, of his own free will, where the two genitals come together and the tip of the penis penetrates, his fast is broken, whether or not he ejaculates, and he has to repent. He should still fast for the rest of the day, but he has to make up the fast later on, and offer expiation (kafaarah).
·       If a person has intercourse during the day on more than one day during Ramadan, he must offer expiation for each day, as well as repeating the fast for each day. Not knowing that kafaarah is obligatory is no excuse.
·       If a man wants to have intercourse with his wife but he breaks his fast by eating first, his sin is more serious, because he has violated the sanctity of the month on two counts, by eating and by having intercourse. It is even more certain in this case that expiation is obligatory, and if he tries to get out of it, that only makes matters worse. He must repent sincerely
·       Kissing, hugging, embracing, touching and repeatedly looking at one’s wife, if a man is able to control himself, is permissible
·       If morning comes and a person is in a state of janaabah (impurity following sexual intercourse), this does not affect his fasting. He or she is permitted to delay doing ghusl, whether it is for janaabah or following menstruation or post-natal bleeding, until dawn has appeared, but it is better to hasten to do ghusl so that one can pray.
·       If a person who is fasting sleeps and experiences a wet dream, this does not break his fast so he should complete his fast. Delaying doing ghusl does not break the fast, but he should hasten to do ghusl so that he can pray. 
·       If a person ejaculates during the day in Ramadan because of something that he could have refrained from, such as touching or repeatedly looking at a woman, he must repent to Allaah and fast for the rest of the day, but he also has to make up that fast later on. If a person starts to masturbate but then stops, and does not ejaculate, then he has to repent but he does not have to make the fast up later on, because he did not ejaculate.
·       The emission of wadiy, a thick sticky substance that comes out after urination, with no sense of physical pleasure, does not break the fast, and a person does not have to do ghusl, but he does have to clean his private parts and do wudoo’.
·       Whoever vomits unintentionally does not have to make up the fast later on, but whoever vomits on purpose does have to make up the fast.
·       If a person unintentionally swallows something that is stuck between his teeth, or if it is so small that he could not tell it was there or spit it out, this is counted as being part of his saliva and it does not break his fast. But if it is big enough to spit out, he should spit it out. If he spits it out, this is OK, but if he swallows it, this breaks his fast. If it can be diluted in the mouth, in whole or in part, and it has an added taste or sweetness, it is haraam for him to chew it. If any of this substance reaches the throat, this breaks the fast. If a person spits out water after rinsing his mouth, his fast is not affected by any moisture or wetness that is left behind, because he cannot help it.
·       If a person suffers from a nosebleed, his fast is still valid, because this is something that is beyond his control. If he has gum ulcers or his gums bleed after using a tooth stick, it is not permissible for him to swallow the blood; he has to spit it out. However, if some blood enters his throat by accident, and he did not mean for that to happen, there is no need to worry.
·       With regard to mucus coming from the nose and sinuses and phlegm coming from the chest by coughing and clearing the throat, if it is swallowed before it reaches the mouth, this does not break a person’s fast, but if it is swallowed after it reaches the mouth, this does break the fast. However, if it is swallowed unintentionally, it does not break the fast.
·       It is disliked to taste food unnecessarily. Examples of cases where it is necessary to taste food include a mother chewing food for an infant when she has no other way to feed him, tasting food to make sure that it is OK, and tasting something when making a purchase.
·       Using Siwak is Sunnah for the one who is fasting at all times of the day, even if it is wet. If a person who is fasting uses a Siwak and detects some heat or other taste from it and swallows it, or if he takes the Siwak out of his mouth and sees saliva on it then puts it back in his mouth and swallows the saliva, this does not break his fast.
·       If a fasting person is injured or suffers a nosebleed, or gets water in his mouth by accident, this does not break his fast. If he gets dust or smoke in his mouth by accident, this does not break his fast either. Things that one cannot avoid swallowing, like one’s own saliva, or dust from grinding flour, do not break the fast. If a person gathers a lot of saliva in his mouth then swallows it on purpose, this does not break the fast.
·       Smoking breaks the fast, and it cannot be used as an excuse not to fast. How can a sin be taken as an excuse?!
·       If a person eats, drinks or has intercourse, thinking that it is still night, then he realizes that dawn has already broken, there is no harm done, because the aayah clearly states that it is permissible to do these things until one is sure that dawn has come.
·       If a person breaks his fast, thinking that the sun has already set when it has not, he must make up the fast later on.
·       If dawn breaks and a person has food or drink in his mouth, he should spit it out, and his fast is valid.

(Compiled by a student of knowledge, all information is taken from Islamqa.com)

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