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Frequently Asked Questions about Fasting

In the name of Allah SWT, the Most Gracious the Most Merciful, let all Peace and Blessings of Allah SWT be upon our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, his family, his Companions and all those who will follow his Sunnah until the Day of Judgment.
There are some issues about fasting that many Muslims are confused about and don’t know whether they would invalidate their fasting or no. Those issues have been explained as follows.
1- Taking a blood sample for a blood test is usually a small amount that would not weaken the Muslim or affect his fasting. However, donating a big amount of blood one day, for someone in case of emergency, could allow the Muslim to break his fast if he would feel weakened and unable to fast. In this case, the Muslim has to make up for that day later on.
2- All kinds of injections used for treatment, not for nutrition, including colon cleansing, would not invalidate the fasting. On the other hand, the injections that are used for feeding, as an alternative to food and drink, would spoil fasting. Generally, such feeding injection is used during sickness which is mostly an excuse for breaking fasting.
The Muslims who will get feeding injection could break the fast and make up later on for the missed day or days. However, if the feeding injection is used in cases of chronic or permanent illnesses, the Muslim would not have to fast, instead, he could offer only Fidyah (ransom) by feeding a needy person for each missed day.
3- Asthma inhaler medications would not invalidate fasting. Those medications are inhaled usually to provide relief from the asthma attacks, which normally make breathing very hard. Therefore, those medications are allowed during fasting because they involve no feeding.
4- Little bleeding, like nose or teeth bleeding, will not spoil fasting. However, bleeding a large amount of blood, as a result of an accident, temporary illnesses or other reasons could be an excuse for the Muslim to break the fast, but will have to make up for the missed day or days later on.
5- The Muslim can use eye drops and ear drops during fasting. They don’t enter into the stomach and accordingly, they would not spoil fasting.
6- The use of nose drops is not permitted during fasting, because they could seep from the nose into the stomach and, as such, would spoil fasting. However, in case of severe nose congestion, the Muslim could use those drops during fasting to clear his nose. In such a case, the Muslim should make sure that the drops would not seep into the stomach.
7- The stomach diagnosis through the process of Endoscopy does not invalidate fasting. This process is done by inserting a tubular flexible instrument, equipped with a camera at its end, into the stomach through the mouth to visualize the interior of that organ and determine whether there’re any disorders or abnormalities that need treatment. Accordingly, this process would not affect the fasting, as it doesn’t involve any feeding.
8- Using suppositories that are inserted into the rectum for treatment wouldn’t invalidate fasting, as they don’t involve any feeding.
9- Throwing up during fasting is excused for the Muslim, as long as it is not done intentionally.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said in a Hadith sahih narrated by Attirmizi and others:
من ذرعه القئ وهو صائم فليس عليه قضاء، ومن استقاء فعلية القضاء.
Whoever throws up unintentionally while fasting, his fasting is not affected and would not have to make up for that day, but whoever does it intentionally his fasting is invalidated and has to make up for that day.
10-.Cleaning the teeth by a dentist is not allowed during fasting, because a lot of water is used during that process and certainly some of it would enter into the stomach. Also, extracting one tooth or more will involve a lot of bleeding and pain and accordingly, is not allowed during fasting. In case of emergency, the Muslim could break his fast on the day of the extraction and make up for it later on.
However, the Muslim is allowed to brush his teeth, but care has to be taken to prevent the toothpaste or water from going into the stomach.
11- The Muslim who will pass out or enter into a coma temporarily during fasting, even several times, could continue his fasting in this case. However, if the Muslim, after starting fasting, enters into a coma that continues the whole duration of the day or more, his fasting would be invalidated. After recovery, he has to make up, later on, for the day or days on which the coma continued.
12- If a wet dream happens during fasting, it would not spoil it, and the Muslim could continue the fasting.
13- If the Muslim gets up in the month of Ramadan after Fajre (dawn) Junub (impure and needs to perform Ghusle) fasting would not be affected. However, the Muslim has to make Ghusle as soon as possible to perform the Salah.
Our mother A’shah said in a Hadith narrated in Sahih Muslim:
كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يدركه الفجر في رمضان وهو جنب، من غير حُلُم، ثم يغتسل ويصوم.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used, sometimes, to get up in Ramadan after Fajre, Junub (impure), but not from a wet dream, then perform gusle and continue fasting.
14- The Muslim could eat in the meal of Suhur (dawn meal) until the start of Azan of Fajre prayer. Some calendars set the abstinence of eating for Suhur at about five minutes before the Azan. The Muslim doesn’t have to be tied by such time for stopping eating. That time is just meant to alert the Muslim that the time to finish eating has become close. Therefore, if the Muslim has not finished eating by that time, he could continue his meal, but has to stop eating at the start of the Azan.
On the other hand, it is recommended to eat the meal of Suhur and delay it as much as possible.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said in a Hadith narrated by Bukhari:
تسحروا فإن في السحور بركة.
Eat the meal of Suhur as there’re blessings in eating that meal.
Getting up to eat that meal would involve many blessings, as the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم pointed out. The most prominent blessing of the Suhure meal is that it enables the Muslim to catch that blessed early time and get the Grace and Mercy of Allah SWT. It also provides the Muslim with the energy that would help him in performing Fajre prayer in time.
On the other hand, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to delay the meal of Suhur and make it close to Fajre prayer. Therefore, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم recommended the Muslims to follow that Sunnah that will help them maintain the fasting easily during the day.
15- If the fasting Muslim would forget and eat or drink during the day, the fasting will not be invalidated.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said in a Hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim:
من نسي وهو صائم فأكل أو شرب فليتم صومه، فإنما أطعمه الله وسقاه.
If the Muslim would forget and eat or drink while fasting, he could continue his fast, Allah SWT has provided that food and drink for him.
16- Tasting the food during cooking, while fasting, just to check it, is allowed if there’s a need to do so. However, the Muslim has to make sure that nothing of the tasted food would be swallowed.
17- During very hot days, if the fasting Muslim would be affected by high hot weather and, as a relief, would pour water over his head or take shower for refreshment, the fasting would not be invalidated. The same would apply if the Muslim rinses his mouth with water several times because of dryness in the mouth on hot weather days. In those cases, the Muslim has to be careful and prevent any water from seeping into the stomach.
18- When the Muslim is fasting and traveling by airplane from one country to another or one place to another, in which the time is different, he can’t break his fasting, while in the airplane, as long as the sun is rising.
The Muslim is tied during fasting by the place in which he is performing his fast, even in the air, as in the case of traveling by airplane. Breaking the fasting, in this case, has to be done after sunset, even if he’ll fast additional or less hours, as long as he is passing by a place where night and day are alternating over 24 hours.
Allah SWT says in Surat Al-Baqarah:
ثم أتموا الصيام إلى الليل (الآية 187)
Stay fasting until the nightfall (2-187).
It is well known that the nightfall starts right after sunset.
19- In some situations, the moon of the month of Ramadan may be seen in the country of the Muslim or another country where he is staying, and he starts fasting. Then he travels later to another country in which the month of Ramadan had started one day before or one day after. In such case, if he would stay in that country until the end of the month of Ramadan, he would be tied by the fasting of the Muslims of that country and has to break his fasting with them, even if he may fast one day more or one day less.
However, the Muslim should fast at least 29 days, because the month in the Islamic calendar has to be 29 or 30 days. Seeing the moon of the month of Shawwal in a county after 28 days from the start of the month of Ramadan would mean that the Muslims of that country had started the month of Ramadan wrongfully one day later. Accordingly, those Muslims have to make up for that day later on, but not on the Eid day (first day of Shawwal) because that day is prohibited for fasting.
20- The Muslim could be living in a country where the duration of the day and night will be more than 24 hours, as the case in Scandinavian countries. In such case the Muslim has to estimate the length of the day according to the nearest place to him, where the duration of day and night is normal, to determine the length of his fasting time.
We pray to Allah SWT to bestow upon us the knowledge that would benefit us and others. Ameen!
Written by Sayed Abutaleb
Imam of Masjid Fatima, Woodside, NY

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Masjid Fatima, Woodside New York

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