Questions and Answers on Fasting
Following are common questions and answers people usually pose regarding the duty of fasting, and they are answered according to the Fatwas and jurisprudential opinion of His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra): Q: I am an emulator of the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Fadlullah (ra); on what shall I rely with regard to the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadan?
A: The emulators of Sayyed Fadlullah (ra) should remain on his jurisprudential opinion with regard to determining the beginning of the month, knowing that the juristic office of His Eminence issues a statement in which it determines the beginning of the month of Ramadan as well as the other Hijri months according to the jurisprudential opinion of His Eminence (ra).
Q: Is the Mukallaf allowed to go against the opinion of the Religious Authority he emulates regarding the beginnings of the lunar months?
A: No, he is no allowed to do so, for establishing the beginnings of the lunar months has to do with the jurisprudential opinion of the religious authority whose opinion can still be followed even after his death.
Q: Is establishing the beginnings of the lunar months part of the new issues for which one ought to refer to a living religious authority?
A: Establishing the beginnings of the lunar months, such as the beginning of the month of Ramadan or the first day of the Eid, is not part of the new issues; thus, the emulators of His Eminence (ra) can continue to follow his opinion regarding this matter.
Q: What is the method you follow to determine the beginnings of the lunar months?
A: The crescent is established as being born: by sighting, the testimony of two just persons, the passing of thirty days from the crescent in the previous month and by the ruling of the Islamic judge as well as by any scientific effort that leads to certainty or reassurance that the moon has left the wane which is determined by accurate astronomical calculations that determine its birth, and usually this is not a matter of disagreement; rather, it determines for sure that the crescent is born and has left the wane. However, a certain time should elapse during which the crescent stores a certain quantity of light that enables it to be seen by the naked eye if there are no natural obstacles, and this depends on several factors, some of which are: the age of the crescent, its altitude and angular distance and the viewer’s sharp eye, as well as other factors that take part in the sighting process. Once the crescent is established as born in one country, then it is established as born in every country which shares with the first country a part of the night, even if the horizon is not the same.
Q: Are astronomical calculations beyond any doubt, and are they the same in all observations?
A: The precision of astronomical calculations is beyond doubt regarding the moment of “birth” of the crescent, its conjunction and the other movements of planets and stars and their satellites, and they do not differ in such matters. As for the question of sighting and its possibility, it is something that is calculated on the basis of the data of the observations that have been collected for decades, and that is confirmed by the advanced modern observatories.
On the other hand, there are those who take one factor into consideration, such as the “birth” of the crescent and neglect the others, like the altitude and the angle between the moon – earth – sun and others. Nevertheless, one could still rely on the data which are proven to be precise beyond doubt.
Q: What about reaching a unified position regarding the sighting of the crescent in the age of technology?
A. There is a juristic opinion that imposes itself on a lot of religious scholars. This opinion considers that sighting the moon [by the naked eye] is the basis of proving the beginning and the end of any lunar month. But from a juristic point of view, according to the way we analyze the issue, we believe that the lunar month is a universal phenomenon that Allah had created before He created man, for He says: “Surely the number of months with Allah is twelve months in Allah’s ordinance.” (09:36).
The month is a part of the universal system of defining time. Therefore, the beginning of the month is an objective phenomenon that has nothing to do with whether man sees the crescent or not. It is a manifestation of the astronomical laws that Allah set in the universe to differentiate between one month and another. That is why, once the moon leaves the wane and a certain time elapses until it is able to be seen, we rule that the month has begun even if nobody sees it. We rely in this ruling on the precision of the astronomical system as defined by the calculations of experienced astronomical scientists, taking into consideration that witnesses may be wrong especially when the sky is not clear.
Q: On the issue of determining the beginning of the lunar month, the point of sharing a part of the night with the regions where sighting the crescent is possible to establish the beginning of the month in the other regions which share a part of the night with it is brought up, what is meant by that?
A: What is meant is having a common night between the two regions in the sense that the dawn does not break in one of them before the sun sets in the other, so as to establish that the crescent was sighted on the eve of the day before since there exists [the notion of] the unity of the horizon in the entire world, for the lunar month is a month for all the regions of the world, and there is no such thing as a month for every region.
Q: Was fasting deemed an obligatory duty on the onset of commissioning Prophet Muhammad (p.) to the prophethood?
A: Fasting was deemed obligatory through the Ayahs that were revealed to the Prophet (p.) in Al-Madina, for Al-Baqarah Surah is part of the Surahs that were revealed in Al-Madina, which reveals, most probably, that fasting was not deemed obligatory at the beginning of the call to Allah or when the Prophet (p.) was in Mecca; thus, fasting did not start on the onset of commissioning him to the prophethood, and Allah knows best.
Q: Should one renew the intention (Niyyah) of fasting every night, or is making the Niyyah at the beginning of the month sufficient for all the days of the month?
A: Making the Niyyah at the beginning of the month is sufficient for the whole month.
Q: What is the reality concerning the invitation of Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) for somebody to break a recommended fast?
A: The main thing about it is the tradition of Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) that recommends the one who is performing a recommended fasting to accept the invitation of a fellow Muslim to break his fast, knowing that Allah would grant the one who breaks his fast the reward of fasting, for he has accepted the invitation of his Muslim brother.
Q: Is it permissible to fast the whole of the months of Rajab, Shaaban and Ramadan consecutively?
A: It is permissible, knowing that it is recommended to fast during the months of Rajab and Shaaban.
Q: What is the ruling regarding smoking in the month of Ramadan, for as far as I know, anything that enters the body of he who is fasting breaks his fast, while you say that smoking does not break one’s fast?
A: Not everything that enters the body of he who is fasting breaks his fast; but rather, it is restricted to the foods and drinks even if they were not of the usual kind, and it does not include smoking, for it is narrated that when Imam Ar-Rida (a.s.) was asked on the ruling concerning the smoke entering the mouth of the one fasting, he answered that it is permissible and acceptable.
However, it must be noted that the act of smoking, in itself, is forbidden due to the harm it leads to, according to the testimonies of experts; thus, it is impermissible for he who is fasting to smoke for the mentioned reason and for the fact that he would be profaning the sanctity of the blessed month of Ramadan.
Q: Should a pregnant woman fast during the month of Ramadan or not?
A: If fasting harms her or affects her pregnancy, in a way that makes her fear for her pregnancy, then she is allowed not to fast and she has to make up for it by giving out a Fidya (compensation) in case she felt scared for her pregnancy.
Q: What is the ruling regarding the fast of he who intentionally performs Ghusl after dawn in the month of Ramadan, although he woke up before dawn and did not perform Ghusl out of laziness?
A: He should continue his fast; however, he ought to make up for it and pay a Kaffara (atonement) as an obligatory precaution.
Q: If someone intentionally breaks his fast more than once in the month of Ramadan, should he pay several Kaffaras (atonements)?
A: For every day one breaks his fast intentionally, he should pay a Kaffara; however, if he ingested what breaks his fast several times in the same day, then he should only pay one Kaffara for that day.
Q: Does swallowing the saliva found in one’s mouth invalidate his fast?
A: Swallowing the saliva found in one’s mouth does not invalidate his fasting, even if it was abundant. Moreover, fasting is not invalidated by swallowing the phlegm secreted from the head or the chest, and most probably, even if it reaches the top of the throat.
Q: Does toothpaste break one’s fasting if it is used in the month of Ramadan?
A: No, it does not break the fast, provided that one does not intentionally swallow any of the paste.
Q: If I have to pay a compensation (Fidya) for not performing some fasting days, would my fasting be valid before I pay it?
A: Yes it would.
Q: Many satellite channels, throughout the year, prepare for the month of Ramadan by preparing and making entertainment programs, including games, songs and the like, what do you say about that?
A: We see that the mentality which governs such a frivolous atmosphere is based on the conception that the one who is fasting is a tired person going through psychological distress as a result of forsaking foods and drinks. Thus, they try to compensate all that by making him indulge in an atmosphere of joy, happiness, frivolity, enjoyment and pleasure. However, this is a misconception, for Allah wanted the one who is fasting to live the experience of fasting during the day, and to ascend his spirit to Him so as to live with Him and get closer to Him at night. This, this atmosphere that is being prepared for the month of Ramadan, at day or at night, is far from the atmosphere of fasting that is meant to get man closer to Allah and drive him away from all such frivolous atmospheres. It must be noted that we are not against enjoyment, but at the same time, we do not want the kind of enjoyment that burdens the soul.
Q: I have to pay a Kaffara of feeding ten poor people. Is it permissible if I pay the money to an Islamic charitable organization that pays the money in the right place?
A: It is permissible to pay the money to the party that you trust it will spend the money in feeding the poor.
Q: What is the ruling regarding he who fasts but does not pray? Is not that considered an act of sin in a day of worship? Is not abstaining from committing sins better than abstaining from food?
A: Not performing prayers is a big sin, and fasting is an act of worship that seeks attaining piety. So, he who fasts fulfilling the command of Allah should succumb to the commands of Allah in the other matters, especially prayers that constitute the pillar of religion and the will of our Prophet (p.) and his Household Members (a.s.), whose intercession we will be deprived of if we do not perform them as supposed. Abstaining from eating and drinking is an introduction to immunize oneself against the forbidden acts in all the other months. When Imam Ali (a.s.) asked the Prophet (p.) about the best deeds in this month, he said: “Avoiding the acts Allah has forbidden.” Thus, we do not say that the fasting of he who does not pray is invalid, but he should commit to the prayers and performing the duties and forsaking all what is forbidden so that all his deeds would be accepted, for Allah says: “Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil).” (05:27).
Q: When is a person considered to be someone who travels a lot?
A: The one who is meant by traveling a lot is he who repeats his travel at least four times in a month, whether for work, studies or other purposes.
Q: Is it permissible for someone who is fasting to cover a certain distance for the sole purpose of breaking his fast intentionally, knowing that he covers the distance by car and without any hardship?
A: It is permissible for the one fasting to travel intentionally, even if it is not necessary, and he can break his fast. The allowance of breaking one’s fast while traveling is not related to the hardships of travel; but rather, it is a gift from Allah, the Most Exalted, to the traveler as narrated in traditions. It is a Divine worshipping legislation and one should abide by it.
Q: If one is performing a recommended fasting, would he break his fast if he unintentionally drank water?
A: If one unintentionally takes in what breaks the fast, whether in a recommended or obligatory fasting, then his fasting remains valid.
Q: Does the drop used in the eye or other places break one’s fasting?
A: Anything that enters into one’s body from a place other than the pharynx is acceptable, if it is not considered a food or drink, such as entering a medication into the ear or the eye, even if one can feel its taste, or penetrating a needle or the like in one’s body and it reached the inside of the body, or injecting a medication into the body through the hand or the thigh by using a needle, or using the asthma spray, and other cases that are not classified as foods or drinks. As for the nose drop, apparently, it is classified under the category of foods and drinks, as it is close to the pharynx, thus, it breaks one’s fasting.
Q: When does abstaining from eating and drinking (Imsak) start? It is at the morning Adhan or before it?
A: Abstinence from eating and drinking starts at dawn, for Allah says: “And eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread.” (02:187). But since it should start at dawn, one should abstain a little bit before that to ensure that his fasting is valid, especially that the Adhan might be late owing to certain precautions.
Q: Is purity a condition for fasting in the month of Ramadan?
A: Purity from Al-Hadath Al-Akbar that happens before dawn is a condition for the validity of fasting, and not purity from An-Najasa Al-Khabitha. This is true with respect to the menses and Nifas (postnatal blood), and it is an obligatory precaution regarding the Janabah occurrence.
Q: Does not seeing the crescent mean actually seeing it as a condition to fast?
A: The Holy Ayah: “Who witnesses the month let him fast it,” does not talk about seeing it; but rather, it talks about being present. Although the word “Shahida” in Arabic could mean “see”, but one should take this word in context as the rest of the Ayah says that if anyone is ill or traveling, then he should fast at another time.
Q: Is it permissible for one to have a deep sleep from the morning Ath’an to the sunset (Maghrib), and is his fasting accepted?
A: Indeed, his fasting is deemed valid.
Q: Does the eardrop break one’s fast or not, knowing that it is used to melt the wax found in the ear?
A: No, eardrops do not break one’s fast.
Q: Is it permissible to distribute the Zakat of Al-Fitra among several poor people?
A: This is permissible.
Q: Why should the traveler break his fast after traveling for a certain distance, knowing that traveling these days no longer causes any hardships?
A: Such conditions are parts of the acts of worship that we should abide by. They have nothing to do with getting tired. It has been stated in the Quran as such: “For a certain number of days; but whoever among you is sick or on a journey, then (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days; and those who are not able to do it may effect a redemption by feeding a poor man; so whoever does good spontaneously it is better for him; and that you fast is better for you if you know.” (02:184).
Q: What is the interpretation of the following Ayah: “or on a journey” (02:184), for many people travel for no reason whatsoever other than not fasting; is this permissible?
A: This is permissible, yet it is detested (Makruh) before the twenty third night of the month of Ramadan passes, knowing that the Ayah signifies that not being on a journey is a condition for the validity of fasting.
Q: Is the homeland of the father considered his son’s homeland as well?
A: It would be his homeland, unless he does not consider it as being so.
Q: At what exact time of sunset can one break his fast?
A: Sunset takes place as soon as the disk of the sun disappears and there is no need to wait for the disappearance of the eastern redness, knowing that waiting for the disappearance of the eastern redness is a recommended precaution; thus, one can break his fast when the disk of the sun disappears in the horizon.
Q: How assuring are the astronomical calculations with respect to determining the beginning of the month of Ramadan or the Eid?
A: Scientific calculations that have to do with the movement of the sun and the moon that rely on advanced technological means have become so precise that one can feel assured to rely on what is an argument in knowing one’s religious duty.
Q: Does His Eminence, Sayyed Fadlullah (ra) believe in the unity of the horizon?
A: Yes he does, in the sense that if the crescent is proven to be born in one country, it is said to be proven as such in all the countries that share a part of the night with the first country.
Q: On what basis does the late Sayyed (ra) rely regarding the issue of sighting the crescent?
A: We rely on the astronomical birth of the crescent, coupled with the objective possibility if sighting it. In this respect, the problem of Muslims is that they stick to the apparent meaning of the text without trying to understand its contextual meaning or the idea it is based on. This idea is simply that the issue of the beginning and end of the lunar months is a matter associated to the cosmic system, and not to man, for He says: “Surely the number of months with Allah is twelve months in Allah’s ordinance since the day when He created the heavens and the earth…” (09:36). When the moon enters the wane (the dark area), the month comes to an end; and when it gets out of it and we can see it were it not for the obstacles, the month starts.
Q: It is narrated that the Messenger (p.) said: “Do not begin fasting until you sight it, and do not [end] fasting until you sight it,” but he did not mention sighting it with the naked eye. Can we then say that sighting it could be done via scientific means?
A: The authentic traditions we rely on emphasize being certain in a way that does not leave any place for doubt. This means that we ought to rely on certainty, and sighting is one of the means that establish certainty, but if we have another means that will make us more certain, then we ought to rely on it, especially that nowadays the space is filled with elements that create an obstacle, making sighting quite difficult.
Q: From where do we start calculating the distance of travel?
A: Calculating the traveled distance from the beginning of the journey should start from the last house of the village or city from which one leaves, to the first house of the village or city headed for from the side one enters into it at the end of the journey.
Q: What is Zakat Al-Fitra?
A: It is an amount of money that should be paid on behalf of every person on a given day; the first of the month of Shawwal, marking Eid Al-Fitr, from which the word Fitra is derived. It is also permissible to give it out before this specified date.
Q: If a person breaks his fast on the eve of the Eid at his parents’, who should pay the Fitra?
A: It is not enough for one to break his fast at his parents’ to have them pay Al-Fitra on his behalf; but rather, he ought to sleep over at his parents’ house as well on the eve of the Eid.
Q: Is the Eid prayer obligatory or recommended?
A: It is obligatory only if the infallible Imam is present; if not, it is recommended. In such a case, it could be performed either individually or in congregation, noting that it should be performed in congregation if it is obligatory.
Q: How is the Eid prayer performed?
A: The Eid prayer is composed of two Raka’s. The worshipper would first recite his intention, and then say Allahu Akbar (Takbir). Then, he should recite Al-Fatiha followed by another Surah, and then say Allahu Akbar (Takbir) followed by a supplication (Qunoot). He has to repeat the Takbir and Qunoot five times, and then bow and make the two prostrations. By this, he would have completed the first Raka’. The second Raka’ is performed in the same way, except that the Takbir and Qunoot are repeated four times. Then, the worshipper has to bow and prostrate, recite Al-Shahada and perform Taslim.
There is no Adhan or Iqamah in this prayer, and it could be performed from sunrise until noon.
Q: I did not pay Zakat Al-Fitra on my behalf on the specified date on the day of the Eid. Today, I want to make up for what I have missed; what should I do?
A: It is permissible for he who did not pay Zakat Al-Fitra on its specified date although he was financially able to do so to pay it now. As for he who was not financially able to pay Zakat Al-Fitra at the time, he does not have to pay it now.
Q: Is it permissible for a person to perform any recommended fasting before performing the obligatory fasting he has missed in the previous months of Ramadan?
A: It is impermissible for a person who is due to make up for any obligatory fasting on his behalf to perform recommended fasting.
Q: What is the time interval between the false dawn (Al-Fajr Al-Kazib) and the true dawn (Al-Fajr As-Sadiq)?
A: It is around fifteen minutes.
Q: If he who has to make up for missed fasting days, doubts the number of days he has to make up for, should he rule for the higher or lesser number of days?
A: He should rule for the lesser number of days.
Q: If someone was invited to break his fast in a month other than Ramadan, does he receive the same reward of fasting if he broke his fast?
A: This is true if one’s fasting was recommended, and he receives the same reward of fasting if he answers the invitation of his fellow Muslim brother.
Q: What is the Kaffara (atonement) that ought to be given out for breaking the fast intentionally? To whom should it be given out?
A: The atonement for breaking one’s fast intentionally is either fasting two consecutive months or feeding sixty poor people, for each a “Midd” of food, and a “Midd” stands for three forth of one kilogram, knowing that the poor is he who cannot sustain himself for a whole year.
Q: If the one who is fasting swallows some water while gargling whilst performing ablution, should he repeat fasting this day?
A: His fasting is valid, and he does not have to repeat fasting this day.
Q: What is the ruling regarding smoking whilst fasting?
A: It is impermissible to smoke, whether while fasting or at any other time, due to the severe damages of smoking that lead to dangerous or fatal diseases. Moreover, the one smoking while he is fasting is actually violating the holiness of this blessed month, even when we deem that smoking does not break one’s fast.
Q: What is the ruling regarding using the nutritive serum whilst fasting?
A: Using the nutritive serum breaks one’s fast.
Q: What is the ruling regarding moisturizing the lips with the tongue whilst praying and fasting?
A: This is permissible, and it does not break one’s fast.
Q: Some religiously uncommitted doctors prevent certain patients from fasting under the pretense that it causes harm. Is their opinion valid?
A: Yes, it is, provided that they are experts.
Q: Does cursing, swearing and saying bad words invalidate one’s fasting?
No, it does not invalidate one’s fasting, but such acts are forbidden for the Prophet (p.) says: “Allah has made paradise prohibited to anyone who curses or abuses, who is impolite and does not care about what he says or what people say to him.”
Q: Should the children under the age of Takleef pay Fitra (the almsgiving for breaking the fast at the end of the month of Ramadan)?
A: Parents should pay the Fitra on behalf of their children.
Q: What should the intention (Niyyah) be for making up any missed fasting?
A: The intention should be: “I shall fast tomorrow, seeking closeness to Allah, the Most Exalted,” knowing that it is not obligatory to actually recite it, and it is enough to have the intention of doing so.
Q: Is it permissible for one to volunteer to fast on behalf of the others, if he himself has missed days of fasting and he has to re-perform them?
A: It is impermissible for he who has to re-perform missed days of fasting to volunteer to fast on behalf of others.
Q: What is the difference between Fidya (compensation) and Kaffara (atonement)? How much is each of them?
A: The Fidya is due if one does not perform the missed fasting before the next month of Ramadan or if the pregnant or breastfeeding woman breaks her fast out of fear for her baby. As for the Kaffara, it is due if one intentionally breaks his fast, knowing that the atonement of breaking the fast in one day of the month of Ramadan is feeding sixty poor people, and the atonement of breaking the fast in a day in which one is making up for a missed fasting is feeding ten poor people.
Q: Is it permissible for a person to perform any recommended fasting before performing the obligatory fasting he has missed in the previous months of Ramadan?
A: This is not accepted, and he has to perform the missed obligatory fasting first.
Q: What is the time limit during which one can recite the intention of fasting, whether to make up for any missed fasting (Qadha’) or to perform recommended fasting?
A: In the Qadha’ fasting, the time limit for reciting the Niyyah extends until before the Duhr (noon) Adhan, while in the recommended fasting, the time limit extends until before sunset.
Q: If sighting the crescent is established in a country, is it also established in all the other countries, or is there a crescent for every country?
A: Every country has a certain timing for sighting the crescent, knowing that if the crescent was sighted in one country, it is established as sighted in all the countries with whom that country shares a part of the night.
Q: Is breaking the fast while traveling obligatory?
A: Breaking the fast while traveling is obligatory if the travel necessitates shortening the prayers and breaking the fast; however, traveling after the Zawal (noon time) does not necessitate breaking the fast.
Q: Is the intention of fasting deemed valid if it is made just before sunset?
A: The time of the intention of the recommended fasting remains open until before sunset; i.e. just before the sun’s disc disappears, if the Mukallaf had not consumed what could break his fast.
Q: Is it permissible for the woman to take pills that stop her menstrual cycle in the month of Ramadan?
A: This is permissible, if it is not harmful to her, and her fasting is deemed valid in those days.
Q: Should the woman who is in a state of Istihada perform Ghusl before dawn in the month of Ramadan?
A: She is allowed to postpone the Ghusl until after dawn and her fasting is deemed valid.
Q: What is the ruling regarding fasting if one is staying in a country in which daytime is long?
A: If the Mukallaf can fast without harming himself, then he should fast; however, if he cannot put up with fasting or fears to be inflicted with any harm, then he is allowed not to fast and perform the missed fasting later. It must be noted that it is impermissible to break the fasting before sunset, since the duration of fasting extends from dawn till sunset, according to the country he is in.
Q: Who are the people exempted from fasting?
A: They are: the sick, the traveler, the old man and woman who cannot fast or to whom fasting causes hardship, the one whom fasting weakens due to his weak physical structure or because he works in a strenuous job that drains him and prevents him from fasting and that he cannot do without it for his living, the one suffering from critical thirst, the pregnant woman who is about to give birth, and the breastfeeding woman whose milk is very little.
Q: We have a patient suffering from hemorrhoids, and he needs rectal injections, would his fasting be affected?
A: Rectal injections break the fasting, as an obligatory precaution; thus, he ought to make up for the days in which he had rectal injections, as a precaution.
Q: Does pulling the tooth out using local anesthetic in the month of Ramadan invalidate fasting?
A: having the tooth pulled out even by using local anesthetic does not invalidate fasting provided that one makes sure not to swallow any blood and other material.
Q: Does having wet dreams during the day in the month of Ramadan break the fasting?
A: No, it does not break the fasting.
Q: If a person used not to perform Ghusl of Janaba not knowing that he should, what is the ruling regarding his prayers and fasting?
A: He should re-perform his prayers and not the fasting.
Q: Does the nutritive serum break one’s fast?
A: The nutritive serum breaks one’s fast, unless it includes a medication.
Q: Is my fast broken if I eat unintentionally?
A: Eating unintentionally does not invalidate fasting.
Q: Should one wait twenty minutes after the disappearance of the disc of the sun to break his fast?
A: No, he should not, and it is permissible to break the fast as the disc of the sun disappears; however, as a recommended precaution, it is preferred to wait until the disappearance of the eastern redness; i.e. 13 minutes after the disc of the sun disappears.
Q: Should one perform the Maghrib (sunset) prayer before breaking the fast?
A: No, he should not.
Q: Does the steam generated by the hot water while taking a shower invalidate fasting?
A: Steam does not invalidate fasting.
Q: Does tasting the food invalidate fasting?
A: The cook is allowed to taste the food, and his fasting would not be invalidated, provided that he tries his best not to swallow any of it.
Q: At what time should the intention of fasting in the month of Ramadan be made?
A: He should be intending to fast before the break of dawn.
Q: What are the things that break fasting?
A: What breaks fasting is: eating, drinking, sexual relations, intentional ejaculation of sperm, intentional remaining in a state of impurity as a result of menstruation or Nifas until the break of dawn with the ability to purify oneself before dawn. The things that break the fast as an obligatory precaution are liquid injections, intentional vomiting, and intentionally remaining in a state of Janabah.
Q: What is the ruling if one unintentionally consumes what breaks his fast, and then he breaks his fast thinking that his fasting has been invalidated?
A: Consuming what breaks the fast unintentionally does not invalidate neither the recommended nor the obligatory fasting, whether it is an on-time duty or a make-up duty and he who breaks his fast thinking that his fasting was invalidated as in the said case, then he should re-perform the fasting later without paying atonement (Kaffara).
Q: Does fluid injections break one’s fast?
A: Fluid injections, as an obligatory precaution, break one’s fast, even if it was used as a medical treatment. As for what is medically known as suppositories or other solids, such as ointments and the like, they do not break the fast.
Q: Does immersing the head in water break one’s fast?
A: Immersing the head in water does not break one’s fast, but he who is fasting should avoid doing do as an obligatory precaution.
Q: Does the inhalation of dust break the fast?
A: Inhaling thick and light dust, even if intentionally, does not break one’s fast, but one should avoid inhaling the thick dust as a recommended precaution. Moreover, steam and smoke from any source whatsoever do not break one’s fast, neither do the paint and glue sprayed by the modern pressure machines.
Q: Should an old woman who does not fast and cannot make up for not fasting pay a Kaffara (atonement)?
A: If she is not able to fast or fasting could threaten her life, then she does not have to pay a Kaffara.
Q: Is it permissible for the one traveling to fast?
A: Fasting while traveling is absolutely invalidated, even if the traveler does not eat or drink. However, if the traveler returns to his homeland before (zawal) noon without having consumed what could break his fast, then he can make the intention of fasting and fast on this day. The same ruling applies if he reaches his destination before noon and makes the intention of a ten-day stay, then he has to make the intention of fasting and fast, if he had not consumed what could break his fast.
Q: Is the woman who is in a state of dysfunctional uterine bleeding (Istihada) allowed to fast?
A: Indeed, she is allowed to fast.
Q: Does placing a suppository in the rectum or the cervix (the neck of the womb) invalidate fasting?
A: No, it does not.
Q: Does brushing the teeth using a toothbrush and toothpaste break one’s fast?
A: No, it does not break the fast, provided that one does not intentionally swallow some of the paste.
Q: Does swimming in a pool without immersing the head in water or having water reach the mouth invalidate fasting, be it recommended, obligatory or made up for (Qadha’)?
A: No, it does not (in all the said cases), and it is preferred not to immerse the entire head in water while fasting as an obligatory precaution.
Q: Is it permissible for a patient to undergo the procedure of introducing water into his rectum (enema) in the month of Ramadan? Does it invalidate fasting?
A: Fasting is invalidated by enema as an obligatory precaution. A patient may resort to it in necessary cases; however, he ought to make up for the days in which he undergoes the said procedure.
Q: What is the ruling if one drinks water forgetting that he is fasting in both the recommended and obligatory fasting?
A: One’s fasting is not invalidated upon consuming what breaks the fasting out of forgetfulness, and there is no difference in this ruling between the recommended and obligatory fasting.
Q: Does involuntary vomiting invalidate fasting?
A: No, it does not break fasting provided that it is unintentional.
Q: What is the ruling if the woman’s menstruation ends before dawn in the month of Ramadan and she does not perform Ghusl?
A: If her act was intentional, she should make up for the missed day and pay a Kaffara; if it was unintentional, her fasting is deemed valid.
Q: Do dentures (false teeth) placed in the mouth invalidate fasting?
A: No, they do not.
Q: When is the traveler allowed to break his fast? Is he allowed to eat and drink while still at home?
A: No, he is not. He is only allowed to break his fast when he passes Had At-Tarakhus; the point from which the traveler is allowed to break his fast; i.e. the location outside the perimeters of his residence area in which he can no more see the houses.
Q: Does Kuhl (whether Arabic Kuhl or pencil-like Kuhl) invalidate fasting?
A: No, it does not.
Q: Does gargling using a liquid-medicine for the pharynx invalidate fasting?
A: No, it does not invalidate fasting, provided that one does not intentionally swallow any of it.
Q: If blood comes out of one’s gum and it gets mixed with his saliva without knowing if it goes down to his stomach or not, what is the ruling regarding his fasting?
A: His fasting is deemed valid.
Q: Does phlebotomy (extracting blood samples from the veins) invalidate fasting?
A: No, it does not; however, it becomes abominable (Makruh) if it weakens the one fasting.
Q: If the traveler wants to return to his homeland and he knows that he will reach there before noon, is it obligatory that he does not consume what could break his fast and fast instead?
A: No, it is not obligatory, and he can break his fast during his trip back to home; however, if he returns and reaches his homeland before noon without having broken his fast, then he should fast.
Q: Is it recommended to wake up at the Sahar (a period of about 1-2 hours before daybreak) in the month of Ramadan?
A: This is recommended in order to eat the Suhoor meal to avoid any weakness that could be caused by the fast and to revive the night worshipping Allah, such as performing the night prayer, reciting the Sahar supplications and others…
Q: Does wearing perfume and smelling flowers in the month of Ramadan invalidate fasting?
A: It is abominable (Makruh) for the one fasting to smell flowers, although it does not invalidate fasting, and it is not abominable for him to wear perfume whether on the clothes or on the body.
Q: Does pelvic examination invalidate fasting?
A: No, it does not.
Q: Does general or local anesthesia for surgeries break one’s fast?
A: If the anesthesia is done after the intention of fasting, then the fasting is not invalidated, even if it was a general anesthesia. As for local anesthesia, it causes no problems whatsoever with regard to fasting. If general anesthesia took place before dawn and before making the intention of fasting, then, fasting is invalidated and one should make up for this day.
Q: Does treating tooth decay using different filling materials invalidate fasting?
A: It does not invalidate fasting as long as one does not swallow anything while undergoing treatment.
Q: Does an endometrial biopsy invalidate the woman’s fasting?
A: No, it does not.
Q: What is the ruling regarding diving in the sea in the month of Ramadan if diving is a part of one’s job?
A: This is forbidden as an obligatory precaution if one dives without a helmet or full face mask. In any case, one should avoid this (diving without a helmet) unless it is necessary, as in the case of one that diving is part of his job, meaning that he cannot forsake diving, knowing that if he dives, whether for an excuse or not, his fasting is not invalidated. As for diving with a full face mask, it is permissible and it does not invalidate fasting.
Q: Does gastroesophageal reflux invalidate fasting?
A: If it is unintentional, then it does not break the fast.
Q: Does swallowing the phlegm invalidate fasting?
A: No, it does not.
Q: Is it permissible for the traveler who is exempted from fasting in the month of Ramadan to eat at any time or place?
A: This is permissible, and it is recommended for the one not fasting for an excuse not to eat and drink to the full, and he should take the general situation of the fasters into consideration. It must be noted that he is not allowed to eat in public places as this would violate the sanctity of the blessed month of Ramadan.
Q: Do ear drops invalidate fasting?
A: No, they do not.
Q: When is the traveler allowed to remain fasting, if his travel was not for work or he does not travel much (at least four times a month)?
A: He can fast on the day of his travel, if he is able to return to his homeland before noon without having broken his fast, then he should remain fasting, if his travel started before noon.
Q: What is meant by immersing the head in water, and is someone considered to be immersing his head in water by taking a shower?
A: It means to cover the head totally with water, and taking a shower does not mean that one is immersing his head in water.
Q: What is the ruling if one remains fasting while traveling, should he pay a Kaffara?
A: If his travel necessitates breaking the fast, then he should make up for this day without having to pay a Kaffara.
Q: What is the ruling if one has to pay a Fidya but he cannot afford it?
A: If one cannot afford paying the Fidya, then he exempted from it until he is able to pay it.
Q: Is the traveler allowed to remain willingly fasting after passing Had At-Tarakhus; the point from which the traveler is allowed to break his fast?
A: If he passes Had At-Tarakhus and he was intending to cover the distance that requires breaking the fast, then he is not allowed to continue fasting, and he should make up for this day.
Q: Is the daughter allowed to pay Fidya or Kaffara to her mother if the latter is entitled to them?
A: No, she is not allowed to pay the Fidya or Kaffara to any of the parents, because she is dutifully obliged to support them, unless she is unable to provide for them.
Q: What is the ruling for deliberately not fasting (without an excuse) in the month of Ramadan?
A: One has to repent and ask Allah for forgiveness. He also has to make up for that day and pay a Kaffara. Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “One who does not fast a day in the month of Ramadan, the “soul of faith” departs from him.”
Q: What is the ruling if one still had some fasting days to make up for and he did not before the following month of Ramadan?
A: If the Mukallaf still had fasting days to make up for and he did not before the following month of Ramadan, then he has to pay a Fidya which is to feed a needy person for every missed day a 3/4 kilo of flour and make up for the missed days later.
Q: When should the faster observe Imsak (start fasting at dawn)? Should he follow the sunset and sunrise timings as found in the journal or the followed calendars?
A: If one is assured that the timings are set by an expert astronomer, then one can rely on them to determine the timings of prayer and fasting, knowing that Imsak starts from the true dawn; thus, as a precaution, it is preferred to observe Imsak a little while before the break of dawn.
Q: Does the eye drop invalidate fasting?
A: No, it does not.
Q: What is the ruling if one found out that he observed Imsak after the break of dawn not knowing the actual time?
A: If he had checked and thought that it was still night, then his fasting is valid; if not, it is deemed invalid and he ought to make up for this day, knowing that he is not considered to have sinned and no Kaffara is incumbent on him as long as he was doubtful.
Q: Is it permissible to drink while doubting that the dawn has broken?
A: It is permissible to drink while doubting that the dawn has broken; however, if you found out later that you ate or drank after the dawn had broken, then you should make up for this day, but you are considered to have committed a sin and you do not have to pay a Kaffara.
Q: Should the poor give out Zakat Al-Fitra on behalf of himself and his family?
A: Zakat Al-Fitra (the alms of breaking the fast) is incumbent only on he who can provide the provisions for a year; however, even the poor is recommended to give it out on behalf of himself and his family when he can afford it. Moreover, it is recommended for he who can afford paying the said alms on behalf of one person to circulate the alms on the family members, in the sense that the father gives his alms to one of his family members and that member would give it to another member and so on until the last member would give it to someone who is entitled to receive it from outside the family.
Q: Who should pay the Kaffara if the husband makes a sexual relation with his wife during the day in the month of Ramadan?
A: If the wife had approved of that, each of them ought to pay the Kaffara on behalf of himself; if she had not, then the husband ought to pay two Kaffaras, one on behalf of himself and the other on behalf of his wife as an obligatory precaution. Moreover, it is permissible for the husband to pay the Kaffara on behalf of his wife even if she had approved of the sexual relation.
Q: What is the ruling if the traveler breaks his fast not knowing the ruling?
A: He ought to make up for this day without paying a Kaffara.
Q: Is it permissible for one to make up for the missed fasting days while on travel?
A: No, this is not permissible.
Q: Is it permissible to fast on Friday without fasting on the previous day, Thursday?
A: This is permissible, be it fasting to make up for missed days or recommended.
Q: How should one calculate the ten days he intends to stay at a certain place in terms of their beginning and end?
A: What is meant by the ten days are ten days with nine nights included within, and they are the nights between the first and the last day. The day commences at the break of dawn, so the intention to stay in a certain country from the break of dawn of the first day of the month, for example, until the sunset of the tenth day is regarded as Iqamah (staying in one place for ten days). However, if one makes the intention for the Iqamah during the day, whether in the morning, noon or afterwards, he has to stay for the same part of the starting day; i.e. if he made the intention in the morning, he has to stay until the morning of the tenth day and so on. Moreover, the stay should be continuous in the same country. Thus, if one travels to another country, or he is not sure that he will stay for ten days, then he has not met the requirements of the Iqamah, so all its rulings would not apply to this case.
Q: Should a pregnant woman fast during the month of Ramadan or not?
A: If fasting harms her or affects her pregnancy, in a way that makes her fear for her pregnancy, then she is allowed not to fast and she has to make up for it by giving out a Fidya (compensation).
Q: If the Mukallaf makes the intention to perform recommended fasting, but during the day he remembers that he still has some fasting days he has to make up for (Qadha’), is he allowed to change his intention to perform the Qadha’?
A: He should change his intention if he remembers so before noon; if not, it is considered as recommended.
Q: What is the ruling regarding the fasting of a pregnant woman?
A: She has to fast unless fasting harms her or affects her pregnancy (fetus).
Q: When should one observe Imsak; i.e. abstain from foods and drinks and anything that breaks his fasting?
A: Allah says: “And eat and drink until the whiteness of the day becomes distinct from the blackness of the night at dawn, then complete the fast till night” (02: 187). One should observe Imsak before the break of dawn, in the sense that when the dawn breaks, he should have observed Imsak; i.e. abstained from eating and drinking. One can refer to the trustworthy calendars, and it is unacceptable to keep consuming what breaks the fast until hearing the sound of Adhan in the mosques, as it might not be accurate and some might even delay reciting the Adhan until after the dawn breaks.
Q: What is the ruling regarding fasting for those who live in countries where the day is long?
A: They ought to fast from the dawn till sunset according to their country’s timeline; if one can fast, then he ought to fast; if not, he can make up for it later.
Q: What is the ruling if one drinks water forgetting that he is fasting a recommended fasting?
A: If the one fasting consumes what breaks his fast out of forgetfulness, whether his fasting was recommended or obligatory, then his fasting is deemed valid.
Q: Does the eardrop breaks the fast, knowing that it is sometimes used to melt the wax in the ear?
A: No, it does not.