Ramadan is a deeply important time for Muslims, and requires them to fast. (Picture: Getty)
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is marked by Muslims worldwide as a month of day-time fasting.
The annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam and commemorates Muhammad’s first revelation.
The end of the month of fasting is celebrated on May 13 when Eid al-Fitr – ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’ – takes place.
If you’re worried about breaking it before Eid, just what can cause you to break your fast?
What can break a fast during Ramadan?
There are different ways you can break your fast during Ramadan.
To explain, Dr Ali Ahmad Mashael, a Grand Mufti at the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai, explains what needs to be avoided during the fasting periods.
The Grand Mufti explains: ‘Muslim scholars all agreed that whatever enters an open port [in the body] and makes its way to the abdomen will break a fast even if it’s part of a treatment procedure. This is something that every Muslim needs to understand and be cautious about during Ramadan.’
For clarity, he offers some examples, including ‘intentional eating and drinking, intentional vomiting, sexual intimacy between a married couple and vitamin injections.’
But that’s not all. Here’s what else can break a fast:
- Water from a swimming pool or shower going too far up your nose – absurd as it may sound, if you’re a swimmer, be mindful that water doesn’t get in your nose or mouth as this can reach the abdomen.
- Chewing gum– simply chewing without swallowing would still send flavourings to your abdomen.
- Smoking – smoking is now allowed as particles could find their way to the stomach – which would count as breaking the fast.
- Brushing your teeth – the minty toothpastes could easily find their way in the abdomen. Some Muslims suggest brushing your teeth outside of fasting hours, and using miswak – a fig that can be chewed to clean the teeth – during fasting hours.
- Incense – Dr Mashael said all kinds of frankincense, if intentionally inhaled, will reach the abdomen because of the incense smoke and break a fast.
- Wearing fruity or flavoured lipstick or gloss – these can reach the abdomen.
- Having sex – any sexual activity is forbidden. For clarity, sexual activity is defined by many Islamic scholars as activity that results in ejaculation in men and vaginal secretions in women. Unintentional ejaculation (wet dreams) doesn’t break a fast.
Things like your lip gloss could break fast. (Picture: Getty)
What doesn’t break a fast? Can I have the Covid vaccine?
If you or someone you know has been scheduled for the vaccine, you can still have it.
Medical circumstances – like having a blood test or having an injection – do not break fast, according to Islamicity.
What’s important to note is that if you break fast without intent, you can enjoy a little bit of leniency.
The Qur’an states: ‘And there is no sin on you if you make a mistake therein, except in regard to what your hearts deliberately intend. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful’ [Al-Ahzaab 33:5].’
This basically suggests that if you absentmindedly take a sip of water, but you had no intention of breaking fast, your fast will still be valid.
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