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Things that Break Your Fast

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

category: Ramadan


reads: 232184

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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. (See Majmoo' al-Fataawa, 25/262)

Kissing, hugging, embracing, touching and repeatedly looking at one's wife, if a man is able to control himself, is permissible, because it is reported in al-Saheehayn from 'Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to kiss and embrace his wives whilst he was fasting, but he was the most in control of his desire. With regard to the hadeeth qudsi, "he keeps away from his wife for My sake", this is referring to intercourse. But if a person get aroused quickly and is unable to control himself, then it is not permissible for him to kiss or embrace his wife, because that will lead to him breaking his fast, as he cannot be sure that he will be able to avoid ejaculating or having intercourse. Allaah says in a hadeeth qudsi: "and he leaves his desire for My sake." The Islamic guideline is that anything that leads to haraam is also haraam.

If a person is engaged in the act of intercourse and dawn comes, he is obliged to withdraw, and his fast will be valid even if he ejaculates after withdrawal, but if he continues having intercourse until after dawn, he has broken his fast, and he must repent, make the fast up later, and offer expiation.

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 (though well before sunrise), 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, according to scholarly consensus (ijmaa'), 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 and so that the anegls will draw close to him.

If a person ejaculates during the day in Ramadaan 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 person who is fasting must keep away from everything that may provoke his desire, and he must repel any bad thoughts that come to him. However, according to the most correct opinion, if he emits prostatic fluid (madhiy), this does not break his fast.

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 do istinjaa' (clean his private parts) and do wudoo'. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah, 10/279)

The Ruling on Vomitting

"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." (Saheeh hadeeth narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3/89). A person who vomits deliberately, by sticking his finger down his throat or applying pressure to his stomach, or deliberately smelling a repulsive odour, or looking at something that could make him vomit, is obliged to make up the fast later on. If he feels that he is about to vomit, but then it subsides by itself, this does not break his fast, because it is not something that he can control, but if the vomit comes into his mouth and he swallows it back down, this does break the fast. If a person feels sick in his stomach, he does not have to suppress the urge to vomit, because this could cause him harm. (Majaalis Sharh Ramadaan, Ibn 'Uthaymeen, 67)

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 okay, 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.

The Ruling on Bleeding

If a person suffers from a nosebleed, his fast is still valid, because this is something that is beyond his control. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah, 10/264)

If he has gum ulcers or his gums bleed after using the siwaak (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. Similarly, if vomit rises in his throat then goes back down to his stomach without him intending for this to happen, his fast is still valid. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah, 10/254)

With regard to mucus coming from the head (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, because it is a problem which all people have; 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.

Inhaling water vapours, as may happen to people working in desalination plants, does not break the fast. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah, 10/276)

The Ruling on Tasting Food

It is disliked (makrooh) to taste food unnecessarily, because this carries the risk that the fast may be broken. 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. It was reported that Ibn 'Abbaas said: "There is nothing wrong with tasting vinegar or anything that one wishes to buy." (Classed as hasan in Irwa' al-Ghaleel, 4/86; See al-Fath, commentary on Baab Ightisaal al-Saa'im, Kitaab al-Siyaam)

The Ruling on Using Miswaak, Perfumes, etc.

Using siwaak 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 siwaak and detects some heat or other taste from it and swallows it, or if he takes the siwaak 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. (al-Fataawa al-Sa'diyyah, 245). He should avoid any substance that can be diluted, such as the green siwaak, or siwaak that has any extra flavour added to it, like lemon or mint. He should spit out any small pieces that come off the siwaak in his mouth; he should not swallow them deliberately, but if he swallows them accidentally, there is no harm done.

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