The holy month of Ramzan has begun. A period of fasting, prayer and contemplation for millions of Muslims.
Being one of the obligatory pillars of Islam, there are many rules and regulations for observing the fast of Ramzan
Who and who cannot hold the fast:
– If you are sane and healthy and have reached puberty, fasting becomes obligatory.
– If you are travelling at the time of Ramzan or are sick, you should not observe the fast. However, you must keep it a later date.
– If you are a woman and are menstruating or experiencing the post-childbirth bleeding, you should not fast for those days. You must compensate them at a later date.
– If you are old or sick and cannot fast, you must perform fidiya (feeding a person for each day of missing the fast.)
– The women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding and fear that observing Ramzan may weaken them or their child are allowed to not keep the fast. However, after Ramzan ends, they must either fast or pay fidiya for each day.
Actions that can invalidate the fast:
Intentionally eating or drinking during the fast
If you choose to eat or drink during the fasting part of the day intentionally, the fast becomes nullified. However, if you did so because you forgot about the fast, did it mistakably or was coerced into doing so, the fast is still valid.
If a person feels pukish and vomits, the fast still continues. However, if a person observing the fast chooses to vomit for any reason, his fast is considered as invalid.
Intentionally indulging in sex
If you have sexual intercourse during fast, you must perform kaffaarah , which means you must expiate the sin. For this, you must either fast for a continuous sixty days or feed sixty poor people.
Fasting while menstruation or post-childbirth bleeding
If you are a woman and are menstruating or going through post-childbirth bleeding, your fast becomes invalid. These days need to be compensated later. Even if the menstruation begins just before sunset, the day’s fast becomes invalid.
What you are allowed to do during fasting:
– You are allowed to rinse your mouth and nose with limited water, such that you do not swallow it. If you do so, it invalidates your fast.
– You can take a shower during your fasting period as you may feel thirsty, dehydrated or heated. However, make sure that you do not swallow the water.
– You can apply kohl (kajal or eyeliner) or can use eye drops or any other thing for the eyes. Many times, the taste of the liquid poured into your eyes may travel to your throat but that doesn’t nullify your fast.
– One can take injections if he needs them for medical or nutritional purposes.
– One is also allowed to take suppositories, such as enemas or douches, for cleansing, laxative purposes or any other relaxation purposes. Use of such medicines in the private parts is allowed.
– Accidentally swallowing your own saliva, dust, or sifted flour, is allowed and will not invalidate your fast.
– It is allowed for one to hug or kiss his spouse as long as they do not indulge in sexual intercourse.
– One must not be in a state of janaba while observing his fast. Janaba refers to the state of ritual impurity due to sexual intercourse or seminal discharge. A bath needs to be taken and a ghusl needs to be performed in order to be able to observe the fast for the day before the fajr, or dawn.