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Basic laws of fasting

Definition of fasting: To Abstain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse, from early dawn to dusk.

Intention must be made before dawn, if someone misses it then at least by midday. (Intention doesn’t have to be verbal but just the thought or plan in one’s mind that he or she will fast)

Conditions of fasting
2.Baligh (mature)
3.Being sane

Some Key terms: Make-up (Qadha) means to keep the fast at a later date. One fast for one-missed fast.
Expiation/ Kaffarah means to keep one fast as a replacement and also keep 60 fasts as a penalty.

Things that do not break the fast
1. If the fasting one ate, or drank, or had sexual intercourse out of forgetfulness [that he was fasting], his fast is not broken.
2. If he slept and then had a wet dream, or looked at a woman and ejaculated (in cases where there is no physical contact with another person), or underwent blood-letting (cupping), or used antimony [in his eyes], or used ear drops, or kissed, his fast is not broken.
3. If one is overcome by vomiting, his fast is not broken.
4. If he applied drops inside his urethra (penis), his fast is not broken according to Imam Abu Hanifah. (Anything enters from the front passage doesn’t break the fast, however anything enters from the anal passage breaks the fast)

Things that are Disliked for the Fasting Person
1. If someone tastes something with his mouth (did not swallow it), his fast is not broken, but it is disliked for him to do that.
2. It is disliked for a woman to chew the food for her infant if she has some alternative.
3. Chewing anything does not break the person’s fast, but it is disliked. If any juice is swallowed then it will break the fast.

Things that Break the Fast and Require Makeup
1. If he ejaculated on account of a kiss or touch, then make-up is due upon him. (This is because of physical contact)
There is no harm in kissing if he feels himself safe, but it is disliked if he does not feel safe.
2. Makeup is due, but not expiation, for someone who had intercourse in other than the private parts and ejaculated. (eg. Masturbation or other forms of contact with another person which led to ejaculation)
3. If one deliberately made himself vomit a mouthful then makeup is due upon him.
4. The fast of someone who swallows pebbles or paper is broken.
5. Whoever had an anal medication, or applied nose-drops, or treated a torn belly or a skull-fracture with
medicine such that it reached his body cavity or his brain, his fast is broken.
6. If someone had suhur thinking the dawn had not [yet] risen, or broke his fast thinking the sun had set, and then it turned out that the dawn had risen, or that the sun had not set, makes up that day, but there is no expiation due on him.
7. Someone who lost consciousness in Ramadan does not make up the day on which the loss of consciousness occurred, but he makes up that which came after it.
8. If an insane person regained sanity with part of Ramadan [remaining], he makes up what passed of it.
9. If a woman menstruates, she stops fasting and makes up [fasting for the days of menstruation].
10. Whoever enters into an optional fast, or an optional prayer, and then spoils it, makes it up.

Asthma pumps and smoking

Inhaling smoke or asthma pumps breaks the fast because it goes down the throat. Asthma pumps have other ingredients besides oxygen hence particles going down the throat breaks the fast- the users have valid excuse hence they only make up the fast at a later date or if its not possible they give fidyah. Smoking breaks the fast but those who have inhaled unintentionally like passive smoking then they are forgiven hence fast will not break. Smoking rules apply to inhaling burning sticks for fragrance.


Injections into the veins or muscles doesn’t break the fast. This includes insulin or even injecting medication into the blood stream.  However some scholars have taken a cautious position when the injection is given to boost energy or nutrition like glucose, in that case fast will break and make-up is required after Ramadan.

Things that Break the Fast and require Makeup and Expiation
1. Expiation is due on someone who deliberately has sexual intercourse in one of the two passages, or eats or drinks something which provides nutrition, or is used for treatment
2. The expiation is 60 continuous fasts- without a break
3. There is no expiation for spoiling a fast in other than Ramadan. This massive penalty is for breaking a fast in Ramadan without a valid reason
4. If someone breaks several fasts in Ramadan without a valid reason then one kaffarah (expiation) is sufficient for the entire

Those who may Postpone Fasting
1. Someone who is sick in Ramadan, and fears that if he fasts his sickness will increase, breaks his fast and makes [it] up
2. If one is a traveller (48 miles or over) who is not harmed by fasting, then for him to fast is preferable, but if he does not fast and makes it up [later] it is permissible.
3. The pregnant or nursing woman, if they fear for their children, do not fast and make it up, and there is no penalty due upon them.

Making up Missed Fasts
1. The make-up of Ramadan may be performed separately if one wishes, or consecutively if one wishes.
2. If one delayed it until another Ramadan entered, he fasts the second Ramadan, and makes up the fasts after it, and there is no penalty due upon him.
3. If the sick or the traveller dies while they are in that condition, makeup is not incumbent upon them. But, if the sick recovers, or the traveller takes up residence, and then they die, makeup is incumbent upon them for the extent of the health or residence.

Redemption (Fidyah)
1. The aged man who is not capable of fasting does not fast, and for every day he feeds a poor person.
2. Whoever died with makeup [fasts] of Ramadan due upon him, and bequeathed for it, his guardian, on his behalf, feeds
for every day to one poor person.

Fidyah Amount: half a sa` of wheat (1.7kg) which is only few pounds. Please check  Ummah welfare trust for more information on fidyah.


(Adapted from Mukhtasar Al-Qudoori)


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