Ramadhan FAQs

Q: To whom does the Ayat of fasting apply?

A: Fasting is an act of worship (ibadat). It is one of the Fundamental Principles (Pillars) of Islam. Allah says:”Oh you who believe fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may attain Taqwa (God-Fearing).”Allah says Oh you who believe. This is a general command for everyone who is Believers in Islam.


Q: Does a minor child have to fast?

A: Fasting is not obligatory on a minor. A minor is he who is not physically matured (Baaligh) in the case of a male and in the case of a female, she has not attained puberty. However, if by the age of 15 lunar years, the male or female did not become baaligh, they will be regarded as adults and have to fast and fulfil all obligations of Shariah.


Q: Does a sick person have to fast?

A: A sick person is exempted from fasting altogether if there is genuine reason to believe that the current illness will intensify by fasting or that he will suffer another illness on result of fasting or that his recovery will be prolonged due to fasting.


Q: Can a traveller omit fasting?

A: A Shar’ī musāfir (traveller) who embarked on his journey prior to dawn is permitted to omit the fast of that day.  As long as he is a Shar’ī musāfir, he may omit fasting.


Q: What about travelling during the day?

A: If a person embarked on a journey during the day after Subh Sadiq, he/she will have to fast that day.


Q: Will the application of eye drops break the fast?

A: Using eyedrops will not break the fast.


Q: Can ear drops be used?

A: If a person’s eardrum is imperforated, he may use ear drops.  If someone has perforated ear drums, it will not be permissible to use ear drops.


Q: Can we use insulin injections whilst fasting?

A: It is permissible to use insulin injections.  Injections do not break a fast.


Q: Will a nasal spray break the fast?

A: Yes, a nasal spray will break the fast.


A: Can mouthwash be used whilst fasting?

Q: It is not permissible to use mouthwash whilst fasting.


Q: Is it permissible to brush teeth and use toothpaste?

A: It is not permissible to use toothpaste whilst fasting.  One may brush teeth, use a miswak and a tongue scraper.


Q: Can an addicted smoker smoke whilst fasting?

A: It is not permissible to smoke whilst fasting.  Smoking will result in Qadhā and Kaffārah.  A smoker may use a transdermal nicotine patch.


Q: What is the ruling for using suppositories?

A: Insertion of suppositories up the rear passage will invalidate the fast.


Q: I forgetfully ate whilst fasting?

A: If one was totally unaware that he was fasting, the fast will not be broken regardless of what was consumed.


Q: By mistake I swallowed water whilst doing wudhu?

A: By doing an act mistakenly will break one’s fast.  However, only Qadhā will be necessary.


Q: What if a person must break the fast due to an asthma attack?

A: If a person suffers from an illness or has an asthma attack and there is no option but to have medicine or an inhaler, it will be permissible to break the fast.  However, he will have to do Qadhā.


Q: I engaged in intercourse with my spouse?

A: Intercourse will invalidate the fast and will make Qadhā and Kaffārah compulsory.


Q: I had a wet dream whilst fasting.  Is my fast broken?

A: A wet dream will not invalidate the fast.


Q: What is the Kaffārah?

A: A Kaffārah is expiation for a violation.  It is fasting for 60 days consecutively without any interruption for those capable of fasting.  If one cannot fast, he will have to give monetary Kaffarah.


Q: When will Kaffārah be binding?

A: Kaffarah becomes binding if one deliberately breaks his fast by eating or drinking or having intercourse.


Q: Can a sick person pay fidyah instead of fasting?

A: A person who cannot fast due a chronic or terminal illness may give fidyah.  As long as a person’s condition remains such that they cannot fast, they will keep giving fidyah for each fast.

If there is improvement to such a degree that they can fast, they will have to do Qadhā of all the previous fasts.  The value of fidya is the same as that of sadaqah al-fitr which is presently R18 for the people in South Africa.



And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

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