Ramadan is a month of striving to reap the merits and bountiful rewards through abstinence and prayer. We abstain from food and drinks during the day and also from things that might tarnish the heart such as back-biting or yearning for things we should avoid.
However, in trying our best to observe the practices, some of us struggle to understand the do's and don'ts.
Here are some popular searched questions online answered by Google, listed down for you in this article:
1. When should children start fasting?
a. The Prophet Muhammad taught that children should begin praying at the age of seven. This means that they should learn what prayer is and try to perform it at least sometimes. Then he clarified that they must pray regularly by the age of ten and should be disciplined for not doing so. That gives them three years to learn and understand what they are doing and get used to it. The same rule applies to fasting. Once children reach the age of seven, they should be taught how to fast and encouraged to do so, at least sometimes. By the age of ten, children should be encouraged by their parents to fast the entire month, or as much as they are able to.
2. How sick do you have to be to skip fasting?
a. Someone suffering from an illness where fasting will either cause harm to their body, increase their illness, or delay their recovery is excused from fasting. The severity of their illness can be determined by consulting a medical professional. People with a minor cough or slight fever should still fast, because that will not usually cause much harm. Remember that fasting, even when healthy, causes some discomfort, so be careful when deciding whether you are too sick to fast or not.
3. Should pregnant women fast?
a. There are many pregnant women who fast and it neither harms them nor their child. However, this depends on the health and stature of the woman, as well as the season and her lifestyle. Every case is different. It is best to consult a medical professional who is both well versed in pregnancy as well as nutrition to see if there is a real threat to either the mother or child due to fasting. If there is, the pregnant woman should not fast, and make up the days she missed later on.
4. Should breastfeeding women fast?
a. There are many women who breastfeed their children and continue fasting. It neither harms them nor their milk supply. As such, the same rule as that for pregnancy applies. Consult a doctor as to individual medical needs.
5. What if someone has a chronic illness or is really old?
a. People who suffer from a chronic illness or are very old such that fasting will cause them harm do not have to fast. However, since this situation will persist they must feed a poor person two average meals for every day of fasting they miss. In that way, they have earned the reward of fasting despite their inability.
6. Can we still fast when traveling?
a. A person who is traveling is excused from fasting due to the difficulties and inconveniences associated with a journey. However, if there will be little difficulty, then it is better to fast. The fasts that are missed must be made up after returning from the journey.
7. Different masjids have different timetables for when fasting beings. Why is that?
a. The timings for Fajr prayer [which is when fasting begins] are determined by true dawn, which is when a clear thread of light is seen on the horizon. However, given environmental factors such as mountains, light pollution, elevation, etc. people, even in the same city, will not be able to observe dawn at exactly the same time, depending on their point of observation. Therefore scientific calculations are used to approximate the time of dawn. Since these calculations cannot predictably determine the true time of dawn, there will be different opinions on how many degrees the sun needs to be below the horizon before dawn should be considered to have occurred.
8. Does vomiting break my fast?
a. Vomiting a large amount, intentionally, when it comes out with force and cannot be kept in, does break the fast. This is usually a rare scenario, because that is rarely done intentionally. However, unintentional vomiting does not break the fast.
9. Is it ok to use eye/ear/nose drops or enemas?
a. It is permissible to use eye/ear/nose drops because the liquid does not normally reach the stomach or nourish the body. Therefore, it is not analogous to food or drink. However, when using nose drops it is important to not swallow any of the fluid if it goes down and reaches the mouth. Using an enema to empty the bowels or administer medicine into the bloodstream does not break the fast. However, if the enema is used for hydration or nourishment and it reaches the stomach, then it does break the fast.
10. Does a medical injection break the fast?
a. Normally, a medical injection does not break the fast since it neither nourishes nor does it reach the stomach. However, injecting glucose or some other nourishing substance does break the fast.
11. Can we brush our teeth with toothpaste while fasting?
a. It is permissible to brush your teeth while fasting, and may even be encouraged to do so. Using toothpaste does not break the fast, as long as you are very careful not to swallow any of it. However, it is better to not use toothpaste, unless necessary, because it does leave a taste in your mouth. It would be ideal to use toothpaste right before starting your fast so that you can start your day with clean teeth.
12. Can we use mouthwash?
a. It is not recommended to use mouthwash while fasting because it does leave a taste in your mouth. However, if it is necessary to remove bad breath that might affect people you are near, it will not break the fast as long as you are careful not to swallow any [e.g. through gargling].
13. What if we swallow small bits of food accidentally that were stuck in our teeth?
a. Swallowing food accidentally does not break the fast, even if it is a large amount. Continue fasting as usual.
14. Can we give blood while fasting?
a. Giving blood while fasting does not affect the fast.
15. Can we eat in front of my Muslim friend during Ramadan?
a. Of course you can. Your Muslim friend knows that you are not fasting for Ramadan. Actually, it is a benefit for your Muslim friend if you eat in front of them because every time a Muslim is presented with an opportunity to eat and they do not do so during the month of Ramadan, they get increased blessings. So you are actually benefiting your Muslim friend if you eat in front of them.
16. Is it allowed to use perfume during Ramadan?
a. Using perfume in Ramadan does not invalidate your fast.
17. Is it allowed to cut hair during Ramadan?
a. Cutting your hair does not invalidate the fast. Hence, it is permissible to cut your hair during the fasting hours of Ramadan.
18. Is it allowed to smoke during Ramadan?
a. Smoking invalidates the fast. Anyone who smokes within the fasting time of Ramadan is obliged (wajib) to make up for the fast (qadha'). Smoking doesn't only affect his/her self but it also affects the people around, particularly those who are observing their fast. It is also harmful to the smoker and others too. Therefore, a smoker should abstain from smoking, especially in the month of Ramadan.
19. Is it allowed to listen to music during Ramadan?
a. Listening to music or watching TV, for that matter, does not invalidate the fast. However, you may wish to refrain from entertainment activities especially when it involves lewd and indecent content.
20. What if a woman has successive pregnancies and is unable to fast for a few years?
a. This situation might make a woman miss several Ramadans and have to make up fasting for a few years past. Usually, when a person misses a fast in Ramadan, they should make it up before the next Ramadan comes in. In the case where someone has missed more than one Ramadan, they have more leniency in spreading these makeup fasts over a longer period of time. It is recommend for women to try making up their fasts in the winter time when days are shorter and spreading them out by fasting one or two days a week, if it is difficult for them due to their circumstances.
Source: thedeenshow.com and muslim.sg