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Things that Break Your Fast

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

category: Ramadan

source: Islam-QA.com

reads: 227787

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If a fasting person is injured or suffers a nosebleed, or gets water or petrol in his mouth by accident, this does not break his fast. If he gets dust, smoke or flies in his mouth by accident, this does not break his fast either. Things that one cannot avoid swallowing, like one's own saliva, or dust from grinding flour, do not break the fast. If a person gathers a lot of saliva in his mouth then swallows it on purpose, this does not break the fast, according to the most correct opinion. (al-Mughni by Ibn Qudaamah, 3/106)

If tears reach one's throat, or if a person applies oil to his hair or moustache, or uses henna, and then detects the taste of it in his throat, this does not break his fast. Using henna, kohl or oil does not break the fast. (See Majmoo' al-Fataawa, 25/233, 25/245). This also applies to creams used to moisturize and soften the skin.

There is nothing wrong with smelling pleasant fragrances, using perfume or applying scented creams and the like. There is nothing wrong with a fasting person using bukhoor (incense), so long as he does not use it as snuff. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah, 10/314)

It is better not to use toothpaste during the day, and to leave it till night-time, because it is too strong. (Al-Majaalis, Ibn 'Uthaymeen, p. 72)

To be on the safe side, it is better for the fasting person not to be treated with cupping (hijaamah). There is a strong difference of opinion on this matter. Ibn Taymiyah suggested that the one who has cupping done breaks his fast, but the one who does it does not break his fast.

The Ruling on Smoking

Smoking breaks the fast, and it cannot be used as an excuse not to fast. How can a sin be taken as an excuse?!

The Ruling on Swimming or Immersion in Water

Immersing oneself in water or wrapping oneself in wet clothes in order to cool down does not break the fast. There is nothing wrong with pouring water over one's head to obtain relief from heat and thirst. Swimming is disliked, because it might make one break the fast (by swallowing water). If a person's work involves diving and he can be sure that he will not get water in his mouth, there is nothing wrong with this.

Breaking the Fast Unintentionally

If a person eats, drinks or has intercourse, thinking that it is still night, then he realizes that dawn has already broken, there is no harm done, because the aayah clearly states that it is permissible to do these things until one is sure that dawn has come. 'Abd al-Razzaaq reported with a saheeh isnaad going back to Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he said: "Allaah has permitted you to eat and drink so long as there is any doubt in your mind." (Fath al-Baari, 4/135; this is also the opinion of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmoo' al-Fataawa, 29/263)

If a person breaks his fast, thinking that the sun has already set when it has not, he must make up the fast later on (according to the majority of scholars), because the principle is that it is still day, and a fact that is certain cannot be rejected in favour of something doubtful. (Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah thought that it was not necessary for a person in this situation to make up the fast).

If dawn breaks and a person has food or drink in his mouth, the fuqaha' are agreed that he should spit it out, and his fast is valid. This is like the ruling on one who eats or drinks because he forgets, then remembers he is fasting – if he hastens to spit out the food or drink in his mouth, his fast is still valid.

And Allah knows best.

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