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  7. Fasting in Ramadan: Answers to Your Common Questions

Fasting in Ramadan: Answers to Your Common Questions

Common questions about fasting in Ramadan
Welcome to our quick guide on Ramadan FAQs, where we answer common questions you might have about fasting, prayers, and traditions. This blog is here to help you understand the essentials of Ramadan, making your fasting smoother and more meaningful. Whether you’re curious about fasting rules, or you’re looking to enrich your Ramadan experience, you’ll find the answers you need right here.

As Muslims, we observe Ramadan as a special month of worship and devotion. During this month, we fast from dawn to dusk, abstaining from food, drink, and any impure thoughts. Fasting in Ramadan and focusing on our prayers and additional Dhikr help us strengthen our connection with Allah (SWT).

Read our blog on Fasting: The Third Pillar of Islam.

Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.”

(Sahih al-Bukhari 38)

Fasting teaches us empathy and compassion for those who suffer from hunger and poverty. It makes us grateful for the blessings we have and more mindful of Allah (SWT). At the end of the month, we pay Zakatul Fitr (Fitrana) to help the needy, and then we celebrate Eid al-Fitr with our loved ones. Eid is a joyful occasion with lots of food and gifts.

Three Ashras in Ramadan, read our blog.

If you want to know more about Ramadan and its significance for us, you can read our blog titled “What is Ramadan, and Why is it Important for Muslims?” This blog explains why Ramadan is a sacred month for us, what practices and traditions we follow during this time, and how fasting benefits us spiritually and physically.

Our blog is not only for Muslims but also for non-Muslims who are curious or interested in learning about Ramadan. We welcome anyone who wants to know more about our faith and culture. We hope that by sharing our knowledge and experience, we can foster mutual respect and harmony among people of different backgrounds and beliefs.

If you want to read Sunnah of Eating – How to Eat According to Sunnah, read our blog.

In this blog, we will answer some common questions that Muslims may have about Ramadan. We aim to provide insights and information that can help us understand and appreciate the holy month better.

1. When is Ramadan 2024?

The Islamic calendar follows the phases of the moon, and Ramadan occurs on varying dates each year. As a result, Ramadan falls approximately 10 days earlier each year in the Gregorian calendar. This year, Ramadan is expected to begin in the evening on Sunday, March 10, 2024. 

2. What is the purpose of fasting during Ramadan?

Fasting is a way of worshipping Allah (SWT) and getting closer to Him. It helps us to be more spiritually disciplined and mindful of our actions. It also makes us empathize with those who are less fortunate and do not have enough food or water. Fasting reminds us of the blessings that Allah (SWT) has given us and makes us grateful for them.

3. Duas of Ramadan

As Muslims, we should make a Dua (intention) before every action to remind ourselves and verbally confirm that our goal is to please Allah (SWT) in everything we do.

Here are some Duas for fasting and breaking fast in Ramadan:

Dua for Fasting in Ramadan

Suhoor Dua - Dua for Fasting in Ramadan
I intend to keep the fast for tomorrow in the month of Ramadan

Dua for Breaking Fast in Ramadan

Iftaar dua - Dua for Breaking Fast in Ramadan
O Allah! I fasted for You and I believe in You and I put my trust in You and I break my fast with Your sustenance

Read our about The Do’s and Don’ts During Ramadan for Muslims.

Religious Dues in Ramadan

4. What is Zakat?

Zakat is the fourth pillar of Islam, the essential practice that every Muslim should follow. By paying Zakat on our wealth, we purify it and increase its blessings. It also reminds us that our wealth ultimately belongs to Allah (SWT), and we should use it for His sake.

5. Why do we pay Zakat during Ramadan?

Ramadan is the best month for donations, as this is the month of generosity and mercy. In Ramadan, our good deeds are multiplied by 70 times, so we can earn more rewards from Allah (SWT). Many of us choose to give Zakat in this blessed month to benefit from its virtues and help those in need.

Read our blog about The Do’s and Don’ts During Ramadan for Muslims.

6. How much Zakat should I pay?

To pay Zakat, we need to calculate the amount of wealth we have had for a year. This includes money, gold, silver, and other assets. If our wealth is above a certain threshold, called Nisaab, then we have to pay 2.5% of it as Zakat. The Nisaab varies depending on the type of wealth. For example, the Nisaab for silver is lower than the Nisaab for gold.

7. What are the three conditions for paying Fidya?

Fidya is paid under three conditions during Ramadan. 

  • If a person is unable to fast due to illness or any other valid reason. 
  • If they are incapable of making up for missed fasts throughout the rest of the year, such as in cases of lifelong illness. 
  • If there is no expectation of ever being able to make up the missed fasts. 

If someone pays Fidya, they do not need to make up for the missed fasts. However, those who have a valid reason but do not meet the aforementioned conditions can still make up for the fasts after Ramadan.

Read more about the Missed Fasts.

8. What is Kaffarah?

On the other hand, if we deliberately miss or break a fast without a valid reason, then we have committed a major sin. To expiate this sin, we have to pay Kaffarah. Kaffarah is a penalty for breaking a fast intentionally, and it involves fasting for 60 consecutive days. If we can’t do that, then we have to feed 60 poor people for each broken fast.

Ramadan Fasting Rules

As Muslims, we follow certain rules of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Here are some common questions and answers about fasting:

9. Can we drink water while fasting in Ramadan?

No, we cannot drink water or any other liquid during the daytime hours of fasting. We can only rinse our mouth and nose with a small amount of water, but we cannot swallow any water.

10. Can we take medicine while fasting on Ramadan?

In Ramadan, taking medicine by mouth is considered breaking the fast. If we are on regular medication or supplements and plan to fast, we should talk to our doctor first to discuss our options.

11. Do pregnant women fast during Ramadan?

Pregnant women can fast during Ramadan without harm to themselves or their children, but it depends on their health. It’s a good idea to talk to a doctor who knows about pregnancy and nutrition to check if fasting could be a risk for the mom or baby. If there’s a potential problem, the pregnant woman doesn’t have to fast and can make up for the missed days later.

12. Should breastfeeding women fast?

Lots of moms breastfeed their babies and still fast during Ramadan without any problems for themselves. But it depends on the mom’s health, as well as the season and her lifestyle. It’s a good idea to talk to a doctor who knows about breastfeeding and nutrition to check if fasting could be a risk for the mom or affect milk production. If there’s a potential problem, the mom doesn’t have to fast, and she can make up for the missed days later.

13. Can I still fast when travelling?

A traveller is exempt from fasting due to the challenges and inconveniences that come with the journey. However, it is better to fast if there won’t be any difficulties. When we return from our journey, we must make up for any missed fasts.

14. Does vomiting break my fast?

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. However, unintentionally vomiting does not break the fast.

15. Are eye, ear, and nose drops safe to use during Ramadan?

Yes, they are safe to use, because they do not usually reach the stomach or nourish the body. They are not like food or drink that we have to avoid while fasting. However, when we use nasal drops, we should be careful not to swallow any liquid that may go down our throat. 

16. Does a medicinal injection break the fast?

It depends on the type of injection. If the injection does not provide nourishment or reach the stomach, then it does not break the fast. For example, a vaccine or an insulin shot would not break the fast. But an injection of glucose or another nutrient would break the fast because it is like eating or drinking.

17. Can we brush our teeth with toothpaste during Ramadan?

Yes, we can brush our teeth with toothpaste, as long as we do not swallow it on purpose. We should rinse our mouth thoroughly after brushing. However, since toothpaste leaves a taste in our mouth, it is better to avoid using it unless necessary.

18. Do children have to fast during Ramadan?

No, children do not have to fast until they reach puberty and become adults. Fasting is a very important part of Islam, but it only becomes obligatory when a person is mature enough to handle it. The age of puberty varies for each person and does not have a fixed number. Some families may let their children try fasting for short periods of time, to teach them about Ramadan and its significance. But children should not be forced to fast if it is too hard for them.

19. What happens if we break our fast during Ramadan?

If we break our fast by mistake, such as forgetting that we are fasting and eating something, then we do not have to pay any penalty. We just have to continue fasting for the rest of the day and make up for the missed fast later. 

But if we break our fast on purpose, such as eating or drinking without a valid reason, then we have to pay a penalty called Kaffarah. As described earlier Kaffarah means feeding 60 people for each missed fast, or fasting for 60 days in a row if we cannot afford to feed them.

20. Who is exempt from fasting during Ramadan?

As Muslims, we are required to fast during the month of Ramadan, unless we have a valid excuse. Some of the excuses that Islam allows are: 

  • children who have not reached puberty
  • women who are menstruating or bleeding after childbirth
  • travellers who are on a journey of more than 80 km
  • pregnant or breastfeeding mothers who fear that fasting may harm them or their babies.

21. Can you listen to music during Ramadan?

The Quran does not explicitly forbid listening to music during Ramadan, but some Muslims may choose to avoid it as a way of increasing their spiritual focus and devotion. They may prefer to spend more time in prayer, recitation of the Quran, and reflection on the meaning and purpose of this blessed month.

22. When can you eat during Ramadan?

During Ramadan, we can eat during two specific times: Before Suhoor and After Iftar. Suhoor is the meal we have before dawn, before the Fajr prayer, which marks the start of the fasting day. After Suhoor, we abstain from eating and drinking until Iftar, which is the meal we have after sunset, after the Maghrib prayer. Iftar is when we break our fast with the first bite of food and a sip of water, usually starting with dates and then having a more filling meal.

23. Can you have sex during Ramadan?

We are allowed to have sex during Ramadan, but only at night, after the Maghrib prayer. This means we can enjoy intimacy with our spouses during the night, but not during the day when we are fasting. Allah Almighty says in the Quran:

Quran verse about having sex during Ramadan
It is made lawful for you, in the nights of fasts, to have sex with your women. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you have been betraying yourselves, so He relented towards you and pardoned you. So now you can have sexual intimacy with them and seek what Allah has destined for you and eat and drink until the white thread of the dawn becomes distinct from the black thread; then complete the fast up to the night. But do not have sexual intimacy with them while you are staying in mosques for I‘tikāf. These are the limits set by Allah, so do not go near them. Thus Allah manifests His signs to the people, so that they may be God-fearing. (Quran 2:187)

Read more about Itikaf on The Do’s and Don’ts of Itikaf in Ramadan: A Detailed Overview.

Allah (SWT) went easy on Muslims and allowed them to have intercourse at night when they were allowed to eat and drink.

24. What countries celebrate Ramadan? 

Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims all over the world, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity. Some of the countries with large Muslim populations include Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and many more. However, Ramadan is not limited to these countries; wherever there are Muslims, there is Ramadan.

25. Can you chew gum during Ramadan?

 No, chewing gum is not allowed during Ramadan because it breaks the fast. Even if you don’t swallow the gum itself, you are still consuming the sugars and other chemicals in it. Anything that enters your mouth and reaches your stomach counts as breaking your fast.

26. Can you smoke during Ramadan? 

No, smoking is also prohibited during Ramadan because it breaks the fast. Smoking involves inhaling smoke that contains particles that can reach your stomach. Moreover, smoking is harmful to your health and contradicts the purpose of fasting, which is to purify your body and soul.

27. How long is Ramadan fast? 

The length of the fast depends on your location and the time of year. The fast begins at dawn and ends at sunset, following the lunar calendar. The duration of daylight hours changes with the seasons, so the fast can be longer or shorter depending on where you live and when Ramadan falls. The fast typically lasts for 29 or 30 days until the next new moon is sighted.

28. What are the rules of Ramadan? 

The main rule of Ramadan is to fast from dawn to sunset every day unless you have a valid excuse such as illness, pregnancy, travel, etc. You should also avoid eating or drinking anything before dawn or after sunset. Besides fasting, you should also perform the five daily prayers on time, read the Quran as much as possible, give sadaqah (voluntary charity), and avoid any bad deeds or words that may nullify your fast.

29. What can’t you do during Fast? 

As mentioned above, you can’t eat, drink, smoke, or engage in any sinful behaviour during the fast. This includes lying, gossiping, backbiting, cursing, fighting, cheating, stealing, etc. As it is evident from question no. 23, you should also avoid any sexual activity or intimacy with your spouse during the fast. You can resume these activities after sunset or before dawn. You should also be respectful of others who are not fasting and not tempt them with food or drink.

Final Thoughts on Ramadan and Its Significance

As we conclude this blog, we hope that the answers provided to these common Ramadan-related questions have enhanced your understanding and appreciation of this sacred month. Ramadan is not just a period of fasting but a time for spiritual renewal, increased devotion, and a deepened sense of community and compassion for those in need. It’s a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-discipline and sacrifice.

For both Muslims and those interested in learning about Islamic practices, Ramadan offers valuable insights into the principles of patience, humility, and spirituality that are central to Islam. By embracing the spirit of Ramadan, we can all find ways to better ourselves, strengthen our faith, and contribute positively to the world around us.

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