Shaykh Salim Ghisa
Shaykh Salim Ghisa answers ten questions on Ramadan and fasting in the latest issue of The Revival Magazine.
1. When I fast I just get headaches and feel really rough; I thought fasting was suppose to make me get closer to God?
Fasting is a virtue which in physical terms means abstaining from food, drink and conjugal relations. As Allah says in the Quran ‘Oh Believers fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you so that you may become pious’ (Quran - 2,183)
Therefore fasting is an obligation and must be fulfilled. The physical effects may mean that you feel hungry, thirsty, tired or getting headaches etc.
However, eventually your body will get used to it. Also one should imagine the people who have nothing to eat or drink for days and yet have to work in the hot sun but still pray to Allah when the time comes.
When a person continues to please Allah even at the consequences of suffering then Allah rewards them immensely.
It has been quoted in the Hadith of Bukhari that the people who fast will be asked to enter a door of paradise specially made for the fasting people and its length will be the distance of a fast horse running from one side to another for seventy years.
When a person goes against his desires and tries to please Allah in whichever way he can then slowly he will start to obtain closeness to Allah. Eventually he will become a chosen servant of Allah and Allah will protect him during all difficulties.
2. Can I brush my teeth with toothpaste when I'm fasting otherwise my mouth smells?
This is highly risky because if the toothpaste dissolves with the saliva and it goes down the throat then the fast will break.
Any action that may be a cause for the fast to break is Makrooh (disliked) and any act that means something external goes down the throat will mean the fast will break... However, it has been quoted in the hadith that ‘Allah loves the smell of the breath of a fasting person that that of Musk."
Allah Almighty says:
‘Fasting is Mine and it is I Who give reward for it. [A man] gives up his sexual passion, his food and his drink for My sake.’
Fasting is like a shield, and he who fasts has two joys: a joy when he breaks his fast and a joy when he meets his Lord. The smell in the breath of the mouth of him who fasts is better in Allah's estimation than the smell of musk."
It was related by al-Bukhari (also by Muslim, Malik, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah).
If the fast did break due to the toothpaste going down the throat then a Qadha (repeat fast) would be necessary but not Kaffara (Compensation)
3. Can I kiss my wife/husband when I'm fasting?
There is a different ruling depending upon the type of kiss, age of the couple and whether it may lead further. Meaning if a couple kissed and the saliva was transferred to the other person and then went down the throat then this would break the fast.
If a person kissed his/her spouse on the cheek etc then there is no harm.
If a person kissed their spouse and it could lead to arousal then this is Makrooh (disliked) as it may lead Shaytaan to try and get them to break the fast.
If the couple are old and it would not lead to arousal then there is no harm and the fast will not break.
There is also a hadith whereby the Prohet Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him did kiss his wife and it was allowed. Therefore it does not break the fast but the reason why it is Makrooh for the young man and woman as it may lead to temptation and a person may end up breaking the fast. So depending on the person's position the order will differ.
If a person became tempted and went on and performed intercourse then not only would the fast break but if it was a fast in Ramadhan then a Kaffara would also be necessary as well as Qadha.
4. If I vomit when I'm fasting does it break my fast?
If a person vomits regardless of quantity the fasts will not break unless some of the vomit goes back down the throat. If this happens then the fast will break, otherwise not.
5. If I'm feeling ill do I need to fast? And if I break my fast because I don’t feel well what do I have to do?
Depending on how ill a person feels. If a person is not well then they have two options to determine whether they can miss a fast or not.
1. They are advised by a practising Muslim doctor to miss the fast as it will cause them harm or
2. They have experienced the illness before and they know that by fasting their illness will get worse or it will slow down the cure. In which case they are allowed to miss the fast.
In the circumstance that they are actually fasting then they must be absolutely sure that one of the two conditions apply, otherwise they would have to fulfil a Kaffara (for a Ramadhan fast).
This means that when a person BREAKS a fast (not miss) then they would have to compensate for it by either keeping 60 fasts consecutively and if this is not possible then feed sixty poor people two stomach fulls.
In all cases (break or miss) they would have to make up for the fast after Ramadhan known as Qadha.
6. Can I go to the dentist when I'm fasting?
This would not be allowed as under all circumstances water or medicine used would go down the throat and the fast would break.
7. Can I take my Asthma inhaler when I fast? If not do I need to fast or what shall I do?
An asthma Inhaler releases small particles of spray (usually prednisolone) into the throat to stop inflammation. This means that the fast would break as anything down the throat (inc medicine) breaks the fast.
Therefore, if a person cannot stay without an inhaler as the fasts are too long then they should try and make up for the fasts during the shorter months.
If this is not possible as they cannot stay without an inhaler and they know their Asthma will get a lot worse then they would have to pay Fidya (approximately £3) for every fast missed.
However, please note this is the last option and they have no other choice.
8. If I miss my fasts because of my monthly periods when do I need to make them up? Is it up to me?
To make up for missed fasts during menstruation is an obligation and whenever it is done it will be accepted. However, as it is an obligation one should try and do it as soon as they can.
9. Does having a wet dream break the fast?
A wet dream would not break the fast as it is beyond their control. Any ejaculation of semen where intervention has been used (i.e. intercourse, masturbation etc) then the fast will break, otherwise not.
Meaning if a person had sexual thoughts and without any form of intervention he ejaculated, his fast would not break. However, under all circumstances bathing would be obligatory.
10. Can a woman fast when she is pregnant? And when she is breastfeeding?
A woman can fast during pregnancy or breast feeding if she chooses and the fast will count.
However, if she chooses to miss them then she is allowed to miss them without being sinful but must make up for them later.