We have put together some Frequently Asked Questions to help you with Ramadan. Please feel free to email us any further questions you may have and we will try to answer them too.
You should avoid using toothpaste whilst fasting. However, you can still brush your teeth with a toothbrush and water, ensuring you do not swallow any water. It is recommended to continue using miswak during the fast.
Aisha reported that Allah’s Messenger (s) said, “Miswak is one of the best qualities of a fasting man.” [Sunan of Ibn Majah Hadith 3.1677]
Fasting begins from the first light of the day and this occurs in the early hours of the morning. To make it easier, many mosques & Islamic Centres put together timetables which have the starting times. There may be some differences in these timetables based upon the method they used to extract the times.
Traditionally, most Muslims follow the observations made by Muslim World League or University of Islamic Sciences, Karachi who have agreed with classical scholars such as al-Biruni that we the correct times are based on about 18 degrees.
In the UK, we suffer from persistent twilight in summer months for which a new standard was established in 2012 by London Central Mosque and have the starting time suhoor later.
Those who wish to be cautious can follow the earlier times, and these are reflected in our Fajr Staring times. Our Ramadan calendar follows the times published by ICCUK.
A more full and complete explanation can be found at moonsighting.co.uk.
Some people who cannot fast can feed the needy to absolve themselves and this is called fidya
Those who are sick and unable to make up fasts can feed a poor person per day.
“[Observing Sawm (fasts)] for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskeen (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know.” [2:184]
This fee is called fidya and applies to any category that misses the fast and will never be able to make them up.
This is a fee which is paid in order to feed another, and is calculated at half a saa’a, i.e. 1.6kg or wheat or the staple food. This is amount one can hold in the hands when cupped together.
In the current time due to the disparity in wealth and the ability to send money abroad easily, many scholars allow cash equivalents.
The fidya should consist of sufficient food to feed one person for a whole day, and can be paid to the same person for the entire month either at the beginning, during or end of the month.
Based upon the price of rice, we calculate the fidya to be about £5.00 per day.
It was narrated that the prophet (ﷺ) came out in Ramadan and lead the people in prayer. He came back again the following night and again lead people and after that he again came out, but then he did not come out, explaining that he did not want to make it obligatory upon the people.
Aisha, the mother of the faithful believers narrated that one night Allah’s Messenger offered the prayer in the Mosque and the people followed him. The next night he also offered the prayer and too many people gathered. On the third and the fourth nights more people gathered, but Allah’s Messenger did not come out to them. In the morning he said, “I saw what you were doing and nothing but the fear that it (i.e. the prayer) might be enjoined on you, stopped me from coming to you.” And that happened in the month of Ramadan. [Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 2.229]
Thus from this, it is understood that the Tarawih prayers are recommended and not obligatory, and that it is better to perform them in congregation at the Mosque, but if they are done at home, it is also acceptable, especially at times when it is not possible to pray in a congregation at the mosque.
There are specific supplications mentioned by the prophet (ﷺ), although the time of opening the fast is a blessed time when lots of du’as should be made.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Three people will not have their supplications rejected: a fasting person until he breaks his fast, a just ruler, and an oppressed person.” [Sunan of Ibn Majah Hadith 3.1752, Jami’ Tirmidhi Hadith 2248]
There are some supplications that are specifically mentioned by the prophet (ﷺ)
ذَهَبَ الظَّمَأُ وَ ابْتَلَّتِ الْعُرُوقُ، وَ ثَبَتَ الأجْرُ إنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ
Dhahaba al-zama’u, wa abtallat il-‘urooqu, wa thabata al-ajr insha Allah
The thirst is gone, the veins are moistened and the reward is confirmed, if Allah wills.
Marwan ibn Salim al-Muqaffa’ said: I saw Ibn Umar holding his bread with his hand and cutting what exceeded the handful of it. He (Ibn Umar) told that the Prophet (ﷺ) said when he broke his fast: Thirst has gone, the arteries are moist, and the reward is sure, if Allah wills. (Dhahabazh-zhumma’u wabtallatil ‘urooqu wa thabatal ajru inshallah) [Sunan of Abu Dawood Hadith 2.2350]
This can also be said after breaking the fast.
There is another du’a that can be said, but it has not as authentically reported from the prophet (ﷺ).
Mu’adh ibn Zuhrah reported that the Prophet of Allah (ﷺ) used to say when he broke his fast: “O Allah, for You I have fasted, and with Your provision I have broken my fast.” [Sunan of Abu Dawood Hadith 2.2351] (this hadeeth has been reported in mursal form and thus is considered weaker.)
اللَّهُمَّ اِنِّى لَكَ صُمْتُ وَبِكَ امنْتُ وَ عَلى رِزْقِكَ اَفْطَرْتُ
Allahumma inni laka sumtu wa bika aamantu wa ‘ala rizq-ika aftartu
The default rule for a woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding is that she must fast. If however they fear harm for either themselves or their baby they do not need to. In fact, if it is certain that it will cause harm, then it becomes obligatory not to fast.
Abdullah ibn Abbas said explaining the verse; “For those who can do it (with hardship) is a ransom, the feeding of one, that is indigent,” [2:184] he said: This was a concession granted to the aged man and woman who were able to keep fast; they were allowed to leave the fast and instead feed an indigent person for each fast; (and a concession) to pregnant and suckling woman when they apprehended harm (to themselves). [Sunan of Abu Dawood Hadith 2.2311]
A man from Banu Abdullah ibn Ka’b brethren of Banu Qushayr (not Anas ibn Malik, the well-known Companion), said: A contingent from the cavalry of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) raided us. I reached (for he said went) to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) who was taking his meals. He said: Sit down, and take some from this meal of ours. I said: I am fasting, he said: Sit down, I shall tell you about prayer and fasting. Allah has remitted half the prayer to a traveller, and fasting to the traveller, the woman who is suckling an infant and the woman who is pregnant, I swear by Allah, he mentioned both (i.e. suckling and pregnant women) or one of them. I was grieved for not taking the food of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). [Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 2402]
It was narrated that Anas bin Malik said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) granted a concession to pregnant women who fear for themselves, allowing them not to fast, and to nursing mothers who fear for their infants.” [Sunan Ibm Maajah Hadith 1668] (Da’eef)
There is a slight disagreement on whether they are obliged to pay the ransom, and/or make them up.
In summary, the woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding a child is permitted to leave fasting if she fears harm for herself or the child and should make the day up later.
There is some disagreement regarding the permissibility of injections. It is better to delay until after the fasting period but if it is needed then they do not invalidate the fast. This is for all types of injections, whether they are intravenous and intramuscular.
As for nose drops, if they reach the back of the throat and they can be tasted, then it invalidates the fast. This is because the prophet encouraged the snuffing of water unless one is fasting.
Laqit ibn Saburah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Snuff up water freely unless you are fasting. [Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 2360]
As for ear drops, they are permissible because they are not openings to the stomach but it is better to be cautious and refrain from using them during the fasting period.
Regarding eye drops, they do not break the fast because they are not part of the body cavity.
In summary, eye drops and ear drops do not break the fast, although there may be some scholarly disagreements on this issue. If, however they can be tasted or provide nourishment, then they are not permitted.
As a general rule, if something reaches the throat through the nose or mouth, it is prohibited. Thus the use of inhalers is prohibited whilst fasting. For the person that requires it, he or she has been granted a concession not to fast due to illness.
In Summary, the inhaler does break the fast and the day should be made up.
As tarawih needs to be prayed after the Esha prayer, it is compulsory to pray Esha before one starts performing tawarih. One can pray Esha by themselves first before joining in with the tarawih, or it is possible to join the tawarih prayer with the intention of Esha, and complete a further two units when the imam makes salaam, and join in with the next set of tawarih.
The praying of tarawih is an important sunnah and really should be done. It should be prayed after the obligatory Esha prayer. For men, this is better to be prayed at the masjid in congregation, but it can also be prayed at home. Women should ideally pray at home, although it can be prayed at the masjid. There are varying amount that are prayed in various mosques, with the vast majority praying 20 units, but some mosque may pray only eight although they are longer units. We would recommend praying 20 units with the imam and praying the witr in congregation too. If however one wishes to pray a lesser amount, that is still valid.
Children are not required to fast as they are not considered to be accountable for their actions due their young age.
Ali ibn Abu Talib reported that the Prophet (s) said: “There are three (persons) whose actions are not recorded: a sleeper till he awakes, a boy till he reaches puberty, and the insane till he comes to reason.” [Sunan of Abu Dawood Hadith 3.4389]
It is still preferred to try to get the children into a habit of fasting. This can be from a young age, bearing in mind their health. This develops the same characteristics of gratitude, empathy and strong will.
Ar Rubi bint Muawadh reported, “The Prophet sent a messenger to the village of the Ansar in the morning of the day of ‘Ashura’ (10th of Muharram) to announce: ‘Whoever has eaten something should not eat but complete the fast, and whoever is observing the fast should complete it.’ “She further said, “Since then we used to fast on that day regularly and also make our boys fast. We used to make toys of wool for the boys and if anyone of them cried for, he was given those toys till it was the time of the breaking of the fast.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 3.181]
However, just as children are encouraged to start praying from the age of seven, and reprimanded from the age of ten, the same is also applied to fasting.
It should be noted that a key benefit of fasting is to develop self-restraint and discipline and this is equally, if not more important, in children.
In summary therefore, although children are not required to fast, they should be encouraged from the age of seven as long as they are happy and able to undertake the fast. At the age of ten they should be told to fast so that they become accustomed to it, as they will be held accountable from the age of puberty.
Generally no, but if the bleeding is excessive and weakens the individual, then this would break the fast. If one has a small amount of blood taken, this will not invalidate the fast, especially if there is a medical need. However, if one donates blood, then this is more than a couple of small vials and may render the fast as invalid.
It is sunnah (preferable) to open the fast with and odd number of dates, and if they are not available, then with a sip of water
Salman ibn Amir reported that the Prophet (s) said: “When one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates; but if he cannot get any, then (he should break his fast) with water, for water is purifying.” [Sunan of Abu Dawood Hadith 2.2348]