Everyone, irrespective of their religion, race, age, or any other differentiator, knows of Ramadan. The ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar is considered one of the holiest months for Muslims.
The month of Ramadan is a very distinct month out of the year as Muslims worldwide abstain from different things to develop self-control, please Allah and help the body heal physically and spiritually. And all of that is done by fasting and following specific Ramadan fasting rules.
Before we jump into the rules of fasting for Muslim in the month of Ramadan, it is essential to understand, especially for those who know of the month about not about it is that Fasting in Ramadan is not just any activity; it is an act of worship which is often and recommended to be accompanied by Salah (Muslim Prayer), reading the Quran, doing charity and more.
A generic rundown of Ramadan fasting rules is that Muslims fast from dawn until dusk but observing this activity for a month helps Muslims to reflect, to improve, heightened their devotion through practising self-disciple, self-control, sacrifice and empathy just by fasting.
Let’s go through the fasting rules to understand the month better and know what is allowed and not allowed during Ramadan.
The Fundamental Ramadan Fasting Rules
RULE # 1: FASTING DURING RAMADAN IS COMPULSORY FOR EVERY ADULT MUSLIM
All Muslims who have reached puberty are supposed to fast in the month of Ramadan. Although fasting is an obligation, there are some exceptions in which fasting can be exempted.
However, it is expected to compensate it through either Fidiya (an act of feeding people for each day that fast was missed, food can be given or an equivalent amount that is often decided by the state)—or fasting for the exact days missed after the month of Ramadan.
People who are exempted from fasting are:
- Pregnant Woman
- People with medical conditions
- People with mental conditions
- Women who are menstruating
- Women experiencing the post-childbirth bleeding
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- People with jobs that may get hindered by the low level of energy, such as pilots
- Traveling long distance ( a minimum of 48 miles or 80 kilometers)
RULE # 2: FASTING SHOULD BE ACCOMPANIED WITH THE INTENT OF WORSHIP
Fasting in the month of Ramadan is a form of worship, therefore before observing it, Muslims have to make a Dua (affirmation) which signifies their intent and distinguishes it from regular fasting practice, even if someone refrains from the things prohibited during fasting without an intention to fast, their fast will not be counted.
RULE # 3: FASTING HAS TO OBSERVED FROM DUSK TILL DAWN
Observe fasting during the prescribed Ramadan fasting time, so unlike the false assumption by most Non-Muslims, fasting in Ramadan doesn’t require Muslims to stay hungry for the whole 24 hours. In fact, in certain parts of the world, the fast is hardly for 12 hours.
Essentially fasting is done between dawn to dusk, and Azaan (call to prayer) is an indicator of when it is time to fast and when it is time to break it. Since Muslims worldwide observe fasting, the time difference is crucial; hence, the Ramadan fasting time isn’t fixed; it depends on the sunrise and sunset of the particular country.
RULE # 4: PRACTICING OTHER TYPE OF WORSHIPS IS A MUST
Islam is a holistic religion and doesn’t see anything in isolation, especially when it comes to the act of worship. Irrespective of what the month is, offering Salah (prayer), reading the whole Quran at least once, and doing charity (such as giving Zakat or Sadaqah) is expected of Muslims all year round.
Therefore when it comes to Ramadan, all the acts of worship are expected to be practice regardless of whether someone is fasting or not (except for women menstruating). The best part of this Ramadan fasting rule is that every type of worship practiced in this holy month is rewarded 70 times more than the other months.
RULE # 5: REFRAINING ANYTHING ENTERING THE BODY WHILE FASTING
It is self-explanatory that during fasting, you’re not supposed to consume anything, whether it is liquid or solid food, but unlike intermittent and other types of fasting, anything entering the body cavity is not allowed. Whether it enters the body through the throat, open wounds, nose, private parts, intestine, or any other place is strictly forbidden.
However, if in a specific instance something enters the body through any canal/channel accidentally, it is advised to repent and continue with the fast. But if done it deliberately, the fast immediately discontinue.
RULE # 6: REFRAINING FROM IMMORAL AND UNETHICAL ACTS
One of the prominent rules of fasting for Muslims is that they have to abstain from unethical, immoral, and unnecessary acts. It is advised to refrain from them regardless of Ramadan but to honor the sacredness of the month, it is heavily suggested to abide by it.
Muslims are advised to desist from foul play, false talks, and deed; these include quarrel (warranted and unwarranted), indulging in arguments, backbiting, use of bad words and names, watching indecent content, listening to music, dressing provocatively, being judgmental, and others to name the few.
The fasting rules also require a Muslim not to talk too much or talk about that they are fasting or how thirsty and hungry they are. Fasting is about food spirit and cheers; hence having a temper and showing it is also prohibited.
RULE # 7: REFRAINING FROM SEXUAL ACTS
By no means, Ramadan obligates Muslims (married couples or otherwise) to stay away from intimacy but to honor and respect the month; it is advised to refrain from it while fasting.
Though, most Muslims often abstain from any sexual activity for the whole month. However, it is allowed to be intimate at night. During fasting, excretion of semen in any manner, whether through intercourse, masturbation, wet thoughts, results in the fast being nullified.
RULE # 8: FOSTERING BROTHERHOOD AND ESTABLISHING HUMANITARIAN GROUND
Huqooq ul Ibad (being good to other humankind) is something Allah and Prophet (P.B.U.H) have emphasized repeatedly. It is expected explicitly in the month of Ramadan to let go of any resentments and cater to the following Muslim brother and his needs extensively.
Ramadan is all about giving and self-control; hence the act of distributing Iftaari (food served to break-fast), doing charity, collectively praying in the mosque, and overall collective activities are expected to be practice to foster brotherhood. The basic idea is to create a harmonious community through these gestures to promote the humanitarian way of life. Hence, during Ramadan, it is expected even more to avoid actions that might create hindrance and disturbance for others.
RULE # 9: GOING ON WITH DAY TO DAY WORK IS IMPORTANT
Most people assume that fasting is a tedious practice. Hence, people should be given some leniency to observe their fast smoothly but often, what people don’t realize is that following all the Ramadan fasting rules while continuing doing regular day-to-day activities is the essence of Ramadan and what it tries to teach.
When you are fasting and going on with your daily activities, it helps nurture empathy, self-control, and discipline in oneself; hence, it is advised not to exert yourself but don’t use fasting as an excuse to avoid doing the work.
RULE # 10: CONSUMING EDIBLE IN FRONT OF SOMEONE FASTING IS FROWNED UPON
There are certain instances where Muslims are exempted from fasting or someone who intentionally doesn’t fast. Still, in either circumstance, it doesn’t give them agency to eat in front of fasting people, this unethical and may create issues with abstinence for some people.
It also adds to the bad deeds as jeopardizing someone’s fast is frowned upon by others and Allah. It is expected of people who are not fasting to avoid eating during the fast timings to honor the month, and if they are consuming food, they should do it somewhere in private out of respect for fasting peopl.
Sunnah Rules of fasting for Muslims
Sunnah may not be farz (obligation), but it is something that Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) practiced, and as a Muslim, following his footsteps is a guideline to the path of righteousness. There are many sunnah’s for various aspects but essentially two for Ramadan and indeed beneficial ones.
SUNNAH RULE # 1: HAVING SAHUR (PRE-DAWN MEAL)
Having sahur is beneficial for Muslims in many ways; having sahur gets you a great reward because waking up usually when the sleep is sound to prepare yourself for the fast is an admirable act.
Usually, the best time for sahur is half an hour or so before the time of Fajr prayer, but it can be done earlier. Plus, having Sahur helps the body to get the energy required to go on with the day empty stomach with no halts and hindrance in day-to-day activities.
SUNNAH RULE # 2: DOING IFTAAR (BREAKING THE FAST)
Muslims are expected to break fast as soon as the Azaan (Call of Prayer) is heard or the sun goes below the horizon and disappears. However, since there are many sects in Islam, every sect has its own time, but ideally, globally, the fast is broken right after the sunset.
It is expected that the fast is either broken with water or Kajoor (Date) and if someone has sent something for Iftaar with that. However, despite modern times, the concept of Iftaar is a bit distorted with numerous items made and served. It is preferred that a moderate amount of food be consumed to honor Ramadan and what it tries to teach, humbleness and self-control.
What is allowed and not allowed during Ramadan?
The dos and don’ts are essential in staying true to the teaching of Ramadan and its essence; a general rundown of Ramadan fasting rules has been laid out above. However, to further clarify following are some things that are permissible and prohibited which will further assist in following the rules adequately.
- Rinsing the mouth and nose is allowed if down correctly like practice during Wadu (ablution)
- Taking a shower and swimming is allowed as it prevents the body from getting heated or dehydrated
- Using eyeliner, kohl, and even eye drops in the eyes is permitted; even if the liquid travel to the throat and the nasal open via the eye socket, it is still acceptable
- Accidental swallowing of saliva, water, dust, or any other such substance does not break the fast
- Tasting food is allowed if it lightly touches the tongue and quickly rinses it without swallowing it.
- Showing affection through hug and peck is permissible(any non-sexual act is permitted)
- It is debatable whether injections can be taken or not, but it is allowed to have a blood test.
- Using perfume is allowed.
- It is allowed to break the fast if menstruation starts, but it is advised to keep going with it for the particular day if it happens after noon.
- Using Miswak or toothbrush, even with toothpaste, is allowed if not done extensively and the water is not swallowed.
- Having wet dreams does not nullify the fast, but a bath is expected as soon as you realize it
- Similarly, intercourse is allowed at night, but a bath is required to tale before dawn hits.
- Not observing fasting without a valid reason is frowned upon
- Consuming substance of any sort, whether liquid, solid, or smoke, invalids the fast
- Smoking during the month of Ramadan is prohibited
- Intentionally causing vomiting nullifies the fast and is prohibited
- Orgasms, ejaculation, and any sexual contact during fasting are not permitted.
- Being in the state of Janaba (impure due to seminal discharge), the fasting cannot be observed
- Eating or drinking in public even if you are not fasting is prohibited
- Talking about food is and tempting oneself with food is frowned upon as well
- Using mouthwashes is not allowed.
Recommended Acts during the month of Ramadan
Ramadan is not just a holy month with rules of fasting for Muslims; in fact, it’s a month to get numerous benefits and rewards from Allah through practicing simple acts such as:
- Having suhur (pre-dawn meal), which is a sunnah, and delaying it until the fajir time arises.
- Breaking the fast as early as possible upon hearing the adhan (Call of Prayer) so seeing the sunset.
- Breaking the fast with the odd number of fresh or dry dates or in case of unavailability of the item having water
- Supplicating at the time of breaking the fast with Dhahabadh-dhama-oo wabtallatil-‘urooqu, wa thabatal-ajru insha’Allah. Which roughly translates to, “The thirst has gone, the veins are moistened and Allah willing, the reward is guaranteed.”
- Taraweeh after Isha is also recommended; many Muslims assume its faraz (obligation), while it is not but holds great value.
- Recitation of the Quran and finishing it at least once during the month helps to gain more rewards.
- Using Miswaak is a simple and easy way to ensure cleanliness and rewards.
- Ramadan is a month that brings people together, so inviting people over for Iftaar is not only a part of celebrating the month but paying homage to the basic ideology of Islam serving people (after all, after worship, providing food to people holds the highest value and reward).
- It is also advised that encouraging children to fast even for half a day accustomes children and bring their Ramadan spirit up.
- And many more.
Conclusory remarks on Ramadan fasting rules
To an outsider, Ramadan and its rules may seem extensive, but these rules of fasting for Muslims have over the years proven to have done great benefits physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Ramadan fasting rules help Muslims develop moral and ethical discipline, which allows them to prepare for the challenges and New Year to come.
Other than that, the rules of fasting help build a strong community fostered by acceptance and empathy, as Muslims experience the hardships poor experience on a daily basis, lack of food, resources, and more.
Along with that, in this holy month, the good deed is doubled; hence any act of random kindness is a way to gain reward while simultaneously facilitating and making it easy for Muslims to repent their prior sins.
All in all, Ramadan is not just any holy month; it’s the month of giving and receiving much more than any other activity may provide; the rewards gained are more valuable than any tangible item.
Ramadan and its fasting rules for Muslims is a guide that helps to understand life at large and gives an insight into the world and its struggles. From critically analyzing oneself and empathizing with others, Ramadan is a great month that provides a walkthrough of how life should be and fostering the motivation to achieve it.
So to achieve and maintain the essence of this sacred month, let’s all this year keep these Ramadan fasting rules in check and work towards having the best prosperous Ramadan this year and the years to come.