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23 May 2024

Ramadan Question: 'Can I hug my wife while fasting'?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael

By Mohammad El Sadafy

A UAE resident asks, 'Can I hug my wife while fasting'?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: In Ramadan, it could stir desire and therefore, hugging and kissing is forbidden.  
Physical affection between a married couple during Ramadan corrupts the worship.
A couple must refrain from doing this until after iftar.

Ruling for person unable to observe fast?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: If a person is unable to observe fast, he has to feed one poor person for each day that he didn’t fast. But, it is better to observe fast.

What if a person confesses before passing away that he did not fast on certain days of Ramadan. What should the wife do in such a situation?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: The wife can do charity and it should be equal of Sadaqtu Al Fitr. If the wife cannot afford to donate, then she should pray to Allah to forgive her husband.

Does death in Ramadan imply the deceased is a good person?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: Death at any time or any place doesn't imply that the person is closer to Allah and is not a confirmation that the deceased is good or bad person.

Humans will be judged based on their deeds in afterlife. As the Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) said, ‘if a person dies while stating La illaha illaAllah (there is no god but Allah), the person goes to Heaven. And those who fast to gain Allah’s pleasure and die while fasting also go to heaven; similarly if someone’s last act in life was charity to gain Allah’s pleasure they will also go to paradise.’

If a person dies while performing a good deed during Ramadan or at holy places such as Makkah and Madinah, they will have an advantage because the deceased’s rewards are substantially increased at these holy places.

What if someone thinks they may have swallowed ablution water?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: The person shouldn’t pay heed to excessive doubts and whispers of Satan. Being one of the five pillars of Islam, the fast should make Muslims happier in this world as they’ll be rewarded in the Hereafter. Becoming obsessive with doubts will make it difficult for people to complete the fast.

Do anaesthetics used for dental treatment break the fast?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: It is preferable to get dental treatment at night in case of fasting.

In case there is an urgent need to do so during the fasting time that is fine, but avoid swallowing or allowing anything to enter the throat where the fast will break.

The following are not considered as breaking the fast.

1. Tablets that are placed under the tongue  
2. Fillings or removing teeth; Brushing the teeth, or use of toothpicks or toothbrushes
3. Rinsing, gargling, sprays for the mouth – but avoiding it reaching the throat
4. Therapeutic injections for skin or muscles – but avoid nutrient injections
5. Anaesthetic gases that do not give the patient any kind of nourishment.

When travelling, what time should a person consider for iftar, if, for instance, the iftar time in his home country is at 6.30pm and at the destination country at 7.30pm?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: The time to be considered is of the place where the person is physically present at the time of call of prayer for iftar and not the place of his residence.

One cannot break the fast for iftar if they can see the Sun shine. For instance, those residing on the top floors of the Burj Khalifa cannot break their fast even if it is iftar time for those on the ground floor.

Similarly, if you are on a plane, check with the crew if the Sun has set at the place over which you are flying.

However, if you are flying across time zones when you may not see the Sun set for 24 hours, then the person can rely on the number of hours of fasting or the Mecca time or consider the time of the place nearest.


What is the ruling on fasting for those who are constantly travelling and not staying at a place for a long time.

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: A traveller is permitted not to fast if he travels over a distance of 78kms per day.   

However, a seasoned traveller who does not get travel weary can fast.

If a person stays in the country for four days or more, he should fast and perform prayers.

But if he stays for less than four days, he should perform Jama and Qasr prayers and fast.

Earlier, travelling was not easy. But now travelling has become smooth so fasting is not tough even for regular travellers. So, it is preferable for Muslims to observe fast.

When can pilots break their fast?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: Those who are fasting and travelling from the UAE cannot break their fast according to the UAE time, since their location has changed.

If a pilot starts fasting while in Dubai, he/she can break the fast in another country or continent only when it is Iftar time at the destination point.

If those keeping fast eat or drink something before Iftar time in another country (where they have travelled to), they will have to re-fast. 

What if one swallows a particle of food stuck between the teeth?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: If someone swallows remains of food stuck between the teeth and if the size of the remains is as big as, say, a chickpea, in this case the fast is void and invalid.

A person who does this should continue fasting, but must re-fast this day.

This is the prudent opinion of most of the scholars as the person deliberately ingests the food.

On the other hand, the Hanafi Madhab scholars said in case the person swallows remains smaller than the size of a chickpea, the fast is still valid.

Does giving blood for medical tests affect the fast?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: No, giving blood for tests or for analysis doesn’t invalidate the fast.

What is the Islamic ruling on nausea while fasting?     

Vomiting does not invalidate the fast unless it is intentional or deliberate.

In such a case the one who vomits deliberately in Ramadan should re-fast this day and must refrain from food and drink on the day s/he vomited.

Can a breastfeeding mum not fast?

The breastfeeding woman is considered a special case, where if the fasting harms her health she should not fast.

She can re-fast the days and the Hanafi Madhab scholars have said she should feed the poor daily in return for each day she has not fasted.

In case she has not fasted because of her health and not for the baby, she should re-fast without fidiya (ransom).

It’s the same for the pregnant woman.

Can women fast in advance for days she will miss during the month?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: Women cannot fast in advance, because Sawm Al Qadha’a (re-fasting) is for the fast that a person could not observe on a specified day.

Therefore, fasting in advance, for menstruating days during Ramadan, is not permissible because Sawm al Qadha’a is to be observed for days missed out. It is not permissible to do it before time.

All obligatory rituals (prayers, fasting, zakat, haj) have a specific time when they ought to be carried out.

Making up fast on behalf of deceased person?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: If a person who could not fast due to illness, passes away, then the person is excused from fasting. His guardian need not make up on his behalf.
However, if a person who could not fast due to illness, recovers only to pass away later, without fasting for the missing days - in such a case the dead person's guardian will have to fast on his behalf.

If one moves from one country to another?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: What is the ruling if a person starts fast in Yemen and then moves to the UAE. If the people in the UAE fast for 30 days, should he fast for 31 days?

Answer:- The fasting and the timing of iftar depends on the sighting of the moon in the country in which the person is staying at the moment and not the one where he was earlier.

Wherever the person sees the moon, he must abide by that country's rule.

Brushing one’s teeth while fasting?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: It is permissible for fasting person to brush one’s teeth before fajr (dawn) but not after.

This is so because, due to change of taste in the mouth, if saliva is swallowed, then the fasting will be invalid. Therefore, be cautious.

What is the Shariah ruling as regards eye drops and injections during the day?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: Eye drops, according to Shafai'i and Hanafi, do not break the fast even if the fasting person can taste it in the throat.

This is because the eye is not a normal place for receiving food or drink, even if something reaches the throat.

The fast is broken through anything entering through open ports like the ear, nose and mouth.

Injections do not invalidate the fast, whether it is intravenous or intramuscular, and whether there is a taste or not.

These do not reach the stomach via an open port, unless the injections are used to assist the body as food and drink like in the case of a nutrient injection. In such cases it breaks the fast.

Is rinsing the mouth during ablutions safe?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: Rinsing the mouth and nose is recommended but a person who is fasting should not exaggerate the rinsing for fear of breaking the fast.

What is the ruling about physical marital affection at the time of adhan for Fajr?  

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: The Muslim if he hears the adhan for Fajr and is determined to fast should refrain from everything that breaks his fast – he must stop eating, drinking, or physical affection with his wife.

If he hears the adhan the person should immediately cease what can invalidate his fast.

“And eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night)” [al-Baqarah 2:187]. Adhan al Fajr signals the beginning of the fasting.

Will food in throat during Fajr prayer call make fasting invalid?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: If a person purposefully eats at Fajr time or after that, fasting will become invalid and the person will have to re-fast for that day, according to Hanafi and Maliki.

However, if it is not a purposeful act and food accidently went into the throat and he makes an effort to get it out, it is not a sin, according to Shafi Mazhab.

If the person is successful in getting the food out, then he can continue fasting. If he fails in getting the food out, he should re-fast.

What is the ruling on using perfume during fasting month?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: Using perfume is acceptable during fasting.

Those observing fast should be careful that the smell does not reach the throat, in which case they should re-fast.

But if it was done accidentally, then there is no need to re-fast.

Also, using perfume or incense to lure others is prohibited.

Does drinking water during Adhan of Fajr invalidate the fast? 

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: Those observing the fast should strictly observe the Iftar and Imsak timings. People should refrain from eating or drinking at least 5-10 minutes before Adhan of Fajr.

If the person drinks water during Adhan of Fajr, he should re-fast after Ramadan.

Does a nicotine patch invalidate fast?

During Ramadan this year, Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael, Grand Mufti at the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai (IACAD), will answer readers’ questions concerning the Holy Month.

Does wearing a nicotine patch while fasting make it invalid?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: A nicotine skin patch’s contents do not go through the throat to the stomach.

This radiation is not something tangible to the abdomen therefore, the nicotine skin patch does not break the fast.

But, if it is providing the body with its needs from nicotine it will be better for a fasting person not to use this during Ramadan. The fast is valid, as long as it does not reach the stomach.

A fasting person must strive to refrain from smoking.

What is the Shariah ruling for wearing make-up while fasting?

Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: Make-up does not break the fast because such substances are placed on the body and do not go to the abdomen.

Woman putting makeup on her face does not break her fast. In case of eyeliner (kohl), if it somehow reaches her throat her fast will be broken and she should re-fast this day.

However, women in Ramadan should not wear make-up during the day, because she is fasting and fasting should not be spoiled by such things. Perfuming during Ramadan is also not preferred.

What is the Islamic ruling on food or liquid regurgitating from the stomach to the mouth during fasting?
Dr. Ali Ahmed Mashael: Leftover food or juice emerging from the stomach unwittingly and not because of vomiting do not break the fast.

However, if the food or juice goes back to the stomach the fasting is invalid and the person should re-fast this day.

This in case when person could control the movement and still allowed some of the food or juice to back to the stomach. S/he must re-fast this day.