بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The fast of Ramadan

Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims. Fasting in Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. During the month, Muslims restrain themselves for the sake of Allah from eating, drinking, and intercourse during the daytime. The fllowing are the most frequently asked questions on Ramadan.

When is the first day of fasting?

In 2024, the first day of fasting will be around 11th of March, inshaAllah. The month will last from 29 to 30 days. Please check your local mosque for the exact date.

What is the purpose of fasting?

Fasting is an exercise in self-restraint for the sake of Allah. Refraining from food, drink and intercourse is difficult because they are the primary bodily needs/desires. Leaving these needs during day-time in Ramadan instills the quality of God-consciousness, which is ultimately the purpose of fasting.

What is special about Ramadan? Why fast in this month?

Allah says in His Book: "Ramadan is the month in which the Qur'an was sent down, as a guide to mankind, and clear proofs of guidance, and differentiator [between right and wrong].  So every one of you who witnesses the month, let him fast it, but if any one of you is ill, or on a journey, then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that which He has guided you to; and perhaps you will be grateful." [Sura al-Baqarah, ayah 185]

Can I fast if I'm not praying yet?

Yes, you can. Fasting in Ramadan is one of five pillars of Islam, as is the daily prayer. Fulfilling one of the pillars is better than none of them. Also Ramadan is a great time to start praying and changing your life for better.

What intention should I make before fasting:

"I intend to observe the fasting of Ramadan for the sake of Allah."

When does the daily fast begin?

The fasting starts with the entrance of Fajr prayer time (at dawn). It is advisable to stop eating and drinking 5-10 minutes before it.

When does the daily fast end?

Break your fast at the entrance of Maghrib prayer time (after sun sets). It is advisable to break your fast with water and dates, and to not delay it much.

What should I say when breaking my fast?

You can say the following dua:

"O Allah, I've fasted  for You, I believe in You, I fully trust You, and I break my fast with what You have provided."

Also you can add an intention to fast in the upcoming day:

"And I intend to fast the upcoming day of Ramadan."

How important is it to have suhoor (a meal eaten shortly before the fast begins)? What if I overslept it, can I still fast that day?

Missing suhoor does not break your fast. The main condition is that you do not eat, drink or do other things breaking the fast during the day time (from fajr until maghrib). However, try to not miss suhoor, as it makes your fast much easier.

In Ramadan, the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) encouraged people to always have suhoor:

"The pre-fasting meal is a blessed meal, so do not abandon it even if you take only a sip of water. Verily, Allah and his angels send blessings upon those who take the pre-fasting meal." [Ahmad]

How important is to hasten with breaking my fast once the Maghrib time enters?

Our blessed Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) has said: “People shall be in welfare as long as they hurry in iftar (breaking fast).” [Bukhari and Muslim]

What should I break my fast with?

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “When one of you breaks his fast, let him break it with dates for they are blessed. And if you can't find dates, then break it with water for it purifies.” [Tirmidhi]

Can I eat after fajr prayer enters until sunrise?

No, you can't. The fasting begins exactly when fajr prayer enters (at the appearance of dawn), and it is advisable to stop eating 5-10 minutes before that.

What if I ate or drank during the day out of forgetfulness? Is my fast still valid?

Eating or drinking out of forgetfulness doesn't invalidate the fast. However, you must stop immediately once you remember that you are fasting.

The beloved Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said:

"Whoever forgets he is fasting and eats or drinks, let him complete his fast for it is Allah who has fed him and given him to drink." [Bukhari]

Can I smoke while fasting?

No, smoking during the day time invalidates the fast. Our sincere advice is to leave smoking altogether, and Ramadan is a good time to pull that off. 

Can I chew chewing gum while fasting?

No, it invalidates the fast as chewing gum normally has sugar or other additives.

Can I brush my teeth with tooth paste while fasting?

You can, though it is disliked to do so. If you swallow some of the paste, it invalidates the fast. We advise you to brush your teeth with tooth paste at night, before fajr time enters. And to use just the brush without paste upon waking up in the morning.

What if I bite my nails whilst fasting, does it break the fast?

Biting the nails in itself does not break the fast, although swallowing them would break the fast. Also biting the nails, irrespective of whether one is fasting or not has the status of disliked (makruh).

Does swallowing my saliva break my fast?

No, it doesn't. Though avoid gathering a big amount of it and then swallowing it on purpose.

Can I take a bath or shower while fasting?

Yes, you can. Be careful to not swallow water by accident.

What if I need to travel during the fasting period? Can I stop my fast and compensate it afterwards?

A travelling person is allowed to stop fasting for the duration of the travel, and then fast the missed days later that year. It is advisable to fulfil the missed days before the next Ramadan arrives.

Can I continue my fast while travelling?

Yes, you can. As a traveller  you don't have to stop fasting, and can continue if you can manage it.

How should I spend my time in Ramadan?

Improve your worship, give charity, show patience and kindness towards your loved ones, help people and read the Quran a lot.  Try to gain good habits and aim to keep them after Ramadan. If you can, take vacation from work to dedicate more time and strengthen your relationship with Allah.