List of things that break your fast
Fasting during Ramadan means abstaining from drinking or eating anything from dawn to sunset. Muslims eat (sehri) before the Fajr prayer and then break their fast upon hearing the Maghrib prayer at sunset. Fasting helps strengthen your taqwa (faith) and protects you from indulging in any sinful deeds.
As Muslims, we should know the things that Allah SWT and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) have asked us to avoid strictly when fasting. Keep reading to learn the list of things that break your fast
Why Do Muslims Fast During Ramadan?
Abu Huraira (RA) reported Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) as saying: “Allah SWT the Exalted and Majestic said: Every act of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting. It is (exclusively) meant for Me, and I (alone) will reward it. Fasting is a shield. When anyone of you is fasting on a day, he should neither indulge in obscene language nor raise the voice; or if anyone reviles him or tries to quarrel with him, he should say: I am a person fasting.
By Him, in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, the breath of the observer of fast is sweeter to Allah SWT on the Day of Judgment than the fragrance of musk. The one who fasts has two (occasions) of joy, one when he breaks the fast he is glad with the breaking of (the fast) and one when he meets his Lord he is glad with his fast.” (Sahih Muslim 1151)
What Is Its Significance?
Allah SWT in the Holy Quran says, “O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you that you may become righteous.” (Qur’an, 2:183) Fasting helps one develop spiritual strength, including resisting temptation, enhancing prayer, obtaining spiritual knowledge and testimony, and helping the needy.
Uthman ibn Abu Al-Aas narrated: “The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: ‘Fasting is a shield from the Hellfire just like the shield of any of you in battle.’” (Sunan Ibn Majah, 1639)
In other words, fasting helps protect one’s soul from conducting a sinful act and thus helps build self-control. Thus, fasting righteously rewards a Muslim with salvation in the Hereafter, protecting them from the Hellfire and granting them entry into Paradise.
List of Things That Will Break Your Fast in Islam
According to Islam, there is a list of right things that can break or nullify your fast. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Whoever breaks the fast during Ramadan without an allowance or illness, then if he fasted for all time, his fasting would not make up for it.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi 273) Therefore, it is strictly advised to avoid the following acts when fasting:
Eating, Drinking and Smoking
Smoking, drinking, and eating intentionally is on top of the list of things that break your fast. However, note that in case you sincerely forgot that you were fasting and ate or drank something by mistake, your fast would not be broken.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “If somebody eats something forgetfully while he is fasting, then he should complete his fast, for Allah SWT has made him eat and drink.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 6669)
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated, “A person came to our master the Prophet and said, ‘O the Messenger of Allah, I am ruined.’ Our master, the Prophet (PBUH) asked what happened. He said that he had broken the Ramadan fast intentionally.
Our master, the Prophet (PBUH), told him to free an enslaved person. When he said he had no slave, he ordered him to fast for two months incessantly. When he said that he was unable to do so, he told him to feed poor people.”
Lying, Cursing, Misbehaving, Listening to Music and Blaming
As human beings, we often lie, curse, or misbehave without realising it. Similarly, listening to music is our ultimate coping mechanism. However, whether or not one is fasting, a Muslim is strictly condemned for these acts. Ahmad Mufti, an Islamic Scholar, said, “They do not break the fast, but engaging in such behaviors deprives the person of rewards and God’s forgiveness. Fasting is not only about refraining from eating and drinking.”
The Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT said, “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, Allah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” (Al-Bukhaari, 1903, 6075) He (PBUH) also said, “If anyone of you is fasting, let him not utter obscenities or act in an ignorant manner, and if anyone insults him or wants to fight him, let him say, I am fasting.”
According to Islamic narrations, vomiting deliberately can break your fast, whereas an unintentional vomit doesn’t break the fast. A person can intentionally vomit by sticking their fingers down their throat or by pressing their stomach.
Other than this, a person can also feel nauseated or vomit while watching a nasty video or due to smelling something grotesque.
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT said, “If one has a sudden attack of vomiting while one is fasting, no atonement is required of him, but if he vomits intentionally, he must make atonement.” (Sahih (Al-Albani) Sunan Abu Dawud 2380)
Injection, Drips Eye Drops, Nose Drops, and Ear Drops
Khaleeq Ahmed Mufti said, “Water or ear drops entering the ears are most likely to break the fast because they are open ports that can reach the abdomen. Nose sprays can also break the fast if they reach the abdomen, so people should take precautions. As for eye drops, scholars differ on this, so I recommend people avoid it unless they urgently need to take it during fasting hours.”
Whether it results in ejaculation or not, being sexually active with your partner while fasting can also result in nullifying your fast. If you have already done the deed, you must request forgiveness from Allah SWT and complete the day without drinking or eating until the sun sets.
Allah SWT in the Holy Quran says, “It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you, and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you.
So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night].” (Holy Quran, 2:187)
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that, “A man came to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and said: ‘I am undone.’ He asked him: ‘What has happened to you?’ He said: ‘I had intercourse with my wife in Ramadan (while I was fasting).’ He asked: ‘Can you set a slave free?’ He said: ‘No.’ He again asked: ‘Can you fast for two consecutive months?’ He said: ‘No.’ He asked: ‘Can you provide food for sixty poor people?’ He said: ‘No.’ He said: ‘Sit down.’ Then a huge basket containing dates (‘araq) was brought to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He then said to him: ‘Give it as Sadaqah.’ (i.e. alms). He said: ‘Messenger of Allah (PBUH), there is no poorer family than mine between the two lava plains of it (Medina).’ The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) laughed so that his eye-tooth (canine tooth) became visible and said: ‘Give it to your family to eat.'” Musaddad said in another place: “his canine teeth.” (Sahih (Al-Albani) Sunan Abi Dawud 2390)
Hijamah (Cupping) and Blood Transfusion
Hijamah (cupping) is the medical method of slashing or scratching a patient’s back, shoulder or neck to extract dead cells (rotten blood). Even though it’s a very famous medical approach, when it comes to Islamic schools of thought, there is a dispute regarding whether cupping or blood donation breaks a person’s fast or not.
However, according to the majority, conducting any of the acts (Hijamah or Blood Donation) can invalidate your fast.
The Messenger (PBUH) of Allah SWT said, “The cupper and the one for whom cupping is done both break their fast.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 1679)
When a person is fasting and gets a blood transfusion, then note that it will also invalidate their fast because blood is a form of nutrition (food and water). Furthermore, getting nutrition treatment through needles and drips can also break your fast.
Masturbation means relieving yourself sexually by using your hand and also comes under the category of desire. Therefore, doing so can result in breaking your fast. In case one has already made this mistake, they must repent to Allah SWT and forbid themselves from eating and drinking for the rest of the day.
“He gives up his food and drink and desire for My sake.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1894; Muslim, 1151)
On the other hand, having a wet dream doesn’t break one’s fast. “Whoever has a wet dream whilst he is fasting or is in a state of ihraam for Hajj or ‘Umrah, there is no sin on him, and he does not have to offer expiation (kafaarah). It does not affect his fast, but he does have to do ghusl to cleanse himself from janaabah (impurity) if maniy (semen) was emitted.” (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, vol. 10, p. 274)
Post-Natal Bleeding and Menstruation
If a woman gets her period anytime before sunset, her fast becomes invalid. Malik was asked what she should do about her fasting and prayer, and he said, “This blood is like menstrual blood. When she sees it, she should break her fast, and then make up the days she has missed. Then, when the blood has completely stopped, she should do ghusl and fast.” (Muwatta Malik Book 18, Hadith 49)
Moreover, in Sahih Al Bukhari 304, it says, “A woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses.”
Things That Don’t Break Your Fast
- Accidentally drinking or eating.
- Brushing your teeth unintentionally.
- Taking a shower.
- Swallowing your saliva.
- Vomiting unintentionally.
- Insertion of medical instruments.
- Anesthetic gases or oxygen as long as it doesn’t provide you with nourishment.
Does Listening to Music Break Your Fast?
Even though listening to music doesn’t break your fast, it is highly discouraged as it goes against the spirit of Ramadan and Islam.
Does Arguing Break Your Fast?
No, arguing doesn’t break your fast. However, observing a fast is all about being patient. Therefore, if you are in a state of anger, it is advised to distance yourself from people until you calm down.
Does Showering Break Your Fast?
Ideally, no, showering does not break your fast. However, when taking a bath, ensure not to take in any water.
Summary – List of Things That Break Your Fast
Ramadan is one of the most auspicious months for Muslims around the world. The holy month gives every person a chance to intensify and strengthen their faith and spirituality and strive towards a better life.
Ramadan teaches us to be grateful by giving zakat and Sadaqah and to be kind and patient individuals. Therefore, Muslims are advised to refrain from drinking, smoking, eating, vomiting, Hajamah, masturbation, and sexual intercourse as they can invalidate your fast.