Not Being Able to Fast at the Beginning of Maturity
q1. A young girl has reached the age of shar‘ī puberty. However; she cannot fast in the month of Ramadan due to her weak constitution. She is also unable to perform the qaḍā’ of the missed days of fasting until the next Ramadan. What is the ruling in this situation?
A: Not being able to fast nor to observe its qaḍā’ does not remove its obligation of performing the qaḍā’ for the missed fasts just because of weakness and inability. Rather, the qaḍā’ of the missed days of fasting in Ramadan will remain obligatory for her.
To Break Fast during the Day due to Difficulty
q2. Due to one's profession which he cannot leave, fasting is unbearably hard for him because of hunger/thirst, can he break his fast at the beginning of the day or he has another duty? What about the juvenile who face unbearable hardship if they fast?
A: In the given cases, they can break their fast when they face unbearable hardship. In case of thirst, it goes with obligatory caution to suffice with necessary quantity of water and observe fast the rest of the day. However, they should perform qaḍā’ for the missed fast.
To Fast While the 1st of the Month Is not Ascertained
q3. If it is difficult to ascertain the beginning of the month of Ramadan, or Eid ul-Fitr, because of inability to observe the crescent at the beginning of the month due to clouds or for some other reason, and if the count of the month of Sha‘bān or the month of Ramadan did not add up to 30 days, is it permissible for us in Japan to go by the horizon in Iran or should we rely on the regular calendar? What is the rule?
A: If the crescent has not been ascertained even by being sighted in an adjacent city of the same horizon, on the evidence of two just witnesses, or on the basis of a decree by a mujtahīd, it is obligatory to observe caution until the beginning of the month is ascertained.
Intending Fast Every Day/for the Whole Month
Q4. In the month of Ramadan, should we intend every day or it suffices to intend once in the beginning of the month?
A: It suffices to intend at the night before the first day of Ramadan to fast for a month. However, it is better (mustaḥabb caution) to intend every night for the next day as well.
Acts which Invalidate Fast
q5. Nine acts invalidate the fast:
A) Eating and drinking; B) To have sex; C) To masturbate; D) To attribute to Allah, the Holy Prophet SAW, or infallible Imams a thing which is not true; E) To let thick dust to reach the throat; F) To immerse the whole head under the water; G) To continue to be in state of Janābah/menses/nifās by fajradhān; H) Enema; I) To vomit on purpose. Details and rules on the nine mentioned above will be discussed later. [Items d, e, and f invalidate the fasts by obligatory caution].
To Break Fast due to Hunger/Thirst
q6. Fasting in Ramadan, a person did not wake up one day to eat the meal taken before the dawn. Therefore, he could not continue fasting until sunset. During the day, something happened which forced him to break his fast. Is he required to observe kaffārah?
A: If he keeps the fast and breaks it only when it becomes — due to hunger and thirst — unbearably hard for him to continue, he has to perform only qaḍā’ of the fast and no kaffārah is required.
To eat Prefast Food after Morning Adhān
q7. In Ramadan month, one wakes up to have prefast meal. After eating, he comes to know that he has eaten after morning adhān, is the fast valid or he should observe its qaḍā’?
A: If he checks and becomes sure that it is before morning adhān, eats and then finds out otherwise, his fast is in order and there is no qaḍā’.
To Swallow Mucus while Fasting
q8. While suffering from a cold, some mucus gathered in my mouth and I swallowed it instead of spitting it out. Was my fast valid? Also, once, staying for some days with one of my relatives during the blessed month of Ramadan, I had a cold and felt shy to perform ghusl of janābah, so I did tayammum instead and did not perform ghusl until sometime before noon. This happened for several days. Were my fasts for those days valid? If not, do I have to pay the kaffārah as well?
A: Swallowing the mucus (from head /lung) does not make one liable to anything. However, after the mucus enters the mouth, one should — by obligatory caution — avoid swallowing it. As for not performing ghusl of janābah before dawn and performing tayammum instead, if the tayammum was done because of some shar‘ī excuse or done at the last moment due to shortness of time, then your fasting is valid. Otherwise your fasts for those days are void.
To Swallow Bits of Food Remained in the Mouth
q9. Once in the holy month of Ramadan, I forgot to brush my teeth, and some tiny bits of food remained in my mouth. I swallowed the bits unintentionally. Do I have to perform the qaḍā’ for that day’s fast?
A: If you did not know that some bits of food remained between the teeth, or you did not know that they have reached the throat, and they were swallowed unknowingly and unintentionally, then you are not liable to make qaḍā’ of the fast.
To Brush One's Teeth Using Toothpaste
q10. While fasting, is it permissible to brush my teeth Using toothpaste?
A: It is no problem. However, one should prevent from saliva mixed with toothpaste and water to be swallowed.
To Gargle or to Rinse the Mouth
q11. In order to remove his thirst, a fasting person takes water in his mouth, turns it around and spits it out allowing no water to enter the throat. What is the rule on his fast?
A: In the given case, it is no problem.
Fast of a Breastfeeding Woman
q12. A woman is breastfeeding and fasting is harmful for her. If she does not fast, should she observe kaffārah as well?
A: If she fears harm to her baby, she should give one mudd of food (approximately 750 gm. of bread, rice, wheat, or the like) to a poor person and perform the qaḍā’ of the missed fasts. If she fears harm to herself, the rules of a patient are applied.
Fast of a Pregnant Woman
q13. A woman was pregnant during two consecutive Ramadans and could not fast during those two years. Now that she is able to fast, what is her duty? Does she only have to perform the qaḍā’ for the two months, or does she have to carry out the twofold kaffārah as well? What is the rule concerning her delaying the fasting?
A: If she did not fast during the month of Ramadan due to a shar‘ī excuse, she is only liable for their qaḍā’. However, if she did not fast because she feared it might harm the fetus or the baby, she has to give fidyah, i.e. one mudd (750 grams) of food for each day, in addition to making their qaḍā’. And if she delayed the qaḍā’ beyond the following Ramadan without a shar‘ī excuse, another fidyah is obligatory for her as well, i.e. she should give one mudd [750 grams] of food to a poor person for each day. If her excuse was fearing of harm for herself, rules of other cases of fearing of harm apply, i.e. if the fear continues to the next Ramadan, she is not to perform qaḍā’ and she is only required to pay one mudd (750 gm.) of food as fidyah.
Qaḍā’ of Missed Prayer/Fast and Its Kaffārah
q14. Unfortunately, due to negligence I failed to perform qaḍā’ prayers and fasts I missed during previous years. Now how can I perform them?
A: As to the fasts you were excused to break, you should perform their qaḍā’. In addition to their qaḍā’, you should — in this case that you did not perform their qaḍā’ before the next Ramadan — give one mudd of food (750 gm. wheat, barely, flour, or the like) to a poor person for each fast. For the fasts which were broken intentionally, fast sixty days or feed sixty poor persons — in addition to their qaḍā’ — as Kaffārah. If sixty poor persons are not available in your city, it is obligatory to send it to another city. In case, it is not possible either, you wait until you find them in your city in the future. If they are less than sixty, you may give them food repeatedly to complete the sixty. It is caution that repetition occurs in different days. As to prayer, you should perform their qaḍā’ and there is no kaffārah.