The Nullifiers Of Fasting

Allah has set some boundaries and limits is that during fasting. Allah, The Most Exalted, made it very clear when fasting should begin and ends, both in terms of the month in which it embark and time of the day it is to commence and end. Allah Says “…So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it.”[Quran 2: 185].Prophet Muhammad SAW said: “If you see it (the new-moon of Ramadhan) then fast and if you see it (appearing again marking the end of the month) then break your fast. If you could not see it because of clouds, then count the month as having thirty days”.[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

While fasting, we must be aware of the following acts which will nullify the fast.

1. Having Sexual Intercourse With One’s Spouse.

This is one of the worst ways of deliberately terminating one’s fast. If this occurs, then one must pay expiation. This incurs a very harsh penalty if this sin takes place during the daytime in the month of Ramadhan by someone upon whom it is obligatory to fast. The punishment is that they must release a slave; if they do not find one then they must fast consecutively for two months. If they are unable to do this then they must feed sixty poor persons.

2. Deliberate Discharge Of Sperm.

This may occur due to kissing, touching, hugging, masturbating (which is forbidden even when not fasting) or any other means. If, however, this occurs during one’s sleep then it does not nullify the fast. This is because the sleeping person has no control of his or her body and therefore could not have deliberately done this.

3. Deliberately Eating and or drinking.

This is allowing food or drink to reach one’s stomach irrespective of whether it is permissible or forbidden. It is also irrespective of whether it has entered through one’s mouth or nose. Regarding this, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Exaggerate in performing ablution and putting the water in your nose (sniffing) unless you are fasting”. [Ahmad]. This is proof of the fact that anything that enters through the nose is akin to something entering through the mouth. On the other hand, smelling things does not break ones fast as this does not result in anything entering the stomach.

4. Anything having the same effect as eating and or drinking.

This can be by means of needles, drops or supplements as long as it has nutritional value. If these do not have any nutritional value then using them would not affect fast in any way.

5. Drawing out blood and Hijamah (cupping).

Hijamah is something that is done by means of needles or razors to make holes in the skin in order to get bad blood out of the body. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “The one who gets the blood out of his body and the one doing this for him have both broken their fast”.[Abu Dawud]

If, however, one draws blood out of his body to analyze it for sicknesses, then this does not break the fast because it is something that has a negligible effect on the body, unlike the effect that Hijamah would have. Also, if one has a nosebleed or bleeding due to extracting a tooth, then this will not affect the fast, as this is unintentional and uncontrollable. One should be careful not to swallow any blood in these cases (it is impermissible whether one is fasting or not). Opening a wound to expel pus from a wound, even if these results in a discharge of blood will also not affect the fast.

In the case of a fasting person having blood taken from his body in order to donate it to a person in need of it, this is something that would break the fast as it involves an excessive amount of blood, just as Hijamah does. Therefore, it is not permissible for fasting persons to have blood taken from them to donate it to others unless the benefactor is in a critical condition and cannot wait until sunset. In this case, it is permissible for the donor to have a certain amount of blood extracted from him due to necessity. The donor may eat and drink that day but must make up for this missed day in the future.

6. Intentionally vomiting.

Intentionally vomiting will nullify one’s fast. If one were to vomit unintentionally then this would not nullify the fast because the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “He who vomits unwillingly does not have to make up for it (his fast), but he who vomits intentionally must make up for it”. [Ibn Abu Shaybah]

The six categories of actions mentioned so far would nullify one’s fast only if one knowingly and willingly does them. If one were to commit these acts due to forgetfulness or ignorance then they are not held responsible and do not need to make them up.

The proof for this is the Saying of Allah: “…And there is no blame upon you for that in which you have erred but [only for] what your hearts intended.”[Al-Ahzab, 33: 5]

7. Menstrual Or Post-Natal Bleeding.

This is when blood is discharged by a woman as part of the menstrual period or during the time immediately following childbirth. As soon as this blood is discharged, even if it was just one second before sunset, then that days’ fasting is rendered null. If a woman were to get the feeling in her body that the blood is about to come out, but it does not actually do so until sunset or later, then this is not a problem and her fast is still intact. A fasting person can use mascara; perfume, eye or ear drops and apply medicine to their wounds.

Not To Indulge In Gossip, Disputed Arguments, Idle Talk, Telling Lies And Giving False Testimony and Other Sins.

Finally, a fasting person must strive to protect his fasting and not to indulge in gossip, disputed arguments, idle talk, telling lies and giving false testimony. This is because for those who do not abstain from lying and giving false testimony, Allah has no need of them to abstain from food and drinks, as stated by the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

A fasting person must also stay away from listening to music because fasting is a shield with which people prevent themselves from sinning and by which they rescue themselves from the Hellfire. We must not commit sins or neglect our obligations while fasting because this will dramatically reduce our reward.


Excerpted from Islam Web published on Friday 29/08/2008

©Islam Web


About Md Radzi Ahmad
A retired Malaysian civil servant. Served the Malaysian government for thirty-one years. Posted to London, Rangoon, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bangkok. Born in Kampong Hutan Kandeh, Alor Star, Kedah. Educated at Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star and University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Currently resides in Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan,Malaysia.Blessed with three children, a son, two daughters, daughter in law and two grandaughters.

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