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I. What is the wisdom and benefit of fasting?

Allah’s commands and prohibitions are surely for people’s own good. Scholars of Islam are in an agreement on the matter that all these decrees aim at benefits for people.  It is an inevitable fact that there are great benefits for people in things Allah wants us to do and there are disadvantages in things He forbids.  Due to the mission Islamic teaching gives them, scholars of Islam have always been thinking hard on benefits and wisdom of various ways of worshipping and have attempted to introduce functional ways for them in order to help people purify their souls and exalt them instead of their personal advantages in practice. In this case, advantages and wisdom of worshipping that people are held responsible are clear, it is also a fact that not all the benefits and purposes that are supposed to be realized are certain.

The main purpose of fasting is to have people attain piety. This has been clearly stated in the Qur’an : “O you who believe! Prescribed for you is the Fast, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may deserve God's protection (against the temptations of your carnal soul) and attain piety.” ( the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:183)

Fasting, which leads people to the process of spiritual education, makes people remove the sediment of sins deposited on their hearts and spirits in a short time. Fasting, therefore, makes them reach the secret of the verse “He is indeed prosperous who has grown it in purity (away from self-aggrandizing rebellion against God)” (the Qur’an, ash-Shams, 91:9). This is a statement of the fact that those who purify their carnal souls are those who attained salvation. Just as giving alms may cleanse sins and cause them to grow in purity and sincerity (the Qur’an, at-Taubah, 9:103), so too does fasting, which is the alms of the body, save people from the domination of their carnal souls.

A person who fasts breaks the chains of his carnal soul and takes the hold of Allah’s rope. While the carnal soul makes man selfish and leads him to loneliness, man becomes more and more aware of the fact that he is a social being, by clutching Allah’s rope. During Ramadan, the month of fasting, prayers performed in congregation carves the sense of unity into the spirits. Rich people perform their prayers in the same line with the poor, they eat at the same table; alms, fitrah and payment (fidya : For those who are unable to fast (elderly, sick, handicapped, etc.) a compensation must be given by feeding a poor person for every day that fasting is not observed) are like life water to improve the unbalanced income distribution.

Fasting turns into taming of the carnal soul due to its being on the one hand, a willful restraint from desires of the carnal soul and into an education of patience due to its making people bear hunger and thirst on the other hand. To have a successful period in life process, a person needs to go through taming of the carnal soul. People with weak wills cannot succeed in life; they may also end up badly in terms of spirituality. It is because ways of worshipping have a state and feature which only those who have strong wills can carry them out. At this point, fasting is effective on controlling the desires of the soul and exalting the spirit in terms of purity and sincerity. Likewise, consideration of fasting as a means of ascetism and struggle by various religions and cultures despite being in different forms is interesting in terms of expressing this fact.

Thanks to fasting, being content re-enters our houses. A person who bears hunger and thirst due to fasting understands the people who are in need and the importance of being content with what one has. He cannot waste anymore. The statement of Allah’s Messenger “Being content with what one has is an endless treasure” (Bayhaqi, Zuhd, 2:88) echoes in believers’ ears. Understanding the importance of the food, man becomes more thankful to God. He understands that ambition causes deprivation and being content leads to mercy. The manifestation of the word of Allah’s Messenger “those who economize do not have a hard time making ends meet” (Ibn Abi Shayba, al- Musannaf, 5:331) becomes visible in his life.

Fasting makes it possible for man to discipline his life with iftar (dinner for breaking fasting during Ramadan) and sahur (meal before dawn) and tarawih prayer and other ways of worshipping.

Ramadan, the month of fasting, is full of opportunities and treasures for man to turn to his Lord and to ask for forgiveness of his sins. A person has the opportunity to consider more on the Qur’an. As a result of the abundance that Ramadan brings and its drawing the veil of sins over the heart and the brain, man begins to deeply comprehend some verses.

As the alms of the body, fasting contributes a great deal to the metabolism in removing harmful components deposited in the body. In this month, when man begins considering his body to be a mysterious and harmonious integrity of matter and meaning that is different from other creatures, bodies renew and brains brighten… Our bodies become healthy as if they confirm God’s Messenger’s word “Fast and you become healthy”. (Tabarani, Mu’jamu’l-Awsat, VIII: 174; Mundhiri, at-Targhib, 2:206)

Fasting in Ramadan is a time period when people fill with hope of forgiveness. Fasting is an instructor that teaches people how to remain strong against sudden troubles. Ramadan is a month that grants the opportunity to our children to learn and practice the religion in excitement…

The Messenger of Allah said the sins of those who assessed Ramadan by believing and expecting the return from Allah would be forgiven. (Nasai, Belief, 21). In the same way, the Prophet said addressing his Honored Companion Ka’b b. Ujra : “O, Ka’b! Prayer is evidence which proves that a person is a Muslim. Fasting is a strong shield. Giving alms cleanses sins just like water extinguishes fire. O Ka’b! Flesh and bones that form by feeding on the forbidden things deserve to be in fire.” ( Tirmidhi, Jum’a, 79).

There is a firm connection between the wisdom and understanding the decrees of fasting. Being aware of the rules concerning the laws of fasting will give us the opportunity to fast in accordance with the sunnah that the Prophet left us as a wisdom.

II. General Information on Fasting

1. For whom is fasting obligatory (fard)?

It is an obligation for all Muslims who are mentally healthy and who reached the age of puberty and who do not have an excuse preventing them from fasting fast.

2. In which situations is a person permitted not to fast?

Islam held people responsible according to their strength and introduced facilitating decrees on cases in which people may have difficulty and which may cause them trouble. Those who have such excuses as the following are not held responsible for fasting and they are permitted perform it later; or they may pay fidyah instead.

a) Journey

Journey is considered as an excuse for not fasting in Ramadan. Those who cannot fast during a journey can perform it later. The following is stated in the Qur’an: “O you who believe! Prescribed for you is the Fast, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may deserve God's protection (against the temptations of your carnal soul) and attain piety.(Fasting is for) a fixed number of days. If any of you is so ill that he cannot fast, or on a journey, he must fast the same number of other days. But for those who can no longer manage to fast, there is a redemption (penance) by feeding a person in destitution (for each day missed, or giving him the same amount in money). Yet better it is for him who volunteers greater good (by either giving more, or fasting in case of recovery), and that you should fast (when you are able to) is better for you, if you but knew (the worth of fasting).” (the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:183-184)

Those who intend at night to fast and set on a journey during the day may break their fast or they may continue it if they wish. Those who intend at night to fast but who have to go on a journey during the day might break their fast if they have problem in fasting. However, it is better to continue it. When the Prophet set on the journey to conquer Mecca, he broke his fast when they arrived at a place called Qadid. (Bukhari, Sawm, 34; Muslim, Siyam, 15). This shows that fast may be broken while on journey.

b) Illness

Those whose illnesses may get worse or prolong due to fasting and those who have difficulty in fasting due to their illnesses are permitted not to fast and to perform it when they recover. The verse mentioned above points out to it. If an expert doctor states that person is going to be ill if he fasts, he is regarded as an ill person.

c) Pregnancy and suckling

Provided that fasting may damage them and their children, pregnant women are permitted not to fast. Nursing women are also permitted not to fast for fear that their milk runs out and their children may be damaged. The Prophet permitted this. (Nasai, Siyam, 50-51:62; Ibn Majah, Siyam, 3)

d) Doing hard and tiring jobs

Those who are afraid of getting ill due to fasting are permitted not to fast. Such people may fast on their day-offs or perform their fast when they have the opportunity to do so. Those who do hard jobs as an obligation may perform their fast when they have the opportunity to do so on condition that their health comes under risk if they are to work fasting.

This issue is explained in the Qur’an as follows: “O you who believe! Prescribed for you is the Fast, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may deserve God's protection (against the temptations of your carnal soul) and attain piety.(Fasting is for) a fixed number of days. If any of you is so ill that he cannot fast, or on a journey, he must fast the same number of other days. But for those who can no longer manage to fast, there is a redemption (penance) by feeding a person in destitution (for each day missed, or giving him the same amount in money). Yet better it is for him who volunteers greater good (by either giving more, or fasting in case of recovery), and that you should fast (when you are able to) is better for you, if you but knew (the worth of fasting).The month of Ramadan, in which the Qur'an was sent down as guidance for people, and as clear signs of Guidance and the Criterion (between truth and falsehood). Therefore whoever of you is present this month must fast it, and whoever is so ill that he cannot fast or is on a journey (must fast the same) number of other days. God wills ease for you, and He does not will hardship for you, so that you can complete the number of the days required, and exalt God for He has guided you, and so it may be that you will give thanks (due to Him).” (the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:183-185)   

e) Old Age

Those who are too old to fast can pay fidyah instead of fasting. In the 184th verse of the Surah Al-Baqarah, it has been decreed that those who cannot manage to fast should pay fidyah instead of fasting. The sick people who are not expected to recover are subject to the same decree.

3) Giving Penance (fidyah) Instead of Fasting

a) What is penance?

Penance related to fasting as a religious term is the religious financial responsibility paid in case of not performing some ways of worshipping or making mistakes or having difficulty while performing. Penance regarding the ways of worshipping is valid for fasting and hajj (pilgrimage). Those who cannot fast due to old age and incurable illness pay penance in return for each day they do not fast since it is impossible for them to fast. It is wajib (necessary) for such people to pay penance. In the Qur’an, it is stated : “For those who can no longer manage to fast, there is a redemption (penance) by feeding a person in destitution (for each day missed, or giving him the same amount in money)” (the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:184). From this verse, it is understood that the amount of penance is the food which is enough to feed a person for a day.

Those who cannot manage to fast due to old age should pay the penance for each day. If they cannot even afford this, they should beg Allah to forgive them. However, such people should perform their fast if they are able to in shorter days. If those who cannot manage to fast during Ramadan and who have incurable illness become able to fast, they should perform their prayers. Their penance they have already paid becomes void and they are deemed as sadaqah.

b) What is the amount of penance?

The amount of penance is much as sadaqah al-fitr.

The amount of penance for 2010 that the Ministry of Religious Affairs determined is 7 Turkish Liras.

4. When is the intention for fasting to be made?

Intention is important in worshipping. Intending from the heart is essential and better than oral intention. For this reason, intending to fast means that a person should be aware of fasting. Waking up for sahur (meal eaten before dawn) is an actual intention for fasting. Even if a person does not wake up for sahur, he is deemed to have intended if they have such awareness.

The time for intention to fast begins with the time of evening prayer.

The deadline of intention for Ramadan fast, additional and vowing fasts lasts till an hour before the time for the noon prayer. Apart from these, intention for kaffarah and qada fasts and vowing fasts of which the exact time is not determined should be made before the time of morning prayer.

5. When does fasting begin and end?

Imsak, which means refraining oneself, preventing, restraining and abstaining from, means as a religious term, “keeping away from eating, drinking, sexual intimacy and other things that break the fast starting from the white streak of dawn till the night sets in” (the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:187)

The streak of dawn which starts the prohibitions of fasting is the time of imsak. By then, the deadline of the night prayer ends and the time of the morning prayer begins. This time is also when sahur ends and fasting begins. The time of sunset when prohibitions of fasting end is called the time of iftar. By this time, the time of the evening prayer begins. In places where day and night do not form fully, the time of imsak and iftar is determined with estimation.

6) Can a person who has gone to bed after eating and drinking and intending to fast eat and drink wakes up at night eat and drink before imsak begins?

Imsak means the beginning time for the morning prayer and the beginning time of fasting. Those who want to fast must stop eating and drinking from this time on.

For this reason, a person who has gone to bed after eating and drinking and intending to fast can also eat and drink until imsak if he wakes up at night.

7) In sahur, can we keep eating and drinking until the recitation of the adhan ends?

A person who eats and drinks in the time of sahur should stop eating and drinking – no matter whether the adhan is being recited or not – by the time imsak begins.

8) Can we fast on the day of eid?

Fasting on the first day of Ramadan festival (eid al-fitr) and on four days of the Festival of Sacrifice (eid al-adha) is makrooh tahrimi which is close to haram because these days are for banquets, eating, drinking and joy.

9) Can we fast on Fridays?

It is permissible to fast on any day except for the Festival days, when it is makrooh (abominable) to fast. However, an additional fasting only on Friday is considered to be makrooh tanzihi, which is acceptable but not desired. The Prophet (pbuh) stated : “ No one should fast on Fridays. However, if they begin fasting one day before it or they fast the next day too, they can fast on Fridays as well.” (Abu Dawud, Fasting, 50). Thus, it is permissible to perform qada fast or wajib fast like a vowing fast on Friday. Those who want to perform supererogatory fast on Fridays should also fast on the previous day or on the following day.

10. Is it wrong to spend fasting without a delay in three months Rajab, Sha’ban and Ramadan?

As publicly known, there is no such thing as three-month’s fasting; however, it is recorded in the sources of hadith that in the month of Rajab and Sha’ban, the Prophet used to perform supererogatory fast more than any other months. (Bukhari, Fasting, 52,53; Muslim, Fasting, 175, 179). Ramadan fast, though is obligatory. Apart from these, he is known to have performed supererogatory fasting on Mondays and Thursdays and on the 13th, 14th and 15th days of each month in the lunar calendar. (Tirmidhi, Fasting, 44; Abu Dawud, 68). Nevertheless, there is no record in hadith books about his fasting without a delay on these particular months.

11. Must we perform our qada fasting on end, without any interruption?

People who cannot fast or break their fasts during Ramadan should perform qada fasts. In the Qur’an, the following is stated: “If any of you is so ill that he cannot fast, or on a journey, he must fast the same number of other days.” (the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:184). There is no recorded decree about qada fasts to be performed on end. For this reason, qada fasts might be performed on end or on separate days except for the days that it is makrooh to fast. However, it is best to perform these qada fasts as soon as possible.

12. Should a supererogatory fast be performed again if they are to be broken?

 A supererogatory fast is the one fasted in any month except Ramadan. Despite being supererogatory, worship that is started needs to be completed. For this reason, as in other supererogatory worshipping, a broken supererogatory fast need to be performed again. If a person breaks a supererogatory the fast, a re-performance of the fast is required not payment as a redemption.

13. What is the decree for the fast of Shawwal?

After Ramadan, it is mustahab (recommended) to fast six days in the month of Shawwal. The Prophet (pbuh) stated “He who observed the fast of Ramadan and then followed it with six days of Shawwal, it would be as if he fasted the whole year.” (Muslim, Fasting, 24; Tirmidhi, Fasting, 53), encouraging people to fast for six days in the month of Shawwal. This fast can be observed on end or on separate days.

14. What is the decree for the fast of Ashura?

The tenth day of the month of Muharram is called the Day of Ashura. The Prophet (pbuh) stated “I hope that the fast of Ashura will redeem the sins of the previous year” (Tirmidhi, Fasting, 47), recommending people to fast on this day.

Since the Jewish people also fasted on the tenth day of the month of Muharram at the time of the Prophet, it would be better to fast one more day before or after it so as not to resemble their acts.

15. What is the decree for the fast to welcome and see off Ramadan?

There is no religious base for fasting to welcome and see off Ramadan. However, the Prophet used to fast many times in the month of Sha’ban and six days in the month of Shawwal. It is makrooh to fast for one or two days previously as a precaution considering that Ramadan has already begun even if it has not. However, it is not wrong for the ones who have made fasting as a habit on certain days to fast if their certain days coincide with these days. Likewise, the Prophet (pbuh) said “Do not welcome Ramadan with fasting for one or two days before it. But if a person spends these days fasting as a habit, they should keep on this.” (Bukhari, Fasting, 14; Muslim, Fasting, 21)

16. How can a person who always travels due to his job observe his fast?

Islam orders those who cannot fast due to illness or journey to redeem their fast after Ramadan. As long as excuses are present, permission is available as well. Those who always have excuses redeem their fast when they are able to fast. In the Qur’an, the following is stated : “… Whoever is so ill that he cannot fast or is on a journey (must fast the same) number of other days” (the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:185). Drivers who must always be on roads are considered to be on journey. However, it is more virtuous for those who do not have difficulty on journey to fast.

17. Does taking full ablution (ghusl) / a bath while fasting break the fast?

As long as you do not swallow any water through your mouth or nose, taking full ablution or a bath does not break the fast. As a matter of fact, Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) and Ummu Salamah inform us that the Prophet took full ablution after imsak. ( Bukhari, Fasting, 25). Thus, being unclean (junub) when imsak begins does not harm the fast; taking full ablution does not break the fast, either.

18. Does having a wet dream while asleep harm the fast?

Having a wet dream while asleep does not harm the fast; in the same way, being in a state of janabah till the morning, which requires full ablution, does not harm the fast. However, unless an obligatory situation occurs, it is necessary to take full ablution immediately.

19. Can a person eat the meal of sahur while he is junub and can he intend to fast in such a state?

It is considered to be wrong for a person to eat and drink without cleansing his hands and mouth if they are unclean. However, it is permissible for him to have the meal of sahur after washing his hands and mouth.

III. Things that invalidate/ do not invalidate the fast

A. Some general information

Eating, drinking or sexual intercourse while fasting invalidates the fast. Some things that invalidate the fast require a qada of the fast and some other things require both qada and kaffarah. Here we will explain some points regarding the issue:

1. What invalidates the fast and necessitate qada?

The fasts broken due to legal excuses like journey, old-age, illness necessitate only qada. Besides, eating and drinking without meaning it; eating or drinking things which are not meant for nourishment, and which are not habitual to partake and that human nature is not inclined to eat invalidate the fast and necessitate only qada.

Unobserved fasts during Ramadan without excuses should be redeemed for the same number of days. However, the Prophet (pbuh) said that a person who lost a day without fasting in Ramadan could not attain the same reward even if he fasted the whole year. For this reason, quitting the fast without an excuse during Ramadan is a great sin and it is also a disrespect for Ramadan and for all Muslims.

Not fasting without an excuse is a great sin and it necessitates repentance and supplication for forgiveness. Ramadan is an opportunity for forgiveness of sins. Fasts that are observed on other days are not the same as the fasts observed during Ramadan in terms of value.

2. What is penance (kaffarah) of fast and how is it redeemed?

In case of breaking a Ramadan fast without an excuse, one should redeem a penance and re-observe the fast.

The penance for fasting is fasting for 2 lunar months, that is, 60 days on end. Those who cannot manage this should feed 60 poor people for one day or feed a poor person for 60 days.

Menstruating women give a break on penance fasting while on period. As soon as they turn to normal, they should continue their penance fasting and complete 60 days.

According to Shafi’i school, fasting broken due to eating-drinking without an excuse requires only re-performance (qada) not kaffarah.

3. Does eating or drinking forgetfully invalidate the fast?

Eating and drinking forgetfully does not break the fast. The Prophet said, "If somebody eats or drinks forgetfully, he should complete his fast because Allah has made him eat and drink.” (Bukhari, Fasting, 26; Muslim, Fasting, 17). A person who eats and drinks forgetfully should bring out what is inside his mouths and wash his mouths when he remembers he is fasting and he should complete his fast. The fast of the person who continues eating and drinking after remembering he is fasting is invalidated.

4. Does brushing teeth invalidate the fast?

Brushing teeth does not invalidate the fast. However, swallowing toothpaste or water invalidates the fast. Considering the possibility for the fast to be invalidated, teeth should be brushed before imsak and after iftar.

5. Does vomiting invalidate the fast?

Vomiting out of control does not invalidate the fast. However vomiting, intentionally and interferingly invalidates the fast.

B. Health problems and fasting

Thanks to the development in medical science, many new methods of examination and treatment have come into existence. Some of them invalidate the fast while others do not. Some basic questions and answers regarding these methods are as follows:

1. Is the fast  of asthmatic patients invalidated when they use oxygen sprays?

A very small amount (1/20 ml.) of the spray that lung patients use is delivered into the mouth at one time. Most of it is absorbed by the mouth and the wall of the trachea and disappears. There is no certain information that the rest reaches the stomach with the saliva. When that amount is compared to the water that remains in the mouth during wudu (ablution), it can be seen that it is very little. As a matter of fact, there is a hadith (Darimi, Sawm, 21) and the consensus of Islamic scholars that if the water remaining in the mouth after wudu reaches the stomach, it does not invalidate fasting. Hazrat Prophet used miswak while he was fasting. (Bukhari, Sawm, 27; Tirmidhi, Sawm, 29). On the other hand, fasting is not invalidated by something that is not certain whether it reaches the stomach or not according to the rule “what is known as certain is not invalidated by doubt”.

For this reason, oxygen sprayers that asthmatic patients use in order breathe easily do not invalidate the fast.

2. Does using eye drops invalidate the fast?

According to the information received from the specialist opticians, a dosage of eye-drop that should be taken over a period of time is very little (50 microliters which is 1/20 of a milliliter), and some of it is thrown out by the blink of an eyelid, and some of it is absorbed in the eye, in the canals connecting the canals between the eye and the nasal cavity and in the mucus through pores, and scarcely any amount of it may arrive in the alimentary canal. When that information is considered together with the explanations above, eye drops do not invalidate fasting.

3. Does using nose drops invalidate the fast?

One drop of medicine dropped into the nose for treatment is about 0,06 cm3. Some of it is absorbed through nose walls and only very little of it reaches the stomach. Since it is evaluated as exempt as it is the case in mazmaza, it does not invalidate fasting.

4. Is the fast of cardiac patients invalidated when they use sublingual pills?

The sublingual pill placed under the tongue in some cardiac diseases is absorbed through the mouth tissue, mixes with the blood and prevents heart attack. Since that pill is absorbed and disappears in the mouth, it does not reach the stomach. Therefore, sublingual pills do not invalidate fasting.

5. Should people who have to use medication every day fast? 

Illness is an excuse that makes it permissible not to fast during Ramadan. If it is determined medically and by experience that a person will get ill or their illness will get worse if they fast, they do not have to fast. The following is stated in the Qur’an: “ If any of you is so ill that he cannot fast, or on a journey, he must fast the same number of other days”. (the Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:184)

People who have chronic illness should pay penance instead of fasting. Poor people and people in need do not have to pay penance because, nobody has been held responsible for deeds they cannot manage to do.

6. Does undergoing endoscopy and colonoscopy, or having an ultrasound scan of anus or vulva break the fast?

In endoscopy, which is carried out in order to determine the disease in the stomach by inspecting the stomach or carrying out a biopsy, a medical instrument is inserted through the mouth into the stomach, and the instrument is taken out after the procedure. In colonoscopy, which is carried out in order to determine the disease in the colons by inspecting the inside of the intestine or carrying out a biopsy, an instrument is inserted through the anus into the intestines, and the instrument is taken out after the procedure. In colonoscopy, almost always, and in endoscopy generally some water is sent into the body through the instrument in order to clean the area to be inspected.

Although endoscopy, colonoscopy, ultrasound from the anus or vagina do not mean eating or drinking, they invalidate fasting because water is generally sent into the body through the instrument.  However, if water, oil or any other thing that has the quality of food does not enter into digestive system during those procedures, endoscopy, colonoscopy, ultrasound from the anus or vagina will not invalidate fasting.

7. Does having a scan of urinal canals and spilling medicine into the canal invalidate the fast?

Devices to scan and medicines spilled into urinal canal do not invalidate the fast.

8. Does anesthesia invalidate the fast?

Anesthesia is formed through administering drugs into body through air passage or injection. The anesthesia that is carried out through air passage or injection does not reach the stomach, and it is not regarded as eating or drinking.  However, in regional and general anesthesia, in emergencies, medicine, liquid and serum are administered through vascular access. Therefore, local anesthesia does not invalidate fasting. In regional and general anesthesia, fasting is invalidated because serum is administered.

9. Does using ear drops and having the ear washed invalidate the fast?

There is a canal between the ears and throat. However, since the eardrum blocks that canal, water or medicine does not reach the throat. Therefore, the medicine dropped into the ear and having the ears washed do not invalidate fasting.

Even if there is a small hole in the eardrum, the medicine will not reach the stomach or very little of it will reach the stomach. As we have mentioned before, such a small amount is regarded exempt. However, if the eardrum membrane is pierced, water may reach the stomach during when one has his ears washed. Therefore, an amount of water that is enough to validate fasting reaches the stomach, fasting will be invalidated.

10. Does using suppositories and enema invalidate the fast?

Although the suppositories inserted through the anus for treatment enter into the digestive system, they do not invalidate fasting because digestion is completed in the small intestine and the suppositories do not have any nutritious properties and they are not regarded as eating or drinking when they enter the body through the anus.

Two situations occur during enema: since water, glucose and some salts are absorbed in the large intestine, fasting is invalidated if a liquid containing nourishment is administered into intestines or if an amount of water enough to invalidate fasting stays in the intestine. However, if the water is not kept in the intestines and if the intestines are cleaned immediately fasting is not invalidated because the water is taken out together with the feces in the intestines and the water absorbed during that period is very little.

11. Does having an injection and transfusing serum and blood to the patient invalidate the fast?

Whether injections invalidate fasting or not depends on the usage purpose of them. Injections are given in order to relieve pain, to treat a disease, to increase the resistance of the body and to give nourishment, etc. The injections that do not give nourishment or pleasure do not invalidate fasting because they are not regarded as eating and drinking. However, the injections that give nourishment or pleasure invalidate fasting. The same rule is valid regarding giving the patient blood or serum.

12. Does dialysis invalidate the fast?

The dialysis that is applied to the patients with renal failure are of two types: peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis. Peritoneal dialysis is the procedure of cleaning the blood from the harmful substances and maintaining fluid balance through a special solution administered into the abdominal cavity. Hemodialysis is the procedure of cleaning the blood through a machine outside the body and giving the cleaned blood back to the body. The blood is drawn through a syringe from the arm of the patient. The hemodialysis machine filters the blood through a dialyser continuously and removes the harmful substances and the extra water. The filtered clean blood is given back to the patient through a second syringe. During that procedure, sometimes, fluid containing nourishment becomes necessary to be given to the patient.  Accordingly, fasting is not invalidated if hemodialysis is carried out without giving any fluid containing nourishment to the patient. In the other forms of dialysis, fasting is invalidated since fluid containing nourishment is given to the body.

13. Does having an angiography break the fast?

The operation known as angio by people is carried out for diagnosis (angiography) and for treatment. Angiography means the imaging of the veins and arteries. A drug called contrast substance that makes the veins visible is administered into the veins and films called angiograms are obtained.  Thanks to angiography, the veins fostering the organs are imaged and diagnostic information regarding vascular diseases or the organs fostered by those veins are obtained. The classical method for the treatment of angio is angioplasty. It is carried out in order to reopen the narrowed or blocked veins through a special devices called balloon or stent.

In the light of that information, since nothing related to eating and drinking take place in both angiography or angioplasty, fasting is not invalidated.

14. Does biopsy invalidate the fast?

Removing tissue from the body (biopsy) in order to analyze it does not invalidate fasting.

15. Does getting blood drawn invalidate the fast?

Getting the blood drawn does not invalidate the fast. As a matter of fact, the Prophet got his blood drawn when he was in ihram and while he was fasting. (Bukhari, Medicine, 11, Hunting, 11, Fasting, 11). Moreover, the Prophet said: “ There are three things that do not invalidate the fast : getting the blood drawn, vomitting, having a wet dream”. (Tirmidhi, Fasting, 24)

16. Can a fasting person have acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a method of therapy applied with stinging needles on certain points of the body as a cure for various illnesses. Since the body receives no food or nourishment in acupuncture, it does not invalidate the fast.

17. Does using ointment and bands containing medicine invalidate the fast?

Oil, ointment and similar things applied on the skin are absorbed through the pores and capillaries under the skin and mix with blood. However, the skin absorbs them in very small amounts and very slowly. On the other hand, it does not mean eating or drinking. Therefore, the ointment applied on the skin and the band containing medicine that is stuck on the skin do not invalidate fasting.

18. Does having a dental treatment while fasting invalidate the fast?

Having a dental treatment whether with morphine or without morphine or having a tooth extracted while fasting does not invalidate the fast. However, swallowing blood or therapeutic substances in the course of treatment invalidates the fast.

19. Does swallowing a pill without water invalidate the fast?

If a fasting person intakes nourishment or medicine either with or without water, his fast is invalidated. According to Shafi’i school, he needs only to reperform the fast. According to Hanafi school, though, he needs both qada of the fast and kaffarah. However, if he has taken the medication due to a reason which might make breaking the fast permissible, he needs only qada but not kaffarah.

C. Women and fasting in menstrual period and puerperium

1. Can women fast in menses and puerperium?

Women cannot fast in menses and puerperium. (Bukhari, Menstrual Periods, 1; Muslim, Menstruation, 14-15). They should redeem their fasts they could not observe. The interpreters of Islamic Jurisprudence are in an agreement on this issue.

2. What should a woman whose period begins while fasting do?

Since the fast of a woman whose period begins while fasting is invalidated, she can eat and drink. Nevertheless, although such a woman in such a situation can eat or drink, it is better for her to act as if she is fasting as a good manner.

3. Can a woman whose period ends after the time of imsak fast?

A woman whose period ends after the time of imsak is not regarded to have fasted even if she has not eaten or drunk anything that day.

4. Is it religiously permissible for women to use medicines that delay menstruation in Ramadan? Is the fasting of a woman whose period is delayed due to the medication she has used valid?

Menstruation hinders fasting. The fasting observed in such a situation is not valid. The fasting observed is valid despite being due to medication since the menstruation does not happen. However, because of the fact that toxic substances are removed from the body with menstrual blood, using medicines that delays menstruation is not recommended.

(This article has been prepared by the Supreme Committee of Religious Affairs)