What Breaks My Fast?


Things Obligatory to Refrain from During the Prescribed Fast

Those things from which it is obligatory to refrain during the fast (muftirat), from dawn to sunset, are:

1. EATING AND DRINKING DELIBERATELY

Both eating and drinking (shurb) deliberately invalidate the prescribed fast and necessitate making up for the fasts missed in the opinion of all the schools, although they differ as to whether atonement is also obligatory. The Hanafis and the Jafaris (Shia) require it, but not the Shafiis and the Hanbalis.

A person who eats and drinks by an oversight is neither liable to make up for missed fasts nor atonement, except in the opinion of the Malikis, who only require its being made up. Included in drinking is inhaling tobacco smoke.

2. SEXUAL INTERCOURSE

Sexual intercourse when deliberate, invalidates the prescribed fast and makes one liable to make up for missed fasts and atonement, in the opinion of all the schools. The atonement is the freeing of a slave, and if that is not possible, fasting for two consecutive months; if even that is not possible, feeding sixty poor persons. The Jafaris and the Malikis allow an option between any one of these. That is, a sane adult may choose between freeing a slave, fasting or feeding the poor. The Shafiis, Hanbalis and Hanafis impose atonement in the above-mentioned order. That is releasing a slave is specifically obligatory, and in the event of incapacity fasting, becomes obligatory. If that, too, is not possible, giving food to the poor becomes obligatory. The Jafari state that all the three atonements become obligatory together if the act breaking the fast (muftir) is itself forbidden, such as eating anything usurped (mahsub), drinking wine, or fornicating. As to sexual intercourse by oversight, it does not invalidate the prescribed fast in the opinion of the Hanafis, Shafiis and Jafaris, but does according to the Hanbalis and Malikis.

3. SEMINAL EMISSION

There is consensus that it invalidates the prescribed fast if caused deliberately. The Hanbalis say that if the thin genital discharge emitted while caressing (madhy) is discharged due to repeated sensual glances and the like, the prescribed fast will become invalid. The Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafii and Maliki (schools) say that seminal emission will necessitate making up for the prescribed fast without atonement. The Jafaris observe that it requires both making up for it and atonement.

4. VOMITING

It invalidates the fast if deliberate, and in the opinion of the Jafaris, Shafiis and Malikis, also necessitates making up for the fast. The Hanafis state that deliberate vomiting does not break the fast unless the quantity vomited fills the mouth. Two views have been narrated from Imam Ahmad Hanbal. The schools concur that involuntary vomiting does not invalidate the prescribed fast.

5. CUPPING

Cupping [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijama] breaks the fast only in the opinion of the Hanbalis, who observe that the cupper and the patient both break the fast.

6. INJECTION

Injection invalidates the prescribed fast and requires the fast to be made up in the opinion of all the schools. A group of Jafari jurisprudents observe that it also requires atonement if taken without an emergency. [Scholars at IslamOnline draw a distinction between nutritive and non-nutritive injections. They hold that nutritive injections (e.g. insulin) break the fast while non-nutritive injections (e.g. intramuscular injection of hepatitis A vaccine) do not break the fast. Interestingly, they classify intravenous injections as non-nutritive even though they can be used to rehydrate patients. See the opinion here: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503543710]

7. INHALING A DENSE CLOUD OF SUSPENDED DUST

Inhaling a dense cloud of suspended dust invalidates the fast only in the opinion of the Jafaris. They say that if a dense suspended dust, such as flour or something of the kind, enters the body, the fast is rendered invalid, because it is something more substantial than an injection or tobacco smoke.

8. APPLICATION OF COLLYRIUM

Application of collyrium (kohl) invalidates the fast only in the opinion of the Malikis, provided it is applied during the day and its taste is felt in the throat.

9. THE INTENTION TO DISCONTINUE THE PRESCRIBED FAST

If a person intends to discontinue his or her fast and then refrains from doing so, his or her prescribed fast is considered invalid in the opinion of the Jafari and Hanbalis; not so in the opinion of the other schools.

10. SUBMERGING THE HEAD OR BODY UNDER WATER

Most Jafaris state that fully submerging the head, alone or together with other parts of the body, under water invalidates the prescribed fast and necessitates both making up for the fast and atonement. The other schools consider it inconsequential.

11. STATE OF IMPURITY FOLLOWING SEXUAL EMISSION

The Jafari oberve that a person who deliberately remains in the state of impurity following sexual emission after the dawn during the month of Ramadan, his or her fast will be invalid and it is obligatory for the fast (to) be made up as well as atoned for. The remaining schools state that the person’s fast remains valid and he or she is not liable (for) anything.

12. DELIBERATELY ASCRIBING SOMETHING FALSE TO GOD OR HIS MESSENGER

The Jafaris observe that a person who deliberately ascribes something falsely to God or the Messenger (i.e. if he or she speaks or writes that God or the Messenger sais so and so or ordered such and such a thing while he or she is aware that it is not true), his or her fast will be invalid and that person will be liable for making it up as well as for an atonement. A group of Jafari jurisprudents go further by requiring of such a fabricator the atonement of freeing a slave, fasting for two months, and feeding sixty poor persons.

Source: Bakhtiar, Laleh. Encyclopedia of Islamic Law: A Comperdium of the Major Schools. Chicago: ABC International Group, Inc. 1996. Print

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  1. #1 by Ikram Kurdi on September 16, 2009 - 12:38 pm

    Why is smoking listed with drinking?

  2. #2 by Dryer Vent Cleaning on September 18, 2009 - 9:58 pm

    This site rocks!

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