Fasting rules and the most common misconceptions explained | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Fasting rules and the most common misconceptions explained

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

The month of Ramadan is here, and it is considered to be the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.

Many Muslims observing Ramadan will last for 30 days, from dawn to sunset, when eating and drinking is not allowed.

The specific rules on what is permitted during Ramadan might not be clear to everyone, and there can be different interpretations by different people.

We have rounded up some of the advice on some of the most common questions during the holy month.

What is Ramadan?

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam – the fundamental rules all Muslims follow – along with the Shahadah (declaration of faith), Salat (prayer), Zakat (charity) and the Hajj pilgrimage.

It is when Muslims are required to spend 30 days observing the fast during daylight hours, as a means of celebrating and reflecting on their faith.

Ramadan is based on the cycle of the moon, meaning that the dates are different from year to year, and cannot be predicted precisely.

This year the holy month was expected to commence on Monday 12 April, but eventually commenced on Tuesday 13 April.

Can you brush your teeth?

Various sources confirm that brushing your teeth is fine during Ramadan, as long as toothpaste is not swallowed.

Based on advice from Dr Tamer Mohsin Abusalah, General Practitioner at the Dental & Medical Director of Burjeel Dental Clinic, The Khaleej Times reported: “It is permissible for a fasting person to use any fluoride toothpaste while fasting, as long as he is careful not to swallow anything.”

Muslim Aid also said it is fine to brush your teeth, as well as showering or washing your face during Ramadan.

Others have suggested using miswak twig called siwaak to brush teeth during Ramadan instead, for those who have concerns.

Can you drink water?

Drinking water during the hours of fasting is not permitted – no food or drinks are.

Outside of the hours of fasting, drinking water is fine.

The charity Muslim Aid said: “Muslims must drink adequate amounts of water when the time comes to eat at suhoor (pre-sunrise meal) or iftar (evening meal) to prevent becoming ill through dehydration.”

Some have also said it's a good idea to spread your water intake out over the period of time when you are not fasting.

Can you swallow your saliva?

There appears to be no valid basis for the idea that swallowing saliva goes against the fast.

 Shabbir Hassan, an advanced student of Islamic Sciences and Sharia, and a Hafidh of the Kora, told the BBC: “This misconception has no basis at all, swallowing your saliva is natural.

It definitely will not break the fast.”

Can you get the Covid vaccine during Ramadan?

Many Muslim leaders have said Ramadan should not stop people from getting the NHS Covid vaccination.
The British Islamic Council has issued guidance which said: “Taking the Covid-19 vaccines currently licensed in the UK does not invalidate the fast, as per the opinion of Islamic scholars.

Individuals should not delay their Covid vaccinations on the account of Ramadan.”

The NHS has also cited the advice of Imam Yunus Dudhwala, Head of Chaplaincy at Barts Health NHS Trust, and Dr Farzana Hussain, a senior GP, on the matter.

Imam Yunus Dudhwala said: “The vast majority of scholars have deemed taking the vaccine whilst fasting as permissible and stated that it does not break the fast.”

Dr Hussain added: “Getting an injection does not break the fast as it’s not nutritious and so there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t have it if you are eligible and have been invited for your Covid-19 vaccine and those scheduled for their second dose, should take it.

Can you chew gum?

There are mixed views on this, but the consensus is that many types of chewing gum contain components that break down when chewed and therefore count as breaking the fast.

One response to this question on the Islam Question and Answer forum said that in terms of chewing gum with sugar or artificial flavouring: “Chewing this kind of gum leads to breaking the fast because the sugars and flavourings dissolve in the saliva and enter the stomach.

Undoubtedly this breaks one’s fast because nutrients enter the stomach.”