Be Cautious, These Are the 14 Things That Invalidate Obligatory and Voluntary Fasting

While Ramadan in 2018 has passed, it doesn’t mean your fasting journey is over. You might still plan to observe other voluntary fasts like the Mondays and Thursdays, the Day of Arafah, fasting in the month of Muharram, fasting in the tradition of Prophet David (Daud), and fasting to make up for missed fasts. Just like obligatory fasting, voluntary fasting involves more than just refraining from food and drink; you must also control your emotions to ensure your fast is valid.

It is essential to avoid actions that invalidate fasting to ensure that your worship is carried out to its fullest potential. Here are some actions that can invalidate fasting and should be avoided:

1. Tasting Food

While it’s common for people, especially mothers, to taste food while cooking, doing so during fasting can invalidate your fast. This is especially true if you intentionally taste the food because you are unsure about its taste.

2. Brushing Teeth During the Day

The permissibility of brushing your teeth during fasting is a subject of debate, as different scholars have varying views based on their own knowledge and interpretation. Some scholars argue that brushing your teeth while fasting invalidates the fast, while others suggest it’s discouraged and may invalidate the fast if done after Dhuhr (midday). To avoid doubt, it is better not to do it during fasting. Keeping good oral hygiene is still important during fasting, so consider using a miswak (tooth-stick) or a toothbrush without toothpaste.

3. Rinsing or Sniffing Water Intentionally

Intentional rinsing or sniffing of water during fasting, a practice known as istinshaq, can invalidate your fast, especially if done excessively. It’s essential to be cautious about rinsing your mouth and nose to avoid accidentally ingesting water. During the month of Ramadan, performing ablutions (wudhu) is the same as any other time, but it’s crucial to follow the recommended practices and do them carefully, so your fast remains valid.

4. Swimming

Swimming is generally permissible while fasting, but you should be cautious not to ingest water during your swim. Swallowing water while swimming can break your fast, so it’s better to swim in the evening after breaking your fast or on days when you’re not observing voluntary fasts.

5. Ejaculation

Engaging in sexual intercourse clearly invalidates fasting. However, when it comes to acts like hugging or showing affection to your spouse, it’s still a matter of debate. While hugging and affectionate gestures alone may not break your fast, it is advisable to avoid them to minimize the risk of unintentional ejaculation. Remember that there are plenty of other times to be affectionate when you’re not fasting.

6. Intentionally Inserting Objects into Body Orifices

Intentionally inserting objects into body orifices can invalidate your fast. For example, inserting objects into your mouth, ears, or nose intentionally is not allowed while fasting. It includes activities like cleaning your ears or picking your nose. Refrain from these actions during fasting.

7. Sexual Intercourse

Engaging in sexual intercourse intentionally during fasting directly breaks your fast. This is clearly defined in Islamic law, and married couples should be mindful of this. It is also considered a grave sin to engage in sexual relations while fasting, even if you are married.

8. Medical Treatments Involving Body Orifices

While medical treatments are generally permitted during fasting, treatments involving body orifices like the mouth or anus should be carefully considered. If the health issue is not severe, it’s better to postpone such treatments to another day.

9. Self-Induced Vomiting

Intentional self-induced vomiting, which includes inserting objects into the throat to induce vomiting, can invalidate your fast. While naturally vomiting due to illness does not break your fast, self-induced vomiting is discouraged during fasting.

10. Menstruation

During menstruation, it is not permissible to fast or pray. If your menstrual cycle begins while you are fasting, your fast automatically becomes invalid.

11. Post-Childbirth Bleeding (Nifas)

Nifas refers to the bleeding that occurs after childbirth. During this period, you are not allowed to fast or perform acts of worship. If you experience post-childbirth bleeding while fasting, your fast is invalidated.

12. Apostasy (Murtad)

Leaving the Islamic faith and adopting another religion (apostasy) directly invalidates your fast. This is a significant transgression and carries severe consequences in Islamic law.

13. Smoking

Smoking intentionally while fasting can invalidate your fast. This is because inhaling smoke directly interferes with the principle of fasting, which is to abstain from introducing anything into your body, whether it’s food, drink, or substances like tobacco, through your mouth.

Understanding what invalidates fasting can help you avoid these actions and protect the validity of your fast. May your sincere intentions in worship bring you abundant rewards. Ameen.