The Official Website of the Office of His Eminence Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani

Question & Answer » Fasting

1 Question: What is the Islamic law about someone who breaks his fast thinking it is not obligatory on him to fast?
Answer: If he was certain that fasting is not obligatory on him, there is no kaffara on him nor is any fidya payable. However, Qadha is obligatory on him but if he was not certain about fasting not being obligatory, he should give both Qadha and kaffara. The kaffara is to feed sixty poor Shia Muslims by one mudd (750 grams) of foodstuffs to each 60 different needy Shia Muslims. Qadha should be performed in the same year and if it is delayed until the next Ramadhan, he should give the Qadha and kaffara of 750 grams of food stuffs for each day to the poor. If the Qadha is delayed again in the following years, the kaffara is not repeated.
2 Question: Can a person who is fasting in the holy month of Ramadhan serve food to non-Muslims?
Answer: By looking at the issue on its own merit, there is no problem in it.
3 Question: According to some jurists, a person who intentionally invalidates his fast during the month of Ramadhan by committing a sin has to pay all three kinds of penalty [that is, fasting for sixty days, feeding sixty poor people, and emancipating a slave]. What should a person therefor do during our time when emancipating a slave is impossible since there are virtually no slaves?
Answer: The penalty of emancipating a slave is waived when it is no more possible. It should, however, be clarified that in our view, it is not obligatory to pay all three kinds of penalty for invalidating a fast during Ramadhan by committing a sin.
4 Question: I wanted to know if we can brush our teeth during a fast. If so, how?
Answer: Washing the teeth with brush and toothpaste does not invalidate the fast as long as the person does not swallow the saliva that has mixed with the toothpaste. However, the lingering flavor or taste of the paste that mixes with the saliva does not affect the fasting.
5 Question: Is it necessary to perform last year's qadha fast before the beginning of this year's Ramadhan or can I keep it later?
Answer: It is necessary to observe the Qadha of the previous year's fast before the next Ramadhan but if you have failed to do so, you should observe the Qadha in the following year(s) and you should also give kaffara of 750 grams of food stuffs for each day to the poor. If the Qadha is delayed again in the following years, the kaffara is not repeated.
6 Question: What is the Islamic ruling in regards to swallowing one's own phlegm?
Answer: It is preferable for the fasting person not to swallow phlegm that has reached the mouth as a measure of recommended precaution, although it is permissible for him to swallow it. Similarly, it is permissible for him to swallow the saliva that has gathered in the mouth, even in large quantities.
7 Question: What is the ruling about chewing gum in the month of Ramadhan?
Answer: There is no problem in chewing a gum though he might feel the flavor insofar as the gum does not have particles to be swallowed. But if it has particles which spread in the saliva, it is necessary to avoid chewing it or swallowing the saliva which contains the particles. In case there are no particles or substance to be swallowed, there is no problem in chewing it.
8 Question: Some people have asthma and need to use puffers when fasting. What is the ruling on that?
Answer: If the spray that comes out of the nozzle enters the respiratory tract and not the passage of food and drink, it does not invalidate fast.
9 Question: I am a Sunni woman who has embraced the Shia religion. No one in my family knows that I have converted to Shi'ism. How should I go about iftar given the fact that Sunnis break their fast about 12 minutes earlier than the Shia timetable?
Answer: If you can break your fast according to Shia timing, you should do so. You can go out of your home and break your fast somewhere and then come back home. If that is not possible and there is no way other than breaking your fast with your family, you can break your fast but the obligatory precaution is that you should observe the qadha of those days later after Ramadhan.
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