Question: What are makruh and what are not makruh for a fasting person?
The following things are makruh for a fasting person:
1. It is makruh to brush the teeth with toothpaste.
2. It is makruh to gargle with medicine. If a sore in the mouth prevents one from reciting in the namaz, then it will not be makruh to gargle with medicine because there is an excuse for it.
3. It is makruh to kiss one’s wife when there is the danger of ejaculating.
4. If the fast is broken in Ramadan for such reasons as having an injection or vomiting a mouthful by forcing oneself to or if a traveler arrives in the city where he/she lives or if the menstruation of a woman stops, such people must abstain from what breaks the fast, as fasting people do. It is makruh for them to eat or drink.
The following things are not makruh for a fasting person:
1. If one has a nocturnal emission in the night and if there is little time for imsak (the time when prohibition on eating begins) time and if one eats pre-dawn meal first and performs a ghusl after dawn, that is, if one begins fasting in a state of impurity, this fast will be valid. It is permissible to perform the ghusl later.
2. It is permissible to make intention for Ramadan fast after dawn lest kaffarah (expiation) might become necessary if it is broken.
3. If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife in Ramadan and if they sleep late thinking that they will make a ghusl soon and if the sun has risen when they wake up, it does not harm their fasts. However, they must take a bath at the earliest opportunity to be able to perform a namaz.
4. It is permissible to delay the onset of menstruation by taking pills in order not to miss fast-days.
5. If a woman begins menstruating while fasting, she should not avoid eating and drinking like a fasting person; she can eat and drink.
Legal concessions for fasting
Question: Is it permissible to make use of the legal concessions mentioned below to be able to fast?
1. To put water into one’s mouth to quench one’s thirst; to pour cold water onto the head or to take a bath with cold water to cool down,
2. To apply a nicotine patch to the skin when one feels the need to smoke a cigarette,
3. To spray medicine or to apply ointment on a part with pain or with rheumatic pain; to apply medication or a patch absorbed through the skin on the chest for heart attacks,
4. To insert acupuncture needles into the body or to wear diet patches when one feels hunger [they not only stop the feeling of hunger but also help weight loss],
5. To take pills to delay monthly period so as not to miss fast-days and to observe them fully.
All of them are permissible, but the acts that rank first on the list are makruh tanzihi (makruh of a lesser degree) according to Imam-i A’zam because such acts may be a sign of boredom with this act of worship. However, according to Imam-i Abu Yusuf, there is nothing wrong with doing them because one, by doing so, removes the difficulty to some degree and helps oneself perform the act of worship more easily. Following the statement of Imam-i Abu Yusuf, one can do all of the above-mentioned acts.
What to do if the fast breaks?
Question: If a person’s fast breaks in Ramadan, is it permissible for the relevant person to eat or drink?
If one breaks one’s fast in Ramadan for any reason whatsoever or if a traveler arrives in the city where he/she lives, that is, if a person becomes settled (muqim) when he/she comes back or if the menstrual bleeding of a woman stops, such people must abstain from eating and drinking until dusk, like fasting people. But if the menstrual bleeding of a woman begins, she should not act like a fasting person; she should eat and drink. Those with excuses that prevent them from fasting should eat and drink secretly on the days when they do not fast.