Some seemingly innocent errors made by a fasting person can actually effect his fast. We will take a look at some of these mistakes in the hope of improving our fast and to make them more perfect for the sake of Allah.
Not Sniffing Water During Ablution
Neglecting the order to sniff during ablution to the extent of violation by just washing the tip of their nose. A person is required not to exaggerate during sniffing, if he is fasting, but not to violate by leaving it altogether either. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said,
“Exaggerate while sniffing unless you are fasting.”
Imam as-San’any said, “The hadith is evidence to exaggerate the sniffing when not fasting. Exaggeration is forbidden when fasting in case something comes down the throat and ruins the fasting.”
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Not Abstaining From Food
Some people keep eating or drinking even after the mu’athen starts the call for fajr salah. If you advise them, they say it is allowed until the mu’athin says, “Come to success (haya ala fallah).” Afterwards they start their fasting. Something like this should have a firm daleel (evidence). Research and investigation revealed no such evidence. It is something some people prefer. This is rejected according to the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, who said,
“Anything added to our religion, which is not in it, is rejected.”
Another narration says,
“Whoever does a deed, not in our religion, is rejected.”
In addition, the Qur’an and sunnah stated that imsak is when we can detect the white line from the black line at dawn. When they are detected, every one has to stop eating and drinking Allah says,
Eat and drink until you can distinguish between the black line and white line at dawn.
The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said,
“Bilal calls for salah at night. Eat and drink until Ibn Umm Maktoom calls.”
Ibn Umm Maktoom was a blind man who did not call for salah until he was told it is time. From the previous verse and hadith, it is clear that imsak should be at dawn and that the adhan is a sign of it. Therefore when the mu’athin starts, it is time for imsak and not when he says, “haya ala assalah.”
Having Suhoor Early
Having Suhoor early is another violation. By doing that we are rejecting a lot of rewards. The Sunnah states that a Muslim should delay the Suhoor in order for him to be following the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam. Anas said,
“We had Suhoor with the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, and then made salah.” I asked, “How long was between the adhan and the Suhoor?” He replied, “About as long as reading fifty ayahs.”
Delaying the Call for Maghrib Salah
From the violations that some mu’athens do in Ramadhan is that they only call for salah when it becomes completely dark. They are not satisfied with the complete setting of the sun and claim that it is better to be cautious. This is against the Sunnah. The Sunnah is to call for salah when the sun sets completely without regard to anything else. Allah says,
Then complete your fast till the night appears.” [Surat al-Baqarah, 2:187]
Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, made the ending of fasting when the night begins, that is when the sun completely sets. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said,
“If night comes from this side, day goes from that side and the sun has gone, then break your fast.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Imam Ahmad Ibn Nasr Almarozy said after mentioning the above ayah, “The scholars have agreed that if the sun has set, that means night has begun and it is time to break the fast.”
Some people fall into the trap of delaying Iftar. Two points are relevant here: First, delaying Iftar can delay Maghrib salah or cause you to miss it altogether which is worse. Therefore, a Muslim must eat on time in order to be able to catch the congregational salah with other Muslims. Second, delaying Iftar is a contradiction to the Sunnah and an agreement with the Christians and the Jews based on the following: Sahl Ibn Saad narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said,
“People are still good as long as they hasten the Iftar.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
He also narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said,
“My Ummah is still following my Sunnah as long as they don’t wait for the stars to break their fast.” (Ibn Hibban).
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said,
“Our religion will stay visible as long as people hasten breaking their fast because the Jews and Christians delay.”
Not Using the Sewak
Another violation related to fasting is that some people do not use the sewak (traditional cleaning stick for teeth) in the afternoon and disapprove of those who do. Their reasoning in this is that the sewak eliminates the breath’s smell, which Allah prefers over the smell of musk, as stated in the following hadth in which the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said,
“I swear by He who has my soul in His hands that a fasting person’s breath is preferred by Allah over the smell of musk.” (Bukhari and Muslim).
Ash-Shawkany referred to this when speaking about the dispute about whether the smell of a fasting person’s breath was meant to be in this life on earth or in the hereafter. He said, “Due to this dispute, it was said that sewak is disliked when fasting.” He then said, “In truth, the sewak is desirable for a fasting person to use in the morning and in the late afternoon and that is the opinion of the majority of scholars.” What also proves the permissibility of the sewak is the fact that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, generalized when he said,
“If it wasn’t going to he tough on my Ummah, I would have ordered them to use the sewak at every salah.”
Imam Bukhari said, “The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, did not specify a fasting or non-fasting person.
The Guilt Associated With Waking Up in Janabah
Another violation is the great guilt that fasting people feel if they wake up in janabah (defilement due to sleeping with one’s spouse). To those we say there should be no guilt, complete your fast. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, used to be in janabah when dawn came and he would take a bath and fast.
Shaikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz was asked if a fasting person has a wet dream on a Ramadhan morning, does it ruin the fast and does that person have to take a bath? He replied that wet dreams do not ruin the fast because it is not a voluntary act and that a bath is necessary if semen is secreted. It’s okay to delay the washing until Dhuhr salah if the wet dream occurred after fajr salah. The same goes for janabah, you can take a bath after dawn if it occurred at night because it was proven that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, used to wake up in janabah then wash and fast. It is better to wash from janabah before fajr salah in order to be able to make salah in congregation.
Feeling Guilty in Tasting Food
Some women are reluctant to taste their food in case they ruin their fasting. There is no need for this reluctance as long as no food is swallowed. Ibn Abbas said,
“It is okay to taste the food or drink.” (Bukhari)
Shaikh Abdullah Ibn Jibreen was asked, “Can a cook, while fasting, taste the food being cooked to make sure it is good?” He replied, “It’s okay to taste the food when necessary by placing it at the tip of the tongue to know its sweetness, saltiness or the like. Nothing should be swallowed, but it should be spit out. That will not ruin the fast.”