Things which invalidate fast are of two kinds. The first one requires making up only the missed days without penalty (Qada). And the second one requires making up the missed days plus a penalty (Kaffarah). Insha’Allah, today we are going to identify the various actions that invalidate a person’s fast under the two categories.
Actions which Nullify the Fast with Atonement (Qada)
- Deliberate vomiting
This is indicated in the saying of the Prophet (ﷺ) when he said:
“Whoever has an attack of vomiting while he is fasting, then no atonement is required of him, but whoever vomits intentionally then let him fast another day in its place. ” (Abu- Dawood, At-Tirmidhi and others)
- For Women: Bleeding of menstruation or after childbirth.
The beginning of menstruation or post-childbirth bleeding invalidates the woman’s fast even in the last moment before sunset.
It is reported by Abu Hurairah and Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) that Allah’s Messenger (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) Said:
“Is it not if she menstruates then she does not pray, nor fast? We said: ‘Yes indeed\ He said: ‘Then that is the deficiency in her Deen.” (Muslim)
Such woman should fast for the rest of the day, and she must compensate that day after Ramadan.
- Taking injections or drugs that are used instead of food.
Intentional intake of anything that has the same effect as eating or drinking invalidates the fast. For example, any injection that has nourishment in it and acts like food would break one’s fast. Similar is the use of drips containing glucose. These injections are meant to give nourishment to the sick person.
- Taking anything in the month intentionally
The intake of any kind of food or drink that reaches the stomach invalidates the fast. Similarly, intentional intake of anything to the stomach whether beneficial or harmful such as a stone or a coin or a string etc. Nullifies the fast.
- Ejaculation of sperm
Indulging in intentional execration of semen by masturbation or caressing or kissing or hugging etc nullifies the fast. It has also been stated by Muslim scholars that such a person needs a sincere repentance to Allah and asking for forgiveness and to make up the day (s) missed as well.
If the fasting person knows that if he starts kissing his wife, he may not be able to control himself and it may lead to ejaculation, then it becomes unlawful for him to kiss her. Read more about kissing in Ramadan.
- Breaking of fast under exceptional conditions
Muslims are permitted to break the fast of Ramadan when there is a danger to their health or being forced to eat or drink, etc. The fasting person should not be acting against his free will. In this situation, he/she should make up his/her fast later at any other time of the year.
Note: Eating, drinking or having intercourse after dawn on the mistaken assumption that it is not dawn yet, would nullify fasting, however, a person should complete the fast and compensate the day Similarly, engaging in these acts before Maghrib on the mistaken assumption that it is already sunset.
Although obviously, it is better to hasten in compensating the missed Ramadan fasts than to delay them, it is not obligatory to compensate the missed days immediately afterward. It could be delayed whether due to excuse or not.
Actions which Nullify the Fast with Expiation (Kafara)
- Sexual interaction
There is no disagreement among Muslim scholars that having sexual intercourse during fast breaks the fast and it requires both an expiation and making up the day(s) Just like eating and drinking, Allah the Highest has forbidden sexual interaction during fast. He said:
“It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset. And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah, so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that they may become righteous.” (Quran 2:187)
The penalty of practicing sexual intercourse while fasting includes the following:
- To free a slave,
- If one is not able to do so then one must fast an additional period of 60 continuous days,
- If one is not able to do so then one must feed sixty poor people – one average meal each.
This is also indicated in the Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), that a man came to the Prophet (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him) and Said:
“O Messenger of Allah I am destroyed. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked and what has destroyed you?
He said: ‘I cohabited with my wife in Ramadan’.
He said: “Are you able to free a slave?*. He said: ‘ No’.
He said: ‘Are you able to fast two months consecutively?’ He said: ‘No’.
He said: ‘Are you able to feed sixty poor people?*. He said: ‘No’.
He said: ‘Then sit’. So the man sat down. Then a large basket of palm leaves containing dates was brought to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and he said ‘Give this in charity’.
The man said ‘there is no one between its two lava-plains poorer than us’.
So the Prophet (peace be upon him) smiled until his molar teeth became visible and said: ‘Take it and feed it to your family’. (Bukhari and Muslim).
So whoever breaks his/her fast with sexual intercourse then he/she must make up the fast with another day and also give expiation – no disagreement is known concerning this.
According to Abu Hanifa and Malik (may Allah be pleased with them), eating or drinking without clear excuse needs expiation. This is due to what is reported by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that a man came to the Prophet (Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon hint) and said:
“I broke fast a day in Ramadan deliberately. Prophet (ﷺ) said: free a slave or fast two months consecutively or feed sixty poor people’ (Malik)
However, according to other schools of thoughts eating or drinking deliberately while fasting nullifies the fast and it is actually considered as a sin, but the person needs only to make up and seek Allah’s forgiveness.
For more specific questions, please comment below.
And Allah knows best!