What counts as breaking a fast? UAE's religious authority responds

The General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments clears the air on actions that invalidate one’s fast

epa06759065 Muslims break their fast after sunset during the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 23 May 2018 (Issued 24 May 2018). Muslims around the world celebrate the holy month of Ramadan by praying during the night time and abstaining from eating, drinking, and sexual acts during the period between sunrise and sunset. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and it is believed that the revelation of the first verse in Koran was during its last 10 nights.  EPA/ALI HAIDER
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During Ramadan every year we are inundated with a flurry of confusing messages, myths and misconceptions propagated about what nullifies your fast and what does not.

While people are lead to believe that inhaling dust breaks one’s fast, others postpone important appointments with their doctors - believing this can invalidate it.

The General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments has created a list of do’s and don’ts to help Muslims, while making sure they do not fall prey to rumours.

Here is a list of things that are permitted when fasting:

  • Giving blood for a blood test
  • Applying eyeliner
  • Bathing
  • Applying make-up
  • Using a suppository
  • Taking an intravenous, muscular or skin injection
  • Taking an insulin injection, which is usually used by diabetics
  • Being exposed to dust on the road
  • Using or inhaling perfumes
  • Using nicotine patches to cope with withdrawal symptoms during the day
  • Suffering a nose bleed or a tooth bleed
  • Non-induced or unintentional vomiting, unless the vomit is consumed
  • Using eye and ear drops while ensuring they do not reach the throat
  • Using a miswak stick
  • Tasting food without swallowing, only if one is required to taste
  • Using toothpaste while brushing your teeth as long as it doesn't reach the throat
  • Using a lip balm, provided it is not swallowed
  • Using an asthma pump, provided the taste does not reach the mouth
  • Taking under the tongue pills for heart patients while ensuring these are not swallowed

The following actions do break your fast:

  • Taking a nutritional injection
  • Induced vomiting or vomiting voluntarily
  • Inhaling bukhoor or burning incense, if inhaled intentionally. A small whiff doesn't break the fast
  • Ear drops, eye drops and nose drops break the fast if they reach the throat

This year the authority has determined that the value of fidya a person can donate to feed the poor is Dh10. Fidya is a religious donation made when a person breaks a fast or is unable to keep a fast during Ramadan. The donation can be of food or money, and is used to help the underprivileged.

The value of Zakat El Fitr, charity given to the poor at the end of Ramadan, is Dh20 this year.


Read more:

WATCH: Ramadan, everything you need to know

Ramadan 2018 FAQs: all you need to know about the holy month in the UAE

Fasting in Ramadan: 'Don't break your fast with salty processed food'