This year Ramadan will begin on Saturday, April 2, and will mark the start of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. During this time, billions of Muslims observe fasting to commemorate the occasion – but this entails more than just sacrificing the liberty to eat and drink at any time of the day. Several luxuries are limited during Ramadan to focus the body and mind, but what exactly is off-limits during the fasting period? Is kissing ever allowed?
What is fasting?
As one of the five pillars of Islam, fasting during the month of Ramadan is mandatory for all healthy adult Muslims.
According to the charity Muslim Hands, the reason Muslims fast during this holy month is to demonstrate their submission and devotion to Allah.
The charity said: “The main purpose of fasting is to increase our piety or consciousness of Allah
“Fasting is ultimately a reiteration of our submission to Allah and a shield from displeasing Him.”
Can you kiss during Ramadan?
Some physical contact is off the cards during the fasting window too.
On their website, Muslim Hands states that “kissing or having sexual contact with their spouse” is also unacceptable for Muslims who observe Ramadan, though this is only the case if there is “a fear of desire”.
Natural urges must only be filled once the sun has set each day in order to avoid breaking the fast, so it is generally okay for Muslims to hug and kiss their partners during Ramadan when they are not fasting.
While martial sex is okay between sunset and sunrise, Islam doesn’t approve of extra-marital sexual relationships and people should abstain from these during Ramadan if they are already engaged in one.
Though these rules may sound rigid, it is believed that abiding by them will lead to greater “taw”, which means consciousness of God.
New social media scam offers free Cadbury’s chocolate – beware [INSIGHT]
Ramadan crescent moon sighting: What does it mean? [REVEAL]
Ramadan 2022 full guide: Key dates, fasting guidance and teachings [ANALYSIS]
What can you do during the fasting period?
Even though food and drink are the main limitations in daylight hours, things like showering and brushing your teeth are also a grey area.
While you can brush your teeth outside during the fasting hours, you must not swallow the water.
The same goes for showering, bathing or swimming during the day too.
According to Muslim Hands, you won’t break your fast by doing the following:
- Eating anything between the teeth if it is less than the size of a chickpea
- Injecting medicines into the body
- Vomiting involuntarily
- Breaking the fast “forgetfully”
- Inhaling unavoidable particles in the air
- Having a sexual dream
- Apply scents like perfume or aftershave
Who is exempt from fasting?
The act of fasting is meant to remind Muslims of the less fortunate and to reinforce the need to be thankful and compassionate.
Muslim Hands states that: “All adult Muslims of sound mind are required to fast in Ramadan”, though some people are exempt from this act of faith.
The charity states that groups who are exempt from fasting include:
- Children who have not reached puberty
- A sick person – someone who is ill to the extent that it will seriously affect their health if they fast
- A traveller – someone who intends to travel before Ramadan starts, to a place which is longer than 48 miles away, where they will stay for less than 15 days
- A frail elderly person
- Pregnant women if there is a danger to their health
- Breastfeeding women – when a child is being exclusively breastfed, the mother is exempt from fasting
- A woman experiencing menstruation – in most cases, women must make up for lost time fasting
- A woman experiencing postnatal bleeding – post-natal bleeding can last up to 40 days and the woman is forbidden to fast during this time