Common Ramadan myths busted
Ramadan is fast approaching, which means that millions of Muslims all around the world will abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset.
It is a time of heightened spirituality and self-control, with the opportunity for all us to get closer to our Creator and our faith.
While most people think Ramadan is just about abstaining from food, it’s not so simple. Although it may seem like there are only a few basic rules for the month of Ramadan, there are many myths and misconceptions about the holy month that we address below.
Brushing your teeth breaks your fast – According to scholars around the world, brushing your teeth does not break your fast. Although this may seem like the case, many learned scholars recommend using a miswak, a tooth cleaning twig which has also been recommended by the WHO for its oral hygiene capabilities. If you err on the side of caution, you can always wait until after Iftar to brush your teeth.
Swallowing your own saliva – This one may seem a bit silly but it is fairly straightforward. It is perfectly fine to swallow your own saliva, in fact it is encouraged. In saying this, it is not permissible to exchange bodily fluids with another person. So, this means not kissing your partner or spouse, or being intimate. After all, the purpose of fasting is to control one’s desires.
Backbiting – Ramadan is not all about abstaining from food and water, but also has a spiritual component to it. The point of fasting is to be virtuous and kind in all that you do, so backbiting, talking ill of another person or engaging in gossip might affect the validity of your fast. Remember if you do slip, Allah SWT is the most merciful and all-forgiving so make sure to repent.
Accidental eating or drinking – While most people think that this one is a given. Accidentally eating or drinking during your fast, does not affect your fast. If you genuinely forgot that you were fasting and you had something to eat or drink, your fast is still considered valid. One exception to this is that if you are performing ablution and you accidentally swallow water in this step, it WILL break your fast. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult your local scholar.
All Muslims must fast – This is not necessarily the case. Although all of those who are deemed medically fit must fast, children under the age of 15, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are not obligated to fast. Other ways of reaping the benefits of spiritual rewards would be giving zakat or fidyah (a charitable form of compensation) for the days you have missed.