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FaithPractice

26 Myths About the Month of Ramadan – Debunked!

It’s that special time of the year again! We’re blessed to experience yet another Ramadan. As the time of year brings up several questions, we thought we’d debunk them all in one article!

It’s that special time of the year again! We’re blessed to experience yet another Ramadan. As the time of year brings up several questions, we thought we’d debunk them all in one article!

We are blessed to witness yet another month of Ramadan. The month is a banquet of mercy and blessing from our Lord, where each breath counts as dhikr, and its sleep is considered worship.

Naturally, Muslims have a lot of questions at this time of year about what exactly they’re allowed and not allowed to do during the fasting hours and the things that invalidate the fast. And if you have non-Muslim friends, family or colleagues, no doubt they’ll be asking you questions too!

We want to make your life a little easier, so we’ve gathered and debunked the top 26 myths.

Ramadan is only about not eating and drinking

Obviously, a large component of the holy month of Ramadan is to abstain from food and drink but there’s so much more to it. The abstinence should extend to keeping away from all types of sins (things that are haram all year round) and Muslims should focus on character development. If we are quick to anger, have a low level of patience, are prone to jealousy or possess any other vice, we are to use Ramadan to work towards conquering such bad habits. Any type of excessive worldly attachment needs to be severed and the focus on connecting with our Creator.

If one abstains from food and drink yet is rude, ill-mannered and unpleasant, they’ve missed the point of fasting. Sure, their fast is accepted from a legal perspective but they haven’t gained anything from it except the feeling of hunger and thirst.

Everyone has to fast – no exceptions

There is no hard and fast rule that every Muslim has to fast no questions asked. Only healthy Muslim adults are required to fast. There are a plethora of people exempt from fasting. Some have to make up the fast on other days and others don’t need to make it up at all. Here are examples of groups of people who don’t need to fast:

  1. Women who are pregnant, on their menstrual cycle or breastfeeding. They have to make the fasts up at a later date.
  2. People with long-term health conditions. As the condition is there with them for life, they don’t have to make up the fasts.
  3. People who take medication are not required to fast unless the medication cycle can be changed safely and be taken during the non-fasting hours
  4. Children who have not reached maturity (bulugh) don’t need to fast as Islamic obligations are not yet compulsory for them.
  5. The old and frail.

Ramadan starts on the same day every year

“Didn’t Ramadan just pass?” asks the curious non-Muslim. Muslims should encourage and welcome questions from non-Muslims as it’s a golden opportunity to tell them more about Islam.

To answer this particular question, Islam runs on the lunar cycle whereas the gregorian calendar runs on the solar cycle – and there’s a 10 or 11-day gap between the two. This means Ramadan will fall roughly 10 days earlier every year according to solar year calculations.

Fun fact: Because of the discrepancies in the calendar, there are likely to be two Ramadans in 2030!

you can’t brush your teeth whilst fasting

Brush your teeth. Your family will thank you for it. There is no harm in brushing your teeth during the fasting hours as long as you don’t intentionally swallow any toothpaste. Be sure to spit and rinse thoroughly to avoid the possibility. Happy brushing!

losing weight is inevitable during Ramadan

The purpose of Ramadan is not to lose weight nor is it a guarantee that you will just because you’re not eating for 13-16 hours a day (depending on where you live). The starvation of fasting can often cause us to overeat at iftar time, which can lead to weight gain.

If you’re careful about your food and squeeze in some exercise sure you’ll lose weight but weight loss isn’t a natural occurrence.

N0n-Muslims can’t eat in front of Muslims during fasting hours

It’s so, so nice of non-Muslims to be conscious of their eating habits around us! But, no, it’s not a requirement. Please don’t make things difficult for the non-Muslims around you by telling them to eat elsewhere. Your willpower is stronger than being swayed by some food in front of you!

You can’t swallow your own saliva whilst fasting

You absolutely can. Swallowing is a natural occurrence for all human beings and we do it unconsciously throughout the day. God would not let a reflex action such as that be a cause for breaking our fast. Obviously don’t let the saliva collect in your mouth to swallow as that might be problematic, but natural swallowing isn’t an issue!

accidentally eating breaks your fast

Islam is so beautiful, you know? We could literally go and eat a full chicken at Nandos whilst completely forgetting that we’re supposed to be fasting and it would not break the fast, once we remember. Whereas, eating even a tiny crumb of bread when we know we’re supposed to fast breaks the fast and is a sin.

Sometimes, we have a natural habit of plucking a grape from the fruit bowl on the way to work or taking a couple of chips from a friend’s plate. We need to make effort to control these natural actions, but if it does happen accidentally the fast will not break. Just try and spit out any remains and continue your fast.

You can’t take medicine whilst fasting

You absolutely can take medicine if they’re essential to your survival. If it’s possible to take medicine outside fasting hours or suspend the medicine during Ramadan then go for it but ask your doctor first!

you can smoke during Ramadan

Smoking isn’t food or drink, so can I do it during the fasting hours, right? Sorry vapers, the answer is no. One of the key reasons for its prohibition is smoking contains particles that can be swallowed and reach the stomach.

Muslims fast so we know what it’s like to be poor

If the sole reason for fasting is to know what it likes to be poor, the poor people would be exempt. The purpose of fasting is clearly mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:

O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may develop God-consciousness.”

(2:183)

Fasting people don’t have to go to work or school

We wish! As long as it’s safe to do so normal and essential activities like work and school need to continue. If it’s a struggle, you can always ask your employer to change your hours during the month or afford you extra working from home days.

you can eat if nobody finds out

We admire the loyalty of non-Muslim friends who are happy to sneak us some food without our parents realising. But the only issue is they can’t hide it from God!

If you can find a way to hide it from God, by all means, go for it.

if you manage to complete ramadan you can do what you want

No. And if anybody sees it like that, they’ve missed the entire point of the month! We’re supposed to use the holy month of Ramadan as an opportunity to boost our good deeds and imaan, which we can take forward for the rest of our lives. Ramadan isn’t like some reverse purge where you have to be good for one month so you afford to be bad all the others.

Face. Palm.

Taking injections invalidates the fast

Vaccines and injections don’t contain any nutrients or anything that can be considered food or drink, which is why it’s OK to take your Covid or any other vaccine during the month, particularly if it’s essential for your health.

Women can’t wear henna whilst fasting

Henna isn’t food nor is it anything that contains nutrients nor is i5 consumed orally so ladies have the all-clear on that front.

You cannot wear perfume during ramadan

There is no harm in wearing perfume. Perfume is a sunnah of our beloved Prophet so knock yourself out.

bleeding breaks the fast

It depends on the type of bleeding. If you slip and cut your knee (God forbid) the ensuing blood would not break your fast. But the bleeding women experience during their menstrual cycle will break the fast. Ask your local scholar for any specific query.

you cannot have a blood test during ramadan

A blood test whilst fasting is not ideal so it’s best to stay away, especially if it causes weakness and illness. If you need to provide a small vial for health reasons, it should be OK. Speak to your doctor, if unsure.

You cannot wash your hair whilst fasting

It’s perfectly OK to wash your hair as long as you don’t intentionally swallow any of the water that falls down on your face.

You cannot groom whilst fasting

You can groom to keep yourself looking prim and proper during the fasting hours. Cutting hair, nails or grooming the beard are all on the table!

it’s ok to chew gum during ramadan

Some understandably think chewing gum whilst fasting is OK because nothing is being swallowed – but it still has sugar and flavouring that are impossible to avoid swallowing – hence it’s forbidden during the fasting hours.

I can’t get married during ramadan

I mean, you can but it would be a pretty boring wedding without food. In all seriousness, marriage is one of the most stressed upon sunnah by the Prophet and God, so there’s no problem at all with doing it.

Satan can’t touch me during ramadan

The common belief is satan is locked up. But don’t forget he’s been trying to influence you all year round so the effects of that could still be present in your heart. Satan being chained is obviously very beneficial but we still need to be careful and vigilant.

I can’t travel during ramadan

You can travel but it’s not recommended unless it’s an essential visit. This is because travelling breaks the fast and you have to make up the days missed before the next month of Ramadan.

Not even water?!

If only we earnt a penny for every time we were asked this, right?!

If it wasn’t clear enough already: NOPE, NOT EVEN WATER!

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