Ramadan has officially begun, with Muslims all over the world currently engaging in the practice of fasting during this Islamic calendar month.
Celebrations might be limited because of the pandemic, but some socially-distanced events are going ahead.
Over the course of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, Muslims of able body and mind are not allowed to eat, drink, smoke or have sex from sunrise until the sun sets.
A pre-sunrise meal (Suhoor) and post-sunset meal (Iftar) are the only opportunities to eat – but does this include water?
Are you allowed to drink water during Ramadan?
During the fasting daylight hours, practising Muslims are not permitted to consume water.
The month is a time of reflection, and many see the period as an important expression of their faith – which means following the fast completely.
For those worried about balancing modern life and Ramadan, experts have offered tips on managing the period.
Speaking to Healthline, Nazima Qureshi, the author of The Healthy Ramadan Guide, recommends using the nighttime period to hydrate as much as possible.
Having a bottle of water by your bed works as a reminder to top up on liquids – and it’s important to be conscious of the foods you’re eating, too.
Qureshi says that while it’s tempting to tuck into large – and fried – meals at Iftar, it’s worth remembering that some foods can be dehydrating.
She recommends incorporating foods with a high water content into your diet, like strawberries or cucumber.
What can you do during the fasting period?
- Showering is permitted, but swallowing the water is not
- Applying eyeliner or using eye drops is acceptable
- Injections for medicinal or nutritional purposes are permitted
- You can use a suppository during the fasting period
- Accidentally swallowing saliva, dust, or similar is allowed, and won’t invalidate the fast
- Tasting food, then rinsing it away without swallowing it, is allowed
- You can hug or kiss your partner, as long as you don’t have sex.
Who does and doesn’t have to fast?
Those who are sane, healthy and have reached puberty can fast.
If someone is travelling or unwell during the month, they shouldn’t fast – but it will need to be done in the future.
Some women who are menstruating choose not to fast during the days they are on their periods, but then compensate at a later date.
People who are old and unwell, so cannot fast, must perform fidiya – which involves feeding someone each day the fast is missed.
If women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and believe Ramadan would have an adverse effect on themselves or their child, they can choose not to observe the fast.
In 2021, Ramadan began on April 12, and will conclude on May 12 with Eid–al Fitr.
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Author: Sophie Dickinson