Fasting is a spiritual obligation for all Muslims ( A child of twelve or thirteen may be permitted to observe the fast during Ramadan). The fast starts shortly before dawn and ends at sundown at specific times, which are designated each year according to the Islamic calendar. During the Month of Ramadan,Muslims are to abstain from eating, drinking or having sexual contact.
The Holy Quran states:
“O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may (learn) self-restraint. Fasting is for a fixed number of days: but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of a poor person, if they can afford it. But he that will give more, of his own free will, It is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew.”(Al-Baqarah).
Exemptions from fasting obligations:
Prsons who are exempt from fasting obligations can feed or donate to the poor.
During Ramadan, most HIV+ Muslims will try to fast. Their fasting practice depends on their overall medical condition and, sometimes, even their day-to-day health. If HIV+ Muslims are too sick to fast on any day, there are ways in which they can still have their fast accepted. They can feed a poor person or pay the cost of food sufficient enough to feed a person for one day for each day the fast is missed.
Fasts are invalidated if a person, during the fasting hours, deliberately eats, drinks, smokes, vomits, has sexual intercourse or an emission or lets an object pass throughthe throat or any other natural opening of the body.
Finally, a person in the hospital or at home may need care but not be in a critical condition. Using eye drops, or receiving injections or intravenous fluids or bathing the body, brushing the teeth, rinsing out the mouth without swallowing, or applying cosmetics during the fasting hours do not result in a break in fasting. While taking medication by mouth does break the fast, the person can still fulfill their obligation by feeding or donating to the poor.
For more information about the month of Ramadan contact your local masjids (Mosque). They will have information which details the exact hours the fast begins and ends.
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