What breaks your fast during Ramadan? Rules around chewing gum and smoking

Muslims around the world are observing Ramadan.   (AFP via Getty Images)
Muslims around the world are observing Ramadan. (AFP via Getty Images)

Muslims across the world observe Ramadan, a period of time which is dedicated to spiritual reflection and spending time with loved ones.

This year, Ramadan began for Muslims in the UK on March 11 (depending on which moon-sighting report you choose to follow) and is expected to end on or around April 9.

During this time, Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset, avoiding food and drink all day.

They eat a pre-dawn meal called suhur, and after sunset, they have an evening meal known as iftar.

But some may wonder if things like chewing gum, smoking, or brushing their teeth also count as breaking their fast.

Here are the rules around smoking, chewing gum, and answers to some other common questions.

Ramadan fasting rules

While observing Ramadan, people can’t consume any food or drink during daylight hours, including water.

Aside from rules around fasting, Muslims should also abstain from swearing, lying, fighting, and engaging in sexual activity during daylight hours.

Some people are exempt from fasting, such as elderly people, people who are unwell, or pregnant women.

However, those who are exempt are expected to make up for it by fasting at another time or feeding people in need.

Can you chew gum during Ramadan?

Chewing gum is not allowed during Ramadan, as consuming the sugars and other ingredients counts as breaking your fast, even if you don’t swallow the gum itself.

Can you swallow your saliva?

Swallowing your saliva during Ramadan does not break the fast as it’s a natural human function and does not count as ingesting anything.

Does brushing your teeth break your fast?

Most people agree that brushing your teeth is allowed during Ramadan as long as you do not swallow the water or toothpaste.

However, some people will choose not to brush their teeth during daylight hours or will use a teeth-cleaning tool called a Miswak to be careful.

Does smoking break fast?

Smoking and vaping are not allowed during Ramadan, as this can allow smoke particles to enter the throat.

Some people also believe that smoking is generally forbidden because it harms the body, despite it not being specifically prohibited in the Quran.

Does perfume break fast?

It is okay to wear perfume during Ramadan as you will not ingest anything. However, you shouldn’t smell fragrances like incense because the particles could reach the stomach if inhaled.

Can you take medicine during Ramadan?

Taking medicine like ibuprofen or cough syrup would break the fast, so it is not allowed. Nevertheless, people suffering from long-term or serious illnesses are exempt from fasting and can continue taking their medicine.