Using a miswak to clean your teeth does not invalidate fasting
During the fast, the following things are permissible:
1 – Taking a bath or shower. If water is swallowed involuntarily it will not invalidate the fast. According to most of the jurists, swimming is also allowed in fasting, but one should avoid diving because that will cause the water to go from the mouth or nose into the stomach.
2 – Using perfumes, wearing contact lenses or using eye drops.
3 – Taking injections or having a blood test.
4 – Using miswak (tooth-stick) or toothbrush (even with toothpaste) and rinsing the mouth or nostrils with water, provided it is not overdone (so as to avoid swallowing water).
5 – Eating, drinking or smoking unintentionally, i.e., forgetting that one was fasting. But one must stop as soon as one remembers and should continue one’s fast.
6 – Sleeping during the daytime and having a wet-dream does not break one’s fast. Also, if one has intercourse during the night and was not able to make ghusl (bathe) before dawn, he or she can begin fast and make ghusl later. Women whose menstruation stops during the night may begin fasting even if they have not made ghusl yet. In all these cases, bathing (ghusl) is necessary but fast is valid even without bathing.
7 – Kissing between husband and wife is allowed in fasting, but one should try to avoid it so that one may not do anything further that is forbidden during the fast.
Requirements for Fasting to Be Valid
There are basically two main components of fasting:
1 – The intention (niyyah) for fasting. One should make a sincere intention to fast for the sake of God every day before dawn. The intention need not be in words but must be with the sincerity of the heart and mind. Some jurists are of the opinion that the intention can be made once only for the whole month and does not have to be repeated every day. It is, however, better to make intention every day to take full benefit of fasting.
2 – Abstaining from dawn to dusk from everything that invalidates fasting as mentioned above.
Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi is the imam and director of the Islamic Society of Orange County, California, USA and former president of the Islamic Society of North America.