Some seemingly innocent errors made by a fasting person can actually affect his fasting.
We will take a look at some of these mistakes in the hope of improving our fasting and to make it more perfect for the sake of Allah.
Not sniffing water during ablution
Neglecting the order to sniff during ablution to the extent of violation by just washing the tip of their nose. A person is required not to exaggerate during sniffing, if he is fasting, but not to violate by leaving it altogether either. The Prophet ﷺ said: "Exaggerate while sniffing unless you are fasting." Imaam As-San’aani said: "The narration is evidence to exaggerate the sniffing when not fasting. Exaggeration is forbidden when fasting in case something comes down the throat and ruins the fasting."
Not abstaining from food
Some people keep eating or drinking even after the mu’athen starts the call for Fajr prayer. If you advise them, they say it is allowed until the person calling the Athaan says: Come to success, "haya ala fallah." Afterwards they start their fasting. Something like this should have a firm daleel. Research and investigation revealed no such evidence. It is something some people prefer. This is rejected according to the Prophet ﷺ who said: "Anything added to our religion, which is not in it, is rejected." Another narration says: "Whoever does a deed, not in our religion, is rejected." In addition, the Quran and Sunnah stated that abstinence is when we can detect the white line from the black line at dawn. When they are detected, everyone has to stop eating and drinking. Allah Says (what means): "Eat and drink until you can distinguish between the black line and white line at dawn." [Quran; 2:187] The Prophet ﷺ said: "Bilal calls for salah at night. Eat and drink until Ibn Um Maktoom calls." Ibn Um Maktoom, may Allah be pleased with him, was a blind man who did not call for prayer until he was told it is time. From the previous verse and narration, it is clear that abstinence should be at dawn and that the Athaan is a sign of it. Therefore when the Athaan starts, it is time for abstinence and not when he says "haya ala assalah."
Having Suhoor early
Having Suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) early is another violation. By doing that we are rejecting a lot of rewards. The Sunnah states that a Muslim should delay the Suhoor in order for him to be following the Prophet ﷺ. Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "We had Suhoor with the Prophet ﷺ and then prayed."
Delaying the call for Maghrib prayer
From the violations that some people do in Ramadan is that they only call for prayer when it becomes completely dark. They are not satisfied with the complete setting of the sun and claim that it is better to be cautious. This is against the Sunnah. The Sunnah is to call for prayer when the sun sets completely without regard to anything else. Allah Says (what means): "Then complete the fast till the night [i.e. sunset]." [Quran; 2:187]
Allah made the end of fasting when the night begins, that is when the sun completely sets. The Prophet ﷺ said: "If night comes from this side, day goes form that side and the sun has gone, then break your fast." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Imaam Ahmad Ibn Nasr Al-Marozy said after mentioning the above verse: "The scholars have agreed that if the sun has set, that means night has begun and it is time to break the fast."
Delaying breaking the fast
Some people fall into the trap of delaying the breaking of their fast. Two points are relevant here: first delaying breaking the fast can delay Maghrib prayer or cause you to miss it altogether – which is worse. Therefore, a Muslim must eat on time in order to be able to catch the congregational Salah with other Muslims. Second, delaying Iftaar is a contradiction to the Sunnah and an agreement with the Christians and the Jews based on the following: Sahl Ibn Sa’d, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said: "People will continue to be upon virtue as long as they hasten the Iftaar." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. He, may Allah be pleased with him, also narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said: "My nation is still following my Sunnah as long as they don’t wait for the stars to break their fast." [Ibn Hibban] Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that he Prophet ﷺ said: "Our religion will stay visible as long as people hasten breaking their fast because the Jews and Christians delay."
Not using the Siwaak
Another violation related to fasting is that some people do not use the Siwaak (traditional cleaning stick for teeth) in the afternoon and disapprove of those who do. Their reasoning in this is that the Siwaak eliminates the breath’s smell, which Allah prefers over the smell of musk, as stated in the following narration: The Prophet ﷺ said: "I swear by He who has my soul in His hands that a fasting person’s breath is preferred by Allah over the smell of musk." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. Ash-Shawkani referred to this when speaking about the dispute about whether the smell of a fasting person’s breath was meant to be in this life on earth or in the hereafter. He said: "Due to this dispute, it was said that siwaak is disliked when fasting." He then said: "In truth the siwaak is desirable for a fasting person to use in the morning and in the late afternoon and that is the opinion of the majority of scholars." What also proves the permissibility of the Siwaak is the fact that the Prophet ﷺ generalized when he said: "If it wasn’t going to be tough on my nation, I would have ordered them to use the Siwaak at every prayer." Imaam Al-Bukhari said: "The Prophet ﷺ did not specify a fasting or non-fasting person."
The guilt associated with waking up in janabah
Another violation is the great guilt that fasting people feel if they wake up in janabah (defilement due to sleeping with one’s spouse). To those we say there should be no guilt, complete your fast. The Prophet ﷺ used to be in janabah when dawn came and he would take a bath and fast.
Shaykh Abdul-‘Azeez Ibn Baaz was asked if a fasting person has a wet dream on a Ramadan morning, does it ruin the fast and does that person have to take a bath? He replied that wet dreams do not ruin the fast because it is not a voluntary act and that a bath is necessary if semen is secreted. It’s okay to delay the washing until Thuhr prayer if the wet dream occurred after fajr salah. The same goes for janabah, you can take a bath after dawn if it occurred at night because it was proven that the Prophet ﷺ used to wake up in janabah then wash and fast. It is better to wash from janabah before Fajr prayer in order to be able to make prayer in congregation.
Feeling guilty in tasting food
Some women are reluctant to taste their food in case they ruin their fasting. There is no need for this reluctance as long as no food is swallowed. Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "It is okay to taste the food." [Al-Bukhari]. Shaykh ‘Abdullaah Ibn Jibreen was asked: "Can a cook, while fasting, taste the food being cooked to make sure it is good?" He replied: "It’s okay to taste the food when necessary by placing it at the tip of the tongue to know its sweetness, saltiness or the like. Nothing should be swallowed but it should be spit out. That will not ruin the fast."