What you can do and can’t do this holy month of Ramadan which is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is marked by fasting and reflection.
This year the month may be very different for Muslims across the world, as the traditional gatherings with family and friends to break the fast every night will be put on hold in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
However the festival, and the fasting, will still take place, with the fast – one of the five pillars of Islam – taking place from sunrise to sunset.
But what are the rules of fasting – what can you do and what’s forbidden?
Who can and can’t fast during Ramadan Those who are sane, healthy and have reached puberty are obliged to fast during Ramadan.
If someone is unwell or travelling during the month they should not fast – but they will need to fast at a later date instead.
Women should not fast during the days they are on their periods but should make those up at a later date
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can choose whether or not to observe the fast if they believe it could have an adverse effect on the baby.
However they have to make up the fast later on, or perform an act of fidya – which involves providing food for someone in need for every day the fast is missed.
People who are unable to fast due to a medical condition must also perform fidya during the festival to make up for not fasting. What can you do on Ramadan?
You can rinse your nose and mouth with limited water – but if swallowed, the fast is invalidated You can shower but once again, swallowing the water is not allowed.
Applying eyeliner or using eye drops is allowed Having injections for medical or nutritional reasons is permitted, as is using a suppository or douche Accidentally swallowing dust or saliva is allowed and does not invalidate the fast
Tasting food then rinsing it away without swallowing is allowed You can also hug and kiss your partner as long as you don’t have sex.
You cannot eat or drink by choice – but if you do so accidentally (if you forgot or were forced to), it does not invalidate the fast. If you vomit due to feeling unwell it won’t invalidate the fast – but it will do if you choose to be sick.
You can’t have sex during the fasting period (i.e during daylight hours) – if you do you’ll either have to fast for 60 days or feed 60 poor people.
You can’t chew gum either as this would count as breaking your fast and smoking during the fasting period is also a no-no.
READ ALSO Ize-Iyamu greets Muslims at Ramadan
The jury remains out on whether it’s OK to brush your teeth – some Muslims believe it’s fine to do so as long as you don’t swallow any of the toothpaste, while others feel uneasy about the practice and prefer to clean their teeth with a finely-fibred miswak twig called a siwaak instead.
And you can’t drink water during the fast either – which can make it harder during the summer months and warmer weather.