• 7 Benefits of Fasting + the Best Types of Fasting

    Imagine that you can kick-start your metabolism, feel more energy and enjoy an assortment of health benefits without having to count calories or stick to strict meal plans. Say hello to just some of the benefits of fasting.

    The Definition of Fasting
    What makes fasting seem so novel is that, with all the diet advice out there, the easiest might be to simply not eat. Of course, fasting isn’t the same as starving yourself, which is what many people think when they hear “fasting.” And yet, fasting isn’t a diet, either. The literal definition of fasting is to abstain from food and drink from a specific period of time; it’s been around for thousands of years, as spiritual fasting is a part of many religions. But in this context, I prefer looking at fasting as simply a change in eating patterns.

    In place of three square meals a day or a handful of smaller meals throughout the day, you’ll have a specific window of time when you’re eating, whether it’s a few hours a day or certain days of the week. During that time, you can eat whatever you want. Of course, I say that within reason.

    If you’re eating processed foods and potato chips, it’s unlikely you’ll reap the benefits of fasting. If that’s you, I encourage you to examine your diet before trying a fast. But if you practice fasting and stick to a mostly whole food diet, rich in fruits, veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats and raw dairy, you will see changes — and those occasional splurges on chocolate or cheese won’t have as big of an impact as they might if you were on a calorie-restrictive diet.

    The beauty of fasting is that there isn’t one “right” way to do it. In fact, there are several types that are popular.

    Different Types of Fasting
    Intermittent Fasting
    This type of fasting is also known as cyclic fasting. Intermittent fasting is a catch-all phrase for eating (and not eating) intermittently. In fact, almost all of the fasting methods below are types of intermittent fasting! Typical intermittent fast times range from 14 to 18 hours. The longest period any one of these plans would require you to abstain from solid food would be about 32–36 hours.

    Time-Restricted Eating
    If you practice time-restricted eating, you’ll abstain from food for anywhere between 12–16 hours. During your eating window, you can eat as much of your favorite healthy foods as you’d like. This is one of the most common methods of fasting.

    Time-restricted eating is pretty simple to implement. If you finish dinner at 7 p.m., for instance, you wouldn’t eat anything again until at least 7 a.m. If you wanted to take it further, you’d extend the no-eating time until about 11 a.m. or 12 p.m. Because you’re sleeping for a large chunk of the “no eating” time, this is a good way to introduce fasting into your lifestyle and experiment without any major changes.

    16/8 Fasting
    Basically another name for time-restricted eating, here you’ll fast for 16 hours a day and then eat the other eight.

    Alternate Day Fasting
    Another type of intermittent fasting, alternate day fasting has you severely restricting the amount of calories you eat during fasting days, then eating to your stomach’s content on non-fasting days. Food isn’t completely off the table, but you’ll stick to about 25 percent of your normal caloric intake. Someone eating 2,000 calories would cut back to 500, for example. Alternate-day fasting isn’t necessarily a long-term plan, because it can become difficult to stick to, but it can be helpful to get a healthy habit in motion.

    5:2 Diet
    It’s very similar to alternate day fasting except here, you eat normally for five days of the week. On the other two, calories are restricted to about 500–600 calories a day.

    The Warrior Diet
    Here, you’ll stick to fruits and veggies during the day and then eat a well-rounded, larger meal in the evenings.

    The Daniel Fast
    This is a type of spiritual fasting. Based off of Daniel’s experiences in the Bible’s Book of Daniel, the Daniel Fast is a partial fast where vegetables, fruits and other healthy whole foods are featured prominently, but meat, dairy, grains (unless they’re sprouted ancient grains) and drinks like coffee, alcohol and juice are avoided. Most people follow this fast for 21 days in order to experience a spiritual breakthrough, have more time to reflect on their relationship with God or just to feel closer to what Daniel would have experienced in his time.

  • I’ve had several people asking.. Can we use inhalers whilst fasting? Some ulema have said its okay?

    In my video and written post on the permissibility of eye drops, I have stated an age old principle that: anything which passes the throat or enters the stomach directly or through large orifices (ie mouth or back passage) deliberately (ie taken on purpose- whatever the purpose may be) breaks the fast.

    Based on this principle inhalers contain several hundred micrograms of drug matter which even though seem to be ‘air’, they are not, when actuated, inhalers produce a cloud of suspended solid state particles, either in aerosol form or dry powder form. These particles pass the throat to enter the trachea to make their way into the lungs where they do their job!

    Now according to the rule above.. A person using an inhaler has deliberately inserted these particles in the mouth where they then pass the throat!

    Now the misunderstandings are as follows which have led some scholars to render use valid:

    1. The particles from the inhaler enter the lungs.

    A: indeed they do but they pass the throat thereby break the fast according to the principle stated. In addition some particles do enter the oesophagus also by default.

    2. There is a rule that if anything is accidentally swallowed to the size of a sesame seed or smaller, that does not invalidate the fast. The particles of one puff of an inhaler are still only a fraction of a sesame seed so this can’t break the fast.

    A: this rule just stated is for ‘accidentally’ swallowing… An inhaler is taken deliberately, a purposeful action. Therefore anything taken deliberately (as per original principle above), breaks the fast and so in this case does the use of an inhaler.

    3. An inhaler is like breathing in air?

    A: no it’s not, the inhaler produces a cloud of minute drug particles.

    Also particles of the medication dissolve in the saliva which is subsequently swallowed.

    All in all, the conclusion is, the use of an inhaler will render the fast void.

    May I add here that if your medical condition necessitates the use of an inhaler, you may use it, your fast will break but you will not be sinful for this, you have a valid shar’i uzr/reason. There is no kaffara, simply kadha. Keep kadha fast on another day, maybe a shorter winter day where you may be able to get through the day easier without the use of an inhaler. And if you can’t even do this then you can give fidya.

    Allah ﷻ & His Rasool ﷺ know best.

    By Shaykh Abu Yusha Yasin

  • A burning question for many… Can I use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches whilst fasting?

    Answer: YES!!!

    According to the ahnaaf, the usool is that anything which enters the mouth and crosses the throat and anything which enters the stomach directly or via a large hole or orifice during fasting hours, will render the fast fasid/invalidated.

    It is undisputed that rubbing oil on your skin during fasting is permitted, yet some of this oil enters the body and possibly even the blood stream through the vascular system in the skin. Why is rubbing oil still permitted? Because of the rule I’ve just stated above. The oil that penetrates through the skin and potentially enters the body will be through the pores in the skin and according to this rule, they are not large holes or orifices to the throat or stomach, hence it is permitted to massage oil anywhere on the body!
    Similarly it is permissible to use creams, lotions, gels, skin medication for the same reason.

    Now NRT patches.. What are they and how do they work? They are a matrix patch containing nicotine which when applied to the skin, this nicotine is released regularly over a period of time ranging from 15 to 24 hours. This nicotine is absorbed via the pores in the skin, into the vascular system and blood stream and is transported around the body where the nicotine then undergoes its pharmacological and pharmacokinetics processes and saturates the nicotine receptors in the body, thereby reducing the cravings to smoke cigarettes.

    The crux? Nicotine being absorbed through pores in the skin does not invalidate the fast based on the principle above!

    Therefore use of NRT patches do not break the fast!

    Similarly, pain relief patches such as fentanyl etc are also permitted. Basically, anything applied to the skin does not break the fast.

    This rule is stated by all the classical scholars and books including Bahrur Ra’ik, Allama Ibn Abideen’s Radd Ul Muhtar, Durr al Mukhtar et al!

    Ps: same principle upon which eye drops is permitted during fasting without breaking the fast!

    Allah ﷻ & His Rasool ﷺ know best.

    By Shaykh Abu Yusha Yasin

  • It is permissible to take injections (any kind: i.e intramuscular, intravenous, joint cavities etc etc) whilst fasting. This does not break your fast. Likewise intravenous drips of medication, glucose or anything else do not break your fast!


    We come back to the same rule I’ve stated over and over again:

    Only if the ‘ayn/original matter (I.e the actual food, medicine, etc) enters the stomach (not its effects) via large holes/orifices (not pores or pore like structures), only then will the fast be rendered invalid and broken. Stated by all classical fuqaha.

    Based on this, an injection delivers medication to the blood stream, or muscle or joint etc where it then perform its function either at the injection site or around the body through distribution via the bloodstream and vascular system. It DOES NOT ENTER THE STOMACH itself. If anything does enter the stomach it is not the ‘ayn (original matter) but the effects (if at all).

    Therefore according to the principle above stated by all classical scholars and texts, the use of injections does not break the fast. The original matter does not enter the stomach!

    Some modern scholars have ruled that injections, drips, etc do break the fast and they use the reason that the injection, drop etc provides sustenance/energy/strength to immune system etc etc which is what the effects of food are also (sustaining and energising the body etc) and on this basis they have said injections break the fast.

    It must be noted that this reason does not conform to the rulings of the classical scholars and texts who all state the principle above. As long as this principle is adopted then injections cannot break the fast. In order to accept the ruling of the modern scholars who state injections do break the fast, it would be necessary to reject the principle stated by the classical fuqaha or to make it mansookh (abrogate it). Alternatively the principle would need amending. Is there any one in the modern world who can do this? If there is, let them bring their evidence forward.

    Answer adapted from bahrur ra’iq, durr e mukhtar, radd Ul muhtar et al and summarised from ‘Rafiq u sa’imeen’ by Mufti Azam Pakistan, Mufti Rafiq Al Hasni.

    Allah ﷻ & His Rasool ﷺ know best.

    By Shaykh Abu Yusha Yasin

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  • In response to a question regarding the use of asthma inhalers during Ramadan.

    Unfortunately, the user of any inhalers whether for asthma or any other purpose, during the fast is not permitted. The use of inhalers breaks and violates the fast.

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  • Good news for those that didn’t know: It is permissible to brush your teeth using tooth paste while fasting. Car must be taken not to swallow the toothpaste. The hukm is as for miswak. Some oppose this opinion by saying you have splashes to the mouth whilst brushing, there is taste, there is absorption through the muscosal membranes, etc.

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    No, swallowing the remaining taste of the siwak will not break your fast. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

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    I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
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