Ramadan involves a whole month of daily fasting between early morning and sunset, with meals before and after as well as five prayers throughout the day. Fasting during Ramadan means not only going without any food and drink but also abstaining from other regular activities in order to focus the mind and body on spiritual reflection, religious study and doing good deeds for others.
Many worshippers often prepare with voluntary fasting in the preceding month, along with trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle and increasing their prayers and worship. But there are still many questions about what exactly is permitted during Ramadan.
Sexual activity is said to be prohibited during Ramadan but what does that include - is kissing, touching, hugging and cuddling part of that? And what about getting married at this time in the Islamic calendar? Here we take a look at the Ramadan rules relating to intimacy and relationships.
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During the hours of fasting on each day of Ramadan, any intimate activity is not allowed. This means it's only ok for couples to kiss, hug, cuddle and have sex in the hours before fasting begins and after it ends - as long as they are husband and wife.
Islam doesn't approve of sexual relationships between those who are not married nor does it permit any kissing in public. Muslim scholars say that during Ramadan, unmarried couples should be apart and only spend time with their own families, in order to avoid any temptations to be affectionate or sexual that could arise from being in other's company.
It's possible to get married during Ramadan but there are no special rules for newlyweds, so they won't be able to have the usual celebrations of food and drink or be intimate during the hours of fasting. For this reason, it's best to have the wedding ceremony at least two weeks before the month of Ramadan begins or postpone it until after Ramadan is over.
While it's regarded as a sin for unmarried couples to engage in sexual acts together during Ramadan or at any other time of year, those who are not married but are still having a full relationship should at least try to avoid being physical with each other during the hours of fasting, experts advised.
For those who are single, conversations with other people are okay but flirting with someone isn't allowed because it could lead to being more intimate. So it's advised not to go on dates or attend parties. Scholars also ask people to dress and act modestly.
If you miss or break a fast during Ramadan without a valid reason, there is a punishment for each day when fasting is not properly carried out. This penalty is called kaffarah and means an individual must fast on 60 consecutive days or, if that's not possible, feed 60 poor people at a rate of £5 per person - which is the cost of an average meal in the UK.
This amounts to £300 for every day when a fast is intentionally missed or broken. The cash can be donated via charities such as Islamic Relief.
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