Setting Boundaries: Touching During Ramadan
Believers choose to fast from food, drink and lust for God during the month of Ramadan. Sex is an obvious no-no, but what about touching? What kind of touching is ok, and what type of touching would break a fast? Karaz’s Yousef takes a look into the details of touch from sunrise to sunset. In general, touching between men and women in Islam is unacceptable. This is true except in the case of a man/woman who was mahram, which are members of the opposite sex that are on the ‘allowed list’ lets say. These include mothers/father, brothers/sisters, uncles/aunts, sons/daughters. So speaking in the realm of touch where the person in question is specifically one’s spouse…what would be ok?
The main argument against touching your spouse is that you should not do that which ignites lust. There are some that say that a hug or kiss is ok. This comes from a hadith about the Prophet (PBUH). However, Sheikhs state that this is true because the Prophet was able to control himself and did not let it lead to something sexual in nature. If for some reason there was playing, touching or kissing to the point where semen is released from a man—his fast is broken and he must make up that day.
So, the idea is that if you are dedicated to fasting, then you should give up all things that might even threaten to break your fast. A hug or kiss might be innocent, and you might be able to control yourself…but if there is a small chance that it might spark any feelings of desire, it is better to avoid it.
I believe that in the spirit of Ramadan, and the desire to fast for God… instead of worrying about the nitty-gritty details, try to embrace the essence and avoid anything that could cause confusion. Take the time to go on with your day as normal, reflect and pray, thank God for the beautiful gifts given to you, which you can enjoy after sunset…learn self control and self discipline, and strive to be a better person each and every day.