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What reduces reward of fasting?

By Ishola Balogun

Recently, we discussed some factors that can render Ramadan fast invalid. Today we will look at some certain acts that can render your fast makrooh (lessen its reward). They do not actually invalidate our fast but reduce its rewards when carried out within the period of fasting.
However, it is better for a fasting Muslim to keep cognizance of these things and never indulge in it so as not to eat up some of the rewards of fasting.
1. Using tooth paste or tooth powder during the period of fasting. A chewing stick (miswak) is recommended instead of toothpaste.

2. Remaining in the state of Janabah during the fasting period. This major act of impurity must be urgently and immediately removed if one falls into it and never allowed to spill into the period of fasting.
3. Quarrelling or abusing someone while fasting.
4. Falsehood or aiding it in all your activities during fasting period.
5. Gheebah: Destructively criticising somebody in his absence is not allowed. Although, it is discouraged even outside Ramadan.

It is good to honour Ramadan and we should avoid things that lead to lessening the reward.
However, Islam recognises that some circumstances may occur that could lead to termination of fast half way. Some of these acts, if occurred, may not require kafarah, but the person has to pay back the fast at a later date.
A concession is given to any one attacked by a disease during the fasting period following the recommendation of a competent doctor that he cannot continue the fast. In that case,terminating the fast is not only allowed, it becomes obligatory. Better still, a situation where continued refraining from food and drink could endanger his life, it becomes lawful to break his fast.

Also, a breastfeeding mother who thought she could fast and at the same time provide breast-milk to her baby but midway, it becomes difficult for the baby and mother, she is allowed to break her fast and not liable to kafarah.
In making up for the fast missed as a result of any of the above conditions, it is important that the person brings up the fast as quick as possible after Ramadan. Delaying it without a valid reason of health or otherwise is not allowed too.
If one misses more than one, he can make it up one after the other or with intervals. But where intervals are not allowed is in kafarah. If one misses the kafarah fasting, he has to start all over again.

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