Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- In optional fasts, kissing, hugging, etc. are permitted so long as one does not engage in sexual intercourse.
2- In obligatory fasts, one is allowed to do these only if one can control oneself.
3- Therefore, no one who is fasting should do such things if there is a genuine risk of overstepping the boundaries.
4- If there is no such fear, then light touching, or kissing, etc, when not accompanied by sexual desire, is permissible.
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
Having said this, however, I must caution you to abstain from such acts if you find yourself unable to control your desire, for as Muslims we must keep away from all such acts that may inadvertently lead to invalidating our fasts.
This is why we read in another hadith that the Prophet told another person not to kiss his spouse.
In explaining the discrepancy between the two reports, Ibn `Abbas said, “The man he permitted was an older person, while the man he prohibited was a young man.”
Therefore, if you have any doubt or fear of being unable to control yourself, then you should simply abstain from such actions altogether in order to save your fast.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.