Deliberate masturbation during the month of Ramadan renders a fast invalid, Iranian Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Khameini has ruled.
Khameini, who is Iran's most powerful political and religious figure, was asked on his website:
"If somebody masturbates during the month of Ramadan but without any discharge, is his fasting invalidated?"
"If he do not intend masturbation and discharging semen and nothing is discharged, his fasting is correct even though he has done a ḥarām (forbidden) act. But, if he intends masturbation or he knows that he usually discharges semen by this process and semen really comes out, it is a ḥaram intentional breaking fasting," the Iranian leader said, posting the reply on his website.
Another reader asked: "Once in the holy month of Ramadan, I forgot to brush my teeth, and some tiny bits of food remained in my mouth. I swallowed the bits unintentionally. Do I have to perform the qaḍa (repent) for that day's fast?"
"If you did not know that some bits of food remained between the teeth, or you did not know that they would reach the throat, and they were swallowed unknowingly and unintentionally, then you are not liable to make (repent) of the fast," said Khameini.
On the website, Khameini also tells Iranians that only jockeys are permitted to gamble on horse races.
He is also asked whether it is permissible for a man to marry a woman only in order to be able to live in his wife's country. "Can a man conclude a marriage contract for a year with a European girl after getting her agreement with the purpose of going to her country?" A reader asked.
"There is no problem in that if they are serious in contracting marriage and it is done with her father's permission if she is virgin," Khameini ruled.
The Iranian leader also told readers they were allowed to "to drink water while standing" at nights. It was "not permissible" to take part in meetings attended by both men and women, he told another reader.
"In Islam's view, rulers and governments exist just to serve people and carry out works in the interest of the public and this is what God demands us, as authorities, to fulfill," Khamenei was quoted Tuesday telling Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.