Fiqh of Fasting- The nullifiers

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Asalamu alaykum,

Dear brothers and sisters, with Ramadan just round the corner, lets brush up our knowledge on the dos and donts of fasting, for the sake of Allah.

Here follows the fiqh of fasting regarding the nullifiers. May Allah help us to do that which He loves and is pleased with. May Allah help us to worship Him alone always and may He make us experience many Ramadans to come. ameen.

(Please  do see the previous post for a summary on matters related to fasting, the wisdom behind it and much more, in sha Allah!)

DISCLAIMER: This is for educational purposes and serves as an introduction to the issues pertaining to fasting. Parents/guardians are advised to supervise the following read as some issues which pertain to married adults have been mentioned. Please consult a knowledgeable Islamic scholar for details, particularly for questions and advice related to individual circumstances. We are not scholars and thus cannot issue fatwa, however we endeavour to relate to you the words of the scholars who have studied the authentic teachings of Islam from the Qur’an and the Sunnah of prophet Muhammad upon him be peace. And ultimately, Allah knows best.

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In the name of Allah

Fiqh of Fasting Part 3
by Sh. Yahya Adel Ibrahim

What breaks the fast? Can I have a blood test? How about other medical procedures? Am I allowed to apply moisturizers that penetrate the skin? What about eye drops or nasal spray or asthma puffer?

Imam Ibn Qudamah says in al Umdah: (Arabic omitted)

Things that Invalidate Fasting

[The Invalidators of Fasting] Whoever:- eats or drinks (1) or takes anything into his stomach through his nostrils (2)- or through any other route (3)- or intentionally vomit (4)– or masturbates (5)– or kissed or touched [the opposite sex] and subsequently ejaculated semen or had madh-ey (pre ejaculation) (6)– or had hijamah (cupping with bloodletting) (7)-or did it to someone else intentionally and while remembering [that he is fasting] his fast is nullified.

End words of Imam Ibn Qudamah——-NOTES

1) Both these and sexual intercourse break one’s fast by consensus, for Allah the Almighty says: “…so now be in contact with them [your wives] and seek what Allah has ordained for you, and eat and drink until the whiteness of the day becomes distinct from the blackness of the night at dawn, then complete the fast till night…” (al-Baqarah 2:187)Eating (by mouth) non-food items invalidates fasting by consensus.

2) Due to the statement of the Prophet sala Allahu alihi wasSalaam “Sniff water far into your nostrils unless you are fasting.” abu Dawud Authentic

3) Medical Care and Fasting (Taken from Judgements of Senior Scholars at the Fiqh Assembly of the OIC Organisation of Islamic Conference):

-Injections (with the exception of nutritious ones), many contemporary scholars believe they do not invalidate the fast. That is the position of the Fiqh Assembly of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference).

-Nutritious injections: controversial, but the vast majority considers them to invalidate the fast. That is the position of the Fiqh Assembly.

– Enemas, many contemporary scholars allow them while fasting, because even though they reach the hollow interior of the body (al-Jawf), they do so from a route that is not natural for food or drink; it is not even close to this natural route.- Vaginal suppositories do not break the fast according to (Malikis & Hanbalis) and modern medicine supports that position because there is no connection between the vagina and the stomach. The same applies to the male and female urethra. That is the position of the Fiqh Assembly of the OIC.- Sublingual tablets: many allow them because they are completely absorbed by the mucous membranes of the mouth and do not reach the hollow interior of the body (al-Jawf).

The Fiqh Assembly of the OIC maintains that as long as the patient avoids swallowing it, there should be no harm.- Inhalers and nasal sprays were regarded by the Permanent Fatwa Committee in Saudi Arabia as non-invalidators of the fast.- Nasal drops: controversial, and the scholars who say it invalidates the fast support their view with the previous hadeeth about istinshaq.

The scholars who argue that they do not break the fast maintain that even if a minute amount made it to the stomach, it would still be negligible. The Fiqh Assembly of the OIC maintains that as long as the patient avoids swallowing it, there should be no harm.- Eye drops and eardrops do not invalidate one’s fasting according to many scholars, particularly eardrops because there is no connection between the external ear and the interior of the body except in the case of perforation of the eardrum, and then what may reach the hollow interior of the body (al-Jawf) would be extremely negligible. That is the position of the Fiqh Assembly of the OIC.- Endoscopes, even if they enter from the mouth, they would not break the fast according to many (including the Fiqh Assembly of the OIC) because, they are not nutritious and according to (Hanafis), they do not remain in the abdomen.

The majority of the earlier scholars would consider them invalidators because they enter the hollow interior of the body (al-Jawf). But that seems to not be the correct position.- Skin preparations that are absorbed into the body do not invalidate the fast according to the Fiqh Assembly of the OIC and the vast majority of contemporary scholars and that was the opinion of Imam Ibn Taymiyah.

4) The Prophet sala Allahu alihi wasSalaam said: “He who is overwhelmed by vomiting does not have to make up, but he who intentionally vomits must make up.” (Tirmithi, and authenticated by Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Hibban and others)The one who intentionally vomits is the one who brings it on, not the one who vomits because he feels very nauseous.

5)That is the position of the four schools of Fiqh, for in the Divine hadeeth, Allah the Almighty in the hadith QUDSI says about the fasting person:“…he gives up his (sexual) desire, food and drink for Me…”(Agreed upon)And the one who masturbates does not give up his sexual desire.

6)  Kissing one’s spouse while fasting with subsequent discharge
The position here above is the agreement of the four schools of Fiqh in the case of the ejaculation of semen, but it is controversial in the case of madhey (pre ejaculation). Many (Shafi’ee scholars and minority of hanbali) argue that it would not break the fast since the Prophet sala Allahu alihi wasSalaam allowed touching and kissing and that is not infrequently associated with madhey.

7) Bloodletting, Blood donation, and Blood tests

That is the correct position of the Hanbali school of thought. The majority (Shafiee,Malik, Abu Hanifa) does not consider hijamah to break one’s fast. The disagreement is because the Prophet sala Allahu alihi wasSalaam said: “Both the one doing bloodletting and the one having it done to him break their fast.” (abi Dawud; Authentic)Yet, many of the sahabah considered this to be abrogated and allowed bloodletting while fasting, and they include Anas Ibn Malik who indicated that it was initially forbidden out of fear that they may become weak.

(Bukhari reports that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said:”The Prophet had hijamah done to him while he was between Makkah and al-Madeenah while he was fasting and in the state of Ihram.”

Blood donation and tests therefore are acceptable, if they weaken you they are Makrooh but the fast is valid and not broken.

And Allah knows best.

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May Allah, Al-Ghaffaar (The Perpetual Forgiver) forgive all our sins, and may He erase them completely, for He is Al-‘Afuww, Ar-Raheem, (The Oft-Pardoning, The Most Merciful). Ameen

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