Question: What are the things that invalidate the Ramadan fast?
Things that invalidate the Ramadan fast and necessitate only qada (making up for a missed fast; observing another fast in lieu of a broken one) are as follows:
1. If snow or rain goes down one's throat,
2. If one uses an asthma inhaler,
3. If a person is made to break the fast by force,
4. If a liquid medicine is put inside the nose,
5. If cologne is sniffed up into the nose, [To smell it does not break the fast.]
6. If the fast that one begins when one is settled is broken during a journey,
7. If the smoke of aloes wood fumigated with amber is sniffed up into the nose,
8. If one deliberately inhales the smoke of a cigarette puffed by another person,
9. If medicine is dropped into the ear or the ear is washed with lotion,
10. If the medicine put on the wound on one's skin penetrates into the alimentary canal,
11. If medicine is injected with a syringe,
12. If one vomits a mouthful voluntarily by forcing oneself to,
13. If one with a bleeding tooth swallows only the blood or the blood that is fifty percent mixed with saliva,
14. If one eats not knowing that the imsak time (the time when prohibition on eating begins) has started,
15. If one breaks one's fast thinking that the sun has set,
16. If one swallows something that has remained between one's teeth from the previous night, it breaks the fast if it is as big as a chickpea.
17. If the water that is sniffed up goes out through the mouth,
18. If some water escapes down one's throat while one is making an ablution,
19. If one swallows a substance that is not medicinal or nutritious, such as a piece of paper, a stone, cotton, or a grain of uncooked rice,
20. If one inserts a suppository into the rectum,
21. If one goes on eating thinking that one's fast is broken because one has forgotten one's fast and begun eating,
22. If one breaks one's fast in the daytime after making intention after dawn,
23. If water enters the body while one is swimming or while one is making a ghusl (ritual bath), [They do not invalidate the fast in the Hanbali Madhhab.]
24. If one sucks on a medicine that is placed under the tongue,
25. If a piece of cotton or something else is inserted wholly into the anus,
26. If piles that are wet go into one's rectum when one cleanses oneself after defecation,
27. If one masturbates,
28. If an ultrasound tube or an endoscope that is inserted into the body is wetted with medicine or ointment,
29. If one has an enema, [It does not break the fast in the Maliki Madhhab.]
30. If one inhales exclusively water vapors,
31. If a wet finger is inserted into the vagina or rectum, [It is does not break the fast in the Hanbali Madhhab.]
32. If the blood flowing from the nose into the nasal passage is swallowed,
33. If one breaks the fast because one cannot withstand hunger or thirst,
34. If water is poured into the mouth of a sleeping person or if it is poured into the mouth to make someone conscious again,
35. If one breaks one's fast deliberately while traveling, it does not entail kaffarah (expiation), but entails only qada, for it is not fard (obligatory) to fast during travel.
36. If a person breaks the fast deliberately and then an excuse that allows one not to fast happens to him/her, e.g., if a woman begins menstruating or if he/she falls ill so much so that he/she cannot fast, it entails only qada. However, if one breaks the fast and then sets out on a journey, it entails kaffarah because setting on a journey is not an excuse that happens beyond one's will.
37. If tears or sweat entering the mouth of a fasting person is so much that he/she feels its salt in every part of his/her mouth and swallows it, the fast is broken. If it is not swallowed and is spit out, the fast is not broken.
Those that invalidate the fast
Question: Today's religion reformers are interpreting the hadith "Make it easy. Do not make it difficult" according their personal thoughts and are saying:
"When liquid that contains medications is sprayed into the mouth, a considerable amount of it is absorbed through the membranes of the esophagus and trachea and vanishes. There is no certain proof that the rest of it reaches the stomach. If it is compared with the water that remains in the mouth while a person is performing an ablution, it is seen that this amount is far less. As a matter of fact, there is scholarly consensus that the fast of a fasting person who rinses his/her mouth while performing an ablution is not broken, even if the water remains in the mouth reach the stomach. Additionally, according to the legal maxim "Certainty is not lifted by a mere doubt," medications that are doubted whether or not they reach the stomach do not invalidate the fast. Similarly, nasal drops that enter inside do not render the fast void. Administering medicines through a syringe or intravenous drips, having an enema, and inserting suppositories through the anus or the vagina do not invalidate the fast, either. Likewise, sublingual medications do not break the fast because they are absorbed in the mouth and do not reach the stomach. Nor do ear drops invalidate the fast as they do not go into the stomach."
Do they not break the fast?
All of them break the fast according to all four madhahib. When those that invalidate the fast and entail kaffarah are listed in the books that deal with Islamic laws, the statement "To swallow something nutritious or medicinal" appears. Even though those things that are neither nutritious nor medicinalsuch as sand, soil, and metalinvalidate the fast, they do not entail kaffarah. (Radd-ul-mukhtar)
If nutritious or medicinal substances are administered through a syringe or intravenous drips, they necessitate qada, not kaffarah. For example, if liquid medicine that is put on an open wound penetrates into it, it breaks the fast but does not entail kaffarah. Inhaling pure oxygen does not break the fast, but asthma inhalers contain medications. And medications taken orally without extreme necessity not only break the fast but also entail kaffarah.
It is not important if the thing swallowed is little or much in amount. If a drop of medicine or a drop of water is swallowed purposely, it not only renders the fast void but also makes kaffarah necessary. If one swallows water inadvertently while performing an ablution, kaffarah does not become necessary because it is not an intentional act. Swallowing the wetness remaining in the mouth after an ablution cannot be compared with swallowing medications put into the mouth or the nose, because performing an ablution is an absolute must. If it is said that taking medicine is an absolute must as well, it has been made lawful for a patient not to fast if he/she is unable to fast. Such a person keeps the fast when he/she recovers. It is very wrong to say, "I both take medications and keep the fast," as reformers say.
According to the four madhahib and all mujtahid scholars, if a medicine that is put on a wound penetrates into jawf [interior of the body], the fast is broken. In the Shafi'i Madhhab, the dimagh [brain], the abdomen, the intestines, and the bladder are a jawf each. For instance, if the skull is cracked open, since a medicine that is put on a wound on the skull will go into jawf, that is, the brain, the fast will have been broken.
In the Shafi'i Madhhab, if a knife is pushed into the abdomen, the fast is broken because the point of the knife has entered the stomach, that is, jawf. Just as a knife's entering jawf through healthy skin invalidates the fast, so medicines injected by a syringe or by tearing muscles or vessels invalidate the fast when they reach jawf. In the Hanafi Madhhab, the fast is broken only if the knife enters the stomach completely.
It is known for certain in medical science today that fluids that are injected via intravenous drips reach the brain and every part of the body. Then fluids that are received via intravenous drips invalidate the fast and require the fast only to be made up. When the medical science states that intravenous or intra-muscular injections go into the brain and the bladder, no one can say, "The medicines administered through a syringe or intravenous drips do not go into jawf [that is, such places as the brain or bladder]." If one says so, it is not scientific, but a personal opinion, so it is worthless.
[In this article, pieces of information about Hanafi Madhhab have been quoted from the books Tahtawi, Mabsut, Badayi, and the like. Pieces of information about Shafi'is have been quoted from such dependable works as Majmu, Mughni al-muhtaj, Tuhfa, Anwar, Kummasra, Bajuri, Sharh-i Ibn-i Bajuri.]
Having an enema breaks the fast in all madhahib except the Maliki Madhhab. (Al-fiqh 'ala al-madhahib al-arba'a)
The fast is broken if rectal or vaginal suppositories are used or if a piece of cotton is inserted into the anus and is lost or if a wet finger is inserted into the rectum or the vagina or if medicine is dropped into the ear or if liquid medicines are sniffed up. (Radd-ul-mukhtar, Hindiyya, Hidaya)
Sublingual pills are medications. As they are absorbed through soft tissue called mucosa, they are like subcutaneous injections and break the fast. However, those medications that are absorbed not through oral mucosa but through healthy skin do not break the fast.