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    Post Ruling on asthmatics using spray inhalers

    Q: I am seventy-three years old and I suffer from asthma, for which I use an inhaler. When I experience an asthma attack I feel completely suffocated, so I use it as a medicament. I have to use it often because these attacks occur frequently, especially in Ramadan, in which I may use it several times. My question is: What is the ruling on my fasting? Do I have to make up for these days or offer expiation? I should mention that when I spray it in my mouth I feel it in my abdomen and throat.

    A: After studying the question, the Committee replied as follows:

    We have issued Fatwa no. 1240 concerning the ruling on using asthma spray during the daytime in Ramadan. It is as follows:

    Asthma medicine which a sick person inhales reaches the lungs through the windpipe and does not reach the stomach. It does not constitute food or drink nor regarded as similar to them. Rather, it is similar to urethra drops, deep head and body wound medication, kohl, enemas and medicines which reach the head or the body but not through the mouth ( Page No: 104) or the nose.

    Scholars have differed regarding the invalidation of Sawm through using them.
    Some scholars view that if a fasting person uses any of them, their Sawm is not invalidated.

    The other group views that some of these medicines break Sawm while others do not. However, all scholars are of the opinion that taking these medicines is not the same as eating or drinking.

    However, if anyone breaks their fast by using them, it is considered the same as eating and drinking in view of that all of them reach the stomach voluntarily. It was authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: Inhale water well except when you are fasting. Sniff water well except when you are fasting. He (peace be upon him) excluded the fasting person from this for fear of water reaching the throat or stomach if one sniffs water strongly which can spoil fasting. This indicates that everything which reaches the abdomen voluntarily breaks fast.

    Among the scholars who did not consider fasting invalid by this were Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah confer mercy upon him) and other scholars who had the same opinion. They did not validate the analogy between these medicines and food and drink because the evidence does not indicate that all that reaches the head, the body or the stomach or what is enters the body through an opening breaks the fast. Thus, as long as there is no evidence to the effect that these cases call for the ruling of nullification of fasting, it is right to suspend the ruling of invalidation of fasting. Moreover, deeming these medicines the same as water which reaches the throat or the stomach because of careless sniffing is not right because they are different. Water is a type of nourishment, and thus if it reaches the throat or the stomach, it spoils fasting whether it enters through the mouth or the nose which are merely passages. For this reason, fasting is not invalidated by Madmadah (rinsing the mouth) or careful inhaling of water for this was not prohibited. Hence, the mouth is merely a passage and this has no affect. That is to say, if water and the like enter (the throat or the stomach) ( Page No: 105) through the nose, it is the same as through the mouth.

    All in all, it sounds right that using the inhaler in question does not break the fast because, as is mentioned above, it is not regarded as food or drink.

    May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

    Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta'
    `Abdullah ibn Qa`ud, `Abdul-Razzaq `Afify, `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz

    [Issued by the Permanent Committee, Fatwa no. 6449]



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