Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3: Acts That are Permissible During the Fast
The following acts are permissible for the fasting person:
Abu Bakr ibn 'Abdurrahman reported from a number of companions that they hadseen Allah's Messenger pour water over his head while he was fasting due tothirst or extreme heat. This is related by Ahmad, Malik, and Abu Dawud with asahih chain.
In the two Sahih of al-Bukhari and Muslim, it is related from 'Aishah thatthe Prophet would rise in the morning on a fasting day and then would performghusl (a complete bath). If during the bath some water is swallowedunintentionally, the fast is still valid.
These acts are all permissible, even if some taste from it finds its way tothe throat, as the eyes are not a passageway to the stomach. Anas reported thathe would apply kohl while he was fasting. This is the opinion of theShaf'iyyah. Ibn al-Munzhir records the same opinion from 'Ata, al-Hassan,an-Nakha'i, al-Au~a'i, Abu Hanifah, Abu Thaur, and Dawud. It is related fromthe following companions: Ibn 'Umar, Anas, and Ibn Abu 'Aufa. According toatTirmizhi, nothing authentic has been related from the Prophet concerning thisquestion.
It is confirmed that 'Aishah said: "The Prophet would kiss and embracewhile he was fasting, for he had the most control of all of you over hisdesires." 'Umar said: "I was excited one time and I kissed [my wife]while I was fasting. I went to the Prophet and said: 'Today I committed ahorrendous act--I kissed while I was fasting.' The Prophet asked: 'What do youthink of rinsing with water while fasting?' I said: 'There is nothing wrongwith that.' The Prophet said: 'Then what is the question about?'"
Ibn al-Munzhir says: " 'Umar, Ibn 'Abbas, Abu Hurairah, 'Aishah, 'Ata,ash-Sha'bi, al-Hassan, Ahmad, and Ishaq permit kissing. The Hanafiyyah andShaf'iyyah say that it is disliked if it incites one's desires. If it does notdo so, it is not disliked although it is better to avoid it." There is nodifference between an old man or a young man in this matter. The question iswhether or not the kiss excites one's desires. If it does, it is disliked. Ifit does not, it is not disliked although it is best to avoid it. It does notmatter if the kiss was on the cheek or on the lips, and so on. Touching withthe hand or embracing follow the same ruling as kissing.
Injections do not break the fast whether they are for feeding the person orjust medicine. It does not matter if the injection was intraveinous orunderneath the skin. It also does not matter if what was injected reaches thestomach, as it does not reach the stomach through the customary manner (thatfood does).
The Prophet, upon whom be peace, was cupped while he was fasting. However,if doing this weakens the fasting person, it is disliked. Thabit al-Bunaniasked Anas: "Did you dislike cupping for a fasting person during the timeof the Prophet?" He answered: "No [we did not], unless it madesomeone weak." This is related by al-Bukhari and others. Vivisectionfollows the same ruling as cupping.
These acts are allowed in general, but it is disliked to exaggerate (thatis, use a lot of water and put the water deep into the mouth or nose whilefasting). Laqit ibn Sabra reported that the Prophet said: "Exaggerate whenrinsing your nose unless you are fasting." This is related by an-Nasa'i,Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, and Ibn Majah. At-Tirmizhi called it hassan sahih.
Scholars dislike using nose drops (that is, applying medicine through thenose) while one is fasting, for they are of the opinion that it breaks thefast. There is a hadith that supports their opinion.
Ibn Qudamah sums up the various opinions on the subject: "If whilegargling or rinsing the nose for the sake of purifying one's self [for example,for prayer] water reaches the throat unintentionally and not due toexaggeration, there is no problem. This is according to al-Auza'i, Ishaq, andone statement from ash-Shaf'i, which is related from Ibn 'Abbas. Malik and AbuHanifah hold that it breaks the fast because that water reaches the stomach. Ifhe was aware that he was fasting, it breaks his fast, as if he would have drunkintentionally. The first opinion is stronger, since [the water] reached thethroat without intention or exaggeration. It is similar to having a fly enterthe mouth and proceed to the throat. That differentiates it from an intentionalact."
Ibn 'Abbas ruling is that: "There is no problem with tasting liquidfood or something you wish to purchase." Al-Hassan used to chew thewalnuts for his grandson while he was fasting. Ibrahim also permitted that.
Chewing gum (unlike the one in vogue in the West, it has no sweetness orfragrance) is disliked. The gum must not break into pieces. Those who say thatit is disliked include ash-Sha'bi, anNakha'i, the Hanafiyyah, the Shaf'iyyah,and the Hanbaliyyah. 'Aishah and 'Ata permit chewing, as nothing reaches thestomach and it is just like putting pebbles into one's mouth provided it doesnot break into parts. If a part of it breaks off and enters the stomach, itwill break the fast.
Ibn Taimiyyah says: "Smelling perfumes does not harm the fast."Enlarging upon the subject, he says: "As for kohl, injections, dropsdropped into the urethra [that is, enemas for medicinal purposes], andtreatment for brain and stomach injuries, there is some dispute among thescholars. Some say that none of these break the fast, some say that all exceptkohl would break the fast, while others say all except the drops break thefast, or that the kohl or drops do not break the fast but that the restdo." Ibn Taimiyyah continues: "The first opinion on this question ispreferred. The most apparent conclusion is that none of them break the fast.The fast is part of the religion of Islam. Both the layman and specialist mustbe knowledgeable about it. If the preceding actions were forbidden by Allah andHis Messenger to the fasting person because they would ruin the fast, then itwould have been obligatory upon the Messenger to clarify that fact. If he haddone so, his companions would have known about it and would have passed it onto the rest of the Muslims. Since no one has related that not from the Prophet,not with an authentic or a weak hadith, nor in mursal or musnad form then itmust be the case that such acts do not void [the fast]." He also says:"If the ruling is one that would affect everyone or everyday matters, thenthe Prophet would have clarified it to a general audience. It is well-knownthat kohl was in common use as were oils, washing, incense, and perfume. If theybroke the fast, the Prophet would have mentioned them, as he mentioned otherthings [that break the fast]. Since he did not do so, they belong to the classof perfumes, incense, and dyes. Incense goes through the nose and enters thehead and lands on the body. Dyes or oils are absorbed by the skin and the bodyis refreshened by it. The case of perfumes is similar. Since these have notbeen [explicitly] prohibited to the fasting person, it points to the fact thatusing them is permissible for the fasting person and so is kohl. The Muslimsduring the time of the Prophet would injure themselves, either from jihad orotherwise, and would injure their stomachs or skulls. If that would have endedtheir fasts, it would have been made clear to them [by the Prophet].
Since that was not prohibited for the fasting person, it must not break thefast." Ibn Taimiyyah continues: "No one eats kohl and no one causesit to enter his stomach--neither through his nose nor through his mouth. Analenemas are also not taken as food. Indeed, it helps the body to releasewhatever is in the intestines and it does not reach the stomach. Any medicinethat is used to treat stomach wounds or head injuries [that is taken orally] isnot considered similar to food. Allah says in the Qur'an: 'Fasting isprescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you.' The Prophet,upon whom be peace, said: 'Fasting is a shield,' and, Verily, Satan rushesthrough the body like the flowing of the blood [in the body]. You shouldconstrict his rushing by hunger and fasting.' To increase hisAllah-consciousness a fasting person must not eat or drink because food anddrink cause the veins to fill up with blood in which Satan circulates [in one'sbody]. They become easier for Satan through eating and drinking, not fromenemas, kohl, or medicines applied through the penis or used to treat stomachand brain injuries."
If someone has food in his mouth when fajr is beginning, he should spit itout. If he is having intercourse (with his wife) at that time, he shouldimmediately stop. If he does so, his fast will still be valid. If he continuesin these actions at that time, he will have broken his fast. Al-Bukhari andMuslim record from Aishah that the Prophet said: "Bilal makes the call toprayer while it is still night; therefore, eat and drink until Ibn Umm Maktummakes the call to prayer."
The hadith from 'Aishah on this point has already been mentioned.
If the blood of a menstruating woman or of a woman with post-childbirthbleeding stops during the night, she can delay ghusl until the morning andstill fast but, she must perform ghusl before the morning prayer.