Does inhaling Medicine into the Nose break the Fast?

Does inhaling Medicine into the Nose break the Fast?

Question :

There is a medicine that the people with asthma have and they take it by inhaling it. Does this break the fast or not?


The medicine for asthma that sick people use by inhaling reaches the two (lungs) by way of the windpipe and it does not reach the stomach. Therefore, it is not food or drink, nor does it resemble them. It only resembles that which is dropped in the outer opening of the urethra and that which is used to treat Al-Ma'mumah (head injury down to the skull) and Al-Ja'ifah (injury to the inside of stomach). It is also similar to kohl and anal injections (i.e., a suppository) and similar things from all that reaches the brain or inner body through other than the mouth or nose. The scholars differ in these matters as to whether the fasting person breaks his fast by using them. Among them are those who say that the fasting person does not break his fast by using any of these things. Also, there are those among them who say that the fasting person breaks his fast by using some of these things, but not others. However, there is an agreement among all of the scholars that none of these things are called food or drink. Yet, the scholars who declare the fast broken by using these things or some of them, give them the ruling of food and drink by the common factor that all of that reaches the interior of the body by choice. They also base their position on what is confirmed from the Prophet's statement:
"And be excessive in inhaling water (for Wudhu') unless you are fasting."

Thus, the Prophet made an exception for the fasting person regarding this due to fear that the water would reach his throat or his stomach by him being excessive in inhaling water, and thereby corrupt his fast. Hence, this proves that everything that reaches the interior of the body by choice breaks the fasting person's fast.

Those scholars who do not rule that the fast is corrupted by such things, like Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah and those who agree with him, do not hold that comparing these things with food and drink is correct. For verily, there is nothing in the evidences that dictates that what breaks the fast is everything that reaches the brain or the inner body or whatever enters the body by an opening or reaches the inner body. There is no established evidence of the Islamic law for making any of these character- istics attached to the ruling of the fasting person breaking his fast. There is no evidence that is religiously correct for attaching this ruling to any of these characteristics. Also, giving this (such characteristics) the meaning of what reaches the throat or the stomach of water due to exaggerating in inhaling it is not correct, as there is a difference. For verily the water nourishes, so when it reaches the throat or the stomach, it corrupts the fast regardless of whether it entered the mouth or the nose, as each of them is only a path. For this reason the fast is not corrupted by simply rinsing the mouth or inhaling water if it is done without excessiveness, and that has not been prohibited. Hence, the fact that the mouth is a path is a discarded description that has no effect (in the matter). Therefore, if the water or something similar reaches the interior of body through the nose, it has the same ruling as it reaching the interior of the body through the mouth. Thus, it (the nose) and the mouth are the same. That which is apparent is that using this medicine through inhaling, due to what has preceded, does not break the fast. This is because it does not have the same ruling as food and drink in any way. May Allâh send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and his Companions.

The Permanent Committee
Fatawa Islamiyah, Vol. 3 Pages 269-270-271

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