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Can one use inhalers or other medicines during fasting?

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Some scholars say that inhalers cannot be used during fasting as some portion of it reaches stomach while inhaling them. Kindly, give your views not just on inhalers but also 0n other medications which become necessary for sustenance of life.



The answer below has been formulated after seeking advise from an expert medical doctor.Since, the issue is not discussed in the Quran or Hadith hence it is a matter of ‘ijtehad'(legal/rational reasoning under the light of Quran, Hadith and human intellect)and there can be a difference of opinion among scholars on it.General masses should follow what they perceive to be correct keeping in view the Islamic spirit.

“All human systems are so intricately connected with each other that it is very difficult to claim that anything (medicine or food) remains restricted to just one of them and is hence allowed or disallowed during fasting. Most, if not all things, crossover from one system to the other to take effect and then to a third to get excreted. Take for example the skin ointments, a nitroglycerine patch or earache drops. As per common belief they are believed to be perfectly safe during fasting. But they cannot exercise their desired effects unless they are absorbed into the blood stream to be carried to target cells in blood or brain. While, on the other hand, a tablet to be taken by mouth for the same effects is considered ‘not permissible’ in Ramadan. It is therefore obvious that there are more factors than just one that govern the final dictation of something as ‘permissible’ or ‘not permissible’ during fasting and they all must be taken into account when making such a comment. In our view following factors should be kept in mind whilst using drugs during fasting;

1.Mode of drug use…. if a certain drug is used in a way that it does not enter the mouth, throat or more distant parts of digestive system as its primary portals of entry, it should fall in the category of ‘permissible’.

2.Spill or crossover…. if a small percentage of a drug is involuntarily carried into the digestive system where it is not supposed to produce significant effects, it should remain permissible during fasting.

3.Type of response produced…. if a drug produces a response which defies the basic philosophy of fasting e.g. giving energy or producing delirium, it should fall in the category of ‘not permissible’ no matter which way it gets into the human body.

4.In all such cases where a person needs medication for an ailment an expert doctor of that particular field should be consulted.In most cases medications can be used twice a day which means at suhoor and aftar which should be absolutely fine, however, it is important that people dont put there health at risk.Allah’s Deen does not require that from us.

In view of all this we believe that even if a small amount of inhaled medicine might find its way into stomach (it is proven that most of it goes to the lungs) it should remain legally permissible because its primary effect is only in the lungs, and that it is carried into the stomach involuntarily and that the small amount reaching the stomach does not produce any significant effects on ones fasting status. So is the case with an injection (intramuscular or intravenous) of painkillers.

On the other hand if one opted for an injection of concentrated nutrients (glucose, proteins etc.) during fasting, it would break his fast because, in spite of the fact that it did not involve mouth as its portal of entry and it is quite similar to an injection of pain killers, it does produce the effects which defy the philosophy of fasting.



UIUK team

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