Fasting: Intake of medicine while fasting

Q209 :As a doctor, I would like to know whether intramuscular or intravenous injections may be given to a fasting person, in normal circumstances or in emergency. Can a person who suffers from asthma use his aerosol inhaler while fasting? What is the ruling regarding the case of ear, nasal and eye drops, suppository and the drawing of blood for investigation during fasting?


A209 : Injections of both types may be given to a fasting person in any situation. Similarly, samples of blood may be taken from a person while he is fasting. Some people try to distinguish between intramuscular and intravenous injections, approving of the former and disapproving of the latter. There are certainly no grounds for making such a distinction when neither method is used for feeding purposes. Likewise, the use of aerosol inhalers by asthma patients, to relieve their breathlessness, is permissible and does not invalidate fasting. There are scholars who argue that the use of such inhalers invalidates fasting. They advise the patients who may get an asthma attack during the day not to continue fasting but to take necessary medication. He should fast later instead, if he is able to. It is perhaps more correct to advise patients to use the inhaler when the need arises, and to continue their fasting. It is true that one uses the inhaler through one's mouth, but the aim is to get the medicine into the lungs. Some fine particles may be left in the mouth, but this is not food. I personally use my Ventolin inhaler when I need to [use it] during the day of fasting, for I have a mild case of asthma. The use of ear, nasal and eye drops as well as suppositories is, perhaps, a little more controversial. In past generations, scholars ruled that all these invalidate fasting, since they considered that they went through the passages which lead to the "internal space" of the body. We have now learned that this is not the case. Moreover, as Imam Ibh Hazm says [that] people do not use these organs to get food inside them. Allah has forbidden us to eat, drink and to have sex during the day of fasting. When we take eye drops or nasal drops, we do not violate His orders, because these are not food or drinks. Hence, they do not invalidate our fasting. Perhaps I should add a word about illness and fasting. When a person is ill, he is allowed not to fast, provided that he compensates by fasting a similar number of days later. Since Allah has given sick people this concession, it is better if they use it. At the same time I realize that there are certain conditions which may require the use of nasal or eye drops, without the person being considered sick enough to justify exemption from fasting.


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )