The Two Principles upon which Fast is Invalidated

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم



There are basically three Invalidators of Fast: (1) Eating (2) Drinking (3) Sexual- Relations. The Fuqaha (Jurists) have grouped 1 & 2 into a single category and applied a general principle which they unanimously agree upon. Therefore there are only two principles upon which the fast becomes invalidated (i.e. there are two invalidators of fast).

First Principle وصول المفطِر إلى جوف البدن)

“The reaching of a fast-breaking agent into a cavity of the body”

This principle is subjected to four conditions, all of which must simultaneously exist in order for the fast to be invalidated. These conditions are: Valid Fast-breaking agent, Valid Cavity, Valid Entry Point and Valid Entrance.

1) Valid Fast-breaking agent- Any substance which has a perceptible body. This is irrespective of its size and whether or not it benefits or harms the body.

2) Valid Cavity– There are many cavities in the body, the Contemporary Jurists however, based on modern-day medical research, have only considered three viz. throat, stomach and intestines. All of which are part of the digestive tract.

3) Valid Entry Point– This refers to any direct channel leading to any of the three cavities, whether it be through a natural channel or unnatural channel (i.e. a puncture, injury, or an injection piercing and penetrating directly into its walls). The natural channels are; mouth, nose, and rectum.

4) Valid Entrance- The entrance of a fast-breaking agent must completely enter a valid cavity and settle therein independently.[1] (E.g. Endoscopy without lubricating the tubes)


In order for the fast to be invalidated, a fast-breaking agent must fully enter the throat, stomach or intestine via the mouth, nose, or rectum or through any other channel or opening that directly leads to it.


The general rule is that, if the four aforementioned conditions exist, the fast will be invalidated. The Shariah however, through its divine grace and wisdom has made a few exceptions to this rule. They are as follows;

  1. A) Forgetfulness– A fast-breaking agent enters a valid cavity of a fasting person who was fully unaware that he was observing the fast will not invalidate the fast.
  2. B) Unavoidable Substances- These are substances generally regarded as fast-breaking agents. However, due to the fact that it is very difficult for a fasting person to safeguard himself against its entrance into the throat, the Shariah has overlooked it. Some examples are; dust, sand, cement and smoke particles present in the air, fly, mosquito etc.

NB- Any unavoidable substances, if deliberately and purposely inhaled or swallowed will invalidate the fast.

  1. C) Saliva of the Mouth-The mouth at times, takes the ruling of an internal organ and at times that of an external organ.[2] The mouth being an internal organ, is in relation to those fluids which are produced therein e.g. saliva. Therefore if a fasting person swallows his saliva regardless of the amount, the fast will not be invalidated as the element of entering does not exist.

NB– Mucus and phlegm has the same ruling as saliva.

The mouth being an external organ, is in relation to those substances generally found in the mouth but not produced therein, e.g. blood, residual water and foodstuff (stuck between the teeth before the break of dawn). In this case if any of these substances are swallowed the fast will not be invalidated provided that the substance was relatively small.

What is regarded as relatively small?

  • As for the blood found in the mouth, if the amount swallowed is lesser in proportion to the saliva the fast will not be invalidated.
  • The minute amount of water that remains in the mouth after rinsing is pardonable.
  • Regarding the foodstuff, if it less than the size of a chickpea the fast will not be invalidated.

Important Note

If any of the above mentioned substances relating to the mouth (including saliva and mucus) is expelled from the mouth and then re-inserted into the mouth thereafter swallowed the fast will be invalidated regardless of its size and quantity.

  1. D) Swallowing Vomit– If a person, after vomiting unintentionally the vomit was swallowed unintentionally (i.e. it returned to stomach on its own accord without any deliberate action), the fast will not be invalidated.

Nb: If the unintentional-vomit was swallowed intentionally the fast will be invalidated.

  1. E) Applying Medicine to the Eyes- Medical research proves a valid passage way (duct) from the eye to the throat as it has been established that the Holy Prophet ﷺ permitted the use of Kohl (antimony) to the eyes while fasting.[3] Thus applying medicine to the eyes will not invalidate the fast even though it may reach the throat.
  2. F) Vomiting- If a person vomits intentionally (i.e. induced a vomit) and it amounts to a mouthful the fast will be invalidated as mentioned clearly in the Hadith of the Prophet ﷺ. Though the principle mentioned above negates this a ruling the Hadith of the Prophet ﷺ will take precedence.
  3. G) Menstrual and Post Natal Bleeding- It is clearly stated in the Shari’ah that the moment a woman experiences her menstrual cycle or post natal bleeding the fast becomes invalidated.


Therefore based on what has been stated above, the principle by which the fast becomes invalidated can be summarized in the following statement;

إن الفطر إنما يحصل إذا وصل شيء من المفطرات إلى الجوف المعتبر من المنفذ المعتبر وصولاً معتبراً مع ارتفاع الموانع

The fast will only be invalidated when a substance regarded as a fast-breaking agent reaches the throat, stomach or intestines via the mouth, nose or rectum or through any other channel or opening that directly leads to it, the entry of such substance must be complete and independent, except in cases exempted by the Shariah. [4]

Clarification of Misconceptions regarding the First Principle

There are a few misconceptions related to the invalidation of fast due to intricacies involved in determining valid entry points leading to the throat, stomach and intestines. The Fuqahah (Jurists of Islam) have explicitly stated that in this matter reliance is placed upon the medical experts unless there is a shari’i evidences stating otherwise (as in the case of eyes)[5]. The classical Jurists gave rulings based upon what was medically assumed at their time by the experts in the field of medicine. Present-day medical research however, shows the inaccuracy of some of what was assumed previously by medical experts.

Therefore, due to the fact that the matter in discussion is based solely on medical expertise, the contemporary Jurists of the Hanafi School of Jurisprudence have given rulings and verdicts accordingly.

The following is a list of some rulings given by classical Hanafi Jurists which contradicts present-day medical research.[6]

  1. Ear– Traditional Hanafi Jurists have considered the outer ear to be a valid entry point, having a direct pathway to the throat.[7] However the N.T. experts confirm that the outer ear is not connected to throat. What is connected to the throat is the inner ear. There is a thin membrane, known as the eardrum separating the outer ear from the inner ear, which is connected to the throat. Therefore if oil or medicine is inserted into the ear the fast will not be invalidated, except in the case where the eardrum is s perforated.[8]
  2. Vagina/Uterus- Earlier Jurists also considered these two cavities to be valid entry points leading to the intestines. [9] However, modern day medicine negates any such connection. Therefore trans-vaginal ultra-sound, insertion of medicine, coils etc. into the vagina will not invalidate the fast.
  3. Deep head injury-[10] Imam Abu Hanifa رحمه الله together with other Jurists considered the cranial cavity (the cavity occupied by the brain)to be a cavity of consequence i.e. it is directly connected to the throat. Based on this assumption, they ruled that if liquid medication is applied to a head injury (which reaches the brain) the fast will be invalidated due to a connection between both cavities. [11] However modern-day medical research negates any such connection.
  4. Urethra /Bladder [12]– Both Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad رحمهما الله considered the urinary tract viz. the urethra and bladder to be a valid entry point connecting to the intestine. This is however not supported by present-day medical experts.

Nb: Imam Abu Hanifa رحمه الله ruled that there is no connection between the two (i.e. urethra/bladder and the intestine) hence the fast will not be invalidated if liquids/medicines are infused therein. The latter Jurists ruled on the view of Imam Abu Hanifa رحمه الله since it was in accordance to medical experts.[13]

Second Principle

الجماع صورةً أو معنًى

“Sexual Intercourse (literally) Or sexual satisfaction”


Explanation of Principle:

  • Sexual Intercourse has been defined by the Jurists as, the penetration of the male’s private part into the private part of a woman (front or rear) to the extent that, the head of male’s private part becomes invisible. The entrance of the shaft is not a condition nor is ejaculation a criteria for the invalidation of the fast. If this occurs, the fast of both the man and woman becomes invalidated.

Nb– It is Haram for a man to have intercourse with his wife from the rear passage.

  • Sexual Satisfaction refers to an ejaculation or an orgasm without entrance into the private part. This will only invalidate the fast if there was any physical contact with or without the involvement of a second party (spouse). Therefore, if a person experiences an ejaculation or an orgasm by merely fantasising or looking at someone the fast will not be invalidated.

Nb– It is not permissible for one to fantasize sexually over someone other than one’s spouse.[14]

Nb: This ruling does not apply to a wet-dream (i.e. no Qadha nor Kaffarah)

In conclusion, the invalidation of the fast is based solely on two principles outlined by the Fuqaha (Jurists). Only in the presence of any one of these principles will the fast be invalidated.

Qadha and Kaffarah

Qadha: If a fast is missed or broken, for whatever reason, it is necessary that Qadha be done. Qadha is to make up, by fasting another day, for that fast which was invalidated. Nb: for each missed fast one Qadha is necessary.

Kaffarah: This is an atonement for having deliberately broken the fast of Ramadhan in a specific manner.

How is Kaffarah done?

Kaffarah can be done in the following ways:

  1. Fast for two lunar months consecutively (sixty days) without any interruption i.e. without missing a single day. If any day is missed one will have to restart the sixty days from the beginning.[15]
  2. Feed sixty poor people two meals, morning and evening for one day. Or one person two meals for sixty days.
  3. Grains such as wheat amounting to 1.75kg can be given to sixty poor people.
  4. Monetary value of 1.75kg of wheat can be given to sixty poor people

Nb: Options 2, 3 & 4 will only be valid if one is unable to fast.

What necessitates Kaffarah?

Kaffarah becomes necessary when a ‘perfect crime’ (grave offence/صورة و معنى ) is committed when fasting in the month of Ramadhan. To understand what is a ‘full offence’ one must refer to two principles upon which the fast becomes invalidated.

As for the first-principle, Kaffarah will only be necessary if the Muftir (fast-breaking agent) is deliberately entered into throat via the mouth (i.e. by eating or drinking) taking into consideration the following conditions viz:

  1. Consumables- Eating or drinking anything which is normally consumed by humans, in that it nourishes, medicates, benefits or brings pleasure to the body. Thus the consumption of stone, paper, mud, plastic and the likes thereof will not necessitate Kafarah.)[16]. Similarly, swallowing something which is regarded as despicable (g. food-stuff stuck between the teeth prior to the break of dawn amounting to the size of a chickpea or more, blood from a wound or inside the mouth predominating the saliva) will not necessitate Kaffarah. The same ruling will apply to the deliberate swallowing of unavoidable substances as stated earlier.
  2. Smoking: – If a person is a habitual smoker to the extent that he has a nicotine dependency then his smoking will necessitate Kaffarah.[17]
  1. Manner: It is consumed in a manner in which food/drink is normally consumed (as opposed to a person swallowing a grain of nut or channa etc. in a manner in which tablets are swallowed) or sniffing water into the nostrils which finds its way to the throat.[18]
  1. Type of Fast– Only the fast which was deliberately broken during the month of Ramadhan will necessitate Kaffarah, and not any other fast, even the qadha-fast of Ramadhan.
  1. Intention– Intention to fast was made prior to Suhoor (i.e. at night)
  1. Musafir– The one who broke the fast was not a Musafir (traveller by definition of the Shariah)
  1. Mistake– The invalidator did not occur mistakenly. Thus swallowing water mistakenly while gargling or eating/drinking assuming the break of dawn has not entered or that the sun has set will not necessitate Kaffarah.
  1. Ignorance – A person who ate forgetfully (i.e. not knowing that he was fasting) ate intentionally thereafter, assuming that his fast was broken will not necessitate Kaffarah due to his ignorance.
  1. Necessity– If a person whilst fasting encounters a situation where he sincerely believes that if he does eat, drink or take medication he will die or end up in a critical condition then it is allowed for him to break his fast. Similarly, is the case of a pregnant or nursing woman who fears for her life or the life of her child if he continues the fast. In all these situations Kafarrah will not be necessary.

Important Ruling

If a person’s fast was broken in a manner necessitating Qadha only and not Kaffarah except that the intention was to deliberately break the fast (i.e. with the intent of committing the sinful act of breaking the fast) then Kaffarah will also be necessary.[19]

As for the second- principle, a grave offence (صورة و معنى) necessitating Kaffarah will only occur in the case where the male’s private part enters into the female’s private part to the extent that the head is no longer visible (the emission of seminal fluids is not a condition). If the fast is broken otherwise (معنى فقط) then only Qadha will be necessary (i.e. ejaculation other than inside the private part of a woman).

والله سبحانه وتعالى أعلم بالصواب وأستغفر الله العظيم

Mufti Kaleem Muhammad

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad) /

[1] تحفة الفقهاء (1/ 355)

إذا طعن برمح ثم أخرجه من ساعته لا يفسد صومه لأنه لم يستقر في محل الطعام

ولهذا قالوا إن من ابتلع لحما مربوطا على خيط ثم انتزع من ساعته لا يفسد صومه لأنه لم يستقر في محله

البحر الرائق شرح كنز الدقائق ومنحة الخالق وتكملة الطوري (2/ 300)

وقوله: إلى جوفه عائد إلى الجائفة وقوله إلى دماغه عائد إلى الآمة، وفي التحقيق أن بين الجوفين منفذا أصليا فما وصل إلى جوف الرأس يصل إلى جوف البطن كذا في النهاية والبدائع ولهذا لو استعط ليلا، ووصل إلى الرأس ثم خرج نهارا لا يفسد كما قدمناه، وعلله في البدائع بأنه لما خرج علم أنه لم يصل إلى الجوف أو لم يستقر فيه

[2] بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (1/ 26)

وإنا نقول له مع الظاهر حكم الظاهر كما ذكره زفر وله مع الباطن حكم الباطن بدليل أن الصائم إذا ابتلع ريقه لا يفسد صومه

[3] اكتحل النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو صائم رواه ابن ماجه

عن أنس قال  جاء رجل إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال : اشتكت عيني أفأكتحل وأنا صائم ؟ قال  نعم  رواه الترمذي

خرج علينا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وعيناه مملوءتان من الكحل وذلك في رمضان وهو صائم رواه الترمذي

عن الأعمش قال : ما رأيت أحدا من أصحابنا يكره الكحل للصائم رواه ابو داود

[4] ضابط المفطرات

[5]  قلتُ وقد نص عليه فقهاؤنا ومنهم الامام السرخسي و الامام الكاساني والعلامة ابن نجيم والامام المرغيناني صاحب الهداية

بأن الاعتماد على أهل الطب

[6] البحث الطبي في المذاهب الاربعة في المنافذ

لا اشكال في مذهب الحنفية من جهة الطب الا في اعتبار الآمة عند الامام أبي حنيفة و عامة مشايخ مذهبه, و فرج المرأة عند المشايخ , و الاذن عند جميع الحنفية, و الاحليل عند القاضي أبي يوسف لانّ الاطباء المعاصرين ينكرون نفوذ هذه الاربعة الى الحلق أو المعدة أو الامعاء هـ

[7] بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (2/ 93)

وما وصل إلى الجوف أو إلى الدماغ عن المخارق الأصلية كالأنف والأذن والدبر بأن استعط أو احتقن أو أقطر في أذنه فوصل إلى الجوف أو إلى الدماغ فسد صومه، أما إذا وصل إلى الجوف فلا شك فيه لوجود الأكل من حيث الصورة

[8] The outer ear consists of the external part of the ear (pinna or auricle) and the ear canal (external auditory meatus). The pinna consists of cartilage covered by skin and is shaped to capture sound waves and funnel them through the ear canal to the eardrum (tympanic membrane), a thin membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear.

[9] بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (2/ 93)

وأما الإقطار في قبل المرأة فقد قال مشايخنا: إنه يفسد صومها بالإجماع، لأن لمثانتها منفذا فيصل إلى الجوف كالإقطار في الأذن

[10] المحيط البرهاني في الفقه النعماني (2/ 383)

وفي الجائفة والآمة إذا داواهما بدواء يابس لا يفسد صومه، وإذا داواهما بدواء رطب يفسد صومه عند أبي حنيفة، خلافاً لهما، وأكثر المشايخ اعتبروا الوصول إلى الجوف في الجائفة والآمة إن عرف أن اليابس وصل إلى الجوف يفسد صومه بالاتفاق، وإن عرف أن الرطب لا يصل إلى الجوف لا يفسد صومه، كذا ذكر شمس الأئمة السرخسي رحمه الله

البناية شرح الهداية (4/ 65)

(بدواء يصل إلى جوفه) ش: يرجع إلى الجائفة م: (أو دماغه) ش: يرجع إلى الآمة م: (أفطر عند أبي حنيفة – رحمه الله -) ش: وبه قال الشافعي وأحمد – رحمهما الله – م: (والذي يصل هو الرطب) ش: أشار بهذا إلى أن المراد من قوله: يصل إلى جوفه هو الدواء الرطب، لأن الخلاف فيه، وأما إذا كان يابسا لا يفسد صومه بالإجماع، كذا في ” المبسوط ” و ” تحفة الفقهاء ” وغيرهما، وهو ظاهر الرواية.

قال شمس الأئمة السرخسي – رحمه الله -: فرق في ظاهر الرواية بين الرطب واليابس، وأكثر مشايخنا على أن العبرة للوصول حتى إذا علم أن اليابس وصل إلى جوفه فسد صومه.

[11] البحر الرائق شرح كنز الدقائق ومنحة الخالق وتكملة الطوري (2/ 300)

لأن العبرة للوصول لا لكونه رطبا أو يابسا وإنما شرطه القدوري؛ لأن الرطب هو الذي يصل إلى الجوف عادة حتى لو علم أن الرطب لم يصل لم يفسد ولو علم أن اليابس وصل فسد صومه كذا في العناية لكن بقي ما إذا لم يعلم يقينا أحدهما وكان رطبا فعند أبي حنيفة يفطر للوصول عادة

[12] بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (2/ 93)

وأما الإقطار في الإحليل فلا يفسد في قول أبي حنيفة، وعندهما يفسد، قيل: إن الاختلاف بينهم بناء على أمر خفي وهو كيفية خروج البول من الإحليل فعندهما أن خروجه منه لأن له منفذا فإذا قطر فيه يصل إلى الجوف

[13] معظم هذا البحث استفدتُــه من رسالة: ضوابط الافتطارفي مجال التداوي لشيخنا المفتي محمد رفيع عثماني حفظه الله تعالى رئيس جامعة دار العلوم بكراتشي

[14] الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (6/ 372)

والأقرب لقواعد مذهبنا عدم الحل، لأن تصور تلك الأجنبية بين يديه يطؤها فيه تصوير مباشرة المعصية على هيئتها، فهو نظير مسألة الشرب ثم رأيت صاحب تبيين المحارم من علمائنا نقل عبارة ابن الحاج المالكي، وأقرها وفي آخرها حديث عنه – صلى الله عليه وسلم – «إذا شرب العبد الماء على شبه المسكر كان ذلك عليه حراما» اهـ

[15] The only exceptions to this rule are if a woman is menstruating or in a state of post-natal bleeding. She must continue to fast after she becomes pure, and she cannot delay the completion of the expiation. If she does delay fasting after becoming pure, then she must restart the sixty days of fasting.

[16] بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (2/ 99)

ولو أكل ما لا يتغذى به ولا يتداوى: كالحصاة، والنواة، والتراب، وغيرها فعليه القضاء ولا كفارة عليه عند عامة العلماء

[17] الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (2/ 395)

(قوله: أنه لو أدخل حلقه الدخان) أي بأي صورة كان الإدخال، حتى لو تبخر ببخور وآواه إلى نفسه واشتمه ذاكرا لصومه أفطر لإمكان التحرز عنه وهذا مما يغفل عنه كثير من الناس، ولا يتوهم أنه كشم الورد ومائه والمسك لوضوح الفرق بين هواء تطيب بريح المسك وشبهه وبين جوهر دخان وصل إلى جوفه بفعله إمداد وبه علم حكم شرب الدخان ونظمه الشرنبلالي في شرحه على الوهبانية بقوله:

ويمنع من بيع الدخان وشربه … وشاربه في الصوم لا شك يفطر

ويلزمه التكفير لو ظن نافعا … كذا دافعا شهوات بطن فقرروا.

[18] بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (2/ 99)

ولو بلع جوزة صحيحة يابسة، أو لوزة يابسة فعليه القضاء ولا كفارة عليه لوجود الأكل صورة لا معنى، لأنه لا يعتاد أكله على هذا الوجه فأشبه أكل الحصا

[19] حاشية الطحطاوي على مراقي الفلاح شرح نور الإيضاح (ص: 678)

تتمة كل ما انتفى فيه وجوب الكفارة محله ما إذا لم يقع منه مرة بعد أخرى لأجل قصد معصية إفساد الصوم فإن فعل وجبت على ما عليه الفتوى نهر والله سبحانه وتعالى أعلم وأستغفر الله العظيم.