Questions on Fast Invalidation from the Hanafi Fiqh List

1.1 Blood Tests Do Not Invalidate One's Fast
Answered by Sidi Faraz Rabbani
Would a blood test nullify a fast. e.g. if someone would insert a needle and take some blood from me by means of it?

No, a blood test does not invalidate the fast, as it is merely the taking out of blood.

The fast is invalidated when anything enters the body cavity, which is why injections and drips (even those that have nutritive value) do not invalidate the fast. [Bada'i` and Masa'il al-Siyam]

Medications While Fasting and Injections
Answered by Sidi Faraz Rabbani

Can you please tell me if it's permissible to use topical skin medications on the skin, such as Retin-A, that are ABSORBED by the skin, when one is fasting?

In the Hanafi school, such medication would not affect your fast in any ways. In fact, even injections do not break the fast.


'Do creams and powders applied on the body and face break one's fast?'
Answered by Sidi Faraz Rabbani

‘Do creams and powders applied on the body and face break ones fast?’

No. The fast is invalidated by things entering the body cavity itself, as outline in the recent post 'The Fiqh of Fasting'. This is why even injections do not invalidate the fast.


Brushing in Ramadan
Answered by Sidi Faraz Rabbani

I would appreciate if you could detail the fiqh of using the miswak in fasting. Does it break the fast if there is a taste of miswak left in the mouth? Does it break the fast if you wet it and then use it? Does it break the fast if a particle of wood remains in your mouth even after you try to get it out by spitting and later swallow it??

1. It remains a sunna to brush one's teeth (siwak) throughout the day, even while fasting. (Maraqi)

2. The taste of the toothstick remaining does not invalidate one's fast.

3. It is permitted to wet the toothstick or toothbrush before using it. It is best to spit out once when finished.

4. If you are certain that you swallowed a particle of wood, your fast is invalidated. If unsure, one resorts to one's operating certainty: the fast is valid, for certainty is not lifted by mere doubt.


5. If any toothpaste or saliva changed by it gets swallowed, one’s fast is invalidated. It is best to avoid using toothpaste while fasting, unless one can do so without endangering one’s fast.

Just want to know the permissibility of using standard toothpaste whilst fasting, is it permissible? I have been told by our local Imam that this is permissible.

In itself it is permissible to use toothpaste while fasting. However, if even a little of the actual toothpaste goes down your throat, even if indirectly by affecting the saliva, it would invalidate the fast.

One should therefore avoid using toothpaste while fasting and if forced to should use only a very small amount, and brush in such a way that one rids one's mouth of all traces of toothpaste with reasonable surety.

If any toothpaste or saliva changed by it gets swallowed one's fast is invalidated. It is best to avoid using toothpaste while fasting, unless one can do so without endangering one's fast. Using toothpaste is sinful, correct? A shaykh taught us that it is makruh tahriman to "use paste or tooth powder to clean one's teeth."

If a general ruling were to be given, it would be as explained by the shaykh. However, some scholars explain that:

- If one fears anything going down one's throat, it is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman);

- If one is sure that nothing will go down, it is somewhat disliked (makruh tanzihan), unless there is a genuine need or excuse (such as a job appointment!)...

Answered by Sidi Faraz Rabbani

Can one use Listerine to gargle for the purpose of relieving an irritated/sore/infected throat?

In general, if it does not have alcohol, there would be no problem of course. If it DOES have alcohol, it would be permitted according to the position of Imam Abu Hanifa, though the later Hanafi scholars said it would not be permitted to use alcohol, even from other than grapes, dates, or barley, at all. However, many major contemporary Hanafis, from around the world, permitted it for medical and other limited purposes.

During a fast, this would be something very dangerous, because even if a DROP goes down the throat the fast would be broken.

How does one distinguish between mere taste and actual trace of the food?
Answered by Sidi Faraz Rabbani

What if one only realises the time for suhur has expired but after a few minutes stated on the timetable? or finds one self on the actual time of expiry? in both cases is not sure if one has consumed actual trace of the food from inside the mouth that was stuck between the teeth, in that time? How does one distinguish between mere taste and actual trace of the food?

If you mistakenly consumed something after fajr time comes in, your fast is invalid. However, it remains wajib for you to refrain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse and its like. This is something many people are unaware of, but is clearly mentioned in Hanafi texts. [Maraqi al-Falah, Hashiya Ibn Abidin, etc.]

If you are not sure that you have swallowed anything, then your fast remains valid.

Swallowing Food Lodged in the Teeth
Answered by Sidi Faraz Rabbani

When a person swallows a small amount of food that was lodged in the teeth, after the fast starts-does it invalidates the fast?

If the food between the teeth was there before fajr time, and the amount swallowed was less than the extent of a small chickpea, the fast is not invalidated.

However, if it entered the mouth after fajr time, or if the amount swallowed was more than the extent of a small chickpea, then the fast is invalidated.

If their remains a taste of food in ones mouth and teeth, and if one swallows this, after the fast has begun, does it invalidate it?

The presence of mere taste, without any actual trace of the food or item ingested, would not in itself invalidate the fast.

Vomiting During the Fast
Answered by Sidi Faraz Rabbani

I have a question regarding vomiting whilst observing a fast? Does vomiting break the fast or not?

As the fiqh texts mention, one’s fast is broken (without need for expiatory payment) only if one:

“Vomits a mouthful intentionally or to return vomit down the throat.”

It is not broken by non-deliberate vomiting or vomiting less than a mouthful. [Maraqi]

Questions about Intimacy
Answered by Sidi Faraz Rabbani

Does the fast remain intact if there is a flow of madhy caused by amorous play or kissing? And how can one differentiate this from sperm? And what is recommended if one is not sure if it is sperm or madhy?


Walaikum assalam,

Amorous play or kissing with sexual desire is not permitted while fasting, and would be sinful. However, unless actual ejaculation happens, the fast would remain valid.

Unless there is ejaculation, consider it pre-sexual fluid (madhy). This does not invalidate the fast.


While in ramadhan and fasting and in the course of affectionately kissing and touching ones' wife, if one has an involuntary/unintentional emission which invalidates the fast how is this to be made up for? I have read in the Hanafi handbook of fiqh this falls under kafarra and 2 continuous months of fast must be done? I wanted to ask a qualified scholar to make sure. So is this what needs to be done and also is there any other expiation (such as feeding the poor)? The book said one who is not able to complete the 2 months continuously could feed 60 poor people?...can this apply to others as well?


1. Unless actual ejaculation took place from the touching or kissing (or if one swallowed one's spouse's saliva), then the fast is not broken, and there is no need for a makeup, let alone expiation. One should, however, seek forgiveness for breaching proper conduct in Ramadan.

2. If an ejaculation took place in such a case, a make up is needed, but not expiatory payments, as this is not a 'full transgression' (such as actual intercourse, or deliberate eating or drinking is).

[Maraqi, Durr]



During a discussion on some science-related topics, one of the brothers become excited and this caused emission of something from his penis (without ejaculation). Does this affect the validity of his fast? He is worried…

This emission most likely be pre-sexual fluid (madhy). Even actual sperm only invalidates the fast if it was as a result of ejaculation.

The brother’s fast was not broken.



Can you please tell me the extent of the physical relationship allowed between husband and wife during Ramadan while fasting and after iftar.

After maghrib, everything permitted is permitted.

During the fast:

1. Intercourse or ejaculation would invalidate the fast, and is sinful.

2. Anything sexual in nature is disliked.

If it is feared that this could lead to intercourse or ejaculation, it would be prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman), and sinful;

If it is not feared that this could lead to intercourse or ejaculation, it is somewhat disliked (makruh tanzihan) and blameworthy, because of the possibility of it doing so (and thus invalidating an act of worship) and because it goes against the spirit and meanings of fasting;

3. Non-sexual affectionate kissing, from which there is no fear of the above is not disliked.

[Based on Ibn Abidin’s Radd al-Muhtar, and elsewhere]


If one goes to sleep in a state of major ritual impurity and one wakes up late for sehri time so that the time to close ones fast is minimal. Can one close the fast & then do ghusl, or should one do ghusl first & then close the fast & is the fast affected by this situation?

It is reported by A'isha and Umm Salama (Allah be pleased with them) that the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) would wake up in fajr time in a state of major ritual impurity, perform ghusl, and fast. [Bukhari and Muslim]

Imam Nawawi mentioned that there is scholarly consensus (ijma`) that the fast of one who wakes up requiring ghusl is valid.

There is a hadith in Bukhari that would seem to indicate otherwise, but the scholars have stated that it indicates that it is recommended to have done the ghusl before fajr time, or that its ruling was abrogated.

Thus, it is mentioned in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya that,

“If one wakes up after fajr time enters in a state of major ritual impurity (janaba) or has a wet dream during the day, this does not affect one’s fast, as mentioned in Muhit al-Sarakhsi.” [1.200]

This is confirmed in Imam Tumurtashi’s Tanwir al-Absar.

Washing up after using bathroom
Answered by Sidi Faraz Rabbani

It says in an English translation of 'Nur al-idha' in the Taharah section that: "A person not fasting should fully relax his hips so that the filth in the orifice may be removed fully. A fasting man, however, must not do this in case the water used enters and thus corrupts his fasting. On completion of cleanliness with water, a person will wash his hands a second time and, if he is fasting, dry his hips before standing up, in case the water still present at the genitals or the anus enters, thereby corrupting his fasting. This drying is also 'praiseworthy' for one not fasting." Can you please explain/comment on this the drying bit in reference to the fast and its corrupting?

This drying is a precautionary move, because the fast would only be invalidated if a drop of water went up the rectum to the extent that a suppository does with certainty, which, as Imam Tahtawi commented, is very unlikely.

Does this mean if I washed myself and hurriedly got up and pulled my pants up without paying attention to the water, i.e. about its entering from the left over water from the genitals and anus, my fast would/not be corrupted? How would I be sure it hasn't entered and thus corrupted the fast? please explain further?

Unless you become certain that the water has gone up your rear to the extent that a suppository is inserted, your fast remains valid. If you doubt, this is not sufficient to lift the operating certainty that your fast is valid.

Actions remain valid unless you become certain they aren't.

Does masturbation which results in ejaculation with pleasure break the Fast (of Ramadan). If yes and this is done in more than one fast will expiation be separate or one expiation for all the fasts?

1. Masturbation leading to ejaculation breaks the fast. (Without ejaculation, it does not.) However, it does not require expiation (kaffara). [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah ; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ]

2. Masturbation is prohibited and sinful, especially in Ramadan. To rid oneself of the sin, one must repent sincerely to Allah and commit not to return to this error. [ibid .]