What invalidates Fasting Related to the throat – In light of Modern Medicine – Part 1

Some of the most complex questions that arise related to what invalidates the fast in light of medical procedures and interventions, are questions related to what reaches or passes the throat. Muslim jurists take a broad and more general interpretation from the verse of the Qur’ān, which commands abstention from eating and drinking when fasting. However, it is not entirely clear how we can apply the principles classical Muslim jurists proposed to medical interventions and forms of administration of medicine related to the throat. This paper will identify what exactly is the sharʿī throat in light of our current understanding of human biology. It will then present six principles deduced by Muslim scholars which will provide a framework for us to apply the fiqh of fasting to modern day interventions.

.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

Abstract

Some of the most complex questions that arise related to what invalidates the fast in light of medical procedures and interventions, are questions related to what reaches or passes the throat. Muslim jurists take a broad and more general interpretation from the verse of the Qur’ān, which commands abstention from eating and drinking when fasting. However, it is not entirely clear how we can apply the principles classical Muslim jurists proposed to medical interventions and forms of administration of medicine related to the throat. This paper will identify what exactly is the sharʿī throat in light of our current understanding of human biology. It will then present six principles deduced by Muslim scholars which will provide a framework for us to apply the fiqh of fasting to modern day interventions.

Introduction 

It is essential for Muslims to be aware of Islamic rulings related to those acts, interventions and procedures which invalidate the fast, so that they can refrain from such acts. Not all Muslim scholars, health care professionals and general Muslim public are aware of all such issues related to those things that invalidate the fast. Some of them are quite straight forward and obvious, yet others can be quite complicated and require one to grasp current medical understandings of the human anatomy as well as some detail of medical procedures and interventions. Some of the more complex areas tend to be related to those invalidators related to the throat. The throat is the main place through which we get our sustenance by eating and drinking and for this reason it can be quite complex when we view medical interventions and treatments from this perspective. For this reason, with the permission of Allah swt, and through the requests of many, I have put together this document to aid and guide Muslim scholars, health care professionals as well as general public on such issues. The document has been put together to provide the following:

  1. Basic principles that will support and guide Muslims – Recognising that some questions can be quite complicated and there is a need to present a simple toolkit which can guide those who require a simple approach to such queries.
  2. Discussion and reference to medical issues related to anatomy, physiology which is relevant and appropriate to the discussion– This will address the complexity and confusion that arises.  
  3. Details and explanation around some of the areas of confusion and differences amongst the different Sunnī schools– This will allow Muslims from any of the Sunnī schools to use this document and appreciate where there are agreements and differences. 
  4. The Fiqh sources from classical fiqh text – These have been put together in quite an exhaustive way as a form of reference and evidence for the conclusions drawn. They are in Arabic as per the original source, because they are more appropriate for Muslim scholars rather than general public.

The document has been divided into five sections as follows:

  • Section 1: The Sharī’ah approach to defining the throat and relevant medical considerations
  • Section 2: Principles related to what invalidates fasting related to the throat.
  • Section 3: Application of principles to medical procedures / interventions
  • Section 4: Toolkit- Principles related to what invalidates fasting related to the throat.
  • Section 5: Table – Invalidators of fasting related to the throat

As a final note, recognising that medicine is advancing at fast pace and new issues will inevitably arise in the near future. I am hopeful that that these principles should address future interventions and hence provide enough detail for one to apply to new cases. Having said that, this is a working document and may require amendments and updating over time and I humbly request those who can add to this, not to hesitate to contact the author.

It is also important to note that for specific complex issues it is best advised for one to approach a qualified Muslim scholar who is well read in this area. 

I pray that you benefit in this effort and that Allah (swt) makes this a means of useful resource for all and reward.

الله أعلم بالصواب

والسلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Rafaqat Rashid
Academic Director, Al Balagh Academy
[email protected]

Attested by Mufti Saiful Islam (JKN Fatawa Department, Bradford, UK)
www.jknfatawa.co.uk

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