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Does using an inhaler break the fast or not?
الجواب حامداً و مصلياً
Before answering your question it seems appropriate to clarify the nature of the inhaler device by way of introduction.
An inhaler is a device holding a medicine that one takes by breathing in (inhaling) to treat asthma. There are a number of different types of inhalers which are available such as pressurised metered dose inhalers (pMDIs), Breath-activated inhalers, inhalers with spacer devices and Nebulisers.
In all these cases, the medication such as Terbutaline, Salbutamol, Salmeterol or a steroid etc. is administered through inhaling it into the lungs by use of the inhaler [Source: British Thoracic Society website].
In the light of the above detail the sharia ruling is as follows; as the inhaler has medicine which enters the throat in the form of a spray, mist or as a powder (e.g. dry powder inhaler), this is sufficient to invalidate the fast.
This ruling is based on the principle that to purposely enter a substance into the throat, irrespective of whether it reaches the stomach or not invalidates the fast, just as the smoke of a cigarette does not reach the stomach but it still invalidates the fast as mentioned by the jurists.
It is advisable that you try and take the said medication before the fast starts, for example at the time of Sehri to help minimise the chance of an asthma attack. However, should you need to use an inhaler during the fast, you may do so and make-up that fast another time as Qadha. In this situation due to the genuine medical need, no kaffarah (expiation) is applicable.
421/3: و في الفتاوى الشامية
...( قَوْلُهُ : أَنَّهُ لَوْ أَدْخَلَ حَلْقَهُ الدُّخَانَ ) أَيْ بِأَيِّ صُورَةٍ كَانَ الْإِدْخَالُ ، حَتَّى لَوْ تَبَخَّرَ بِبَخُورٍ وَآوَاهُ إلَى نَفَسِهِ وَاشْتَمَّهُ ذَاكِرًا لِصَوْمِهِ أَفْطَرَ لِإِمْكَانِ التَّحَرُّزِ عَنْهُ وَهَذَا مِمَّا يَغْفُلُ عَنْهُ كَثِيرٌ مِنْ النَّاسِ ، وَلَا يُتَوَهَّمُ أَنَّهُ كَشَمِّ الْوَرْدِ وَمَائِهِ وَالْمِسْكِ لِوُضُوحِ الْفَرْقِ بَيْنَ هَوَاءٍ تَطَيَّبَ بِرِيحِ الْمِسْكِ وَشِبْهِهِ وَبَيْنَ جَوْهَرِ دُخَانٍ وَصَلَ إلَى جَوْفِهِ بِفِعْلِهِ ...
And Allah knows best
Answered by FCB Fatwa Department