The Official Website of the Office of His Eminence Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani

Books » Islamic Laws

Fasting » Laws of things that invalidate a fast → ← Fasting » Intention (niyyah)

Fasting » Things that invalidate (mubṭilāt) a fast

Ruling 1551. Eight things invalidate a fast:

1.
eating and drinking;
2. sexual intercourse;
3. masturbation, meaning that a man – either with himself or by means of something – does something other than having sexual intercourse that results in ejaculation. How this applies to a woman was explained in Ruling 345;
4. based on obligatory precaution, ascribing false things to Allah, Prophet Muḥammad (Ṣ), and the successors of Prophet Muḥammad (Ṣ) [i.e. the Twelve Imams (ʿA)];
5. causing thick dust to reach the throat, based on obligatory precaution;
6. remaining in a state of ritual impurity (janābah), menstruation (ḥayḍ), or lochia (nifās) until the time of ṣubḥ prayers;
7. applying liquid enema;
8. vomiting intentionally.

The laws (aḥkām) relating to these will be explained in the following rulings (masāʾil).

1.
Eating and drinking

Ruling 1552. If a fasting person who is aware of the fact that he is fasting intentionally eats or drinks something, his fast becomes invalid, irrespective of whether the thing he ate or drank was something normal – such as bread and water – or not – such as earth and the sap of a tree – and irrespective of whether it was a little or a lot. In fact, even if one takes a toothbrush out of his mouth and then puts it back into his mouth and swallows the moisture, his fast becomes invalid unless the moisture of the toothbrush becomes obliterated in his saliva in a way that it can no longer be regarded as external moisture.

Ruling 1553. If someone realises while eating that it has become ṣubḥ, he must take the food out from his mouth; and in the event that he intentionally swallows it, his fast is invalid. Furthermore, in accordance with the rules that will be mentioned later, kaffārah also becomes obligatory on him.

Ruling 1554. If a fasting person eats or drinks something inadvertently (sahwan), his fast does not become invalid.

Ruling 1555. Injections and intravenous drips do not invalidate a fast even if the former is an energy injection and the latter a glucose-saline drip. Similarly, a spray that is used for asthma does not invalidate a fast provided that the medicine only enters the lungs. Applying medicine [such as drops] to the eyes and ears does not invalidate a fast either, even if its taste reaches the throat. Likewise, if medicine is applied in the nose, it does not invalidate a fast as long as it does not reach the throat.

Ruling 1556. If a fasting person intentionally swallows something that has remained in between his teeth, his fast becomes invalid.

Ruling 1557. If someone wishes to keep a fast, it is not necessary for him to use a toothpick before the time of ṣubḥ prayers. However, if one knows that some food that has remained in between his teeth will be swallowed during the day, he must use a toothpick to remove it.

Ruling 1558. Swallowing saliva does not invalidate a fast even though it may have collected in one’s mouth as a result of thinking about food and suchlike.

Ruling 1559. There is no problem in swallowing the mucus of the head and chest as long as it has not entered the cavity of the mouth. However, if it has entered the cavity of the mouth, the recommended precaution is that one should not swallow it.

Ruling 1560. If a fasting person becomes so thirsty that he fears he may die of thirst, sustain some harm, or fall into hardship that he cannot bear, he can drink water to the extent that his fear of these things is averted; but in this case, his fast becomes invalid. In fact, in the case of fear of death and suchlike, it is obligatory on one to drink. And if it is the month of Ramadan, then based on obligatory precaution the person must not drink an amount that is more than necessary, and for the rest of the day he must refrain from doing anything else that invalidates a fast.

Ruling 1561. Chewing food for feeding a child or a bird, and tasting food [for example, to check that the right amount of salt has been added] and suchlike – which usually does not cause the food to reach the throat – does not invalidate a fast even if the food happens to reach the throat accidentally. However, if one knows from the outset that such food will reach the throat, his fast becomes invalid and he must keep a qaḍāʾ fast for it and kaffārah is also obligatory on him.

Ruling 1562. One cannot break his fast on account of feeling weak. However, if one’s weakness is to such an extent that normally it could not be endured, there is no problem in breaking the fast.

2.
Sexual intercourse

Ruling 1563. Sexual intercourse invalidates a fast even if penetration is as little as the circumcised part of the penis, and even if there is no ejaculation.

Ruling 1564. If penetration is less than the circumcised part of the penis and there is no ejaculation, the fast does not become invalid. However, for a man who has not been circumcised, any amount of penetration – even if it is less than the circumcised part of a penis – invalidates his fast.

Ruling 1565. If someone intentionally decides to have sexual intercourse and then doubts whether or not there was penetration up to the circumcised part of the penis, the rule (ḥukm) concerning this matter can be found in Ruling 1549; and if he has not done anything that invalidates a fast, kaffārah is not obligatory on him.

Ruling 1566. If someone forgets that he is fasting and has sexual intercourse, or, if someone is forced to have sexual intercourse in a manner that it is not of his free will, his fast does not become invalid. However, in the event that during sexual intercourse he remembers [that he is fasting], or he is no longer forced to have sexual intercourse, he must immediately stop having sexual intercourse; and if he does not stop his fast is invalid.

3.
Masturbation

Ruling 1567. If a fasting person masturbates (the meaning of masturbation was mentioned in Ruling 1551), his fast becomes invalid.

Ruling 1568. If a person ejaculates involuntarily, his fast does not become invalid.

Ruling 1569. Whenever a fasting person knows that if he goes to sleep during the day he will have a wet dream [become muḥtalim] – i.e. semen will be ejaculated in his sleep – it is permitted (jāʾiz) for him to go to sleep even if he will not encounter difficulty by not sleeping; and if he has a wet dream, his fast does not become invalid.

Ruling 1570. If a fasting person wakes up from sleep while ejaculation is taking place, it is not obligatory on him to stop the ejaculation.

Ruling 1571. A fasting person who has a wet dream can urinate even if he knows that by urinating some of the remaining semen will come out of his penis.

Ruling 1572. If a fasting person who has a wet dream knows that some semen has remained in his penis, and he knows that if he does not urinate before performing ritual bathing (ghusl) semen will be discharged after ghusl, then the recommended precaution is that he should urinate before performing ghusl.

Ruling 1573. If someone intentionally indulges in courtship with the intention of ejaculating but he does not ejaculate and does not make another intention to fast, his fast is invalid; and if he makes the intention to fast, then based on obligatory precaution he must complete his fast and also keep a qaḍāʾ fast.

Ruling 1574. If, for example, a fasting person indulges in courtship with his wife without the intention of ejaculating, in the event that he is confident (i.e. he has iṭmiʾnān) that he will not ejaculate but does happen to ejaculate, his fast is valid. However, if he is not confident that he will not ejaculate and does ejaculate, his fast is invalid.

4.
Ascribing something false to Allah, Prophet Muḥammad (Ṣ), and the Twelve Imams (ʿA)

Ruling 1575. If a fasting person intentionally ascribes something false to Allah, Prophet Muḥammad (Ṣ), or the Twelve Imams (ʿA) – whether he does this verbally, in writing, or by making a sign and suchlike – and even if he immediately says ‘I have lied’ or he repents, then based on obligatory precaution his fast is invalid. The same applies, based on recommended precaution, to ascribing something false to Her Eminence [Fāṭimah] al-Zahrāʾ (ʿA) and to the other Prophets and their successors.

Ruling 1576. If someone wishes to report a narration about which he does not have any evidence as to its authenticity, and he does not know whether it is true or false, then based on obligatory precaution he must report it in such a way that he does not directly attribute it to Prophet Muḥammad (Ṣ) or to the Imams (ʿA).

Ruling 1577. If someone quotes something as the word of Allah, Prophet Muḥammad (Ṣ), [or the Twelve Imams (ʿA)] with the belief that it is true, and afterwards he realises that it was false, his fast does not become invalid.

Ruling 1578. If someone ascribes to Allah, Prophet Muḥammad (Ṣ), [or the Twelve Imams (ʿA)] something that he knows to be false, and afterwards he realises that what he said was true, and he knew that this act would invalidate his fast, he must, based on obligatory precaution, complete his fast and also keep a qaḍāʾ fast.

Ruling 1579. If someone intentionally ascribes to Allah, Prophet Muḥammad (Ṣ), or the Twelve Imams (ʿA) something that has been fabricated by some other person, then as an obligatory precaution his fast becomes invalid. However, if he simply narrates from the person who fabricated the falsehood without knowing it to be false, there is no problem [and his fast is valid].

Ruling 1580. If a fasting person is asked whether Prophet Muḥammad (Ṣ) [or Allah, or one of the Twelve Imams (ʿA)] said such and such thing and he intentionally replies ‘Yes’ when he should say ‘No’, or he intentionally replies ‘No’ when he should say ‘Yes’, then based on obligatory precaution his fast becomes invalid.

Ruling 1581. If someone correctly quotes the words of Allah, Prophet Muḥammad (Ṣ), [or the Twelve Imams (ʿA)] and then says ‘I lied’, or if at night he ascribes something false to them and on the following day when he is fasting he says ‘What I said last night is true’, then based on obligatory precaution his fast becomes invalid unless his intention is to explain the state of his information [i.e. he means to assert that it is true that he did actually say that last night, not that what he said is true].

5.
Causing dust to reach the throat

Ruling 1582. On the basis of obligatory precaution, causing thick dust to reach one’s throat invalidates a fast, whether the dust is of something that is lawful (ḥalāl) to eat, such as flour, or it is of something that is unlawful (ḥarām) to eat, such as soil.

Ruling 1583. Causing dust that is not thick to reach the throat does not invalidate a fast.

Ruling 1584. If thick dust appears by means of the wind, and a person – despite being aware and able to take care – does not take care and the dust reaches his throat, then based on obligatory precaution his fast becomes invalid.

Ruling 1585. The obligatory precaution is that a fasting person must not cause the smoke of cigarettes, tobacco, or something similar to reach his throat.

Ruling 1586. If someone does not take due care and dust, smoke, or suchlike enters his throat, in the event that he was certain or confident that it would not reach his throat, his fast is valid; but if he only supposed (i.e. had a ẓann) that it would not reach his throat, it is better that he keeps a qaḍāʾ fast for it.

Ruling 1587. If someone forgets that he is fasting and does not take due care, or, if dust or something similar reaches his throat involuntarily, his fast does not become invalid.

Ruling 1588. Immersing the entire head in water does not invalidate the fast but it is highly disapproved (makrūh).

6.
Remaining in a state of janābah, ḥayḍ, or nifās until the time of ṣubḥ prayers

Ruling 1589. If in the month of Ramadan a junub(1) intentionally does not perform ghusl until the time of ṣubḥ prayers – or, if his duty is to perform dry ablution (tayammum) and he does not perform it – he must complete the fast of that day with the intention of mā fī al-dhimmah and he must also fast another day [after Ramadan]. And with regard to the fast on this additional day, as it is not known whether it is a fast of qaḍāʾ or of punishment, he must keep it with the intention of mā fī al-dhimmah, not with the intention of qaḍāʾ.

Ruling 1590. Whenever someone who wants to keep a qaḍāʾ fast of the month of Ramadan intentionally remains in the state of janābah until the time of ṣubḥ prayers, he cannot fast on that day; but if he does this unintentionally, he can fast on that day, although the recommended precaution is that he should not [fast on that day and instead fast on another day].

Ruling 1591. With regard to obligatory or recommended fasts other than the fast of the month of Ramadan and their qaḍāʾ, if a junub intentionally remains in the state of janābah until the time of ṣubḥ prayers, he can fast on that day.

Ruling 1592. In the event that someone who is junub on a night of the month of Ramadan does not perform ghusl until the time remaining to ṣubḥ prayers becomes short, he must perform tayammum and keep the fast and his fast is valid.

Ruling 1593. If a junub in the month of Ramadan forgets to perform ghusl and remembers after one day, he must keep a qaḍāʾ fast for that day; and if he remembers after a few days, he must keep a qaḍāʾ fast for all the days that he is certain to have been junub on. For example, if he does not know whether he was junub for three or four days, he must keep qaḍāʾ fasts for three days.

Ruling 1594. If on a night of the month of Ramadan someone knows that he will not have time to perform ghusl or tayammum and yet intentionally becomes junub, his fast is invalid and qaḍāʾ and kaffārah become obligatory on him [i.e. he must keep a fast after Ramadan and also give recompense].

Ruling 1595. If someone knows that he does not have time to perform ghusl and intentionally becomes junub and then performs tayammum, or, if despite having time, he intentionally delays performing ghusl until the time becomes short and then performs tayammum, in these cases, although he commits a sin his fast is valid.

Ruling 1596. If someone who is junub on a night of the month of Ramadan knows that if he goes to sleep he will not wake up until the time of ṣubḥ prayers, then as an obligatory precaution he must not go to sleep without performing ghusl. In the event that he chooses to go to sleep before performing ghusl and does not wake up until the time of ṣubḥ prayers, he must complete the fast of that day and qaḍāʾ and kaffārah become obligatory on him.

Ruling 1597. Whenever a junub goes to sleep on a night of the month of Ramadan, if when he wakes up he deems it probable that were he to go to sleep again he would wake up before the time of ṣubḥ prayers, he can go to sleep [without performing ghusl].

Ruling 1598. If someone is junub on a night of the month of Ramadan and is certain or confident that if he goes to sleep he will wake up before the time of ṣubḥ prayers, in the event that he decides to perform ghusl after waking up and goes to sleep with this decision, but he remains asleep until the time of ṣubḥ prayers, his fast is valid.

Ruling 1599. If someone is junub on a night of the month of Ramadan and is not confident that if he goes to sleep he will wake up before the time of ṣubḥ prayers, in the event that he is unmindful of the fact that he must perform ghusl after waking up, and he goes to sleep and remains asleep until the time of ṣubḥ prayers, then based on precaution qaḍāʾ becomes obligatory on him.

Ruling 1600. If someone is junub on a night of the month of Ramadan and is certain or deems it probable that if he goes to sleep he will wake up before the time of ṣubḥ prayers, and if he wakes up but does not want to perform ghusl, and he goes back to sleep and does not wake up again before the time of ṣubḥ prayers, in such a case, he must complete the fast of that day and qaḍāʾ and kaffārah become obligatory on him. The same applies, based on obligatory precaution, if he is doubtful that he will perform ghusl after waking up.

Ruling 1601. If a junub on a night of the month of Ramadan goes to sleep, wakes up, and is then certain or deems it probable that if he sleeps again he will wake up before the time of ṣubḥ prayers, and he decides that he will perform ghusl after waking up, then, in the event that he goes to sleep again but does not wake up until the time of ṣubḥ prayers, he must keep a qaḍāʾ fast for the fast of that day. Furthermore, if he wakes up from the second sleep and goes back to sleep for a third time but does not wake up until the time of ṣubḥ prayers, he must keep a qaḍāʾ fast for the fast of that day; and based on recommended precaution, he should also give kaffārah.

Ruling 1602. A sleep in which a wet dream has taken place is considered to be the first sleep. Therefore, if after waking up from this first sleep someone goes back to sleep and does not wake up until the time of ṣubḥ prayers, then as it was stated in the previous ruling he must keep a qaḍāʾ fast for the fast of that day.

Ruling 1603. If someone who is fasting has a wet dream during the day, it is not obligatory on him to perform ghusl immediately.

Ruling 1604. Whenever someone in the month of Ramadan wakes up after the time of ṣubḥ prayers and finds that he has had a wet dream, then even if he knows that he had a wet dream before the time of ṣubḥ prayers, his fast is valid.

Ruling 1605. If someone who wants to keep a qaḍāʾ fast of Ramadan wakes up after the time of ṣubḥ prayers and finds that he has had a wet dream, and if knows that he had this wet dream before the time of ṣubḥ prayers, he can fast on that day with the intention of keeping a qaḍāʾ fast of the month of Ramadan.

Ruling 1606. If a woman’s ḥayḍ or nifās stops on a night of the month of Ramadan before the time of ṣubḥ prayers and she intentionally does not perform ghusl, or, if her duty is to perform tayammum and she does not do so, she must complete the fast of that day and also keep a qaḍāʾ fast for that day. Furthermore, with regard to a qaḍāʾ fast of the month of Ramadan, if she intentionally does not perform ghusl or tayammum before the time of ṣubḥ prayers, then based on obligatory precaution she cannot fast on that day.

Ruling 1607. If a woman whose ḥayḍ or nifās stops on a night of the month of Ramadan intentionally does not perform ghusl until the time before ṣubḥ prayers becomes too short to perform ghusl, she must perform tayammum and the fast of that day is valid.

Ruling 1608. If a woman’s ḥayḍ or nifās stops before the time of ṣubḥ prayers in the month of Ramadan but she does not have time to perform ghusl, she must perform tayammum; however, it is not necessary for her to remain awake until the time of ṣubḥ prayers. The rule is the same for a junub in the event that his duty is to perform tayammum.

Ruling 1609. If a woman’s ḥayḍ or nifās stops near the time of ṣubḥ prayers in the month of Ramadan but she does not have time to perform ghusl or tayammum, her fast is valid.

Ruling 1610. If a woman’s ḥayḍ or nifās stops after the time of ṣubḥ prayers, she cannot fast on that day. Furthermore, if she experiences ḥayḍ or nifās during the day while she is fasting, then even if it is near the time of maghrib prayers, her fast is invalid.

Ruling 1611. If a woman forgets to perform ghusl for ḥayḍ or nifās and remembers after a day or after a few days, the fasts that she has kept are valid.

Ruling 1612. If a woman’s ḥayḍ or nifās stops before the time of ṣubḥ prayers in the month of Ramadan but she is negligent in performing ghusl until the time of ṣubḥ prayers, and if in the short time remaining she does not perform tayammum either, then as it was mentioned previously, she must complete the fast of that day and keep a qaḍāʾ fast. However, in the event that she is not negligent – for example, she waits for the public bath to become accessible to women only [or, she cannot access the bathroom due to a legitimate reason] – then even if she sleeps three times and does not perform ghusl until the time of ṣubḥ prayers, her fast is valid provided that she is not negligent in performing tayammum.

Ruling 1613. If a woman has excessive istiḥāḍah and does not perform the ghusls in accordance with the laws of istiḥāḍah mentioned in Ruling 394. her fast is valid. Similarly, if a woman has medium istiḥāḍah and does not perform ghusl, her fast is valid.

Ruling 1614. Someone who has touched a corpse – i.e. he has brought a part of his own body into contact with the corpse – can fast without performing the ghusl for touching a corpse (mass al-mayyit). Furthermore, if one touches a corpse while fasting, his fast does not become invalid.

7.
Applying enema(2)

Ruling 1615. Applying liquid enema – even if one is obliged to or for the purposes of treatment – invalidates a fast.

8.
Vomiting

Ruling 1616. Whenever a fasting person intentionally vomits, his fast becomes invalid even if he vomited out of necessity or because of illness or suchlike. However, if he vomits unintentionally or involuntarily, there is no problem [and his fast remains valid].

Ruling 1617. If at night one eats something that he knows will cause him to vomit unintentionally during the day, his fast is valid.

Ruling 1618. If a fasting person feels sick and the cause of this is something natural [as opposed to him having made himself feel sick], then even if he can restrain himself from vomiting, it is not necessary for him to do so.

Ruling 1619. If a fly enters a fasting person’s throat and goes down to such an extent that were he to then swallow it, it could not be called ‘eating’, it is not necessary for him to bring it out and his fast is valid. However, if the fly does not go down to that extent, he must bring it out even if this requires vomiting, unless vomiting is harmful or excessively difficult (mashaqqah) for him. And in the event that he does not vomit it but instead swallows it, his fast becomes invalid. Similarly, if he brings it out by vomiting, his fast also becomes invalid.

Ruling 1620. If a person unintentionally swallows something and remembers that he is fasting before it reaches his stomach, and if it goes down to such an extent that were he to then make it enter his stomach it could not be called ‘eating’, it is not necessary for him to bring it out and his fast is valid.

Ruling 1621. If a person is certain that by burping, something will come out of his throat, and were he to burp it would be in a manner that could be called ‘vomiting’, he must not burp intentionally. However, there is no problem [in him burping] if he is not certain about this.

Ruling 1622. If someone burps and something comes up in his throat or mouth, he must spit it out; and if he swallows it involuntarily, his fast is valid.

(1) Junub is the term used to refer to a person who is in the state of ritual impurity (janābah). Janābah is explained in Ruling 344.
(2) The injection of water or other fluid into the large intestine by way of the rectum. [Author]
Fasting » Laws of things that invalidate a fast → ← Fasting » Intention (niyyah)
العربية فارسی اردو English Azərbaycan Türkçe Français