Use of an Asthma Pump/Inhaler while Fasting
Mufti Mohammad Taha Karaan
21 February 2023
I would like to know what is the law on using an asthma pump while fasting? I keep on getting conflicting opinions and would like to clarify the matter insha’Allah.
According to the most conservative reading of the Shāfiʿī madhhab, use of the asthma inhaler will break the fast.
The possibility exists that inhaling at the time of actually experiencing an asthma attack, and not merely in anticipation of an attack, would not invalidate the fast. This is based on a takhrīj, or extrapolation, of a parallel case mentioned by al-Qadi Ḥusayn, further adopted by his pupil al-Baghawī. I support this extrapolation.
The position also exists that using the inhaler does not invalidate the fast at all, albeit outside of the Shāfiʿī madhhab. This was the position taken at the 9th Symposium of the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences in Kuwait in 1997.
My advice for those whose affliction with asthma stands in the way of an earnest desire to fast in Ramadan is to adopt this position and complete his fast.
However, if the adoption of this view causes anyone to have reservations, we advise that he follow it up with qaḍāʾ if he is able to, and fidyah if not. This would depend on the frequency of asthma attacks; whether he could potentially go from dawn till dusk without the use of an inhaler.
This way—whether he follows up with qaḍāʾ/fidyah, or not—he would have completed the fast of Ramaḍān in Ramaḍān, an achievement of such sanctity that, in our considered view, warrants resorting to a non-standard position in fiqh.
والله تعالى أعلم
And Allah knows best
The above has been cited from a fatwā of the late Ml Mohammad Taha Karaan.