Reviewing old Fatawa on the subject, many of them assumed that there is a danger that medication can actually go inside the stomach. This danger has been largely eliminated with Modern inhalers.
It turns out that it was my failure to understand the principles of Fiqh which led to years of confusion and research.
The issue isn’t whether the contents of an inhaler make it into the stomach or not, the issues at heart are actually two:
- Deliberate Action: The usage of an inhaler is deliberate so it cannot be equated to walking around and smelling aromas or incense etc because we smell these as part of our normal breathing process
- Breach of Body cavities: Using an inhaler deliberately breaches several body cavities such as trachea, lungs etc
The evidence that deliberate usage and thereby breaching of body cavities invalidates the fast is given in the explicit authentic Hadeeth of Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam):
عن لقيط بن سمرة رضى الله عنه قلت يا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم اخبرنى عن الوضوء قال أسبغ الوضوء وخلّل بين الاصابع و بالغ فى الاستنشاق الا ان تكون صائما. (ابو داود 31-1)
Sayyidina Laqeet bin Samura (RA) reports: I once asked Rasulullah (Salallahu Alahi Wasallam) regarding wudhu. Nabi (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Perform a complete and perfect wudhu, ensure that you make khilaal of the fingers and rinse the nose thoroughly except in the case where you are fasting. [Abu Dawud]
If we are to allow the use of an inhaler then how does it differ from smoking a cigarette?
However since using an inhaler during an asthmatic attack is deemed to be a lifesaving intervention only Qadha is necessary and Fuqaha have stipulated no Kaffarah while smoking has never been deemed to be lifesaving treatment.
Those who are asthmatic should consult their Doctors before fasting and seek alternatives such as long acting medications and inhalers. Shaykh (Mufti) Zubair Butt (HA) states:
Oral inhalers will invalidate your fast because the medicine reaches the throat [cavity of consequence] (and possibly further down the digestive tract) via the mouth [orifice of consequence]. In addition nebulisers also invalidate your fast because the mist inhaled is a mixture of gas and liquid particles in the form of small aerosol droplets which reach the throat [cavity of consequence] via the mouth [orifice of consequence]. Those wishing to fast during Ramadan should consult their GP as to whether it is safe for them to do so or whether it is safe and reasonable to adjust their medicines in line with Asthma UK’s advice. If it is not, the guidance is that you make such fasts up later if possible, such as in the smaller days of winter. Otherwise you should pay the appropriate compensation for each fast.
Allah (SWT) knows best.