What is the ruling of blowing hot food and drinks? What about breathing while drinking?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The Prophet PBUH restricts breathing inside the glass when one is drinking water. Narrated by Abu Qatadah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
إِذَا شَرِبَ أَحَدُكُمْ فَلاَ يَتَنَفَّسْ فِي الإِنَاءِ، وَإِذَا أَتَى الخَلاَءَ فَلاَ يَمَسَّ ذَكَرَهُ بِيَمِينِهِ
"Whenever anyone of you drinks water, he should not breathe in the drinking utensil, and whenever anyone of you goes to a lavatory, he should neither touch his penis nor clean his private parts with his right hand."
Sahih al-Bukhari (153)
In another narration:
أنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَهَى أَنْ يُتَنَفَّسَ فِي الإِنَاءِ أَوْ يُنْفَخَ فِيهِ
"The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) prohibited breathing in the vessel, or blowing into it."
Musnad Ahmad (1907) and Sunan al-Tirmizi (1888)
Scholars have differing opinions when commenting on the above hadith. Here, we include the opinions of scholars regarding this issue:
- Imam al-Nawawi said that the restriction of breathing in a glass when one is drinking is considered as one of the manners of drinking. The reason is, it is feared that it could dirty the water or if something falls from one’s mouth or nose or others into the water. (Refer: Al-MinhajSyarh Sahih Muslim, 3/160)
- Imam Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani commented on the above hadith stating that blowing on drinks is worse when compared to breathing while drinking. The restriction is to teach us manners that emphasizes on cleanliness. (Refer Fath al-Bari1/253 and 10/92)
- Imam al-Syaukani commented on the above hadith stating: Don’t even blow on food or drinks trying to get rid of some dirt, for by blowing saliva will end up on the food or drink which is dirty. You should not blow on food or drinks trying to cool it down. Don’t eat hot food, for the blessings are removed from it and anything hot is the food and drinks of people in hellfire. (Refer Nail al-Authar9/65)
- Ibn Batthal explains that the hadith states that if someone is drinking with another person who do not find breathing while drinking is disgusting, then it is permissible to do so. The reason is, the Prophet PBUH himself takes his breath while drinking knowing that the companions like to drink from his glass. (Refer: Syarh Sahih al-Bukhari li Ibn Batthal6/80)
Furthermore, there is another hadith from Anas bin Malik RA:
كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَتَنَفَّسُ فِي الشَّرَابِ ثَلاَثًا وَيَقُولُ" إِنَّهُ أَرْوَى وَأَبْرَأُ وَأَمْرَأُ ". قَالَ أَنَسٌ فَأَنَا أَتَنَفَّسُ فِي الشَّرَابِ ثَلاَثًا
“Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) breathed three times (outside the vessel) in the course of a drink and said: It is more thirst- quenching, healthier and more wholesome. Anas said: So, I also breathe three times in the course of a drink.”
Sahih Muslim (2038)
Thus, it can be understood that while drinking, the Prophet PBUH avoid breathing inside the glass for the benefits stated in the above hadith.
Explanation on the Ruling
In regards to the ruling, breathing inside the food or drink container is makruh (undesirable) and not prohibited as stated by Imam al-Syarwani, Imam Zakariyya al-Ansari and Imam Ibn Muflih al-Hanbali. (Refer: Hasyiah al-Syarqawi wa al’-Ubbadi7/438, Asna al-Mathalib 3/228 and Al-Adab al-Syar’iyyah 3/296)
Imam al-Mardawi al-Hanbali cited the opinion of Imam al-Amidi who do not rule it as makruh (undesirable) to blow on hot food and this is the accurate opinion according to al-Mardawi, if there is a necessity for the food to be eaten quickly. (Refer: Al-Insaf fi Ma’rifah al-Rajih min al-Khilaf 8/242)
In short, after analysing the above commentaries and explanation of scholars, in our opinion, the original ruling of blowing or breathing in food or drink containers is permissible. The reason is, the restriction is only applicable on the following conditions:
- It is feared that saliva and bad breath will contaminate and dirty the food/drink.
- If one is sharing the container with others, then it will lead to feelings of discomfort for others.
- It will show impatience when one is blowing hot food and drinks to cool it down so that it can be eaten quickly.
Only in the situations specified above will it then be ruled as makruh (undesirable/discouraged). Slowly blowing on the food or drink that will not contaminate or change the smell of the food or drinks are permissible. Imam Ibn Batthal explains that if someone is sharing a drink with another person who do not find it disgusting to breathe while drinking, then it is permissible. Imam al-Mardawi also explains that it is permissible for someone to blow on his food or drinks if there is a necessity.