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FAQ

ramadhan edition 144

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. Does swallowing saliva invalidate fast?

 

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wrt, wbt.,

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.

Saliva is water inside a person’s mouth for as long as it stays inside his mouth. However, if the saliva is excreted out from the mouth it is called as بُصاق (the spit of a person).

Jurists did not discuss the issue at length. They generally discuss the issue of swallowing saliva and collecting saliva in one’s mouth then swallowing it.

Imam al-Nawawi Rahimahullah said:

لَوِ ابْتَلَعَ مِنْهُ الرِّيقَ لَا يُفْطِرُ

“If saliva is swallowed, then it does not invalidate the fast.”

Refer Raudhah al-Thalibin, Al-Nawawi (2/357)

Whereas, in his famous book Fatawa al-Nawawi, he said:

إِذا ذاق الصائم طعامًا ولم يبلعْه، أو مضغ الخبز، أو نحوَه ولم يبلعه، أَو جمع الريق في فيه ثم ابتلعه، أو دخلت ذبابة في جوفه بغير اختياره، أو كان يغربل حِنطة، أو دقيقًا، أو غيرَهما وفتح فمه فدخله شيء من الغبار، أو سبقه ماء المضمضمة، أو الاستنشاق من غير مبالغة هل يُفطر؟ الجواب: لا يفطر في جميع ذلك، والله أعلم

When a fasting person tasted food but did not swallow it or he chew bread or others but did not swallow it or he collected his saliva or a fly entered his body cavity unintentionally or he was kneading flour or wheat or others and its dust wafted into his mouth when he opens his mouth or he accidentally swallowed water when he was gargling (not done excessively), then does it invalidate the fast?

Answer: All of these do not invalidate fast. See Fatawa Al-Nawawi (1/90).

While in al-Majmu’, he said: “Swallowing saliva does not invalidate a person’s fast according to the ijma’ (consensus of scholars) when it is a natural reflex. The reason is it is hard to avoid doing it.”

Imam al-Nawawi also stated that there are three conditions when a person swallows his saliva and it will not invalidate his fast, we simplify them into the following points:

First: It is purely saliva. If the saliva is mixed with something else and changes colour, then his fast is invalid if he swallows it.

Second: He swallows the saliva through its cavity (mouth). If the saliva was excreted from his mouth then using his tongue or others, he fills it back into his mouth and swallows it, then this will invalidate his fast.

Third: He swallows his saliva normally (natural reflex action). If a person collects his saliva in his mouth then swallows it, does this invalidate his fast? Hence, there are two famous opinions on this matter in madhhab al-Syafi’e and the sahih opinion states that it does not invalidate his fast. Refer Al-Majmu’ Syarah Al-Muhazzab, Al-Nawawi (6/318).

Whereas, Imam Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi said: “And unavoidable matter such as swallowing one’s saliva does not invalidate his fast. The reason is it is hard to avoid. It is akin to the dust in the environment or the dusts of flour. If a person intentionally collects his saliva then swallows it, it does not invalidate his fast.” Refer Al-Mughni, Ibn Qudamah (3/16).

Conclusion

To close, we would like to state that among the matters which are included in umum al-balwa (unavoidable matters) for a fasting person are swallowing his saliva, smelling scents and exposure to the dusts in the environment, hence all of these do not invalidate a person’s fast.

Thus, generally swallowing one’s saliva does not invalidate a person’s fast. If a person collects his saliva inside his mouth, then swallows it, some scholars state that it is makruh (undesirable). However, if he spits his saliva then swallows it, then his fast is invalidated.

Lastly, may Allah SWT give us the correct understanding in religion. Amin.