Accessible Conspectus: Things that Invalidate the Fast

This post is part of a series of posts aimed at making The Ultimate Conspectus accessible to readers who have never read fiqh before.

5.3 Things that Invalidate the Fast

The fast is invalidated if any of the following ten things occur.

The first three are anything intentionally reaching a body cavity; insertion of something into the anus, urethra or vagina. The fast is invalidated whenever a substance is introduced into the body through one of its openings and then reaches a body cavity. The natural openings are the mouth, the nostrils, the ears, the urethra, the vagina, and the anus. The body cavities are the brain, chest, abdomen, and head.

If something is somehow introduced into the body through another opening, it does not invalidate the fast.

The fast is not broken if the substance is introduced through the eyes or absorbed through the skin. It also is not broken if someone takes an injection or draws blood, and the location of the insertion is in the arm or leg. But it would break the fast if the location of the insertion was the abdomen or chest. (Yes: gynecological exams and pap smears do break the fast.)

The fourth through sixth invalidators of the fast are intentional vomiting; intentional intercourse; and ejaculation resulting from skin contact.

The seventh and eighth invalidators are menstruation; and postnatal bleeding.

When a woman’s period starts while she is fasting, she will have to make up that entire day because her fast has been invalidated.

If her period or post-natal bleeding ends sometime before dawn, she will be required to fast that day. Her fast is valid even if she had not yet been able to make a purificatory bath. It is obligatory and valid for her to fast since the condition here for the fast to be valid is the absence of menstruation and post-natal bleeding – not that she has made the purificatory bath.

The ninth is insanity. The tenth is apostasy (may Allah protect us!), which was discussed earlier in section 5.1.

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