Invalidators of Fasting

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Invalidators of fast or Mufṭirāt al-sawm (Arabic: مفطرات الصوم) or Mubṭilāt al-sawm (Arabic: مبطلات الصوم) are acts that invalidate a sawm (fast). The most important Muftirat are: eating, drinking or having sexual intercourse. Majority of Shi'a faqihs believe that restraining from most of Muftirat is wajib; however, avoiding some of them, such as traveling, is not wajib. Some of Muftirat only invalidate sawm when are done intentionally, some invalidate sawm regardless to the intention, though.

Definition

In Islamic jurisprudential texts, invalidators of Sawm or Muftirat are acts that voids a Sawm. Restraining from some of these acts is necessary for fasting, and committing them while Fasting is Haram. Most faqihs have counted 9 acts that one must restrain form during Fasting.

Muftirat that one is not allowed to commit

Eating or Drinking Sexual intercourse Masturbation Attributing lie to God, the Prophet Muhammad (s) or the Imams (a) Letting thick dust (or smoke) reach the throat Immersion of head in water Remaining in the state of Janaba, Hayd or Nifas up to Adhan al-Subh; who becomes Junub or becomes Clean (Tahir), from Hayd and Nifas, must perform Ghusl by Adhan al-Subh; otherwise his/her Sawm of that day in invalid. Enema with liquid Vomiting intentionally Intending to stop the Sawm or intending to do one of Muftirat

The above-mentioned acts will invalidate Fasting if done intentionally; however, if one does them unintentionally or is forced to do them, the Fasting is not void.

Muftirat that one is allowed to do

Traveling and seeing the blood of Hayd and Nifas are form Muftirat, but restraining form them is not Wajib, i.e. by traveling or doing something to become Ha'id, one has not committed a sin.

Eating or Drinking

According to Shi'a Faqihs, only intentional eating or drinking invalidates Sawm; thus, the Sawm of who has forgotten and eats something is valid. This fatwa includes eating or drinking anything - food or otherwise - and also there is no difference between little or big amount of food or drink in this verdict. Eating or drinking, that invalidate Sawm, must be by swallowing through the throat; therefore, some Faqihs said that having an injection or serum does not void Sawm.

Excessive Thirst

According to majority of Shi'a Faqihs, if one who is fasting has excessive unbearable thirst, he/she can drink water only as much as necessary. However, there are two fatwas about the duty of one who has done so: 1- although drinking water is permitted, the Sawm of that day is void and one must restrain from all Muftirat until Maghrib and also one must make that Sawm up later. 2- Although one has drunk water, the Sawm of that day is valid and one does not have to make it up.

Sexual Activities

Intercourse

Jima' or sexual intercourse, even without ejaculation, is one of Muftirat that invalidates Sawm. There is no different between vaginal and anal or male and female in this regard. On the other hand, some Faqihs maintain that what invalidates Sawm is not intercourse rather Janaba (seminal discharge). Moreover, if one forgets and has intercourse or is forced to have such relation - in a way that he/she had no power to stop that force - the Sawm is not void.

Masturbation

Istimna' or Masturbation is one of Muftirat. However, if one does not intend to ejaculate, but his behavior leads to ejaculation, his Sawm is valid. On the other hand, if one plays with oneself by the intention of ejaculation and this behavior leads to ejaculation, the Sawm is void. Playing with oneself without having the intention of ejaculation is not one of Muftirat, though.

Ihtilam

Ihtilam or seminal discharge while sleeping is not one of Muftirat. However, if it occurs before Adhan al-Subh, one must perform Ghusl al-Janaba by then. Ihtilam during the day does not harm Sawm.

Thick Dust and Smoking

According to many Faqihs' fatwa, letting thick dust reach the throat invalidates Sawm. Based on this, some Shi'a Faqihs said that smoking cigarette, hookah, etc. is one of Muftirat. Some Marja's do not have a direct fatwa about smoking, rather they believe according to compulsory precaution smoking is Haram while Fasting.

Lying, Backbiting and Moral Sins

Sins such as lying or backbiting (Ghiba) are not mentioned among Muftirat. According to the fatwas, the only moral sin that invalidates Sawm is ascribing lie to God, Prophet Muhammad (s) or the Imams (a) - some have even added Lady Faatimat al-Zahra' (s) and other prophets and their successors. Muhammad Husayn Kashif al-Ghita' believed that ascribing lie to God, the Prophet (s) or the Imams (s) does not invalidate Sawm, rather it is one of the Great Sins, the prohibition of which increases during the month of Ramadan.

Swimming, Bathing and Performing Ghusl

One of Muftirat is Irtimas - immersing the head completely in water. However, if a part of head is out of water the Sawm is valid. Based on this fatwa, Ghusl al-Irtimasi is not valid while fasting during the Month of Ramadan and it also invalidates Sawm. Taking shower is not harmful to Sawm, though. A group of Faqihs said, although Irtimas is Haram while fasting; but it does not invalidate Sawm.