First of all, we’d like to state that the Muslim jurists have ruled that it is permissible, as far as Islamic Shari`ah is concerned, to use an inhaler for asthma patients while fasting as long as the inhaler does not involve taking in of any food or liquid through the mouth. If it contains a medicine which reaches the stomach through the mouth, then one’s fasting is broken and he has to make up for that day.
Elaborating on this issue, we’d like to furnish you with the following fatwa issued by Dr. Marawan Shahin, Professor of Hadith and its Sciences, Faculty of Usul Ad-Din (Theology), Al-Azhar Univ. who states:
“First of all, we’d like to state that the Muslim jurists have ruled that it is permissible for the patient who is unable to fast, will be harmed by fasting, or his recovery will be delayed because of fasting based on the counseling of a trustworthy Muslim physician, to break his fasting and not to fast in this state; and he has to make up for the days he misses after his recovery. Meanwhile, if his illness is chronic and he is not expected to recover, he will be given the ruling of an old man, who is permitted not to fast, but he has to feed one person [two meals] as expiation for each day he missed of fasting in Ramadan.
It is also worthy mentioning that it may be good for some patients to take medicine right after the Iftar and Sahur meals upon the consultation and assertion of a reliable physician that this way in no way harms one’s health. In case a Muslim patient may be harmed due to not taking medicine in daytime, then he may break his fasting to take medicine or if the medicine does not include any substance that goes to the stomach, but only includes some moisture that does not go to the stomach, then there is nothing in taking it while fasting.
as for using the inhaler while fasting, if it does not contain any substance that reaches the stomach, does not contain any medicine and it only dilates one’s bronchi, then it does not invalidate one’s fasting.
But if it contains a medicine which reaches the stomach through the mouth, then one’s fasting is broken and you have to make up for that day later. This is the reason why you may find a scholarly difference between various kinds of inhalers.”
Moreover, Dr. Ahmed Kan`an, the Head of the Department of Contagious Diseases at the Preliminary Health Care atSaudi Arabia, stated:
“Inhalers that are used to treat Asthma do not break the fast because it is a kind of gas like the air we breathe, thus it is similar to inhaling smells or smoke without intention. Therefore, we see that using an inhaler does not break the fast unless the patient tastes the substance in his throat and swallows it. However, severe Asthmas are treated as emergencies that require immediate attention, thus the patient with asthma is permitted to break his fast to receive the appropriate treatment, and he can make up for the days he missed later on.
Lastly, it is important to mention that the fatwa issued by the ninth jurisprudential-medical seminar states that the nasal inhaler and asthma inhaler does not break the fast, and many contemporary scholars have ruled the same such as: Sheikh Al-Qaradawi, Sheikh Ibn Baz and Sheikh Ibn `Uthaimeen.”