Is it permissible to use eye-drops whilst fasting?
It is permissible to use eye drops whilst fasting and by using eye drops, the fast will not break, as stated in Fatawa Alamghiri:
“If one drops some medicinal substance in his eye, it does not break his fast according to us even if he senses its taste in his throat and when he spits if he finds traces of kohl and its colour in his saliva then the general Mashaikh are of the view that it will not break his fast.” [Fatawa Hindiyyah 1:190]
Faqih e Millat Mufti Jalal al-Din Ahmad al-Amjadi writes:
“If medicine was inserted into the eyes or surma (kohl) was applied, then the fast will not break; even if drops of medicine can be sensed in the throat.” [Zaroori Masail, page 6]
It is stated in Bahar e Shari’ah:
"If oil or surma is applied (in the eyes), it will not break the fast, even if the taste of the oil or surma is sensed in the throat, or even if the saliva becomes coloured due to the surma, the fast will still not break” [Radd al-Muhtar].
It is stated in Fatawa Ridawiyyah:
“Surma can be applied at any time, and even if the colour of the surma reaches the throat, there is still no problem, as it passed through the pores [masam]. There is no such hole (passage) in the eyes like in the nose and ears that invalidates the fast if something enters it.” [Fatawa Ridawiyyah 10:511]
The reason as to why the fast will not break, even if the taste of the medicine is sensed in the throat, is because the medicine that is inserted into the eyes reaches the throat through pores (masam) and not through a specific manfaz (passage). This can be further explained using the example of a moisturising lotion, cream or hair oil which, when applied, is absorbed by the pores of the skin; the oil that is rubbed in the hair is also absorbed by the pores of the skin and thus will not break the fast.
The fast will therefore only break if the medicine reaches the brain or stomach through a manfaz (passage), as outlined in al-Durr al-Mukhtar, Radd al-Muhtar, al-Nahr al-Faiq and other books of Hanafi Fiqh.
And Allah knows best
17th Ramadan Sharif
The answer is correct and Allah knows best.
Zahid Hussain Al-Qadiri
(Beggar at the doorstep of Scholars)
19th Ramadan Al-Mubaarak 1436 AH