Does Smelling Something Break the Fast?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra

Question

Someone posted that if you are sniffing food or a Vicks inhaling stick (there is no steam), it breaks the fast. How is that possible? I thought that only inhaling something that has a perceptible body invalidates the fast.

So we can not even sniff a bottle of shampoo, mint, or a rose? Please clarify.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

It is incorrect to say that merely smelling a scent – no matter how strong it is – will break your fast. Smelling something does not break the fast, whether purposely sniffed or not.

Yes, something like smoking a cigarette firsthand, due to the inhalation of a body of particles in the smoke purposely and deeply, breaks the fast. This ruling is there to prohibit smoking while fasting. However, people should not allow any misgivings about inadvertently breathing in steam during a hot shower or while cooking, breathing in secondhand smoke, incense, or the like, because all of those do not affect the fast. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the SeekersGuidance The Global Islamic Seminary. Currently, He resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.