Does Taking Blood Samples, Liver Disease Tests, and Others Invalidate Fasting?

Answered By Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Abu Bakr Badhib


Does Taking Blood Samples, Liver Disease Tests, and Others Invalidate Fasting?


In the name of Allah, and all praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon our Master Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, and upon his family, his companions, and those who follow him.

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is an individual obligation upon every accountable Muslim, and it is important to pay attention to performing this duty in the best way possible, including avoiding anything that may undermine the fast or put the fasting person in difficulty.

The question raised here has two parts:

Drawing Blood Samples

This matter, related to drawing blood samples from a fasting person for medical analysis, is a common question during Ramadan. Necessity or emergency forces some people to go to blood analysis laboratories while fasting. This issue can be divided into three scenarios:

The first scenario: The case of a fasting person who is ill and cannot bear both fasting and the illness. This person is excused due to their illness, as Allah says, “So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up]” [Quran, 2:184] and “Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear” [Quran, 2:286]. The principle is that hardship brings ease.

The second scenario: The case of a fasting person who is not ill and who has a specific time set for drawing blood samples. There are two situations here:

(a) The first situation: If it is possible for him to postpone it without any consequences resulting from the delay, it is better for him to postpone it until after breaking his fast to avoid any disagreement and to keep his fast intact. Allah says, “So fear Allah as much as you are able.” [Quran 3:102] The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Whoever avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honor.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

(b) The second situation: If he cannot postpone it, and the doctor has required him to undergo a blood test during his fast to preserve his health or prevent later harm. In this case, there is a need to draw blood samples, which resemble cupping.

According to the majority opinion, it does not break the fast, unlike the Hanbali view. [Nawawi, al-Majmu’; Baghdadi, al-Ishraf ’ala Masa‘il al-Khilaf; Asqalani, Fath al-Bari; Majallat Majma’ al-Fiqh al-Islami] However, contemporary Hanbali scholars distinguish between cupping and drawing blood samples because cupping involves a large amount of blood, unlike drawing blood samples, which involves a small quantity. [Idarat al-Ifta‘ bil-Riyadh, Majallat al-Buhuth al-Islamiyya; Ibn Baz, Tuhfat al-Ikhwan]Thus, the majority opinion is that drawing blood samples from a fasting person does not break the fast.

The third scenario: The case of donating blood. According to the Shafi’i scholars and the majority, it is permissible to donate – unlike the Hanbali view – unless the donation during fasting severely weakens him and definitely leads to breaking his fast. In this case, it is not permissible for him; he is sinful, and he must make up for the fast and offer expiation.

Taking Liver Samples (Liver Biopsy)

This is another matter with similarities and differences compared to the previous issue. The similarity lies in something being taken from inside the fasting person’s body and the difference in the nature of the substance extracted. Drawing blood is different from taking samples; the ruling on blood is known in the madhhabs with explicit evidence, unlike extracting samples from inside of a person.

The rulings for drawing blood have been explained. As for taking samples from the liver or other internal parts, this usually occurs through the use of a medical endoscope inserted into the body and then used to take samples, as known by doctors and common knowledge among people.

The Islamic Fiqh Academy states, “The insertion of an endoscope along with devices for internal examination by the medical team for removing the gallbladder or otherwise or taking a sample does not break the fast according to the Hanafis, due to the lack of permanence and separation from the outside. These devices have one end inside the body and the other in the hands of the medical team. Similarly, taking a sample for analysis from the liver, spleen, or any internal part does not break the fast, according to the Malikis, because it does not reach the stomach; this is also the opinion of Ibn Taymiyya. However, it does break the fast according to the Shafi’is and Hanbalis.” [Majallat Majma’ al-Fiqh al-Islami] The reason for the disagreement is that the Shafi’is and Hanbalis hold the general principle of anything entering the body cavity through an open channel to break the fast.

This is what can be summarized in response to this question. It is the duty of a Muslim to preserve their fast as much as possible, and as for what overwhelms them with hardship or illness, which they cannot bear, then the Islamic code has provided relief and has not combined two hardships for them: the hardship of fasting and the hardship of illness.

To Allah belongs the utmost wisdom, so we ask Him for beneficial knowledge, a humble heart, and success in what He loves and is pleased with.

[Shaykh] Dr. Muhammad Abu Bakr Badhib

Shaykh Dr Muhammad Abu Bakr Badhib is a prominent Islamic scholar from Yemen. He was born in Shibam, Hadhramaut, in 1976. He received his degree in Shari‘a from Al-Ahqaf University, a master’s degree from the Islamic University of Beirut, and a PhD in Usul al-Din from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

He studied under great scholars such as Shaykh al-Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad, Shaykh Fadl Ba‘ fadl, Habib Salim al-Shatiri, Habib Ali Mashhur bin Hafeez, and others. He has served as the Director of Publications at Dar al-Fiqh, the former Deputy Director of Cultural Relations at Al-Ahqaf University, a former Assistant for Employee Affairs at Atiyah Iron Company, a researcher at the Sunna Center affiliated with the Dallah al-Baraka Foundation, and a researcher at Al-Furqan Foundation’s Makka al-Mukarrama and Madina al-Munawwara Encyclopedia branch.

Currently, he is a researcher at Al-Furqan Foundation’s Makka al-Mukarrama and Madina al-Munawwara Encyclopedia branch, teaches traditionally through the Ijaza system at Dar al-Fuqaha in Turkey, supervises the Arabic department at Nur al-Huda International Institute (SeekersGuidance), and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Manuscript House in Istanbul.

His works include “The Efforts of Hadhramaut Jurists in Serving the Shafi‘i School,” “Contributions of Hadhramaut Scholars in Spreading Islam and its Sciences in India,” and “Hada’iq al-Na‘im in Shafi‘i Fiqh.” He has also verified several books in Fiqh, history, the art of biographies, and Asanid (chains of narration).