A few days ago, people were discussing and arguing over a fatwa regarding ‘taking suppository while fasting’. My eyes got caught in that argument.
According to Hanafi fiqh, taking in a suppository will surely break a patient’s fast because the suppository which is inserted through the rectum might end up in the stomach!! Now, a medical student will obviously know that’s not possible. So, the student may perceive the fatwa as a wrong one because of this explanation. And as there are clashing different opinions where it’s permissible for a fasting person to take suppository, he will accept those opinions. Because if the core of the explanation is whether the suppository will reach the stomach or not, then the fatwa of ‘The fast will not be broken’ is correct as it is unlikely for that medicine to reach the stomach.
This is just one example. There are so many other issues where the fatwa is right but it loses its acceptance due to a lack of proper explanation according to medical science. Just like the aforementioned issue.
One thing must be kept in mind that the requital is fixed. It extracted and applied by the scholars from Quran and hadith. The requital for fasting is – Any object which can damage fast must be inserted through an appropriate entrance and must reach an appropriate body cavity e.g – GIT ( lower part of oropharynx to rectum). And the object can’t be absorbed throughout the pathway, it must reach there in intact condition, also there can’t be any obstruction in the pathway.
In ancient times, scholars used to extract fatwa’s based on human anatomy thus known in their times. Of course, the knowledge was limited, for example, it was believed that there is a connection between our ears and throat. So according to the fatwa of that time, any ear drop will damage fasts. But in reality, there is no connection between ear and throat unless the eardrum is perforated. Again, it was believed that there is a connection between the eyes and throat. So, eye drops will breakfast as per fatwa. But now we know that it’s unlikely for an eye drop to reach the throat. It was known that there’s a connection between the urinary bladder or uterus with the circulatory system. So according to this knowledge, a vaginal pessary or urinary catheter may break a person’s fast.
Therefore, the fatwa’s issued by ancient scholars which were correct based on the knowledge of that time and requital is coming out to be wrong according to modern medical science. And now different fatwa’s can be issued on the ground of the same requital.