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Shaddaad ibn Aws, may Allah be pleased with him, related: “The Prophet took me by the hand and we passed by a man on whom cupping was being performed, in Al-Baqee’, on the eighteenth of Ramadan. Upon seeing that, the Messenger of Allah said, ‘The one cupping and the one on whom it is being done have both broken the fast.’” [Abu Daawood, Ahmad and Al-Bukhari, Saheeh]
Similar narrations have also been recorded on the authority of Thawbaan, Raafi’ ibn Khadeej and many other Companions, may Allah be pleased with them. Therefore, some scholars have categorized this Hadeeth as Mutawaatir [report with a continuous and consecutive chain of narrators.]
However, Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, recounts, “The Messenger of Allah was cupped while he was fasting and when he was in a state of Ihraam (ritual consecration).” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim and At-Tirmithi] According to the narration in Abu Daawood, “he was cupped while he was fasting”.
Moreover, Shu’bah said, “I heard Thaabit Al-Bunaani asking Anas ibn Maalik, may Allah be pleased with him, ‘Did you [i.e., the Companions of the Prophet] dislike cupping for a fasting person?’ He said, ‘No [not for a religious reason], except for fear of weakness.’” [Al-Bukhari]
Abu Daawood similarly narrates that Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “We did not dislike cupping for the fasting person, except that we were concerned about it inducing fatigue.”
Benefits and rulings [derived from these Hadeeths:
1. There are many Hadeeths proving that cupping invalidates the fast of the one who performs it and whoever gets it done. However, other Hadeeths state that the Prophet was cupped while he was fasting. Consequently, the scholars disagreed on whether cupping is permissible for a fasting person or not. The majority of them are of the opinion that it is, and that the Hadeeths that run contrary to that are abrogated by those narrations that indicate its permissibility. This opinion was supported by Abu Sa‘eed Al-Khudri, Ibn Mas‘ood and Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with them, in addition to ‘Urwah and Sa‘eed ibn Jubayr. Likewise, this view is held by the three Imaams: Maalik, Abu Haneefah and Ash-Shaafi‘i .
On the other hand, Imaam Ahmad opined that cupping invalidates the fast; this was the stance taken by Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah and his disciple Ibn Al-Qayyim . The Permanent Committee for Research and Iftaa’ (issuance of religious rulings) in Saudi Arabia and the majority of Saudi scholars also chose this opinion [as theirs]. Hence, it is better for the fasting person to avoid cupping, to be on the safe side.
2. The Hadeeth of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, proves that cupping weakens the fasting person and was thus forbidden. This is one of the merits of Sharee‘ah (Islamic jurisprudence), that it relieves people from difficulties and protects them against harms.
3. The rationale behind the invalidation of the fast of the person who is cupped is that the procedure drains him. As for the one who does cupping, his fast is annulled too, because he may swallow some blood [during the process]. However, if one does cupping using modern equipment, rather than his mouth, then the procedure does not render his fast null and void.
4. The ruling on cupping also applies to phlebotomy and making incisions; however, the fast of the phlebotomist remains valid.
5. If a person deliberately causes a nosebleed to get rid of a headache or for any other reason, then his fast is not sound. On the other hand, if he or she suffers a nosebleed without premeditation, then his fast is okay, even if the blood is plenty. However, if the episode weakens him and he needs to break his fast to make up for the lost blood, he is allowed to do so, because he is sick.
6. Giving a small blood sample for analysis, which barely weakens the fasting person, does not invalidate the fast. Nonetheless, it is better for one to delay this until nighttime, to be on the safer side. Taking large amounts of blood does, however, invalidate the fast and one must postpone having it done until it is night. But, if he is sick and needs his blood work, he is allowed to break his fast because of sickness, and then make up for that missed day of fasting.
7. If the fasting person bleeds profusely, against his will, because of an accident or a wound, his fast remains sound, unless he subsequently feels the need to break it due to weakness. In such a case, he will be like the sick person, i.e., he should break his fast and make up for it later.
8. Removing one’s molar does not invalidate the fast, even if the wound bleeds a lot. That is because tooth extraction is not intended to cause bleeding and it really took place without direct intervention. However, one must refrain from swallowing the blood deliberately, in order not to invalidate his fast.
9. Hemodialysis – using medical equipment to purify the blood and return it to the body after adding some chemical nutrients such as sugars and salts – invalidates the fast.
10. The ruling of cupping also applies to blood donation, which should be done at night. However, if there is a need for blood and giving it may save the life of another person, it is permissible in such a case. Nonetheless, the fast will become annulled and one must make up for it.
11. Nutritious intravenous injections invalidate the fast.