I have been predominantly following the Shafii school of thought with regards to matters of fiqh.
When it comes to issue of permissibility of swallowing phlegm during fasting and prayer – I find it particularly difficult to adhere to the rulings within the school, and find myself often questioning whether or not I have nullified my fasts/prayers. Correct me if I’m wrong, but From my understanding, swallowing phlegm within the Shafii madhab nullifies one’s fast and prayer. It considers the location of the phlegm with respect to one’s inner and outer limits of the throat – something which I find difficult to fully understand and apply to my own life. I refer you to this article as my source of this information: https://seekersguidance.org/answers/shafii-fiqh/fiqh-fasting-ramadan-according-school-imam-shafii/
(Search for ‘In regards mucus/phlegm’ within the article to find what I am referring to’)
I’ve tried to consult my local religious authorities on this matter, but still find this issue of swallowing phlegm difficult. Correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that within the Hanafi school of thought, swallowing phlegm does not break one’s fast or prayer.
Am I allowed to take the Hanafi’s school of thought with regards to this particular issue – so as to ease my burden regarding my phlegm?
Please advise, as this has been weighing on me for quite some time now, and I would preferably like to be confident with the validity of my prayers as soon as possible, and with the validity of my fasts before Ramadan starts
The preferred ruling of the Shafi and Hanbali schools is that if a person swallowed the mucus or phlegm while he was able to spit it out, then his fast is broken. However, if he couldn’t spit it out, then the fast is valid and not broken. We read in Ibn Hajar al-Haythami’s Tuhfah: if he leaves it while he could dispel it until it went to the throat and he swallowed it, then the fast is broken; otherwise, it would not break: if he couldn’t dispel it.”
We read the same ruling stated in Majmu of Imam Nawawi: If the phlegm didn’t come up to the exterior of the mouth, it does not affect the validity of the fast. If it went deep into the throat, and he could no spit it out, then it wouldn’t break his fast. If, however, he swallowed it while he could spit it out, then it would break the fast.”
In light of these, there is no need for you to be overly concerned over this issue as you are excused if you couldn’t spit out.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “When I order you to do something, do it as best as you can.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
I do not see why you need to look for the ruling of another in this simple case.
However, if you are faced with a situation like Tawaf, you can follow the ruling of Imam Abu Hanifah as it would be hard for you to avoid coming in contact with members of the opposite sex. In Hanafi madhab, wudu is not broken by the mere touching of a woman.
Likewise, you may follow the judgment of the Hanafi school on the permissibility of giving cash for Zakatul Fitr. It is the only practical option for Muslims in North America or the West. People there would not benefit from grain, nor is it feasible for people to carry truckloads of wheat or rice to the mosque, nor could one find people willing to accept grains.
Allah Almighty knows best.
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