Is it permissible to swallow one’s saliva during fasting? Would this invalidate one’s fast? I have noticed that many people in Ramadan spit a great deal to avoid swallowing their own saliva, especially after rinsing their mouths during Wudhu.
There is, more or less, complete agreement amongst the Muslim jurists (fuqaha) that swallowing one’s own saliva does not invalidate one’s fast, even after rinsing one’s mouth during ablution (wudhu), because it is difficult to avoid. There is nothing within the sacred sources of Shari’ah indicating that swallowing one’s own saliva invalidates the fast.
On the contrary, Imam al-Bukhari (may Allah be pleased with him), under the chapter-heading ‘A fasting person using a dry and moist Siwak’ relates: ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, ‘It (i.e. the Siwak) is a purification for the mouth and a way of seeking the pleasure of Allah. Ata’ and Qatada (may Allah be pleased with both) said, ‘One may swallow one’s own saliva.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari 2/682)
It is stated in the renowned Hanafi Fiqh reference work, Bada’i al-Sana’i:
‘Likewise [one’s fast is not invalidated] by swallowing the moisture which remains in one’s mouth after rinsing it and mixes with one’s saliva, or swallowing the saliva gathered in one’s mouth, because of what we have mentioned [i.e. this is usually difficult to avoid].’ (Bada’i al-Sana’i 2/90)
Imam Ibn Qudama (Allah have mercy on him) states in his renowned masterpiece of Hanbali and comparative Fiqh, Al-Mughni:
‘What cannot be avoided, such as swallowing one’s own saliva, does not invalidate the fast, because avoiding it is difficult… Even if a person lets saliva gather and then swallows it deliberately, it does not invalidate his fast.’ (Al-Mughni, 3/39-40)
As such, there is nothing wrong in swallowing one’s own saliva during fasting. One should avoid making things difficult upon oneself and thus there is no need to spit a great deal during Ramadhan. Spitting causes dryness in the mouth and makes one thirsty, causing unnecessary hardship.
Indeed, if one’s saliva is mixed with something else, such as blood from the gums or food that remained in the mouth, then the fast would be invalidated if swallowed deliberately.
Finally, despite swallowing one’s own saliva not invalidating one’s fast, it is disliked (makruh) to deliberately make a point of gathering one’s saliva in the mouth and then swallowing it in order to quench one’s thirst. (Maraqi al-Falah Sharh Nur al-idah, P: 680)
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK