Are we allowed to blow on hot food or drink to cool it?

Quran

Hadith

Islamic Text

It is Mukruh to blow on hot food or drink to cool it, as there are explicit Hadith against it.

A Hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari mentions it is prohibited to breathe into a container from which one is drinking. This is not exactly the same as blowing, however one could argue that breathing is less than blowing. Therefore, if the lesser is prohibited then the greater should certainly be included in the prohibition.

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أَبِي قَتَادَةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: إِذَا شَرِبَ أَحَدُكُمْ فَلاَ يَتَنَفَّسْ فِي الإِنَاءِ

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘If one of you drinks then let him not breathe into the container.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith Number 153).

In an authentic Hadith in Abi Dawood, blowing into a container is explicitly mentioned.

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ: «نَهَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنْ يُتَنَفَّسَ فِي الْإِنَاءِ، أَوْ يُنْفَخَ فِيهِ»

(Sayidina Abdullah) ibn Abbas  narrated that the Prophet ﷺ prohibited breathing into a container or blowing into it. (Abu Dawud, Sahih, Hadith number 3728).

The narration in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, is even clearer. It specifically mentions food and drink as opposed to a container, in the narrations above.

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ: ” نَهَى رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَنِ النَّفْخِ فِي الطَّعَامِ وَالشَّرَابِ “

(Sayidina Abdullah) ibn Abbas  narrated that the Prophet ﷺ prohibited blowing (Nafkh) upon food or drink. (Musnad Ahmad, Sahih, Hadith number 2817).

In both narrations, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ prohibited “Nafkh” which may be translated as blowing. However, it has a more specific definition. The word “Nafkh” in the Arabic language tends to refer to blowing in such a way that sound is omitted.

For this reason, Imam Abu Yusuf said it is Makruh to blow on food or drink if there is sound. When the blowing does not omit a sound then it is not Makruh. This seems to be the soundest position in the Hanafi Madhab.

وَفِي النَّوَادِرِ قَالَ فَضْلُ بْنُ غَانِمٍ سَأَلْتُ أَبَا يُوسُفَ – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى – عَنْ النَّفْخِ فِي الطَّعَامِ هَلْ يُكْرَهُ؟ قَالَ: لَا إلَّا مَا لَهُ صَوْتٌ مِثْلُ ” أُفٍّ “، وَهُوَ تَفْسِيرُ النَّهْيِ، وَلَا يُؤْكَلُ طَعَامٌ حَارٌّ، وَلَا يُشَمُّ، وَلَا يُنْفَخُ فِي الطَّعَامِ وَالشَّرَابِ، وَمِنْ السُّنَّةِ أَنْ لَا يَأْكُلَ الطَّعَامَ مِنْ وَسَطِهِ فِي ابْتِدَاءِ الْأَكْلِ، كَذَا فِي الْخُلَاصَةِ. (الفتاوى الهندية).

And in al-Nawaadir (it is narrated that) Fadl bin Ghaim said, I asked Abu Yusuf (May Allah Most High have mercy upon him) about blowing (Nafkh) upon food, is it Makruh? He said, no unless it has a sound like Uff. And this is the (correct) explanation of the prohibition: And hot food is not to be consumed or inhaled, and it is not permitted to blow upon food or drink. And it is from the Sunnah to avoid eating from the middle of the food at the beginning of eating. This has been mentioned in al-Khulasah. (al-Fataawa al-Hindiyah).  

The above Nass (text) explains more generic statements found in classical Hanafi books. For example the statement in al-Bahr:

وَلَا يَنْفُخُ فِي الطَّعَامِ وَالشَّرَابِ. (البحر الرائق).

And it is not permitted to blow upon food or drink. (Imam Ibn Nujaym, al-Bahr al-Raiq).

Imam Muhammad Ameen bin Umar Ibn Abideen also narrated the qualification of requiring sound from Imam Abu Yusuf.

وَعَنْ الثَّانِي أَنَّهُ لَا يُكْرَهُ النَّفْخُ فِي الطَّعَامِ إلَّا بِمَا لَهُ صَوْتٌ نَحْوَ أُفٍّ وَهُوَ مَحْمَلُ النَّهْيِ. وَيُكْرَهُ السُّكُوتُ حَالَةَ الْأَكْلِ لِأَنَّهُ تَشَبُّهٌ بِالْمَجُوسِ وَيَتَكَلَّمُ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ. (رد المحتار على الدر المختار).

And from the second (Imam Abu Yusuf, it is narrated) that blowing upon food is not Makruh unless sound is produced, like Uff. And this is how the prohibition is understood. And it is Makruh to remain silent whilst eating, because it resembles the Magians. Therefore he should speak of good things. (Radd al-Muhtaar, Imam Ibn Abideen).  

And Allah (Most High) Knows Best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (21.09.2021)

See also:

Hadith about breathing into a container

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