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The Academy Blog
12 Jul 2012

Legislated excuses for breaking the fast

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bismillah

Question:

  • What are the permissible reasons for a person to break their fast?

Answer:

  • The permissible reasons that a person may break their fast are sickness and travel , as mentioned in the Quran. Also, from the legislated excuses, is that a women be pregnant and fears for herself or her unborn baby. As well, that a woman is breast feeding and is afraid that if she fasts something will happen to her or the baby she is feeding. Another valid excuse is that an individual can break their fast to save someone from dying. We find this in situations like when someone finds another person drowning in the ocean, or finds someone in a surrounded area and in it is fire. So the person has to, in order to save them, break their fast. In this case he should break his fast and save the individual. From these excuses also, is that a person breaks their fast in order to strengthen themselves in order to fight in the cause of Allah. The Prophet (may Allah’s peach and blessings be upon him said, “Verily you will mean the enemy tomorrow. Breaking your fast will strengthen you so break your fast” (Narrated in Bukhari and Muslim).So if there is a reason for breaking the fast present and an individual breaks their fast, then it is not necessary for them to stay away from eating and drinking the rest of that day. If an individual broke his fast to save someone from dying, then he continues on as a person that is not fasting, even after he has saved that individual. This is because he as broken his fasts for a permissible and legitimate reason. Therefore it is not upon him to hold back from eating and drinking  just because fasting was prescribed for that day. That was taken away by the legitimate excuse for the breaking of the fast. Because of this, we say that the best opinion in this issue is that the sick person, if they are cured during the course of the day in which he was not fasting, then he can continue not fasting for the remainder of that day. Also, if a menstruating woman realizes that her menses have stopped during the course of the day, then she does not have to start fasting for the remainder of that day. This is because these people all broke their fasts for a permissible reason. So therefore that day the fast was not an obligation on them. This is because according to the legislation it is  not an obligation on them to fast that day. This is different then the situation where it is made clear that Ramadan has started during the course of the day. In this situation it is upon the person to stay away from food and drink. The difference between these two situation  is clear. If there comes clear proof during the course of the day that affirms the fact that they should be fasting, then staying away from eating and drinking becomes an obligation on the individual. An excuse is made for the people before the clear proof is established because of their ignorance.
 
  • Because of this, if they knew that Ramadan had started, then it is obligatory for them to fast. But these other people that we previously mentioned, then it was permissible for them to break their fast, even though they had knowledge of the fact fasting was an obligation on them had it not been for the excuse. So now you see from this, that the difference between the two groups is clear.

 

[Taken from Fatawah Arkan al Islam by Sheikh Uthaimeen]

[Translated by Abu Abdillah Abdul Lateef]

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