Situation Which Exempted A Person From Fasting.

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All the praise and thanks is due to Allah, the Lord of the Al-‘Alamin. Peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

 1. Situation Which Exempted a Person from Fasting.

 It is from the mercy of Allah SWT and the lenience of the religion that we are allowed to break the fast if there is any danger, hardship or difficulty in it. Allah Says: 

 “…He (Allah SWT) has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty…” [Al-Hajj, 22:7.8]

 1.1. Sick and Travellers.

 It is allowed for those who has a legitimate syar’ie excuse, such as [not chronically] ill [menstruation, pregnancy or labour or childbirth, breastfeeding that endanger the child welfare], travelling to break their fasts during Ramadan, but they must make up the days they missed.

 Allah Says: “[Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them]-then an equal number of days [are to be made up]…” [Al-Baqarah, 2:184]

 A. The ayat stipulates that if fasting during travelling could be done, then it is better to fast. If fasting would be difficult then breaking the fast is much better with the provision to make it up before the next Ramadhan, the equal number of days he missed or broke it.

 Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri said: “we used to travel for war expeditions with the Messenger of Allah during Ramadhan. Some of us would fast and some of us would not fast, and the fasting person would not find fault with the one who was not fasting, and the person who was not fasting would not find fault with the person who was fasting. Then they thought that the person who had the strength would fast and that was better. And they thought that the person who felt weak would not fast and that was better.” [Muslim]

 If the person is ill during Ramadan, and is able to fast without difficulty, then he should fasts. If he is unable to do it then he should breaks his fast.

 B.If the ill person expects to recuperate from his illness, he waits until he recuperates and then he makes up for whatever days he did not fast. However, if he is not expected to recover, he breaks his fast and gives charity for each day that he does not fast.

 Allah Says: “…And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship]-a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]… “[Al-Baqarah, 2:184]

 1.2. Elderly Person

 As for the elderly person who has reached an old age, at which he doesn’t have the strength to fast, he may break the fast and give charity for every day that he did not fast.

 Ibn ‘Abbas said: “It was permitted for the very elderly man (or woman) to feed a poor person for every day (that he did not fast), and he did not have to make up for the days.” [Ad-Daraqutni and Al-Hakim]

 2. Breaking the Fast without a Legitimate Excuse

 2.1. Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimin (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about the ruling on breaking the fast during the day in Ramadan without syar’ie legitimate excuse.

 He replied:

 Breaking the fast during the day in Ramadan without valid excuse is a major sin, which makes a person a fasiq (rebellious evildoer). He has to repent to Allah and make up the day when he broke the fast. This means that if he fasted then during the day he broke the fast with no excuse, then he is a sinner, and he has to make up that day when he broke the fast, because when he started the fast it became binding upon him to complete it, as in the case of a vow. But if he deliberately did not start to fast at all with no excuse, then he does not have to make it up, because that will be of no benefit to him, for it will never be accepted from him.

 The basic principle with regard to every act of worship that is connected to a specific time is that if it is delayed beyond that time with no excuse, it will not be accepted, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

  “Whoever does an action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours will have it rejected.” [Narrated by Al-Bukhari, 2697; Muslim, 1718.]

 And this is a transgression of the sacred limits of Allah, and transgressing the sacred limits of Allah is zulm (wrongdoing), and the wrongdoer’s deeds are not accepted. Allah SWT says:

 “And whoever transgresses the limits ordained by Allah, then such are the Zalimun (wrongdoers)” [Al-Baqarah 2:229]

 If he did act of worship before the time for it prescribe, it would not be accepted from him, and by the same token if he does it after the time for it is over, it will not be accepted from him, unless he had an excuse.

 [Majmu’ Fatawa Al-Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimin, 19, question no. 45.] 

 2.2. Regarding the one who intentionally breaks the fast by having sexual intercourse with his wife during the daytime in Ramadhan, then he has committed a great sin and violated the sacredness of this month, and must make up the fast for that day. In addition, he is required to free a slave if it is possible to do so, if not, he has to fast two consecutive months and if he is unable to do so, then to he has feed sixty poor and needy people. The same is required of the wife as is required of her husband, if she freely consented to having sexual intercourse. However, if she was forced, then nothing is required of her according to the predominant opinion of the scholars.This is in pursuance of a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA that a person came to see the Apostle of Allah SAW and said:

 “O Messenger of Allah, I am undone. The Holy Prophet SAW asked him: What has brought about your ruin? The man said: I have had intercourse with my wife during the month of Ramadan. Upon this the Prophet SAW said: Can you find a slave to set him free? He said: No. Then Prophet SAW said: Can you observe fast for two consecutive months? He said: No. The Prophet SAW then said: Can you provide food to sixty poor people? He said: No. He then sat down and (in the meanwhile) it was brought to the Apostle of Allah SAW a basket which contained dates. The Prophet SAW finally said: Give these (dates) in charity. The man said: Am I to give to one who is poorer than me? There is no family poorer than mine between the two lava plains of Madinah. The Apostle of Allah SAW broke into laughter that his molar teeth became visible and said: Go and give it to your family to eat.” [Muslim]

 If one intentionally breaks his fast by eating or drinking without a legitimate excuse, then again he has committed a great sin and violated the sacredness of this month. Such a person has a severe threat awaiting him. Prophet Muhammad said:

 “Whoever breaks fasting of Ramadhn without having a legitimate excuse or being ill, he cannot make up for that day, even if he undertakes a perpetual fast.” [Al-Bukhari]

 Imams Ahmad, Ash-Shafi’e, Sa’id Ibn Al-Musaiyib and Al-Shabby and others said that one should sincerely repent and seek the forgiveness of Almighty Allah and make up the day later [followed by observing the righteous deeds: charity,sadaqah jaariyah, observe naafil fasts and prayers, zikrullah etc]. 

 This is what some of scholars regarded as an expiation that is required for breaking the fast of Ramadhan without a valid reason. They say, one should fast for two months consecutively or feed sixty poor people as well as to make up the day later with any of both forms of expiation. The most right things to do is a total repentance and embarking on righteous deeds.

 2.3. Vomiting: if done deliberately, invalidates the fast, and necessitates making up for the fast. However, if vomit overcomes one and exits without one’s choosing, the fast is not nullified.

 Allah the Exalted knows best.


About Md Radzi Ahmad
A retired Malaysian civil servant. Served the Malaysian government for thirty-one years. Posted to London, Rangoon, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bangkok. Born in Kampong Hutan Kandeh, Alor Star, Kedah. Educated at Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star and University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Currently resides in Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan,Malaysia.Blessed with three children, a son, two daughters, daughter in law and two grandaughters.

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