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Fasting / The reasons that permit breaking fast in Ramadan

The reasons that permit breaking fast in Ramadan

publish date : 2014-07-01 05:43 PM | Views : 1096
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Question

Dear respected Shaykh, assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. What are the reasons that permit breaking fast in Ramadan?

الأعذار التي تبيح الفطر في رمضان

Answer

Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and his companions.   Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.   As to what follows:   In response to your question, we say:         Allah the Exalted mentioned two reasons in the verse of fasting. He said, “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]. These are two reasons: travelling and fasting. Under these reasons are details linked to the nature of the disease and travelling that permit the breaking of fast in Ramadan. That takes time to explain. However, I will speak briefly about the reasons that permit the breaking of fast: sickness and travelling. The verses indicated a third reason which is inability to fast. You may say, “Where did the verses of fasting indicate that?” I say, “That is in Allah’s statement: “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]. At this point I say, “When fasting was first legislated by Allah and ordained on the people of fasting, it was for a limited number of days. Then Allah the Exalted gave the believers two choices; they could either fast, or break their fast but compensate for breaking their fast by feeding poor people”. Allah said, “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]. 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], that is those who can fast these days with difficulty but did not do so should compensate by feeding the poor. “And whoever volunteers excess”, that is, give the poor person more, “ it is better for him”.  Then Allah said, “But to fast is best for you” [al-Baqarah 2: 184], that is, it is better for you to fast than compensate by feeding the poor. Many scholars of tafseer say that this verse was abrogated by Allah’s statement: “So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe fast that month” [al-Baqarah 2: 185]. Ibn ‘Abbas stated, as was mentioned in an authentic narration: “This verse is not abrogated, it concerns an old man or woman who are unable to fast or cannot withstand fasting; they should feed a poor person for each day of missed fasting.” The statement of Ibn ‘Abbas is established because the ruling of the verse was not completely abrogated, but it remained (applicable) for a certain scenario, and those are the people who are not able to fast. At this point I will add a third type of people who are permitted to break their fast, and these are the people who cannot withstand fasting due to decrepitude and old age. These people are allowed to break their fast. These three reasons are a point of consensus, and there is no difference between the scholars that they permit the breaking of fasting. There is a fourth reason but it differs from these three in that it is prohibited to fast in this condition. Indeed it is menstruation, and a woman is prohibited from fasting while in this condition. This is a point of consensus.  Ibn Jareer at-Tabari and an-Nawawi  and a group of scholars transmitted the consensus of opinion on this point; that the fast of a menstruating woman is invalid. Thus of a menstruating woman says, “People are fasting and I will fast and repeat the fast also”.  We will say to her, “You  are not commanded to fast, and this fast that you are engaging in does not bring you closer to Allah, the Exalted, rather, it drives you far away from Him.  You will sin if you seek closeness to Allah the Exalted with this fasting because it is part of what was transmitted in a hadith of the Sahihayn which was transmitted by al-Qasim ibn Muhammad on the authority of  ‘Aishah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “He who innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e., Islam] that is not of it will have it rejected [by Allah].” [al-Bukhari ( 2697) and Muslim (1718)]. Such a woman would have invented something by fasting in a condition which Allah has prohibited her fasting, like if she prayed while menstruating; her prayer will not benefit her, rather it will drive her away from Allah the Exalted. This is a point of consensus between the scholars.  Therefore, a menstruating woman is from those people whom fasting is not valid. In general she is among the excused people or those who are permitted to break their fast, that is, those who are not prohibited from breaking their fast.  The proof from the Sunnah that a menstruating woman does not fast is what was transmitted in the Sahihayn from the hadith of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) narrated the hadith of the deficiency of women in religion and intellect he said, “As for the deficiency of her religion; it is that she stays for some days and nights without praying or fasting (due to menstruation)” [al-Bukhari (304) and Muslim (79)]. In the Sahihayn it is also narrated “Is it not the case that when a woman menstruates, she neither prays nor fasts” [al-Bukhari (1951) and Muslim (79). This proves that she is prohibited from that. In the Sahih of Imam Muslim, it is stated in the hadith of Mu’atha on the authority of ‘Aishah that she asked her, “What is the reason that a menstruating woman completes the fasts (that she abandons during her monthly course). but she does not complete the prayers? She (Hadrat 'A'isha) said: Are you a Haruriya? I said: I am not a Haruriya, but I simply want to inquire. She said: We passed through this (period of menstruation), and we were ordered to complete the fasts, but were not ordered to complete the prayers.” [Muslim (335)]   Therefore, these are the people who are permitted to break fast in Ramadan. The first of them is the sick person, then the traveler, then the one who cannot withstand fasting due to old age, or a sick person with a chronic illness, then the menstruating woman. These are the people whom Allah the Exalted has permitted to break their fast during the day in Ramadan. A woman experiencing post-partum bleeding takes the ruling of a menstruating person, and she is also from those whose fasting is invalid. This is a point of consensus among the scholars.

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