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Fasting / The fasting person’s doubt about the time for breaking fast

The fasting person’s doubt about the time for breaking fast

publish date : 2014-07-02 03:24 PM | Views : 937
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Question

Dear respected Shaykh, assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. What should the fasting person do if he doubts the time for ending fast, that is, sunset because of difference in the times that that muezzins call out the athaan whereby some of them make the athaan earlier than the others, or if the doubt is because of another reason?

شك الصائم في دخول وقت الإفطار

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:     What should the fasting person do if he doubts the time for ending fast, that is, sunset because of difference in the times that that muezzins call out the athaan whereby some of them make the athaan earlier than the others, or if the doubt is because of another reason? I do not know what is the source of the doubt.  In reality, if the fasting person is doubting whether the sun has set or not, then in this condition it is not permitted for him to break his fast until he is certain that the sun has set because Allah the Exalted said, “ and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your Saum (fast) till the nightfall” [al-Baqarah 2: 187]. Thus if a person doubts about the onset of the night, he should remain fasting until he is certain that the night has started, and it starts with the disappearance of the sphere of the sun, or the setting of its upper end. The sun has two ends of  a sphere, and if the upper end sets then the fasting person should break his fast, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “When the day vanishes from this side”, that is, the setting of the sun and its disappearance “and the night falls from this side and the sun has sets,” that is, the sun disappears “then the fasting person should break his fast”. Thus the setting of the sun permits the breaking of the fast. As for the condition of the people in the cities; they follow the muezzins. Thus if a person breaks his fasts based on the athaan of the muezzin then he has done what is required of him unless if he knows that the muezzin made the athaan at the wrong time, like if the muezzin makes athaan ten minutes before time, and this happens. Another issue is when there are cities which are located close to each other like Jeddah and Makkah and even Madinah sometimes in terms of time, that is the difference in the times of breaking fast in these cities varies by a few minutes, and sometimes the muezzins make mistakes in the times of athaan for their cities like if the muezzin is in Jeddah and he calls out the athaan based on the time for Makkah, or he will be in Madinah and he makes athaan based on the time for Makkah. Thus in this case people should be careful about  the athaan of the muezzin. If the muezzin makes the athaan in time- and he is precise- then a person should break his fast based on that athaan. However, if the muezzin errs, or if a person knows that the muezzin gets mixed up in the athaan times and makes athaan before time, then a person should be not hasten but he should wait until he is certain that the sun has set. The question is: If a person breaks his fast based on the athaan of the muezzin, knowing that the muezzin calls out the athaan at the correct time, but on one occasion he makes a mistake and makes the athaan before time? The answer is that he has no problem. However, if he knows that the athaan has made a mistake he should desist from eating. That is, if he breaks his fast thinking that the night has started and the sun has set, then it becomes apparent that the sun has not set, then in this situation when it becomes clear that it is daytime then he should stop eating until the sun sets. Does he fast another day to make up for this day? The answer is no, he does not fast another day to make up for this day. It has been stated Asma bint Abi Bakr stated, in the hadith, “We broke our fast during the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him) on a cloudy day and then the sun appeared” [al-Bukhari (1959), and she did not mention making up for the missed fast. As for what has been transmitted in the narration which states “It had to be made up for," this is a statement of one of the narrators and it is not the speech of Asma (may Allah have mercy on her). The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not command the Sahaba to make up for missed fasts based on the fact that everyone who does an action which nullifies the fast through ignorance, forgetfulness or coercion, this does not affect the validity of his fasting. Allah says, “Our Lord! Do not punish us not if we forget or fall into error” [al-Baqarah 2: 286], and the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If somebody eats or drinks forgetfully then he should complete his fast, for what he has eaten or drunk, has been given to him by Allah” [al-Bukhari (1933)].

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