Sawm of workers who do physically hard jobs

Question: All praise be to Allaah (Exalted be He) and peace and blessings be upon His Honorable Prophet. We supplicate to Him (Glorified and Exalted be He) to make Islaam and the Muslims strong and to guard them against the Enemies of Allaah. It is the Islaamic centers, as you know, that are the front for Islaam and Muslims in these countries. We have received a message from one of the scientific departmentsof the University of Tübingen in West Germany, the Department of Occupational and Social Medicine. This letter contains some questions asking for Fatwas pertaining to Ramadaan and observing the Sawm (fast) in this month. Realizing the importance and the sensitivity of the subject, we decided to ask for your advice, hoping that you will guide us to the truth with Allaah’s support.

The questions that were sent to us in that letter are:

What is the Islaamic ruling on observing Sawm for workers who do physically hard work, especially during summer months, such as those who work with blast furnaces?

What is the Islaamic ruling on observing Sawm in the northern parts of the earth where the sun only sets for a very short time, maybe only a few minutes, or in places such as Scandinavia where the sun never sets? We would like to inform you that your Fatwaa may be misused by the authorities in order to issue laws and apply them to the foreign workers here in Germany. There are more than one and half million Muslim workers in this state. We are worried that if these questions are answered without taking these matters into consideration, it may cause great problems for the Muslims living in these states, as most of them do not know the legal rulings of their religion.

Answer: It is well-known in the religion of Islam that fasting in Ramadaan is an obligation upon every Mukallaf (person meeting the conditions to be held legally accountable for their actions) and that it is one of the pillars of Islaam.Therefore, every Mukallaf should observe the Sawm in order to fulfill what Allaah has obligated them to do, hoping to get Allaah’s Reward and fearing His more here.

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