Should the patient and the traveler observe Sawm or they have Rukhsah not to do?

Question: Shaykh Muhammad Mutawallee Al-Sha`raawee, may Allaah safeguard him, said about the Aayaat (Qur’aanic verses) nos. 183-184 in Soorah (Qur’aanic chapter) Al-Baqarah that any one who is ill or on a journey must not observe Sawm (Fast) and must compensate for that missed Sawm. But he affirmed that this applies to any kind of illness, even if Sawm causes the patient no harm and constitutes no threat upon him. He also said that no traveller should observe Sawm and must compensate for the days that he missed. He took evidence from what Allaah (Glorified be He) says: …and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. He says: “The same number of days”, which means making up for the missed days, and not “and if they did not observe Sawm, then the same number of days”.

In short, he said that any one who is ill or on a journey must not fast and must compensate for the missed days, taking evidence from the word: “The same number of days must be made up for from other days”. So, it is affirmed that this must be done whether or not the patient or the traveler observes Sawm. What is the ruling on this?

Is it right that any one who is ill or on a journey must not observe Sawm, taking evidence from this Aayah?

Answer: Any person who is ill and finds it difficult to observe Sawm, or who is on a journey, has Rukhsah (concession) not to observe Sawm on the daytime of Ramadaan, according to what Allah (Exalted be He) says: …and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other days. However, if they observe Sawm, then it is valid, according to the Hadeeth narrated by `Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that: Hamzah Ibn `Amr Al-Aslamee (may Allaah be pleased with him) asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): Shall I fast while travelling? And, he used to fast a lot. He said: You may fast if you wish, and you may not fast if you wish. (Related by the Six Hadeeth Compilers [Al-Bukhaaree, Muslim, Aboo Daawood, Al-Tirmithee, Al-Nasaa’ee, and Ibn Maajah])… read more here.

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