Is it lawful for the inhabitants of deserts to break Sawm in Ramadaan if weather is very hot?

Question: People in the Sahara may witness Ramadaan during the summer season. It becomes too difficult or even impossible for them to observe Sawm (Fast). However, this will last for many years so how can those people observe Sawm? What should the elderly- who can neither observe Sawm nor feed needy people do?

Answer: When Ramadaan comes, it becomes obligatory upon every healthy, resident, and Mukallaf (person meeting the conditions to be held legally accountable for their actions) Muslim to observe Sawm. Allaah (Exalted be He) more here.

Is it permissible for shepherds to break Sawm in Ramadaan?

Question: I suffer from thirst and fatigue while I am pasturing animals. May I break Sawm (Fast) in Ramadaan and make up the missed days later? May Allaah reward you with the best.

Answer: Pasturing is not a legal excuse that permits you to break Sawm in Ramadaan. It is obligatory upon you to observe Sawm and seek reward from Allaah in return for patience in enduring fatigue and thirst. In-shaa’ Allaah (if Allaah wills), Allaah (Exalted be He) will help you to do more here.

Breaking the obligatory Sawm due to travelling, illness, or fearing for a person’s life

Question: Is it permissible to break Sawm (Fast) during daylight hours of Ramadaan in case of exhaustion, hunger, or thirst while carrying out civil defense operations? What is the criterion in this regard?

Answer: It is impermissible to break the obligatory Sawm without the excuse of illness or travel, except for the one who fears for their own life, or needs to break Sawm to save the life of another, if this can not be achieved without breaking more here.

Observing Sawm by a pilot officially assigned to fly inland or abroad

Question: All praise be to Allaah, and peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions. To proceed:

The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Iftaa’ reviewed a question submitted by Air Commodore, `Abdul-Muhsin Ibn `Abdullaah Al Al-Shaykh, to His Eminence Chairman that was referred from the Secretariat General of the Council of Senior Scholars no. 2/175, dated 10 Safar, 1397 A.H. The question is:

As pilots are required to fly during the day in Ramadaan but the rules of flying state that pilots should not observe Sawm (Fast) while flying, and we give precedence to the teachings of Islaam over all conditions, we would like to know your Fatwaa on this issue. Is it permissible for pilots to break Sawm when flying during the day in Ramadaan?

Answer: The Committee answered as follows:

If pilots fly for a distance that makes it permissible to shorten Salaah (Prayer), it is lawful for them to break Sawm during the daylight hours of Ramadan after departing the town in which the airport is located. It is permissible for them to enjoy every Rukhsah (concession) permitted for travelers, such as wiping over the Khuffs (leather socks) for three days, combining two Salaat (Prayers), and shortening the four-Rak`ah Salaah (Prayer consisting of four units) throughout the flight even if they land in the airport of another country until returning to their home country even if on the same more here.

Does the air force commissioned of patrolling take the same ruling as traveling?

Question: As Ramadaan approaches, the first air battalion in the Northern Region is being commissioned to fly at least a six-hour patrol a day over the northern borders. As a result, the pilots exert strenuous effort to perform this task and cannot observe Sawm (Fast) due to safety procedures. It should be known that there are two flight shifts, day and at night. Sometimes, there is an additional patrol on standby. Therefore, we would like to submit the case to the authorities concerned to instruct us on the issue of allowing the pilots to break their Sawm, so that they will be able to properly complete their task and safeguard lives and properties.

Answer: First: Commissioned pilots with the task of patrolling the northern borders, which are at the distance of eighty kilometers from their places of residence, the distance which permits shortening Salaah (Prayer), are permitted to break Sawm once they depart their base. It is permissible to break Sawm before flying, if more here.

Is the person studying abroad permitted to break Sawm?

Question: Should we observe Sawm (Fast) in this country, India. It should be known that our stay here is known approximately. Most of us observe Sawm in Ramadaan. Is it permissible for us to break Sawm?

Answer: It is obligatory upon you to observe Sawm in Ramadaan because it is one of the Arkaan (Pillaars) of Islaam. It is impermissible for you to break Sawm because you are in the country where you study. You are not considered travelers. Allaah permits only the ill and the traveler to break Sawm. Allaah (Exalted be He) more here.

Breaking Sawm for playing football

Question: Is it permissible to break Sawm (Fast) because of playing football?

Answer: It is impermissible to break Sawm during the day of Ramadaan because of sports activities such as football or the like. This is not one of the valid legal excuses for breaking more here.

Traveling by comfortable means of transportation such as trains or ships

Question: Is it permissible for the person who comfortably travels by train or ship to break Sawm (Fast)?

Answer: If the distance of travel is eighty kilometers or more, it is Mustahab (desirable) for the traveler to break Sawm, even if the means of transportation is comfortable like a train, ship, car, or plane. This is based on the general meaning of evidence on this more here.

Beginning Iftaar by eating meat if there is no date

Question: Is it permissible for a fasting person to begin Iftaar (breaking the Fast) by eating meat if they do not find date?

Answer: It is permissible to break Sawm (Fast) with dates, any type of food, or meat. However, it is better to break Sawm with ripe dates. If one does not find ripe dates, one may eat dried dates. If there are no dried dates, they can break Sawm with water. It was authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to do more here.

Intending to break Sawm and only chewing gum, then intending to complete Sawm

Question: A man was traveling during Ramadaan. He intended to break Sawm (Fast), but he did not eat and only chewed gum until noon. Then, he intended to complete his Sawm and broke his Sawm at sunset. What is the ruling on the Sawm of that day? Has he to make up for this day?

Answer: If he intended to break Sawm or chewed gum, his Sawm was broken. Consequently, he has to make up for that more here.

Traveling for a distance less than that which permits a fasting person to break Sawm and breaking Sawm

Question: I am an eighteen-year-old student, all praise is due to Allaah. In the past Ramadaan, I travelled by a truck to an area at a distance less than that permit a fasting person to break Sawm (Fast); so, I observed Sawm and travelled. When I reached this area, I became extremely thirsty and broke my Sawm. Have I only to make up for this day or to make up for this day and pay Kaffaarah (expiation) as well?

Answer: If you broke your Sawm due to intense thirst, you have to make up for the day on which you broke more here.

Suffering from epilepsy and having to take medication permanently during daytime

Question: My 13-year-old brother suffers from epilepsy and has to take medication three times a day. How should he observe Sawm (Fast)? Should Kaffaarah (expiation) be paid when Sawm becomes obligatory upon him?

Answer: When your brother reaches puberty by having one of its relevant signs, such as discharging Maniy (sperm), growing of coarse pubic hair, or reaching fifteen years old, it is obligatory upon him to observe Sawm. If he cannot do so because of his illness, it is permissible for him to break Sawm if it is a chronic more here.

Suffering from cancer severely during Ramadaan and breaking Sawm

Question: My mother suffered from cancer, and the disease became so severe on 13 Ramadaan, 1411 A.H., causing her to break Sawm (Fast). She remained ill until she died on 11 Shawwaal, 1411 A.H. I do not know whether I should observe Sawm and give Kaffaarah (expiation) on her behalf. Please advise!

Answer: If the case is as you mentioned, there is nothing upon the mother because she is excused for breaking her Sawm. Moreover, she was not able to make up for these days until she more here.

My father died without fasting Ramadaan due to his illness

Question: My father died and did not fast Ramadaan due to illness? Should I fast to make up for the missed days or provide needy people with food on his behalf? Which one is better?

Answer: If your father was able to make up for these missed days and did not do so, it is permissible for you to fast on his behalf. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: Whoever dies not having completed some days of the fast, an heir must fast on their behalf. (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim and reported by `Aa’ishah [may Allaah be pleased with her]) more here.

Permanent suffering from an illness before Ramadaan until death

Question: My sister’s husband suffered from cancer, may Allaah protect us and you from it, and underwent surgery. In that year 1411 A.H., he became very sick before, during, and after Ramadaan. He died after Ramadaan, may Allaah admit him to Paradise. He did not fast the Ramadaan of that year.

The question is: How much Kaffaarah (expiation) should be paid for a missed day? Is it a Saa` (1 Saa` = 3 kg. Approx.), more, or less? Is it permissible to give rice instead of wheat? Is it permissible to give only wheat?

Should the Kaffaarah be paid all at once on one day or day by day? We would like to know the answer to this question. It should be known that his wife, my sister, will pay this Kaffaarah. He had young children and two wives, my sister and her co-wife who is from our tribe. He also was burdened with debts.

Answer: If your sister’s husband continued to suffer from this illness before Ramadaan until his death, you have not to make up for the missed days of fast or to pay Kaffaarah. He is exempted from fast during Ramadaan due to illness, and because he could not fast after Ramadaan due to the continuation of his disease until more here.

A person suffered an illness that prevented him from observing Sawm till his death

Question: My father (may Allaah be merciful to him) died about twenty years ago after suffering from a chronic disease. The illness became so severe culminating in his suffering from intense thirst. He used to drink water every now and then. No matter how much water he drank, it would not quench his thirst. We used to give him a cup of water about every five minutes. If we would give him more water, he would drink it due to extreme thirst.

His Eminence Chairman, the reason for the above mentioned explanation is to tell you that my father could not observe Sawm (Fast). During these years of illness, he witnessed Ramadaan and observed Sawm fourteen days with great hardship. At the time ofIftar (breaking the Fast), he used to be extremely hungry and thirsty. He could not complete Sawm of the remaining sixteen days of that month, and he continued to suffer from this illness until the next Ramadaan when he could not observe Sawm at all. He (may Allaah be merciful to him) lived for about three months after that Ramadaan, may Allaah admit him to Paradise, while having to make up for 46 days. I asked some scholars who told me that there is nothing upon him as long as he continued to suffer from illness until his death.

After hearing some scholars on Saudi radio with different opinions about what I was told, and out of my desire to discharge the obligation of my father and to act according to the rulings of Sharee`ah (Islaamic law), I would like to know Your Eminence’s opinion and ask you give me a written answer. May Allaah reward you with the best. May Allaah grant you success in the way of goodness and guiding Muslims. If there is a Kaffaarah (expiation) to be paid, please clarify it and its description. Is it permissible to send it to the deserving recipients through organizations like Snabil Al-Khayr?

If there is Sawm to be observed, is it permissible for his children, including me, to share out these days among ourselves, with eachobserving Sawm some days? Should we share out the Kaffaarah and Sawm if we have to do both of them? Is our father’s obligation discharged? Anyhow, I am waiting for the Sharee`ah ruling in a written answer by you. May Allaah reward you with the best. Al-Salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaah wa barakaatuh (May Allaah’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you).

Answer: If the reality is as you mentioned that your father was ill until he died and that he was not able to observe Sawm in Ramadaan during his illness until he died; then, there is nothing upon your father: neither making up for these days nor Kaffaarah (expiation) more here.

After recovery, a person did not make up for the missed days of Sawm before his death

Question: My father has been ill for about a year. He was not aware that the month of Ramadaan had commenced; and when he recovered, he did not make up for this month. It should be known that he was religiously committed; however, the illness was extremely severe.He died when he was over ninety years old. He left a son who works and other sons as well as daughters who are married. Is it permissible for his family to make up for the missed days of Sawm (Fast) or pay Kaffaarah (expiation) on his behalf?

Answer: If he recovered from his illness and did not make up the missed days of Sawm while he was alive, one of his family members should make up for these days on his more here.

An epileptic patient taking medicine continuously during the daytime of Ramadaan

Question: All praise be to Allaah Alone, and peace and blessings be upon the Last of the Prophets. To proceed:

The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Iftaa’ reviewed the submitted question by the Director of Da`wah and Guidance Center to His Eminence the Grand Muftee at Abha in his letter no. A/9/566, dated 5 Sha`ban 1414 A.H, which was referred to the Committee from the Secretariat General of the Council of Senior Scholars no. 3590, dated 8 Sha`ban 1414 A.H. His Eminence attached a question from a person stating:

My daughter is about thirteen and half years old, meaning she is pubescent and Mukallaf (person meeting the conditions to be held legally accountable for their actions). She has been diagnosed with epilepsy, and is currently being treated with medication which must be administered during the day and night. Taking into consideration that she still suffers from this disease and has seizures if she does not take the pills to be swallowed with water – on their prescribed time either day or night – is it permissible to pay Kaffaarah (expiation) for not observing Sawm (Fast)? Is it permissible to pay the Kaffaarah of the entire month all at once? The girl in question has been ill for eleven years and is still undergoing treatment. Please advise, may Allaah grant you success.

Then, a reply was sent to His Eminence with a letter no. 2/2395, dated25 Sha`baan 1414 A.H, requesting him to send the attached medical report. His Eminence’s reply was sent in letter no. A/9/641, dated 3 Ramadaan 1414 A.H, with a medical report stating: “The patient suffers from epileptic attacks. She regularly takes medicine for this reason five times a day during the day: 6 am, 7am, 8 am, 3 pm, and 4 pm. The medicine cannot be given only once or twice during the day or night.”

Answer: After studying the question the Committee answered that her father should pay 15 Saa` (1 Saa` = 3 kg. Approx.) if Ramadaan is thirty days. If it is twenty nine days, he should pay 14.5 Saa`. He should pay them to the poor, even if to one poor person either in the beginning of the month, during it, or at the end of it until Allaah cures more here.

A woman suffering from diabetes and hypertension

Question: Suffering from diabetes, hypertension and cholesterolemia, I am duty-bound to make up for the missed days of fast of two months and ten days. Moreover, I gave birth to a child during Ramadan and doctors asked me not to fast. Is it permissible for me to pay expiation for the missed days of fast? If yes, how much should I pay? Is it permissible for my children to fast on my behalf while I am still alive?

Answer: You should make up for the Ramadaan fasts you missed during past years. If you cannot make up for missed days of fast because your illness is incurable, you should feed a poor person per each day half a Saa` (1 Saa` = 3 kg. Approx.) of the local staple food. Such Kaffaarah (expiation) may be given in total to one poor person and may be given all at once. However, it is impermissible for your children to fast on your behalf while you are more here.

Observing Sawm on the part of a diabetic

Question: I contracted diabetes before Ramadaan 1413 AH and doctors asked me not to fast the days of Ramadaan of that year and the next year 1414 AH as well. I am treated with insulin injections three times a day. Should I make up for the days I missed in Ramadaan? Please, be informed that I am financially supported by my father. How should I feed persons in case I am duty-bound to do so? May I calculate the total value of the food that I should give to the poor and pay its value in cash all at once?

Answer: If you cannot fast because of this illness, you may break fast. Later, if you can make up for the days you missed, you should do so. If you are perpetually unable to make up for them, you should feed a poor person 1.5 kilogram of the local staple food for each day you broke fast, thus discharging the obligation of fast. It is also permissible to calculate the total amount of food and give it all at once to one or more poor people at the beginning or at the end of Ramadaan. We ask Allaah to cure you of all more here.

A sick woman who can neither observe Sawm nor afford feeding a Miskeen

Question: A chronically sick woman did not observe Sawm (Fast) during Ramadaan last year. Even now, she cannot make up for the days she missed in Ramadaan, bearing in mind that she did not observe Sawm the entire month of Ramadaan. Moreover, she is unable to pay expiation or feed poor people. I would like also to inform you that doctors asked her not to observe Sawm. What should she do? What if she dies? May Allaah bless you and grant you success!

Answer: If the reality is as you mentioned, this woman should feed a poor person for every day she breaks Sawm. The amount of what she pays to the poor is 1.5 kilogram of the common food of the country for each day she missed. However, if this is beyond her financial ability, she is more here.

The patient harmed by Sawm may break it and make up for it upon recovery

Question: I am ill and the doctor has asked me not to perform Sawm (Fast). This doctor is Muslim and performs Salaah (Prayer) with us in the Masjid (mosque). Should I follow his advice, taking into consideration that I cannot endure abstaining from water for more than two hours? If I do not perform Sawm, is it possible to feed a Miskeen (needy) for each day in which I break my Sawm through the program of feeding a fasting person coordinated by charities or the Islaamic Relief Organization? I appreciate your guidance, may Allaah guide you.

Answer: If the reality is as you mentioned, it is better to break Sawm, as it will be beneficial for you and will rid you of any difficulty while you have a legal excuse – illness. You should make up for the missed days of Sawm when you recover, and you are not obliged to feed Miskeens in this more here.

Feeding a Miskeen on behalf of an old person who is not able to perform Sawm

Question: My grandmother (may Allaah be merciful to her) died two years ago, but she was unable to perform Sawm (Fast) in Ramadaan, as she was ill and feeble-minded. What is the ruling? Should I pay Sadaqah (voluntary charity) for each day in which she did not perform Sawm, or what should I do?

Answer: You should feed a Miskeen (needy) for each day in which she did not perform Sawm an amount of half a Saa` (1 Saa` = 3 kg. Approx.) of the staple food of the country. Ibn `Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) commented on the Aayah (Qur’aanic verse) in which Allaah (Exalted be He) states.. read more here.

What is prescribed for the children of the diseased to do

Question: Our father is old and has been suffering from a brain stroke for a year and a half. He is bedridden and only looks at us without speaking or moving. We do not know whether he recognizes us or not, and he has remained in the hospital throughout this entire period with a male nurse to care for him. We are with him constantly, taking care of him, and turning him in the bed every two hours. Outwardly, he is shining in a way that indicates happiness, praise be to Allaah. Our father has been an upright and devout man throughout his life, may Allaah restore his health. He used to recite the Qur’aan and never approached a Munkar (deed which is unacceptable and disapproved by Islaamic law and Muslims of sound intellect); and everyone acquainted with him knows this. He taught us Islaam, all praise be to Allaah, till it has become more precious to us than our souls, children, and everything in this world. We exerted every effort for the sake of treating him, but our efforts were in vain – Laa hawla wa Laa quwwata illaa billaah (there is neither might nor power except with Allaah). The question is:

1- What are the Aayaat (Qur’aanic verses) and Hadeeths regarding the trials that afflict a weak upright believer who stops all forms of `Ibaadah (worship) during his illness?

2- What should we do to dedicate to him Salaah (Prayer), Du`aa’ (supplication), and Qur’aan recitation we can do during his life, and what can we send forth for him and our mother who died thirty years ago? I hope you will provide us with a convincing useful answer, may Allaah reward you with the best.

3- We asked for a Muslim male nurse, but a non-Muslim came. We tried to send him back, but he appears to be kind and takes care of our father well. Thus, we kept him with our father and we try to convince him to embrace Islaam. Is it permissible to keep him with our father? What do you advise us in this respect?

4- Last Ramadaan, we asked many shaykhs concerning what we could do for our father, but we did not get a proper detailed Fatwaa (legal opinion issued by qualified scholar). Thus, we fed a Miskeen (needy) for each day in which he did not perform Sawm (Fast) an amount of a kilogram of rice and some dates. What should we have done, taking into consideration that our father does notperform any act of `Ibaadah, due to his condition and inability to recognize anything? He merely stares at us. However, we fear that he perhaps is aware of his state and is discontent with his condition. And Allaah knows best.

The doctors say that he is unconscious; therefore, we have let his beard to grow as it was and have not trimmed it? Should we shorten it, or leave it as it is?

5- Whenever we remember his condition while praying, sleeping, at home or work or elsewhere, we blame ourselves, thinking what should we do, and what a disaster has afflicted us and our father. We wonder whether it afflicted our father due to the many sins we committed, or due to his own sins. However, we as well as others know that he has been upright all his life.

We hope you will clarify these matters for us, may Allaah reward you with the best. Al-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaah wa barakaatuh (May Allaah’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you).

Answer: First, verily Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) afflicts people in this world and makes a trial of them with evil and good, illness and good health, distress and well-being, to test the patient and gratitude people. Then, He will reward them on the Day of Judgment. Allaah (Exalted be He) says… read more here.

Making up for the missed days of Sawm during illness throughout four years

Question: A person fell ill and was hospitalized; therefore, he did not perform Sawm (Fast) for some days in Ramadaan, but later recovered. He performed compensatory Sawm for some of the days of the previous Ramadaan, then the following Ramadaan came and he did not make up for the previous missed days.Is it permissible for him to make up for these days after the second Ramadaan, as he intends to make up for them?

Answer: This person should continue making up for the days in which he did not perform Sawm due to his illness, even after the next Ramadaan. Moreover, he should feed a Miskeen (needy) for every day of Sawm he missed and delayed without a legal excuse till the next Ramadaan came... read more here.

Four years have passed and she has not been able to perform Sawm in Ramadaan

Question: My wife is nearly 50 years old. She is completely paralyzed and has not spoken for five years. Four years have passed and she has not been able to perform Sawm (Fast) in Ramadaan. We did not feed Miskeens (needy people) as we did not know. Moreover, she is still extremely ill, and cannot move or speak except through signs. We do not understand anything she says except the Shahaadah (Testimony of Faith), which she can say.

Based on her condition, I hope Your Eminence will give me a legal opinion concerning the rulings on her acts of `Ibaadah (worship) and the Sawm or its compensation that she should perform. May Allaah safeguard you!

Answer: If two or more trusted doctors decided that your wife’s illness cannot be cured, she should feed a Miskeen for each day in which she did not perform Sawm in the past as well as the days that she will not fast in the future an amount of half a Saa` (1 Saa` = 3 kg. Approx.) of the staple food of the country... read more here.

Performing compensatory Sawm for Ramadaan in the future

Question: My mother is 58 years old. She became ill on 7 Rajab, 1418 A.H, which resulted in being handicapped. Later, she began to recover, all praise be to Allaah. She did not perform Sawm (Fast) in Ramadaan, so that she would be able to take her medications and eat, because she suffered from incontinence, may Allaah safeguard you. Should we feed Miskeens (needy people) on her behalf? Is she obliged to offer Kaffaarah (expiation), and what is its amount?

Answer: If your mother is able to perform compensatory Sawm for Ramadaan in the future after recovering, she should wait till then. She should perform compensatory Sawm, and she is not obliged to offer Kaffaarah. However, if her illness is permanent and she cannot perform compensatory Sawm in the future, she should feed a Miskeen for each day in which she broke her Sawm an amount of half a Saa` (1 Saa` = 3 kg. Approx.) of the staple food of the country... read more here.