Question # 1: Today I was on the way to drop my dad to the airport. We stopped at a petrol pump for iftar and we broke our fast according to the Salah time. Didn’t realize there was a masjid (mosque) there and the adhan was heard almost 2 minutes after breaking the fast. Should we repeat the fast?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

There can be two situations – you broke the fast before the due time, thinking that it’s time to break the fast, either a) forgetfully / absentmindedly, or b) mistakenly. In the first case (a), you are not liable for anything and your fasting is valid according to the majority of Muslim scholars. In the second case, you have to make up for that day of fasting according to the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence. However, the ruling maintained by the Sheikh ul-Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah, is that the fasting is also valid in the second case and there is no liability.

Shorter Answer: According to eminent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, there is no compensation required in both the above mentioned cases and the fast is considered valid.

Long Answer: Pointing out the ruling regarding the one who forgetfully eats or drinks while fasting, the eminent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi states:

  • It is stated in the two authentic books of (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) that Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever eats or drinks forgetfully should complete his fast, for what he has eaten or drunk has been granted to him by Allah.” The same was reported by Ad-Daraqutni with an authentic chain of transmitters, but with a different wording as follows: “… for it is sustenance granted to him by Allah, so he is not liable to make up for it.” It is also reported by Ad-Daraqutni, Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban and Al-Kakim with an authentic chain of transmitters and with the following different wording: “Whoever eats or drinks forgetfully while in a state of fasting in Ramadan, he is liable for neither compensation nor expiation.” The last was also reported by Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar. These s clearly show that eating or drinking forgetfully does not affect the validity of one’s fasting, which conforms to the verse in which Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says: (Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget, or miss the mark!) (Soorah Al-Baqarah, 2:286), and it is stated in a that Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) granted this supplication. Moreover, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said in another : “Verily, Allah pardons this nation (i.e., the Muslims) for whatever they do by mistake, whatever they do out of forgetfulness and whatever they are forced to do.”

[Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) reported that the Messenger of Allah, (صلى الله عليه و سلم), said: “Truly Allah has for my sake pardoned the mistakes and forgetfulness of my community, and for what they have done under force or duress.” (Related by Ibn Majah, Al-Baihaqi and others)

Also, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says:  “And there is no sin on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, except in regard to what your hearts deliberately intended. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Soorah al-Ahzab, 33:5)]

  • Pointing out the ruling regarding the one who absentmindedly eats or drinks while in a state of fasting, mistakenly believing that the sun has set, the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, states:

 If a Muslim eats, drinks, or has sexual intercourse while in a state of fasting, mistakenly thinking that the sun has set (or that dawn has not yet started), his fasting is deemed invalid according to the four schools of Islamic fiqh. This is because he had done what invalidates fasting, namely eating during the daytime in Ramadan. Therefore, it is obligatory for him to make up for such a day of fasting later, though he is not considered to have committed a sin.

 Moreover, it is stated in Al-Bukhari’s authentic book of Hadith that Asma’ bint Abi Bakr narrated: “We broke our fast during the lifetime of the Prophet on a cloudy day and then the sun reappeared.”

[Narrated Abu Usama: Hisham bin ‘Urwa said on the authority of Fatima: Asma bint Abi Bakr (رضي الله عنها) said, “We broke our fast (Iftar) during the lifetime of the Prophet on a cloudy day and then the sun appeared.” Hisham was asked, “Were they ordered to observe fasting in lieu of that day?” He replied, “It had to be made up for.” Ma’mar said, “I heard Hisham saying, “I don’t know whether they observed fasting in lieu of that day or not.” (Fath Al-Bari)]

Ibn Taymiyyah, the Sheikh ul-Islam, maintains that the aforesaid narration indicates two things:

  1. It is not desirable to delay breaking the fast on a cloudy day until the sunset is verified, for the Companions did not do so, nor did the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) command them to do so; the Companions were more knowledgeable and pious, and more obedient to Allah and to His Messenger than the following generations.

In this regard, Ishaq ibn Rahwiyah and Dawud maintain that one’s fasting is still valid in this case, and that he is not liable for compensation. The same is narrated to have been maintained by `Ata’, `Urwah ibn Az-Zubayr, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, and Mujahid. They base their opinion on the following narration of Al-Baihaqi on the authority of Zayd ibn Wahb: “While we were sitting in the Mosque of Madinah (while fasting) during Ramadan, and it was cloudy then, we saw that the sun disappeared and it was evening. Then we were offered pots of milk from the house of Hafsah (رضي الله عنها) and `Umar (رضي الله عنه) drank (from the milk to break fasting) and so did all of us. No sooner had we done that than the clouds vanished and the sun reappeared. Thereupon, we said to each other, ‘We should make up for this day of fasting later.’ When `Umar heard of that, he said, ‘By Allah, we do not have to make up for it, and we were not inclined to commit a sin.’” (This narration has an authentic chain of transmitters, yet its authenticity was doubted by Al-Baihaqi because of its being different than the other narrations of the same incident. He said that though Zayd was a trustworthy transmitter, erring was probable. Yet, the arguments of Ibn Taymiyyah support this narration of Zayd, especially that it is a clear, well-founded narration, so erring is not probable.

If it is argued that Hisham ibn `Urwah narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) ordered them to make up for that day, the reply is that Hisham said it according to his own opinion, and that such a Prophetic command is not mentioned in that hadith. Also, Hisham did not know whether the Prophet had ordered them to make up for that day or not, and this is shown in this narration of Ma`mar, who said: “I heard Hisham saying, ‘I do not know if they made up for that day or not.’” The two cases were narrated on his authority by Al-Bukhari, and Hisham narrated the hadith in question on the authority of his mother, Fatimah bint Al-Mundhir, who reported it on the authority of Asma’. On the other hand, Hisham narrated on the authority of his father, `Urwah that the Prophet did not order them to make up for that day, bearing in mind that `Urwah knew better than his son, Hisham. This is also the opinion of Ishaq ibn Rahwiyah, who was contemporary with Ahmad ibn Hanbal and agreed with the latter’s school of Islamic jurisprudence, whether related to the principles or the branches of Islamic jurisprudence. When Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked about Ishaq, he used to say, showing their harmony of opinions, “Should I be asked about Ishaq or should he be asked about me?”

Furthermore, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says: (and eat and drink until the white thread becometh distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn) (Soorah Al-Baqarah, 2:187) This verse, side by side with the recurrently narrated ahadith of the Prophet in this regard, shows that a Muslim who intends fasting is commanded to eat and drink until the dawn is verified to be due. If there is doubt, he is commanded to go on eating and drinking freely.

  1. There is no compensation required in this case, for if the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) had ordered them to make up for that day, it would have been publicly known. They were reported to have broken their fast before the due time, so if the Prophet had commented, it would have been reported as well. This shows that the Prophet did not command them to make up for that day.

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam