Question # 370: I am flying on a plane during Ramadan and fasting. Maghrib will come while I’m on the plane. Do I break my fast according to where I departed from, where I am at the time, or my arrival location?
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).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: With regard to breaking the fast, what matters is the place where the fasting person is when the sun sets; the time difference does not matter, whether the day is long or short. Hence, one should break his/her fast according to the time of the location which he/she is flying over at the time of maghrib i.e., he should not break his fast until the sun sets in the place where he is in the air. However, it is best to avoid fasting while traveling if it causes hardship or confusion and even if it does not, one still has the concession to break your fast on travel.
Long Answer: The travelling person starts and breaks his fast according to where he is. If the plane takes off after the sunset as you mentioned, then you break your fast at the airport or wherever you will be at the time when the sun sets off. If the dawn breaks while you are on the plane, you have to start the fast at dawn break. What matters in fasting is the sunrise and the sunset at the place where you physically exist, not the place which you are travelling to or the place which you are travelling from.
If he likes to do so, the travelling person has the option to break his fast on the day of his trip and make up for that day later, after Ramadan. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “…then an equal number of days [are to be made up] …” (Soorah Quran 2: 184) (Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar)
The Standing Committee said: “If the fasting person is on board an airplane and he finds out through the clock or the telephone that a nearby city has broken the fast, but he can see the sun because the plane is high up, then he is not allowed to break his fast because Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “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 Sawm (fast) till the nightfall” (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2:187)
This does not apply in his case so long as he can still see the sun.
But if he broke his fast in that city after the day ended for him, then the plane took off and he saw the sun, then he should continue to break his fast because he comes under the ruling of the city from which he took off, where the day ended whilst he was still there. (Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah)
(Unless stated otherwise, the above answer is based on various answers provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on similar topic)
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.