Question # 404: I was awake praying my taraweeh, I knew I might get late as I was very close to Fajr salat. But I forgot to check the time and in between my taraweeh intervals I would sip on water thinking I was getting my suhoor done. I didn’t hear my alarm and I had my last sip 7 minutes later than fajr in Ramadan. I fasted that day however I think I have to make it up. Is there anything else I should do as well like feeding 30 people etc please let me know. Jazak Allah khairun.

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.

Shorter Answer: Although the scholars differed concerning this ruling , the correct scholarly view is that whoever eats thinking that Fajr (dawn) has not yet come, then finds out that it had in fact come, does not have to do anything, because he was unaware of the time, so he is excused. However, if the Muslim does that which is on the safe side and fasts a day in its stead, that will be better. Lastly, there is no expiation for him.

Long Answer: The scholars differed concerning the ruling on one who eats or drinks thinking that it is still night and that dawn has not yet come, and the one who eats or drinks thinking that the sun has set then he finds out that he was mistaken.

Many of the scholars were of the view that this invalidates his fast, and he must fast another day to make up for it. Others were of the view that his fast is still valid and that he should complete his fast and does not have to make it up.

This is the view of Mujaahid and al-Hasan among the Taabi’een, it was narrated in one report from Imam Ahmad, and it was the view favored by al-Muzani among the Shafi’is, and by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah. It was also the view regarded as correct by Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on them all).

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: “Those who say that the fast is not broken if a person makes a mistake or forgets at the beginning or end of the day said: our evidence is stronger, and the evidence of the Qur’an and Sunnah concerning what we say is clearer. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error” (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2:286)

Forgetting and falling into error are mentioned together, because the one who does things that are forbidden in Hajj or prayer by mistake is like one who does them out of forgetfulness. It was proven in al-Saheeh that one day at the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) they broke the fast and then the sun appeared, but it does not say in the hadith that they were ordered to make up that fast. But Hishaam ibn ‘Urwah said: It must be made up, but his father was more knowledgeable than him and he said, They do not have to make it up. And it was proven in al-Saheehayn that a group of Sahabah used to eat until one of them could distinguish the white thread from the black. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said to one of them, “Your pillow is wide [if the white thread (of dawn) and the black thread (of the night) are underneath your pillow], rather that is the whiteness of the day and the blackness of the night.” But it is not narrated that he told them to make up their fasts; they were ignorant of the ruling, so they were making a mistake. And it is proven that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه) broke his fast then it became clear that it was still day, but he said, “We will not make it up because we did not deliberately commit sin.” And it was narrated that ‘Umar said: “We will make it up,” but the isnad of the first report is stronger. And it was narrated from him that he said, “It is not a serious matter.” So, some of the scholars understood this as meaning that it is not essential to make it up, but the wording does not indicate that.

In conclusion, this view is stronger in terms of reports and reasoning and is more strongly supported by evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah and analogy (qiyaas).” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa; See also al-Sharh al-Mumti’)

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “If a fasting person eats or drinks anything that breaks the fast out of ignorance, then his fast is still valid, whether he was unaware of the time, or unaware of the ruling, such as a man who gets up at the end of the night, and thinks that dawn has not yet come, so he eats and drinks, then he finds out that dawn had in fact come – his fast is still valid because he was unaware of the time. An example of one who is not aware of the ruling is a fasting person who has cupping done and does not know that cupping invalidates the fast, so we say to him: your fast is still valid. The evidence for that is the words of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error, our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us (Jews and Christians); our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Mawlaa (Patron, Supporter and Protector) and give us victory over the disbelieving people” (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2:286) That is the evidence from the Qur’an.

The evidence from the Sunnah is the hadith of Asma’ bint Abi Bakr (رضي الله عنها) which was narrated by al-Bukhari in his Saheeh. She said: “We broke our fast on a cloudy day at the time of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم)” That meant that they had broken their fast during the day, but they did not realize, because they thought that the sun had set. But the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not tell them to make up that day; if it had been obligatory to make it up he would have told them to do so. And if he had told them to do that it would have been transmitted to us.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa)

Hence, we can see how strong is the evidence for the view that his fast is valid and he does not have to make it up. However, if the Muslim does that which is on the safe side and fasts a day in its stead, that will be better.

(The above answer is based on various answers provided by Islamqa.info on the 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.

Wassalaam