Question # 92: I started fasting in Dubai, and now I am traveling to Pakistan, where the Ramadan started a day later. So, at the end of the month, if the Muslims in Pakistan fast for twenty nine days, should I fast with them my thirtieth fast and if supposing they have thirty days of fasting in Ramadan, what should I do?

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: If a person travels from Country A to Country B during Ramadan, whereby he starts fasting at the beginning of the month in Country A, and Eid al-Fitr is a day or so later in Country B, then he should continue fasting with the Muslims in Country B and should not break his fast until they do so. This is because Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Fast when the people fast, break your fast when the people break their fast…” Conversely, if a person travels from a country where the onset of the month comes later to a country where the onset of the month comes earlier, then he should break the fast with them, and make up any days he has missed of Ramadan later on.

Long Answer: If a person finds himself in a country where the people have already started fasting, he must fast with them, because he must follow the ruling of the country he is in. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Fast when the people fast, break your fast when the people break their fast, and offer your sacrifice when the people offer their sacrifice” (Reported by Abu Dawood with a jayyid isnad [(good chain)]; there are corroborating reports narrated by Abu Dawood and others).

Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) [answered a question in this regard, he replied]:  If you start fasting in [one country], then you fast the rest of the month in your homeland, break the fast when they do, even if that is more than thirty days, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The fast starts on the day you fast and the breaking of the fast comes on the day you break the fast.” But if you have not completed twenty-nine days of the month, then you have to complete it, because the month cannot be less than twenty-nine days. (Fatawa Islamiyah)

[He further said]: It was proven from Ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه) that when Kurayb told him that the people of Syria had started fasting on a Friday, Ibn ‘Abbas said: We saw it on Saturday, and we will carry on fasting until we see the new moon or we complete thirty days. He did not follow the sighting of the people of Syria because Syria is far away from Madinah and there may be a difference in moonsighting between the two. He (رضي الله عنه) thought that this was a matter that was subject to ijtihad. You have a good example to follow in Ibn ‘Abbas and the scholars who followed him and said that you should fast with the people of your country and break the fast with them. (Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanwwi’ah) (Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid)

[While answering similar question,] Shaykh Muhammad al-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) replied:  If a person travels from one Muslim country to another, and the breaking of the fast comes later in the country to which he has traveled, then he should continue to fast with them until they break the fast, because the fast is the day on which the people fast, and the breaking of the fast is the day on which the people break the fast, and the sacrifice (al-adha) is the day on which the people offer the sacrifice. He should do this even if he fasts an extra day or more. This is similar to the case if he travels to a country where the sunset comes later; he should continue to fast until it sets, even if that adds two hours to his day, or three, or more. This also applies if he travels to another country where the new moon has not been sighted, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) commanded us not to fast or to break the fast until we see it. He said: “Fast when you see it, and break your fast when you see it.”

With regard to the opposite case, which is when a person travels from a land where the onset of the month comes later to a land where the onset of the month comes earlier, then he should break the fast with them, and make up any days he has missed of Ramadan later on. If he misses one day, he must make up one day, if he misses two days he must make up two days. If he breaks the fast after twenty-eight days, then he must make up two days if the month was the full thirty days in both countries, and he must make up one day if it was only twenty-nine days in both countries or in one of them. (Fatawa Arkanul-Islam)

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