Categories of People in Fasting (Part 1)
Sheikh Muhammad Bin Saleh Bin ‘Uthaymeen
We have preceded in the third majlis that in the beginning the obligation of fasting was in two stages. Then the later ruling remained and the people were divided into ten categories:
First: The Muslim, of age, sane and able to fast, resident, free from any prevention from fasting, then fasting in its correct time in Ramadhan is obligatory for him. This is from the evidence of the Qur’an, Sunnah, and consensus of the Muslims. Allah says, “The month of Ramadhan was revealed in it the Qur’an…” and the Prophet (SAW) said, “If you see the new moon then fast” (Agreed upon) And the Muslims have agreed on the obligation for this person to fast. As for the kafir, then fasting is not obligatory for him, nor is it accepted, because he is not fit for worship. If he accepts Islam during Ramadhan, then he does not have to make up the days missed, due to the ayah “Say to the disbelievers if they stop then they will be forgiven for whatever preceded.” And if he becomes Muslim during the day in Ramadhan, he must stop eating the rest of the day, because it became obligatory on him to fast when he became Muslim, and he doesn’t have to make up the day, because it wasn’t obligatory on him to fast when the day began.
Second: A child, and it is not obligatory on them to fast until they reach puberty due to the hadeeth, “The pen is lifted from three, the sleeping person till he wakes, the child until they grow, and the insane person until he comes back to his senses.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawood, An-Nisai and Al-Hakim declared it Saheeh) But his guardian should order him to fast if the child is able, so that he will be used to it when he reaches puberty. The Sahaba used to make their children fast while they were young, and take them to the masjid, and have for them a toy made of wool, and if the child would cry from hunger, then they would give the child the toy to play with.
And many parents are heedless of this matter today, and they don’t order their children to fast. Rather some parents prevent their child from fasting even thought the child want to fast, thinking that they are being merciful to them. The reality is true mercy to their children is to raise them on the rites of Islam, and with a proper education. So whoever prevents them from that or is negligent, then he is an oppressor to them and to himself. But if the child fasts, and the parents see they are harmed by it, then they should prevent them.
The male reaches puberty if one of the following three occurs:
1: Releasing sperm, either from a wet dream or something else, due to the ayah, “And if the children from you reach al-hulm (puberty), and the hadeeth, “Ghusl on Friday is wajib for every muhtalim” (Agreed upon).
2: Growth of pubic hair, from the saying of Atiya alQuraidhi, “We were presented to the Prophet on the day of Quraydha, so whoever was muhtalim or had pubic hair, was killed, and if not he was spared. (Ahmad, Nisaee, and its Saheeh)
3: Reaching 15 years old, due to the saying of Abdullah bin Umar, “I came to the Prophet on the day of Uhud, and I was 14, and he did not allow me to fight.” Al-Bayhaqi and Ibn Hibban in his Saheeh added with an authentic chain, “and he did not think that I reached puberty, and I came to him on the day of Khandaq, and I was 15 and he allowed me to fight.” Bayhaqi and Ibn Hibban added with a Saheeh chain, “he considered me as mature.” (Narrated by the Group) Ibn Nafi’ said, “We told this hadeeth to the khalifa, Umar bin Abdil-Aziz, then he said, “this is the limit between the child and the adult.” And he told his workers to give from the wealth whoever reached 15” (Bukhari)
And females attain puberty the same way as the male, with the addition of menstruation. So when a girl menstruates then she is mature, so she is held responsible even if she didn’t reach ten years old. And if a child reaches puberty during the day in Ramadhan, if he is fasting already then he should continue, and if he was not fasting he should not eat the rest of the day, because he has become an adult who is obliged to fast. And he does not have to make up the day because he didn’t fulfill the condition of fasting at the beginning of the day.
Third: An insane person, someone who has lost hid mind. Fasting is not due on him because of the hadeeth, “The pen is lifted from three…” And his fasting is not correct, because he doesn’t have the ability to comprehend the worship he is doing, or to make an intention for it, and worship is not accepted without intention. This is known from the hadeeth, “Actions are by intentions…” So if he is insane sometimes, and sometimes his senses return to him, then he only has to fast when he is sane. And if he goes insande during the day, then his fast is still valid, just like if a person became sick during the day, because he intended to fast when he was sane with a correct intention, and there is no evidence of the invalidity of his fasting especially if he knows that he loses his senses at a specific time. And he does not have to make up the days that he was insane. And if he recovers during the day, then has to stop eating that day, and he does not have to make it up, just like child who reaches puberty, or the kafir who becomes Muslim.
Fourth: The senile who has become delirious and senseless, and lost the ability to judge, then he is not obligated to fast, and he does not have to deed others, because he is no longer responsible due to the loss of his senses, so he is like a young child. But if he has senses sometimes, and is senile sometimes, then he only has to fast in the first case, and the same applies to prayer.
Fifth: The weak person incapable of fasting, and his condition will never improve, like an old person, or a terminally ill person, i.e. cancer, then he does not have to fast as he is not able, and Allah says, “Fear Allah as much as you are able” and “Allah does not place a burden on someone that they cannot bear” But he instead of fasting, has to feed a poor person for each day, because Allah made feeding a poor person equal to fasting when there was a choice between the two, when fasting was first obligated. Then it was specified that feeding replaced fasting for the weak person and it equaled it.