Categories of People in Fasting (Part 2)
Sheikh Muhammad Bin Saleh Bin ‘Uthaymeen
My brothers: We spoke last time about five categories of people in fasting and the rulings concerning them, we will talk about more categories.
Sixth: The traveling person if they do not travel just so they don’t have to fast. If your intention to travel is just so that you don’t have to fast, then it obligatory for you to fast, and haram for you to break the fast. If on the other hand you are traveling for a reason, then you have the choice between fasting and not fasting for the duration of your travels. As Allah says, “And whoever is sick or traveling, then they may fast on different days. Allah wants to make things easy for you, and not make them hard.” In the Saheehayn on Anis bin Malik (RA) that he said, “We used to travel with the Prophet and neither did the fasting persons criticize those who were not fasting, nor did those who were not fasting criticize the fasting ones.” Said al Khudhri (RA) said, “We saw that whoever had the strength fasted indeed that is good, and whoever couldn’t fast ate, and indeed that is good.” (Muslim)
It is more preferred for the traveler to do whatever is easier, whether it be fasting or eating. If there isn’t a major hardship, then it is better to fast. As was reported by Abu Darda (RA), “We journeyed with the Prophet (SAW) during Ramadhan when it was an extremely hot (season). Some of us shaded ourselves with our hands, because of the extreme heat. No one was fasting among us except the Prophet and Abdullah bin Abi Rawahah. The Prophet broke his fast in consideration for his companions when he knew that the fast was getting the best of the companions and bringing on them an unnecessary hardship.” (Muslim) In another hadith reported by Jabir Bin Abdullah (RA): “When the Prophet (SAW) journeyed to Makkah, in the year of victory, he fasted until he reached a place known as Kara’ah Al-Ghamim. He was informed that the companions who were fasting were having difficulty with the fast. So, they were waiting to see what he would do. The Prophet (SAW) then requested a goblet full with water after ‘Asr prayer and drank it while everyone was looking.” (Muslim)
If fasting becomes an extreme hardship, then it is best not to fast. In the previous hadith reported by Jabir (RA), when the Prophet broke this fast because of the difficulty of the believers, he was told that some people insisted on fasting. The Prophet (SAW) said, “they are rebels, they are rebels.” (Muslim)
In the Saheehayn on Jabir as well, he said, “During one of the Prophet’s journeys, he saw a heavy crowd around a man who was being shaded. The Prophet (SAW) inquired, `What is this’? They said `He is fasting.’ The Prophet (SAW), said: `It is not righteousness to fast during a journey.” If the traveler feels the hardship during the day, then it is permissible to break the fast as long as they left the city. Because the Prophet (SAW) and the people all fasted until they reached a different city (Kara’ah Al-Ghamim), so when the journey became difficult, he ate, and so did the people.
If the traveler reaches his town during the day and he wasn’t fasting, then his fast will not be accepted if he started. Because, he wasn’t fasting in the beginning of the day, and fasting must be started before Fajr. But, does he have to stop eating for the rest of the day? The scholars have differed in this matter. Some have said, “It is obligatory for him to fast the rest of the day out of respect for the time (zaman).”
Some of the scholars say that they are not obliged to fast the rest of the day because it will not be of benefit to them. Ibn Masood (RA) said, “Whoever ate during the begging of day then should eat the rest of the day.” Meaning, if you had an excuse not to fast earlier on during the day, then it is permissible to eat the rest of the day. And this is from the school of Malik, and As-Shafi’e, as well as been related on the authority of Imam Ahmad.
Seventh: The person who is sick and they are divided into three categories.
1. The sick person who the fast doesn’t cause hardship for them, nor does it harm them. Then it is obligatory for them to fast, because they do not have an excuse.
2. The sick person who the fast becomes a difficulty on them, but it doesn’t harm them. This person should eat according to the ayah “Whoever amongst you is sick or traveling…” It is disliked for this person to fast, because he is not taking the clearance (rukhsa) from Allah, and they are hurting themselves.
3. The sick person whom it will harm them. It is obligatory for this person to eat. As Allah says, “And make not your own hands contribute to your destruction.” And as the Prophet (SAW) said, “Indeed your body has rights over you.” (Bukhari)
If someone gets sick during the day while they are fasting, then they make break their fast. Also if someone is feeling better and they decide to fast during the day, then this will not count because fasting starts after Fajr. Should this person continue to fast the rest of the day? There is a difference amongst the scholars concerning which we spoke about earlier with the traveler.
If a sick person finds out that fasting will make their condition worse, or will delay their healing, then they are allowed to eat. They can make up the days when they are better, and if their condition will never improve, then they have to feed a poor person just like we discussed in the fifth category.