Conditions for breaking fast in Ramadan

The fast breakers, except menstruation (hayd) and post child­birth bleeding (nifaas), including marital relations, self-pollution, eating and drinking; indulging in them do not break fast and require redemption of the fast unless three conditions are met:

(1) Knowledge (`Elim)

The person should have full knowledge that what he is about to do will invalidate his fast. If he is ignorant and does not know, the fast remains valid. Allah (SWT) said,

“...But there is no blame on you if you make a mistake therein: (What counts) is the intentions of your hearts.” (Al-Qu`ran, 33:5)

Doubt In The Break of Dawn

In the case of the ignorant person mentioned above, he can be either
(a) ignorant of the Islamic rule in the matter, as a person who did not know that a certain act will invalidate fast, or

(b) ignorant of the time, as a person who thinks the dawn has not broken and continues his sahur, finding out later that the sun has risen. Or he mistakenly breaks fast thinking the sun has set. In all these instances, the fast is valid, despite the ruling to the contrary by the majority of the scholars.

In a hadith by Bukhari (raa) when the following verse was re­vealed:

“...And eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread...” (Al-Qur'an, 2:187)

`Adyi bin Hatim (raa) told the Messenger of Allah (saas) that he placed two threads, one black and the other white, under this pillow as he sat to eat his sahuur. He continued to eat while glancing at the thread under his pillow to see whether he can differentiate between them. By the time he could differentiate between them, it was already daybreak. When he finished this story, the Messenger of Allah commented and explained: `Your pillow must be very vast (to cover the spaces of white and black threads)' What is really meant is the whiteness of the day and the darkness of the night.'

The point of reference in this hadith is that 'Adyi ate after Fajr and after the time he was supposed to stop, but the Prophet (saas) did not ask him to make up the day because he was igno­rant of the Shari'ah rule. In another report by Bukhari, Asma bint Abu Bakr (raa) said: “We broke fast one day in Ramadan, on a cloudy evening during the time of the Prophet, but after a while the sun appeared.” Again in this citation there is no re­port that the Prophet commanded those who mistakenly broke their fast to make up the day. If he had, it would have been re­ported because of its importance.

Elsewhere, Hisham bin `Urwah (raa), who was one of the re­porters of the above hadith, said: “They were not commanded to redeem the day.”

(2) Remembering (Dhikir)

The faster should remember before an act that it will invalidate his fast. If he forgets, the fast remains valid and resumes, as mentioned earlier.

Allah (SWT) states:
“...Our Lord! condemn us not if we forget or fall into error...” (Al-Qur`an, 2:286)

In Islam no one is condemned for an act done out of forgetful­ness or due to a mistake. It is human, after all, to forget.
In a hadith mentioned earlier it was observed:
“Whoever forgets while fasting and eats or drinks, he should complete his fast (of that day), for he has just been fed and quenched by Allah.” (Muslim and others)

Thus, regarding the eating and drinking of one who forgets, it is evident that he is not to be held responsible for his action. However, if he remembers or has been reminded, he should stop immediately, for if he continues to eat after that moment, the fast is invalid. Therefore, it is incumbent on anyone who sees a faster eating or drinking to remind him or her.

Allah (SWT) said:
“...Help you one another in righteousness and piety.” (Al-Qur`an, 5:2)

(3) Breaking Fast Willingly (Ikhtiyaar)

For the fast to become invalid, the person should break on his own accord, eating or drinking intentionally without force from anyone. For, if he is coerced under the threat of harm, the fast remains valid. Allah (SWT) states:

“ Anyone who, after accepting faith in Allah, ut­ters unbelief, except under coercion, his heart remaining firm in faith...” (Al-Qur`an, 16:106)

The point of reference here is if Allah absolves one from blame for claiming disbelief under compulsion (a person who has said a word of great sin), a person under similar conditions who has committed lesser offense deserves pardon.

Besides, the Mes­senger of Allah (saas) said in a hadith related by Ibn Abbas (raa):
“Allah absolves my community (Ummah) from respon­sibility if they make a mistake, or forget, or have been forced to do something against their own will.” (Ibn Ma­jah)

Relying on this citation, if, for instance, water is mistakenly swallowed during rinsing of the mouth or sniffing, or a person is forced under threat of harm to eat, the fast remains valid.

No comments