Ramadhaan - A Date with Dr Zakir
When is Fasting Obligatory and Exempted?

Episode 4
(Duration – 52 minutes)

Yusuf Chambers: Brothers and Sisters in Islam and humanity, Assalamualaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh, may the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah (Swt) be on all of you. Welcome to our show, Ramadhaan – A Date with Dr. Zakir. I am your host Yusuf Chambers and today we would be discussing and InshaAllah answering the question when is Fasting obligatory and exempted. Dr Zakir, Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh.


Dr. Zakir: Walaikum Assalam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh.


Yusuf Chambers: Dr. Zakir like I said we have a mountain to climb tonight with this topic. I am sure there are many people who will benefit from your answers tonight, InshaAllah.


Dr. Zakir: InshaAllah.


Yusuf Chambers: The first of those is fasting obligatory upon all Muslims or is there a distinct group that Allah refers to when it comes to fasting in the month of Ramadhaan particularly?


Dr. Zakir: Alhumdulillah, Was Salaatu Was Salaam Aala Rasoolillah Wa Ala Aalihi Wa As’haabihi Wa Ajma’een, Amma Baad.


There are 5 conditions to be fulfilled to make fasting obligatory upon any person. 


No. 1 is He or she should be a Muslim. 


No. 2 The person should be sane.


No. 3 He or she should have reached the age of puberty that means he or she should be an adult.


No. 4 The person should be healthy.


No. 5 The person should not be is a state of traveling; he or she should be settled.


There are additional 4 conditions for a female to be fulfilled, if it’s a woman, if it’s a lady, if it’s a female there are additional 4 conditions to be fulfilled to make it obligatory on her.


No. 1 is that she should not be menstruating.


She should not be in a position where she has post-natal bleeding. 


She should not be breastfeeding and


She should not be pregnant. 

So for a woman if all these 9 conditions are fulfilled then it becomes obligatory on her and for the male only the first 5 conditions have to be fulfilled to make it compulsory for them to fast in the month of Ramadhaan.


Yusuf Chambers:  From what you’ve said that my understanding is that fasting is a Muslim only prerogative, is that correct? 


Dr. Zakir: That’s right! it is compulsory only for a Muslim to fast. It is not a requirement for a non-Muslim or unbeliever to fast and the reason is that Allah says in the Quran,


Allah says in Surah Noor ch. no. 24 verse no. 39 that 


“The deeds of a non-believer, a person who is a non-Muslim, the deeds of an unbeliever is like a mirage in a desert and the thirsty person thinks that there is water but when he reaches there, he does not find anything else but he finds Allah and Allah will pay him for his deeds and Allah is swift in taking of accounts”


That means in the hereafter the unbeliever for his deeds, he’ll get nothing. And Allah is swift in taking accounts. So for an unbeliever all the deeds, they are useless in the hereafter because all the deeds have to be accompanied with the intention. And as we discussed yesterday that one of the criteria, an important criteria for a person’s fast to be accepted is the Neeya, it is the intention and intention is that the fast should only be for Allah (swt) and no one else. So if a non-Muslim, if an unbeliever who does not believe in Allah (swt) where is the question of him doing the Neeya, of doing the intention for fasting for Allah (swt). So that’s the reason it is not required for an unbeliever to fast. If he fasts without the intention, it will be just like anything else, it will not be an act of worship. It will not be a fast as it’s considered in Islam so therefore the Neeya, the intention is very important. So for unbeliever any act of worship until he has faith, until he believes, until he believes that there is only one Allah (swt), unless he says Kalmaa ‘la ilaha illAllah Muhammadur rasulullah’ that there is no God but Allah and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the messenger of Allah. all the acts of worship, they are useless for the hereafter.


But the moment a non-believer, a person who is not a Muslim, he accepts Islam for him it becomes obligatory. If he accepts Islam in the middle month of Ramadhaan from that moment onwards fasting becomes compulsory for him. But the past, Allah will not take into account. 


Allah says in the Quran, Allah says in Surah Anfal cjh. no. 8 verse no. 38 that 


“Say to the unbelievers that if they start believing, the past will be forgiven” 


That means the moment a non-Muslim accepts Islam, all his past sins will be forgiven. But the moment he accepts Islam from that time it becomes obligatory on him to fast.


Yusuf Chambers: Wow! I myself fasted half of Ramadhaan without being a Muslim. So now I know the answer.. ha ha… now I’d like to come to the age of maturity, the coming of age as we say in the west. In some places the coming of age is noted as being 18 and others 14, as young as 14 what does Islam specify as being the coming of age?


Dr. Zakir: As far as the rules of different countries are concerned in India, the age of adulthood or maturity is 18, Indonesia it is 19, in UK it is 16 years of age. Every country, the age of maturity what the government or the people of that country, the law it is different depending upon their own understanding. But in Islam fasting becomes compulsory; Salaah becomes compulsory, the acts of worship become compulsory once a person reaches the age of puberty. And there are basically 3 criteria if any one of these three criteria are fulfilled then the person is said to have reached the age of puberty. 


No. 1 is that growth of course pubic hair around the private parts.


No. 2 the person reaches the age of 15 or there is emission of semen in a wet dream or otherwise or if it’s a female then she starts her menstrual cycles, the day the girl starts her menstrual cycle she is supposed to have reached the age of her puberty irrespective she may be below the age of 10. But the moment she reaches, the day she starts her menstrual cycle, she is considered to be a person who has reached the age of puberty. 


Yusuf Chambers: That seems interesting because as you mentioned that it could be as young as 10 but a girl will reach puberty and often csaid in the west.


Dr. Zakir: And even now it’s quite common now recently an article came a couple of months back that in Delhi it is not uncommon for a girl of the age of 10 to start her menstrual cycles. Only if it is before the age of 9 there is a point to be worried about. Same in the western world previously it wasn’t there when I did my medical collage. The age was said that in the western world about 12 to 13 in that year it was 13 to 14 but now because of the change in diet, change of climate etc. all this has an effect on the age of puberty. But now it’s quite common that girls of the age of 10 even before 10 by the age of 9, many of them they start the menstrual period. 


Yusuf Chambers: Right! And they seem to be maturing quicker than the boys as well. That’s another question.


Dr. Zakir: That’s right.


Yusuf Chambers: Now Dr. Zakir on to the second category of people, we talking about exemptions, could you list or mention all of the different categories of people that are exempted from fasting during the month of Ramadhaan?


Dr. Zakir: There are in total according to me 13 categories of people who are exempted from fasting. 


The first is if a person is a unbeliever, if he is a non-Muslim. 


No. 2 if he or she is a minor.


No. 3 if the person is insane.


No. 4 if it’s a lady and she is menstruating, she will not fast. 


No. 5 if she has her post natal bleeding, she is exempted from fasting. 


No. 6 if she is pregnant, then she is exempted. 


No. 7 if she is breastfeeding, she is exempted. 


No. 8 if the person is ill or sick, he or she is exempted.


No. 9 if the person is disabled.


No. 10 that if the person is very elderly, has reached a very old age. 


No. 11 if they person is traveling.


No. 12 if the person is talking part in Jihaad or a fight in the cause of Allah (swt).


And no. 13 under compulsion, under compulsion, if someone forces and if the person doesn’t fast, he or she is exempted. These are in short the 13 categories in which a person is exempted from fasting.


Yusuf Chambers: Excellent! Now I think we need to discuss each category on its own merits. Dr. Zakir, do all of the people that you have mentioned in the exempted categories have to make up their fast later on?


Dr. Zakir: Out of the 13 categories which I mentioned, the first 3 categories, they don’t have to make up their fast later on i.e. the non-Muslim, that’s a person who is a minor and a person who is an insane. 


Out of the remaining 10 categories,


2 categories a person who is disabled for long and a person who is very elderly these 2 people also don’t have to make up for their fast but they have to pay a ransom, the feeding of a poor person for every fast they miss. 


As far as the other 8 categories are concerned, the moment the condition in which they are, it gets reversed then they have to make up for the fasts that they have missed. For example in the 8 categories are the menstruating lady, moment she finishes her menstruation then she should make up for her fast as soon as possible before the next Ramadhaan. 


A woman who is in the period of post-natal bleeding. The moment it gets over she has to fast.


If a lady is pregnant, the moment the pregnancy gets over and the post-natal bleeding gets over then she has to fast. 


If a lady, the fourth category if she is breast feeding after the breast feeding gets over then she has to fast. 


For a person who is sick, the moment he gets healthy, he or she has to fast. 


Similarly a person who is traveling, moment he finishes his traveling, he has to fast. 


And a person who is taking part in Jihad, fighting in the cause of Allah (swt) moment the fight gets over he or she has to fast. 


Similarly a person who is in compulsion and is not fasting the moment the compulsion is removed, he or she has to fast. But natural all these have to be done before the next Ramadhaan.


Yusuf Chambers:  What’s your thoughts on children fasting in the month of Ramadhaan before they get to the age  


Dr. Zakir: As I mentioned earlier it is not compulsory for a child who has not reached the age of puberty to fast, it’s not compulsory they’re exempted. 


As our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) said…


Yusuf Chambers: (saws)


Dr. Zakir: There’s a Hadith in Tirmidhi Hadith no. 1423, our beloved Prophet said that 


“The pen has been lifted up from 3 categories of people: A child until he reaches puberty, a sleeping person until he wakes up and a person who is insane until he becomes of sound mind.”


So these 3 categories of people, the beloved Prophet said the pen has been lifted that means it’s not obligatory on them to fast. Same as prayer also, they are not obliged but it’s good to encourage our children to fast as early as possible though it’s not compulsory and there is a Hadith which is mentioned in 


Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 3 in the Book of fasting Hadith no. 1960 


where the beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws), he tells to the people of Ansar, he sends a messenger and tells them to inform that 


“Those who are fasting they should continue fasting, those who are not fasting should as till the end of the day and after that the people, the Sahabas they said we fasted and we will ask our children to fast and we’ll take them in the Masajids. And if they cried we give them toys of wool so that they keep themselves busy till the time of Iftaar” 


That means this is how the Sahabas, they encouraged their children to fast at an early age though it was not compulsory and this is a good habit that many a times we’ve seen nowadays that many of the parents they discourage the children from fasting even if the child is enthusiastic and says I want to fast many parents say that at this young age, it’s not required, don’t fast. They fail to realize that fasting at a young age ill not cause them any harm in fact it will give them a training to fast when they reach puberty. 


And Allah says in the Quran in Surah Tahreem ch. no. 66 verse no. 6 


Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo” 


“O you who believe save yourselves and your families from the torment of hellfire whose fuel is men and stones”


Allah is reminding the people that don’t only save yourself even your children from the hellfire whose fuel is men and stones. So it is good to encourage our children to fast at an early age. And that’s what we do in school that we are running, the Islamic International School. We encourage them to fast at an early age even when they are in Junior KG or in Sr. KG at the age of 4, 5, 6 we encourage them. And at this age, the age of 4, 5, 6 we say that the person who fasts the maximum in the class will get a gift, will get a reward. And that encourages them and when they reach Std. 1st i.e. approximately the age of 6, Alhumdulillah most of the children fast the full month. And by the time they reach Std. 3rd that’s about 7, 8 years almost all of them fast the full month of Ramadhaan though it is not compulsory. 


So Alhumdulillah and when they see other children fasting, imagine most of the parents, they tell them O its not required but the children they force that we want to fast because of competition. Because of seeing their friends, all of them fasting. So if they don’t fast, they feel ashamed though it’s not a Fard on them. But the atmosphere you create don’t tell them it is Fard to fast, the atmosphere of competition, the atmosphere of loving each other and loving the religion, loving Allah and His Rasool, so in this way Alhumdulillah like it is said in a Hadith, Muhammad (saws) said mentioned in Tirmidhi that 


“When a child reaches the age of 7 we should teach him to offer Salaah and at the age of 10 you can even use force”

So many scholars say you can do the same thing for fasting. But we start at a much early age but it is not force that we use, we use love affection and gifts and rewards and Alhumdulillah it has a tremendous effect on the children. 


Yusuf Chambers: That’s beautiful! Next question, very important one. One of the categories you’ve mentioned an insane person is exempted but why is this?


Dr. Zakir:  The insane person is exempted because the same Hadith which I quoted earlier 


Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) said, its mentioned in the Hadith of Tirmidhi, Hadith no. 1423 that 


“The pen is lifted from 3 categories of people. A child till he reaches puberty, a person who is sleeping till he wakes up and a person who is insane till he becomes of sound mind”


So this the Prophet has exempted and they are free from fasting, the reason is because one of the criteria for the fasting to be accepted is your Neeya, is intention. And intention can only be made by a person who is sane, of sound in mind, only if he is sound can he willingly intend to fast if he is insane, he cannot. So that’s the reason if an insane person whether he fasts or not it doesn’t make a difference at all. It is, he is exempted. And once he becomes sane he does not have to compensate also for the fast he has missed because he is not responsible for that, he is not held responsible. So that’s the beauty of Islam, they only held responsible those people who should be held responsible.


Yusuf Chambers: Only those people who have got the responsibility to make the intention knowingly. 


Dr. Zakir: That’s right.


Yusuf Chambers: Okay, that’s excellent. Next question from the point of view of a woman who is undergoing menstruation post-natal bleeding is it prohibited or optional for them to fast this Ramadhaan?


Dr. Zakir: As far as the woman who are undergoing menstrual cycles or post-natal bleeding according to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws), its mentioned in Sahih Bukhari, also in Sahih Muslim that it is forbidden for a woman to fast who is bleeding due to menstrual cycle or post-natal bleeding. 


So it is not optional, it is forbidden. And the reason is because when the blood flows out in a lady, in a woman, she loses a lot of blood and on top of that if she fasts it will not be good for her health. So Allah (swt), it is His Mercy that he has exempted them and made it compulsory not to fast otherwise it may be damaging for her health. And Allah (swt) does not want to overburden any of the human beings. So that’s the reason they are exempted from fasting and even in the middle of the day if the menstruation begins, they have to break their fast. Even if it begins a few minutes before sunset, they have to break the fast but they have to compensate later on. But if they are undergoing the menstrual period and if the period stops just before Fajr even if they did not have a bath, they can start their fast. But if it ends even a few minutes after Fajr, they cannot fast. They have to break their fast but they have to compensate it later on 


Yusuf Chambers: The next query really is regarding a woman who is pregnant or is nursing, breast-feeding, nursing very young children, why are they exempted? 


Dr. Zakir: According to a verse of the Quran in Surah Baqarah ch. no. 2 verse no. 185 that 


“If a person is ill and traveling he can make up his prescribed periods of day of fasting later on” 


So most of the Fuqas, most of the scholars, they say that these women who are pregnant and breast-feeding, they come under the category of those who are ill. So therefore if they want they can abstain from fasting but there are clear-cut Sahih Ahadith in which the Prophet has exempted these women from fasting mentioned in 


Sunan Ibn Maajah Hadith no. 1667 that our beloved Prophet says


“The obligation for a person to fast and part of the prayer has been lifted from a traveler. And the obligation for fasting has been lifted from a lady whose pregnant and who is breast-feeding”


Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) also said its mentioned in 


Sunan Nasai in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 2274 that 


“Allah (swt) has relieved the traveler from fasting and half his prayer and Allah (swt) has relieved the pregnant woman and the woman who is breast-feeding from fasting.” 


So based on these 2 hadith also, its clear cut that the pregnant woman and the women who are breast-feeding, they’ve been exempted and the logical reason that one can think is because when a lady, she’s pregnant or she is breast-feeding the food she eats is not only for herself, its for herself as well as the baby she is carrying or the baby she is feeding. 

So but natural if her fasting makes it difficult for her or it becomes difficult for her baby then she is exempted from fasting. But if she is in her early stage of pregnancy and if she feels or if she is breast-feeding and if she feels the fasting will not cause any damage to her health and will not cause a damage to the baby then she should fast. If she has a doubt, if she can do it with hardships as long as there is no damage to herself, to her health and the baby she has an option to fast or not to fast. But if it’s causing damage to her health or to the baby, it becomes haraam for her to fast because Allah (Swt) does not want to lay a burden more than what a person can bear. And in this regard that’s the reason Allah has exempted them. 


Later on when they are healthy and they stop breast-feeding or when the pregnancy ends after post-natal bleeding may be then they have to make up for the fast they have missed before the next Ramadhaan. 


Yusuf Chambers: Regarding a person who is a bit incapacitate due to illness, headache or stomachache are they also exempted from fasting? 


Dr. Zakir Naik: The people who are ill, they are exempted. Allah says in the Quran in 


Surah Baqarah ch. no. 2 verse no. 185 that 


“If a person is ill and traveling he can make up his prescribed periods of day of fasting later on” 


but that does not mean if a person is suffering from a headache or a stomachache or a cough he should not fast.


If a person can fast if he is sick, it becomes compulsory for him to fast. The only time he is exempted is if fasting becomes difficult due to his illness or if he fasts, his illness would be increased or his health would detoriate or its compulsory for him to take some medicine due to his illness then it becomes prohibited otherwise for small issues or for small reasons like cough, like cold, like headache, like stomachache fasting is compulsory. 


And the reason Allah (swt) has exempted those people who are ill so Allah (swt) does not want to put a burden,


Allah says in the Quran in Surah Baqarah ch. no. 2 verse no. 195 that 


“Do not make your own hands the cause of your own destruction”


If I am ill and if I know that fasting is going to cause loss for me, will detoriate my health it’s like killing myself. So Allah says its prohibited. So if I know fasting will detoriate my health then it becomes prohibited. 


Similarly Allah says in the Quran, in Surah Nisa ch. no. 4 verse no. 29 that 


“Kill not yourselves for Allah (swt) is the most merciful”


So causing a loss or a damage to your own health, to yourself is prohibited in Islam. So this exemption is mainly for these people for whom it is difficult or it will detoriate the health not for small ailments. 


Yusuf Chambers: okay, you should be very careful to make sure illness is reasonably severe 


Dr. Zakir Naik: That’s right 

Yusuf Chambers: Next point if you like regarding the situation of a disabled person why is it, a disabled person has to pay a ransom due to the fact that they haven’t fasted 


Dr. Zakir Naik: Allah says in the Quran in Surah Baqara ch. 2 verse 184 that 


“If it is difficult for a person to fast he can either fast or pay a ransom, that is feeding of an indigent person or a poor person” 


The reason is that if a person is disabled or if he’s sick permanently and there are no signs that he will become healthy where he can observe a number of fasts. So the question on him compensating, now the question for him to keep the fast later on doesn’t arise at all. So that’s the reason for him there is ransom that he has to pay something that is equivalent to feeding an indigent person or feed indigent person for every fast that he has missed.


Yusuf Chambers: Dr. Zakir regarding the elderly people, which category of elderly people are exempted from fasting?


Dr. Zakir Naik: Allah says in the Quran in Surah Baqara ch. 2 verse 184 that 


“If it is difficult for a person to fast he can either fast or he can give a ransom that is feeding of a poor person”


As far as those elderly person who exempted are those people whose health is so weak that if they fast it will damage their health. A person whose reached a very elderly age the age is not fixed whether it is 60 or 70 or 80 or 90 depending upon health condition, due to the old age if his health condition is bad which prevents him from fasting then is the time where he should feed one indigent person. 


And there is a hadith of our beloved Prophet Muhammad(saws), Sahih Bukhari Vol. 6 hadith no. 4505 where beloved Prophet said that 


“The old elderly men and women they need not fast but they have to feed one poor person for every fast they skip”


And similarly there are various hadith’s for e.g. 


if you read Daara Qutni wol. 2 hadith no. 208 it says that 


“If a person who has to give a ransom he has to feed a poor person one mud of wheat, one mud is equal to two hands of stretched full of wheat that is what you should feed. 


There is another hadith which says in Daara Qutni hadith no. 270 that Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) one year when he became very old and he could not fast so at the end of the month he called thirty poor people and he fed them with bread crums and meal…aaa.. Proper meal for thirty poor people. So it mean that for every fast you miss you should feed one poor person but coming back to the question that if the elderly person is of sound mind and not healthy that’s the time he has to feed a person or give the ransom but if a person is elderly and he becomes insane, if he’s not of sound mind then he doesn’t have to fast he’s exempted neither does he has to give any ransom neither he has to compensate, because he’s like a child as our beloved Prophet said earlier which I mentioned 


Yusuf Chambers:..Ahaan…..


Dr. Zakir Naik: The pen have been lifted from three categories of people, person whose a child..reaches puberty. So these people again become like children or they become like a person who is insane, we say that the person has become snide, if he reaches an age in which his mental stability is not there, he need not fast neither he has to compensate the fast later on neither he has to pay any ransom 


Yusuf Chambers:..Okay….  this one answers that one. Regarding the situation of a traveler, is it forbidden or optional aaa…for a traveler to fast.


Allah says in the Qur’an in Surah Baqara ch. 2 verse no. 185 that 

“If you are ill or on a journey the prescribed no. of day can be made later on”


So this is a concession given that means if you want to fast you can fast if you want to exempt yourself exempt but later on you have to make up the period. Allah (swt) here has compared the traveler and kept him or her in the same category as a person who is ill because 


Our beloved prophet Muhamamd (saws) said it’s mentioned in Sahih Bukhari vol. 3 hadith no. 1804 our beloved Propeht said that 


“Traveling is a punishment when a person goes on a journey it’s like a punishment”


That means it’s difficult he has to undergo many hardships and it is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari vol. no.3 book of fasting hadith no. 1943 


There was a sahaba by the name of Hamza (may Allah be pleased with him) and he use to always fast on the journey so he asked the Prophet that should he fast on the journey or not? So the Prophet said if you wish to fast you can fast if you don’t want to fast you don’t fast. 


That means it was optional. A person wanted to fast he could fast, if he didn’t want he need not fast for e.g. if a person whose used to traveling and he does not find any hardship and if he fasts there is no  problem it’s good for him or if a person feels hardship and doesn’t want to fast then he need not fast. 


And this we come to know from the hadith of Hazrat Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) he said it’s mentioned in Sahih Bukhari vol. no. 3 hadith no. 1947 where Hazrat Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said that 


“When we used to travel with the Prophet so the companions they fasted some of them did not fast but those who kept the fast did not criticize those who did not keep the fast and those who did not fast they did not criticize those who fasted. So basically it’s optional those who can take the strain and want to fast they can, those who don’t want it’s upto them 


Yusuf Chambers: Logically from there we can deduce that it’s optional 


Dr. Zakir: That’s right 


Yusuf Chambers: But if a person decides to opt the fast while traveling are there any situation where they get more reward from Allah 


Dr. Zakir: Allah (swt) says in the previous verse in Surah Baqara ch. No. 2 verse no. 184 that 


“Those who are ill or on a journey they can make up their fast later on or for a person for whom fasting is difficult he can either fast or he can give a ransom feeding of an indigent person but let them know that fasting is better”


So this proves that fasting is better though they are exempted if they want there’s no sin on them they can keep them later on but it is better and we find in several hadith 


If we read the hadith of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) it’s mentioned in Sahih Muslim vol. no. 2 book of fasting hadith no. 2492 that 


“There was a time when the Sahabas they traveled with the Prophet and because it was very hot none of them fasted except the Prophet Muhammad (saws) and one sahaba Abdullah bin Abi Rawa. 


There’s another hadith several other hadith in Sahih Muslim vol. no. 2 book of fasting hadith no. 2472 & 2473 that 


“The companions they traveled with the Prophet and some of the companions fasted and some did not fast and when the Prophet when he came to know that it was becoming difficult for the companions to fast he broke the fast”


In another hadith Sahih Muslim vol. no. 2 book of fasting hadith no. 2472 


“Once when the Prophet in the year of the victory of Makkah goes to a place along with the sahabas and he realizes that some of the sahabas who were fasting they were finding it difficult to fast so the Prophet at the as prayer time he took a goblet of water and he drank he broke the fast so that it becomes easier for the others”


But form all these hadith we come to know that the Prophet preferred to fast unless it is was difficult and he broke the fast why? Because the other companions they found it difficult he did not wanted to put them in a critical situation therefore he broke the fast but from here we come to know that fasting is better if you can if you cannot then there’s is no problem you may not fast and make up the fast later on.


Further we come to know it is preferable to fast why? Because if a person delays his fasting if he’s traveling and God forbid if his life comes to an end or whatever it is then that would yet be a thing which is left for him to do a Faraidh. So if a person can fast while traveling it’s preferable that he fasts and furthermore when you are traveling in the month of Ramadhaan, when the people around you they fast so it’s easier in that sense when you come back home and the month of Ramadhaan is over so if you individually want to fast when no one else is fasting it becomes many a times difficult so that’s one of the reasons also that if you can do it with the hardship and fast while traveling it’s better and even sawaab is more.


Yusuf Chambers: Why is a person that is part taking in Jihad exempted from fasting?


Dr. Zakir: When a person is talking part in Jihad but natural fasting will make him weak and he will not be able to perform that well in Jihad while fighting in the cause of Allah (swt). 


That’s the reason our beloved Prophet said, its mentioned in Sahih Muslim Vol. no. 2 ch. no. 420 in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 2486 that 


“When Prophet Muhammad (saws) was going for Jihad, he told the Sahabas that we are approaching the enemies and if you don’t fast it will make you stronger so break the fast” 


After the statement some of the Sahabas, they broke the fast, some of them yet continued fasting. The next time they stopped, the Prophet said; 


“Fasting will make you weak. If you don’t fast you will be stronger so break your fast and I command you to break it”


That’s the time when everyone broke. So therefore but natural when we fast, it will make our health stronger. So we can fight in the way of Allah (swt) in a better way and there is more chances of victory, InshaAllah. 


Yusuf Chambers: Okay, excellent. And Dr. Zakir we’ve received as you’re aware thousands of questions from out viewers relating to the topic of Ramadhaan and particularly when is fasting obligatory and exempted? So we got a number of questions we gotta go through now. 


First one is from one of our viewers and he asked the question what is the maximum no. of days as a traveler that he can stay in a given city continuously and be exempted from his fast. For instance he goes on to say.. amm… if he is a student, he’s giving the game way here, if he is a student and he has traveled abroad for 2 months, is he exempted from his fast in Ramadhaan? 


Dr. Zakir: Most of the scholars what they say that what is ruling for Salaah when a person travels as a Hadith I quoted earlier that 


Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) said, its mentioned in Sunan Ibn Maajah (Vol no. 3 Book of Fasting) Hadith no. 1667


That our beloved Prophet says that 


“Allah (swt) has exempted a person from fasting and half of his prayers when he is traveling and exempted are women from fasting when she is pregnant” etc. 


So the ruling what is there for Salaah as a traveler, it is the same as far a person who is fasting. And most of the Fuqahas, most of the scholars though there is a difference of opinion but as for salaah they say that maximum a person can stay in a city, in one place after he has left his own hometown is for 4 days. So most of the scholars they agree that same thing is for fasting that maximum they can stay in a city and can be considered as a traveler is for 4 days. If they extend then they will not be considered as a traveler. Though there is a difference of opinion in different schools of thought but the majority consider this. 


Coming to the second part of the question that if a person goes for studies and stays in a foreign land maybe for two months or three months several months together will he be considered as a traveler No…if this condition he’s staying for a long time or months together as afar as fasting is concerned he will have to fast all the obligatory fast in the month of Ramadhaan.


Yusuf Chambers: Next question: if a fasting person if he’s been fasting the whole day as I used to travel, in the afternoon he starts to travel in the afternoon, he starts his travel in the after noon is it compulsory on him to break his fast or is it optional, what is the best solution for him?


Dr. Zakir: if a person starts to travel midday or in the afternoon and if he is in the hometown till afternoon it is fardh for him to keep the fast atleast till that time. Only time a traveler is permitted to break the fast is when he leaves the hometown if he decides that he is going to leave in the afternoon and it’s not possible that he does not fast in the morning he has to fast in the morning because there can be change of plan if he decides in the afternoon he may change his plan so then it will be a sin on him. So if a person who is traveling the only time he will break the fast is when he leaves the city limits


Yusuf Chambers: I see…


Dr. Zakir: Until he hasn’t left he should not break, so if he leaves the city limits in the afternoon he is permitted to break, it is not that he should break but he feels there’s not hardship he can continues fasting and complete his fast it’s optional


Yusuf Chambers: Okay excellentNext question is from one of our viewers who is a pilot and he considered himself to be in a perpetual state of traveling every day he is traveling on the plane… long distances and umm.. he is asking, is he exempted therefore from all fasts?


Dr. Zakir: If a persons profession is such that he is a pilot or if he is a sailor and he has to travel and if he leaves his hometown and goes on a way so but natural he is considered as a traveler he is exempted from fasting but he has to make up his fast before the next of Ramadhaan. So if he travels a lot then he’ll have to fast in the holidays, whatever holidays he gets and when he’s stationed in hometown. So if he does not want to fast he is exempted because he is considered as a traveler but he’ll have to make up the fast as soon as possible before the next Ramadhaan unless he is traveling on a very long flight maybe from India to New York which is more than twelve hours but if the flight is a short flight, I don’t think so there’ll be problem.


Yusuf Chambers: Okay next question is from a person who usually works and or he stays usually stays in Saudi Arabia and the last Ramadhaan he started his fasting in Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia has a difference of two days or it did last year anyways aammm…from India which is his hometown so he came to his hometown and by the time he reached he’d already fasted two days in Saudi Arabia. He wants to know does he have to finish thirty days and then be left with two days in his hometown which the other people around him are still fasting. Should he consider this to be the point of reference? Or Saudi Arabia to be the point of reference I think is the question. 


Dr. Zakir: According to the hadith of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) it’s mentioned in Sahih Hadith of 


Tirmidhi in the book of Fasting hadith no. 697 the Prophet (saws) said:

“Start your fast with the people who are starting the fast”


 Means if you live in a country or live in a place if those people are fasting you should fast and break your fast when the people around you, when they break the fast”


So if he lives in Saudi Arabia, he should start his fast with the people of Saudi Arabia, if in between in Ramadhaan if he goes back to his original home in India then he should fast till the time his people are fasting and I’m aware that many a times there’s a difference of a couple of days so if he starts his fast two days earlier and he goes to India by the time he finishes his thirty fasts the people of India may yet have a one or two fasts left. But yet he has to continue fasting till the people of India even though it exceeds more than thirty days it may be thirty one sometimes thirty two days because the hadith says that fast with the people who are fasting around you and break the fast with the people who are breaking the fast around you but if it’s the vice-verca if he starts the fast earlier two days late and then comes to Saudi Arabia then maybe he’ll fast 28 days in this case he has to start with the people of India end with the people of Saudi Arabia and he cannot fast on the Eid day because it is Haraam but after that he has to atleast fast one more day because in any lunar month is 29 days. He should atleast fast additional one or two days to make up for 29 or 30 days so that it doesn’t mean that he has fasted less than the minimum requirement.


Yusuf Chambers: Next question from the gentleman who says he is an engineer in the final year would be graduate student his final year examination lies in the month of Ramadhaan we’re talking about last Ramadhaan I believe his mother and his parents advised him not to observe the fast during the month of Ramadhaan because it may effect his examination result. Is he exempted from fasting on this basis? 


Dr. Zakir: A person who does not want to fast only because of the examination it is not a valid reason even though it may be a final exam and maybe the parents may coax that don’t fast if you fast then maybe your concentration will go down and the results will become less even if the parents force at this point of time the child the son or the daughter should not listen to the parents. Because if the parent tell you something which is against the teaching of Allah and His Rasul (saws) that’s the only time where they can disobey their parents.


Allah says in the Qur’an in Surah Ankaboot ch. 29 verse no. 8 as well as in Surah Luqman ch. No. 31 verse no. 15 that 


“If your parents force you or strive [do jihad] to make you worship somebody else besides Allah (Swt) do not obey them but yet live with them with love and companionship”


So here Qur’an gives permission because that is not a legitimate reason that because the examination is there they don’t want to fast so that they can get good marks. Getting marks in the Aakhirah, doing a faraidh is more important that’s the reason this is not a valid reason and the person should yet fast, InshaAllah Allah will help him and he will do better in examination the help of Allah is more important than any other help 


And Allah says in the Qur’an in Surah Ale-Imran ch. No. 3 verse no. 160 


“If Allah helps you none can overcome you, if Allah forsakes you, who is there then who can help you so let the believers put their trust in Allah (swt)”


So my advice is that even if it’s an examination, let them fast InshaAllah their concentration will be better and they’ll get better marks InshaAllah.


Yusuf Chambers: More Taqwa and trust in Allah that’s the answer good. Another question relating to travel, travel and fast what’s the minimum distance of travel during which are exempted from fasting.


This is the same answer as for Salaah, what is the distance considered for a traveler so that he can do Qasar in his salaah…shorten his salaah it’s he same for fasting. Though there is a difference of opinion but the majority of scholars say it is 16 farsaq each farsaq is for 3 miles so it is more than 48 miles if a person travels. Or if a person travels more than 80 kilometers he’s considered as a traveler but some scholars say it’s 83 some say 84 kilometers so it is said more than 80 kilometers more than 84 kilometers a person is considered as a traveler but the basic thing is he should not be in his own hometown there are some cities which are very large and the distance of one city to another it can be more than 84 kilometers then he cannot be considered as a traveler, he should be in a foreign city. 


Yusuf Chambers: So Dr. Zakir we yet again reached the end of another show and Alhumdulillah I’m so glad you are able to answer some of the viewer’s questions and it was so nice and such nice answers and very succinct as well Alhumdulillah.


Brother and Sisters I hope that you would’ve benefited immensely from the answer that we got from Dr. Zakir today from the topic that we’ve selected. 


And tomorrow I hope you’ll join us at the same time when we will be discussing, Acts which invalidate the fast or acts which are prohibited whilst fasting same time tomorrow. 


Assalam wa Alaykum Wa Rahamtullahi Wa Barakatuhu