Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3: Actions that Void the Fast
The actions that void the fast may be divided into two types:
-1- those which void the fast and require that the day be made up later, and
-2- those which void the fast and, in addition to being made up, alsorequire an act of expiation.
If one eats due to forgetfulness, a mistake, or coercion, then he does nothave to make up the day later or perform any expiation. Abu Hurairah reportedthat the Prophet said: "Whoever forgets he is fasting, and eats or drinksis to complete his fast, as it was Allah who fed him and gave him something todrink." This is related by the group.
Commenting on it, at-Tirmizhi says: "Most of the scholars act accordingto this hadith. It is the opinion of Sufyan ath-Thauri, ash-Shaf'i, Ahrnad, andIshaq."
Abu Hanifah reported that the Prophet said: "Whoever breaks his fastduring Ramadan due to forgetfulness is not to make up the day later or toperform any expiation." This is related by ad-Daraqutni, al-Baihaqi, andal-Hakim, who says that it is sahih according to Muslim's criterion. Ibn Hajrsays that its chain is sahih.
Ibn 'Abbas reported that the Prophet said: "Allah will not hold anyoneof this nation responsible for what is done in error, forgetfulness or undercoercion." This is recounted by Ibn Majah, at-Tabarani, and al-Hakim.
If one is overcome and vomits unintentionally, he does not have to make upthe day later on or perform the acts of expiation. Abu Hurairah reported thatthe Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "Whoever is overcome and vomits isnot to make up the day." Whoever vomits intentionally must make up theday." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, Ibn Majah, IbnHibban, ad-Daraqutni, and al-Hakim. The latter called it sahih.
Of the report's credibility, al-Khattabi says: "I do not know of anydifference of opinion among the scholars on this point. If one vomitsunintentionally he is not in need of making up the day, while one who vomitsintentionally must make up the day later."
Even if such bleeding begins just before the sunset, the fast of that day isrendered void and the day must be made up. There is a consensus of scholars onthis point.
Ejaculation voids the fast even if it was just due to kissing, hugging, ormasturbation, and the day must be made up. If the ejaculation was due tolooking at or thinking about something, then it is like having a wet dreamduring the day and it, therefore, does not void the fast nor is there anyrequirement on the person. Similarly, ejaculation of seminal fluid does notharm the fast in any way.
Someone who uses a lot of salt for a reason other than eating, in which it goesdown to the stomach, breaks the fast according to most scholars.
This is because the intention is one of the pillars of the fast and, if onechanges his intention, he has nullified his fast.
In such cases, according to most scholars and the four imams, that person isto make up that day. However, there is a difference of opinion on this point.Ishaq, Dawud, Ibn Hazm, 'Ata, 'Urwah, al-Hassan al-Basri, and Mujahid maintainthat such a fast is sound and that the person need not make up the day later.They base their opinion on the fact that Allah says in the Qur'an: "Andthere is no sin for you in the mistakes you make unintentionally, but what yourhearts purpose [that will be a sin for you]."
The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Allah will not holdanyone of this nation responsible for what is done by mistake . . ."
'Abdurrazaq related that Mamar reported from al-Amash that Zaid ibn Wahbsaid: "The people broke their fast during the time of 'Umar ibnal-Khattab. I saw a big pot being brought from Hafsah's house and the peopledrank. Then the sun appeared from behind the clouds and this distressed thepeople. They said: 'We have to make up this day.' 'Umar asked: 'Why? By Allah,we have not involved ourselves in any sin.' "
Al-Bukhari records that Asma' bint Abu Bakr said: "We broke the fast ofRamadan when it was cloudy during the time of the Prophet, and then the sunappeared again."
Commenting on the subject, Ibn Taimiyyah says: "This points to twothings:
-1- that it is not preferred for one to delay breaking the fast until one isabsolutely certain that the sun has set . . . and
-2- that it is not necessary to make up such a day. If the Prophet wouldhave ordered them to make up that day, it would have become public knowledge.The fact that it has been related that they broke their fast [and that it hasnot been related that they were ordered to make up that day] points to the factthat they were not ordered to make up that day."
The only action, according to most scholars, which requires that both theday be made up and the act of expiation be performed is having sexual intercourseduring a day of Ramadan.
Abu Hurairah reported that a man came to the Messenger of Allah and said:"I am destroyed, O Messenger of Allah!" The Prophet asked: "Whathas destroyed you?" He said, "I had intercourse with my wife during aday of Ramadan." The Prophet asked: "Are you able to free aslave?" He said, "No". The Prophet asked: "Is it possiblefor you to fast for two consecutive months?" He said, "No." TheProphet asked: "Is it possible for you to feed sixty poor people?" Hesaid, "No." The Prophet said: "Then sit." A basket of dateswas brought to the Prophet and he said to the man: Give this in charity. Theman said: "To someone poorer than us? There is no one in this city who ispoorer than us!" The Prophet laughed until his molar teeth could be seenand said: "Go and feed your family with it." This is related by thegroup.
Most scholars say that both men and women have to perform the acts ofexpiation if they intentionally have intercourse during a day of Ramadan onwhich they had intended to fast. If they had intercourse out of forgetfulnessor not due to choice--that is, due to coercion, or they did not have theintention to fast, then the expiation is not obligatory on either one of them.If the woman was forced to have intercourse by the man, the expiation will beobligatory only upon the man.
According to ash-Shaf'i, the expiation is not obligatory upon the woman inany case--that is, regardless if it was due to choice or coercion, and she needonly make up the day of fasting that she voided. An-Nawawi says: "The mostauthentic opinion, in general, is that the expiation is obligatory upon the manonly and that there is nothing upon the woman. There is nothing obligatory onher in relation to this matter, as it is a matter of [paying] money [due tosomething related to] sexual intercourse and this refers to the duty of the manand not the woman. [In this way,] it is similar to the case of dowry."
Abu Dawud says: "Ahmad was asked about someone who had sex duringRamadan: 'Is there any expiation upon the woman?' He said: 'I have not heard ofany.' " In al-Mughni it is stated: "This refers to the fact that theProphet ordered the man who had had sexual intercourse to free a slave. He didnot order the woman to do anything, although he obviously knew that she was apartner in the act."
According to most scholars, acts of expiation must be performed in the orderthat was mentioned in the hadith. The first command is to free a slave. If thisis not possible, the person is to fast for two consecutive months. If that isnot possible, the person is to feed sixty poor people with meals that aresimilar to an average meal in his household. The person cannot jump from oneact to another unless he is not able to perform the prior order commanded.According to the Malikiyyah and a narration from Ahmad, the person is free tochoose any of the above three acts and that will be sufficient for him.
This latter opinion is based on the report from Malik and Ibn Juraij on theauthority of Humaid ibn 'Abdurrahman who reported that Abu Hurairah narratedthat a man broke his fast during Ramadan and the Prophet ordered him, as anexpiation, to free a slave or fast two months consecutively or to feed sixtypoor people. This is related by Muslim.
In the preceding hadith, the word "or" implies choice, butaccording to some, the reason for the expiation to be performed was differentand therefore the person could choose, as in the case of the expiation forbreaking an oath. Ash-Shaukani says: "In the different narrations, thereis evidence that the expiation is to be performed in order or according toone's choice. Those who relate it to be in order are more in number.Al-Muhallab and al-Qurtubi combined the narrations and said that the event [ofsomeone breaking the fast] occurred more than once."
Al-Hafizh differs: "This is not correct. It was just one event and theparts are all united. So the crux of the matter is that there was not more thanone event. Some combine the reports and say that following the order is preferred,but that one may choose. Others say the opposite."
Whoever has sexual intercourse (with his wife) on a day of Ramadan and,before he performs the act of expiation, has intercourse on another day ofRamadan, need only perform one act of expiation according to a narration fromAhmad and the Hanafiyyah. This is because there is a punishment for acts thatare repeated, and if the expiation or punishment is not carried out, all theacts are taken together as one. According to Malik, ash-Shaf'i, and Ahmad, theperson must perform the expiation twice, as each day of Ramadan is a separateact of worship. If the expiation is obligatory because the person voided thefast, the separate acts are not combined together.
All scholars agree that if the person intentionally had intercourse during aday of Ramadan and has performed the expiation and then has intercourse onanother day of Ramadan, then another expiation becomes obligatory upon him.Similarly, they are in agreement that if one has intercourse twice during aday, before performing the expiation for the first act, then he need onlyperform one act of expiation. If he has performed the expiation for the firstone, then he need not perform an act of expiation for the second, according tomost scholars. Ahmad says that in such a case, he must perform a total of twoacts of expiation.