Is it bad or wrong to miss fasts when travelling?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

No, it is not bad or wrong to miss fasts when travelling. Rather this option has been provided in the Holy Quran and demonstrated in the noble Sunnah of the Holy Prophet ﷺ. However, it is best to fast if it does not cause difficulty.

فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ وَمَنْ كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ

So whoever amongst you witnesses the month, then let him fast. But whoever is unwell or on a journey, then (make up the) number (from) other days. Allah wills ease for you and does not will hardship for you. (Surah al-Baqarah, 185).

The Holy verse above clearly permits a traveller or sick person to fast other days in lieu of the days of travel or sickness. This is further clarified in the following Hadith:

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ قَالَ: كُنَّا نُسَافِرُ مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَلَمْ يَعِبِ الصَّائِمُ عَلَى المُفْطِرِ، وَلاَ المُفْطِرُ عَلَى الصَّائِمِ

Anas bin Malik (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) said, ‘We used to travel with the Prophet ﷺ, and neither did the fasting person criticise the one who was not fasting, nor did the one who was not fasting criticise the one who was fasting.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, 1947).

It is important to recognise that strictness is not appropriate regarding issues the Sharia has not established strictness for. Too many Muslims treat others harshly regarding issues that are flexible. At the same time, such Muslims are often accepting of issues that are truly concerning. This is primarily due to ignorance, although sectarianism plays a role too.

فَعَلَّلَ التَّأْخِيرَ إلَى إدْرَاكِ الْعِدَّةِ بِإِرَادَةِ الْيُسْرِ، وَالْيُسْرُ أَيْضًا لَا يَتَعَيَّنُ فِي الْفِطْرِ، بَلْ قَدْ يَكُونُ الْيُسْرُ فِي الصَّوْمِ إذَا كَانَ قَوِيًّا عَلَيْهِ غَيْرَ مُسْتَضِرٍّ بِهِ لِمُوَافَقَةِ النَّاسِ

It may be that delaying to other days brings about greater ease. However, ease is not restricted to postponing the fast. Rather it may be easier for a person to fast, if the person is strong and is not harmed by it (fasting). Due to aligning with the people (being easier). (Fath al-Qadeer, Imam Ibn al-Humaam).

Imam Ibn al-Humaam explains that sometimes it is easier for a person to fast even if he is travelling because fasting whilst everyone else is fasting may be easier for him than fasting alone later.

As we see above it is not bad or wrong to refrain from fasting whilst one is travelling, as long as the person makes these fasts up later. It is superior to fast if it is not exceptionally difficult. The details of the definition of a traveller and the specific rulings should be studied in Fiqh classes. Unfortunately many people embark upon religious actions without studying the legal rulings surrounding them. This is in direct contradiction to the advise of the holy Prophet ﷺ.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

-Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (18.04.2022)

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