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What happens if a couple engage in marital relations whilst fasting?

Question:

What do the scholars and experts of shari’ah say regarding a husband and wife who engage in marital relations in the month of Ramadan whilst fasting?

Answer:

To engage in marital relations whilst fasting in the month of Ramadan is from the major sins. A person must refrain from doing this again, feel regret and remorse, seek forgiveness from Allah ﷻ, and make a firm resolve to not engage in such an act in the future.

If a fasting man engages in marital relations with his wife, mere penetration of the private organs is enough to break the fast and causes both qadha (making up) and kaffara (expiation) to become obliged upon the man. It makes no difference whether ejaculation occurred or not. Qadha of that days fast will be obligatory for the husband and the wife. The husband will also have to fast consecutively for two months as kaffarah for his mistake. If he is unable to do so due to legitimate health concerns, he will feed sixty poor people.

The kaffarah for such a fast is taken from the following hadith. Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah narrated that a man came to Allah’s Messenger ﷺ and said: “I am destroyed O Messenger of Allah!” Allah’s Messenger ﷺ asked him: “What has happened?” He replied: “I had marital relations with my wife while fasting.” The Messenger ﷺ said: “Are you able to free a slave?” He replied: “No.” The Messenger ﷺ said: “Are you able to fast two months consequently?” He said: “No.” The Messenger ﷺ asked: “Are you able to feed sixty poor people?” He replied: “No.” Then the man sat down. A little while later, the Messenger ﷺ was given a large basket of dates. He turned to the man and said: “Go and give this in charity.” The man said: “And is there anyone who is poorer than us? There is not a family living between the two plains of Madinah more in need of it than us.” The Prophet ﷺ laughed till his back teeth became visible. Then he said: “Go and feed your family with it.”

And Allah ﷻ knows the best.

This Fatwa is written by Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Munir Al-Azhari