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Fasting whilst travelling

Question:

What do the scholars and experts of shari’ah say regarding a person who regularly travels due to his job, is there any exemption or flexibility in the Shari’ah for him to not Fast?

 Answer:

All perfect praise is for Allah ﷻ, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah ﷻ, and that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is His Messenger.

If the distance travelled is more than 83.5km then Allah ﷻ has given the traveller, the exemption of not fasting. However, on the condition that the purpose of the travel is not something haram.

The Shari’ah has made travelling itself the cause for the exemption as opposed to the hardship experienced when travelling. Travelling has the appropriate characteristics to fulfil the role of being the cause of the exemption. This clarity gives it the effectiveness of joining the hukm (ruling).

The existence of the hukm or its absence, will be tied in with the cause. So, if travelling is found then the exemption will be there, and if there is no travelling then there is no exemption. The hardship will not be the determining factor because this changes according to the circumstances of different people.

Allah ﷻ says in the Majestic Quran: “Whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” (Surah Al-Baqarah:185)

However, Allah ﷻ has given the traveller a choice to fast, which is more virtuous and rewarding, but the dispensation is still present:

Allah ﷻ has said in the Majestic Quran: “But to fast is best for you, if you only knew.” (Surah Al-Baqarah:184)

So, in this situation to fast is better than leaving it if it does not cause any undue hardship. As the missed fasts made up after the blessed month of Ramadan are not equal in reward to fasting in the month of Ramadan.

As for the traveller who anticipates difficulty and hardship due to fasting, it will be makruh (disliked) for him to fast whilst traveling. If the harm of fasting is such that there is fear of death, then it is wajib (incumbent) upon him not to fast.

And Allah ﷻ knows best.

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