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Eating forgetfully whilst fasting

Question:

What do the scholars and experts of shari’ah say regarding a person who ate or drank forgetfully whilst fasting outside the month of Ramadan?

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.

Islam is a religion of ease and facilitation. Allah ﷻ says in the Holy Qur’an: “He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty,” (Surah al-Hajj: 78)

Based upon this Qur’anic principle, Islam has facilitated for the fasting person exemptions to allow him not to fast if a genuine need arises. This can be seen in another verse of the Holy Qur’an: “[Fast is for] specific number of days; but if anyone of you is ill or on a journey, he should make up for those days” (Surah al-Baqara: 184)

If a fasting person forgetfully eats or drinks something, Islam gives him permission to complete his fast. The reason behind this is because the Messenger of Allah ﷺ has said regarding this: “If someone forgets, and eats and drinks, he should complete his fast. For Allah has fed him and let him drink.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

If this allowance is there in the obligatory fasts, then it is also there in any voluntary fasts kept outside the month of Ramadan. Not being held accountable for any action done forgetfully has also been mentioned in a hadith narrated by Sayyiduna Abbas that the Prophet ﷺ said, “Verily, Allah has overlooked for my nation their honest mistakes, forgetfulness, and what they are forced into doing.” (Ibn Majah)

If a person forgetfully eats or drinks his fast is still valid and he shall complete it just as he would do for the Ramadan fasts.

And Allah ﷻ knows best

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