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Breaking the fast whilst travelling

Question:

What do the scholars and experts of shari’ah say regarding my situation? I work as a driver on a truck carrying chemicals and the blessed month of Ramadan has come upon us. Is it permissible for me to break the fast? Please advise.

Answer:

Undoubtedly, breaking the fast whilst travelling is a law and a concession from Allah ﷻ. Allah ﷻ has mentioned in the Holy Qur’an: And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, let him fast the same number of other days. (Surah Al-Baqarah: 185). Thus, the traveller may choose to fast or take the concession and not fast. The minimum distance to be considered a traveller is forty-eight miles or approximately seventy eight kilometres.

Breaking the fast is a concession from Allah ﷻ for travellers, whether the traveller is travelling by means of a vehicle or mount, or by ship or plane, there is no difference in that. Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah Muhammad ﷺ said, “Verily, Allah loves for you to take his concessions, just as he dislikes for you to be disobedient.” (Musnad Aḥmad)

If the heat is severe, then the Sunnah is to break the fast. It has been narrated from Jabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was on a journey, and he saw a crowd of people and a man who was being shaded. He said, “What is this?” They said, “He is fasting.” He said, “It is not an act of righteousness to fast whilst travelling.” (Bukhari) This is in reference to the one who faces considerable difficulty and may be harmed by fasting as explained by Imam al-Nawawi.

As for the one who does not face difficulty and does not fear harm to himself, he has the choice. If he wishes, he may fast, and if he wishes, he may break his fast. Similarly, drivers who are constantly travelling and are considered travellers in the shari’ah, then there is nothing wrong if they leave their fast and make it up later.

And Allah ﷻ knows best.

This fatwa is written by Dr. Mohamed Ali Ahdash