It was the opinion of most of the Sahaabah (ra), the Taabi’een and those who followed them including the four A’immah (Imaams) that it was allowed to fast or break the fast in travel. However they differed in deciding which was of the two was better. Imaam Abu Haneefah, Maalik, Ash-Shaafi’ and Ath-Thauri that fasting in the state of travel is better for the one who has the capable and it won’t cause harm or hardship. This was also narrated to be the view of Anas bin Maalik, ‘Uthmaan ibn abi Al-’Aas and Hudhaifah bin al-Yaman from amongst the Sahaabah (rah). As it has been reported to be the view of ‘Urwah bin Zubair, Sa’eed bin Jubair, Abdullah ibn Mubbarak and Ibraheem an-Nakhi’i.
It is the opinion of Imaam Ahmad, Ishaq ibn Raahuwiyah and al-‘Awzaa’i that breaking the fast while travelling is preferable as it is a Rukhsah. It has been narrated that Ibn Abbaas, and Ibn Umar (rah) both held this opinion from amongst the Sahaabah (rah) and Sa’eed ibn Al-Musayyib, ‘Aamir ash-Sha’bi and Ibn ul-Maajshoon (from those that followed). ‘Umar ibn Abdul-Azeez and Ibn ul-Mundhir viewed that the most preferable is the easiest based on the statement of Allah (swt): “...Allah wishes for you the Yusra (easy thing)...”. It has also been reported from ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, his son Abdullah, Abd-ur-Rahman ibn ‘Auf and Abu Hurairah from amongst the Sahaabah and Ibn Shihaab Az-Zuhri from the Taabi’een that it is not allowed to fast while travelling. Also that whoever has fasted Ramadhaan whilst in a state of travel then it is waajib to make Qadaa for it.
In order to arrive at the truth and correct opinion in this issue we must first examine the texts which relate to it:
1) The wife of the Prophet ‘Aa’isha (ra) said:
"Hamza ibn ‘Amru Al-Aslami asked the Prophet (saw): Do I fast whilst in travel (safar)? He (saw) repied: Fast if you wish and break fast if you wish".
Al-Bukhaari (1943), An-Nasaa’i, Ahmad and Ad-Daarami.
2) Abu Muraawih reported from Hamza ibn ‘Amru al-Aslami (ra) that he said:
"O Messenger of Allah (saw), I find that I have the strength to fast whilst I am travelling. Is there a problem in that? He (saw) replied: It (breaking fast) is a Rukhsah (permission) from Allah, so whoever takes it then it is good. And whoever prefers to fast then there is no problem in that".
Muslim (2629), An-Nasaa’i and Ibn Hibbaan.
3) Hamzah ibn ‘Amru Al-Aslami (ra) said:
"I said to the Messenger of Allah (saw): I have a back that I treat. I travel upon it and honour it and this may occur in this month (Ramadhaan) however I have strength and I am young and have found that fasting in it (whilst travelling) is less upon me than if I delayed it and it became a debt. Is it greater in terms of my Ajr (reward) if I fast Ya Rasoolullah or if I break it? He (saw) replied: Any which one you wish Ya Hamza".
Abu Daawud (2403) and Al-Haalim.
4) From ‘Aa’isha (ra) that Hamza Ibn Amru Al-Aslami asked the Prophet (saw):
"Ya Rasollullah (saw), I am a man that likes to continue his fast so I fast in travel? He (saw) said: Fast if you wish and break fast if you wish".
Muslim (2626), An-Nasaa’i and Ahmad.
5) Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (ra) said:
"We went on an military expedition (Ghazwah) with the Messenger of Allah (saw) and sixteen days had passed from Ramadhaan. From amongst us were those who fasted and those who broke their fast. The one who fasted did not see fault in the one who broke his fast and the one who broke his fast did not find fault in the one that continued to fast".
Muslim (2615), An-Nasaa’i, At-Tirmidhi, Ahmad and Ibn Hibbaan.
6) Anas bin Maalik (ra) said:
"We were travelling with the Prophet (saw) and the one who was fasting did not find fault in the one who broke his fast and the one who broke his fast did not find fault in the one who fasted".
Al-Bukhaari (1947), Muslim, Abu Daawud, Maalik and Al-Bayhaqi.
7) Abu Ad-Dardaa (ra) said:
"We went out with the Prophet (saw) on one of our travels and it was a hot day where the man would place his hand over his head because of the severity of the heat. None of us were fasting except the Prophet (saw) and Ibn Rawaahah".
Al-Bukhaari (1945), Muslim, Abu Daawud, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad.
8) Jaabir ibn Abdullah (ra) said:
" Allah's Apostle was on a journey and saw a crowd of people, and a man was being shaded (by them). He asked, "What is the matter?" They said, "He (the man) is fasting." The Prophet said, "It is not righteousness that you fast on a journey".
Al-Bukhaari (1946), Muslim, Abu Daawud, Ad-Daarami and Ahmad. An-Nasaa’i (2260) narrated similar that he (saw) said: "It is not righteousness to fast whilst travelling, you should take the Rukhsah from Allah Azza wa Jalla and accept it (take hold of it)". At-Tabaraani also narrated it in Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabeer and the following statement was narrated:"It is not from Al-Birr (righteousness) to fast whilst travelling". This was reported from Abdullah Ibn Umar (ra) with Ibn Maajah (1665), Ibn Hibbaan, At-Tabaraani and At-Tahaawi with A saheeh sanad (chain). Ibn Maajah (1664) narrated it from K’ab bin ‘Aasim Al-Ash’ari as well as At-Tabaraani, An-Nasaa’i, Ahmad, Ad-Daarami and At-Tahaawi. Ahmad (24079) and At-Tabaraani in Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabeer also narrated it with slightly different wording from K’ab in the Yemeni dialect. This is because K’ab Al-Ash’ari was Yemeni and they use the harf (letter) meem instead of Alif Laam for Ta’reef (the definite article). Al-Bazzaar (985) and At-Tabaraani in his Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabeer have recorded this narration from Abdullah Ibn Abbaas (ra). Al-Haithami has said that the narrators of Al-Bazzaar are trustworthy (saheeh).
9) Ibn Abbaas (ra) said:
"There is no fault on the one who fasts or the one that breaks his fast. The Messenger of Allah (saw) used to fast and break his fast in travel".
Muslim (2609), Ahmad and Ibn Khuzaimah. Abu Daawud At-Tayaalissy (2677) reported from Ibn Abbaas that he said:
"Verily the Prophet (saw) used to fast and break fast when he was travelling".
10) Abu Tu’mah said:
"I was in the presence of Ibn Umar when a man came and he said: O Abu Abd-ur-Rahman I am stronger with my fasting in travel. Ibn Umar replied: I heard the messenger of Allah (saw) say: The one who does not accept the Rukhsah of Allah Azza wa Jalla then he has the sin like the mountain of Arafah".
Ahmad (5392) and At-Tabaraani in Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabeer with a chain the Al-Haithami has verified as Hasan.
11) Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (ra) said:
"We were making a military expedition with the Messenger of Allah (saw) in Ramadhaan. Some of us fasted and some were not. The faster did hold anything against the non-faster and vice versa. They saw that whoever had the strength (capability) to fast then that was all well and good and whoever found himself weak would refrain from fasting and that was also all well and good".
Muslim (2618), At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasaa’i, Ahmad, Ibn Hibbaan and Ibn Khuzaimah.
12) From Qaza’ah who said that Sa’eed al-Khudri (ra) said:
" We travelled with the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) towards Mecca and we had been observing fast. We halted at a place. There the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: You are nearing your enemy and breaking of fast would give you greater strength, and that was a concession (given to us). But some of us continued to observe the fast and some of us broke it. We then got down at another place and he (the Holy Prophet) said: You are going to encounter the enemy in the morning and breaking of the fast would give you strength, so break the fast. As it was a point of stress, so we broke the fast. But subsequently we saw ourselves observing the fast with the Messenger of Allah (saw) on a journey".
Muslim (2624), Ahmad, Abu Daawud, Al-Bayhaqi and At-Tahaawi.
13) Anas (ra) said:
" We were with the Apostle of Allah (saw) on a journey. Some of us had been observing the fast and some of us had not been fasting. We got down at a place on a hot day. Most of us had the cloth for shelter. There were also those amongst us who sheltered (themselves against the rays of the) sun with the help of their hands. The observers of the fast fell down (on account of weakness). Those who had not observed it got up and pitched tents and watered the mounts. Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: The breakers of the fast have taken away the reward today".
Muslim (2622), An-Nasaa’i, Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Hibbaan.
14) Ibn ‘Umar (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
"Verily Allah (swt) loves to give his Rukhas (permission of leniency) like he loves to give his resolutions"
Ibn Hibbaan (3568), Al-Bazzaar and At-Tabaraani. Ibn Hibbaan (2742) and Ahmad narrated it with the wording that:
"Verily Allah (swt) loves to give his Rukhas like he hates to give an act of disobedience"
15) Abu Umayyah Ad-damri (ra) said:
"I approached the Messenger of Allah (saw) and gave my salaam after returning from travel. When I was leaving he (saw) said: Wait for the meal Ya Abu Umayyah. I replied: I am fasting Ya Nabi Allah. He (saw) said: Come here and I will inform you about the traveller. Verily Allah (sawt) has lifted the fast from him and half of his salaah". An-Nasaa’i (2269), Al-Bukhaari in his book of history, Ad-Daarami and At-Tahaawi. On the authority of Anas bin Maalik – Al-Ka’bi – (ra) recorded by Abu Daawud (2408), An-Nasaa’i, Ibn Maajah, Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi said:
"Allah (swt) has lifted half of the Salaah and the fast from the traveller as well as the breast feeding and pregnant woman. By Allah, he said them together or one of them...". At-Tirmidhi verified it as Hasan. There is also another version from An-Nasaa’i (2274):
"Verily Allah (swt) has lifted from the traveller half of the Salaah and the (whole) fast and also from the breastfeeding and pregnant woman".
With Tawfeeq from Allah (swt) in relation to the above evidences I say the following:
The one who takes a good look at the above texts will find that they make evident that fasting in travel is equal to breaking fast in it. This is without one having any preference over the other and the Messenger (saw) explained this equality in many of the texts. This was despite the many different questions that were posed to him and the different situations the questioners found themselves in. This means that the equal merit between fasting and breaking fast remains as it with no regard for different situations and circumstances. This reinforces the equality between the two.
The first hadeeth says ‘If you wish fast and if you wish break your fast’, the second hadeeth says ‘it is a Rukhsah from Allah so whoever takes it then this is good and whoever wishes to fast then there is no problem in that’, the third hadeeth says ‘Any one of the two you wish Ya Hamzah’, the tenth hadeeth says ‘The one who does not accept (take) the Rukhsah of Allah Azza wa Jalla then he has the sin on him like the Mountain of Arafah’ and the eleventh hadeeth says ‘They saw that whoever found the strength would fast and that was all well and good, and whoever found weakness would break fast and that was also good’.
Hamzah Al-Aslami (ra) put forward his questions from a number of different realities or circumstances: In the first hadeeth the question was general and the response came to equalise between the two (fast and breaking fast in travel). In the second hadeeth he said: ‘I find the strength to fast while travelling so is there anything wrong in this?’ as if he wanted the fast to be preferable over its breaking but the response was again to make complete equality between the two actions. In the third hadeeth he stated ‘I have strength and youth and I find to fast is less on me than if I delay it and it becomes a debt’ so here he increases his argument for the preference of fasting and yet again the answer came which gave complete equality between the two actions. In the fourth Hamzah (ra) came with a new argument that ‘he likes to keep the fast continuous’ and he did not receive from the messenger of Allah (saw) except the answer: ‘Fast if you wish and break it if you wish’. All of this indicates that keeping the fast whilst travelling is the same and equivalent in reward to breaking the fast and that neither has anything over the other and if we look at the rest of the texts we will find that the equality between the two is established.
It is therefore clear in an evident way that it is equally permitted to fast or break fast during travel without the existence of any preference of one over the other. This therefore shows the mistake in the views that fasting is better than breaking fast or breaking fast is better than fasting in travel. And it also makes clear in an even more evident manner the error of those who did not permit fasting whilst in travel and that whoever fasted would need to make Qadaa.
I see that the correct opinion is that which is attributed to ‘Umar ibn Abdul Azeez and Ibn ul-Mundhir who said that the easiest of the two is the best without specifying that any one of them is better than the other. This is firstly because of the Ayah, “...Allah wishes for you ease...” and secondly because the Messenger of Allah (saw) would choose the easier of two (equal) choices, where no sin was involved. Al-Bukhaari (3560), Muslim, Abu Daawud, Maalik and Ahmad narrated a Hadeeth from ‘Aa’isha (rah):
"The Messenger of Allah (saw) did not choose between two issues except that he would take the easier of the two as long as there was no sin because he was the most far way of the people from sin".
In this situation there is a choice between two issues without the presence of sin so the taking of the easier is also the taking of the noble guidance of the Prophet (saw).
A question however remains that needs to be answered and that is how do we interpret the saying of the Messenger (saw), ‘It is not from al-Birr (righteousness) to fast whilst in travel’? Does this not indicate the preference of breaking the fast? This can be answered from a number of angles:
Firstly: The command to do something does not necessarily mean the prohibition of the opposite action just like the prohibition of an action does not necessarily mean the command of its opposite. We therefore say that the denial of Birr (righteousness) from the fasting in travel does not mean that it only exists in only in the Fitr (breaking of fast).
Secondly: Before we can answer this question it is first required to understand the meaning of Al-Birr from the language and Shar’a. The people of language and the Fuqahaa have both differed in defining Al-Birr and there are a number of opinions: Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ said: It is very possible that the Birr mentioned here is not the obligatory Birr which if left is sinful. The negation of Birr can be carried to the one who rejects the acceptance of the Rukhsah. An-Nasaa’i (2260) reports the Hadeeth: That Jaabir bin Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: ‘It is not from Al-Birr the fasting in travel; you should take the Rukhsah of Allah Azza wa Jalla and accept it’. At-Tahaawi said: The Birr here means the complete Birr which is the highest level and it does not mean that fasting in travel takes you outside of Birr. Others have said that it is all that brings you closer to Allah Azza wa Jalla. It is also interpreted to mean Sidq (truthfulness) and it also has been used to mean the keeping of oaths/testimony and not committing perjury. It also has the meaning of obedience, like Birr al-Waalidain (obedience to parents) as well as the meanings of uprightness and goodness. Al-Birr is therefore a word that contains many meanings all of them indicate goodness. So al-Birr is goodness and for it to be Shar’i then the Shar’a needs to request it and order with it. It can be Amr Jaazim (decisive command) in which case it would be Fard (obligatory) or ghair jaazim (indecisive) in which case it would be Mandoob (recommended). Al-Birr or Al-Khair (goodness) cannot be except one of these two categories of action. It cannot fall in the Mubaahaat in which there is an equal choice to take or leave the action and in which there is no specified reward or sin. Al-Birr can therefore only fall under the Furood and Mandoobaat and nothing else. It is therefore obligatory to understand Al-Birr in the hadeeth in this way. Its meaning is that fasting in travel is not obligatory on you nor is it recommended. This is the meaning that is apparent and repeated in all the Hadeeth we have previously mentioned; ‘Fast if you wish and break fast if you wish’ i.e. it is a choice between Mubaahaat which are equal if performed or left.
Therefore fasting whilst in travel is neither Fard nor Mandoob and it is only Mubaah. So whoever wishes to fast can do so and whoever wishes break the fast can do so. This understanding is supported by the Ahaadeeth like ‘It is not from Al-Birr to fast whilst in travel’ which means it is not obligatory or Mandoob to fast whilst in travel. This very same meaning is found in the statement of the Messenger of Allah (saw) in number 15 he said: ‘Come here, I will inform you about the traveller: Verily Allah (swt) has lifted from him the (obligation of) fasting...) i.e. he has put aside its command and the one who leaves it enters into the category of Mubaahaat. So in this issue we have put together all the evidences and using all of them is better than neglecting one or some as has been established in Usool ul-Fiqh.
Another question remains regarding how to understand hadeeth 8 ‘You should take the Rukhsah of Allah Azza wa Jalla, so accept it’ and number 10 ‘Whoever does not take the Rukhsah of Allah Azza wa Jalla then he will have the sin on him like that of the Mountain of Arafah’? Do these two not indicate a command to make Iftaar and that it is preferable to keeping the fast?
The answer is that this Amr (command) is linked to the acceptance of the Rukhsah and not a command to make Iftaar and there is a difference between the two. What is meant by the acceptance of the Rukhsah here is to remove the understanding that fasting should be kept to whilst in travel whether it is obligatory or recommended. The Rukhsah has come to cancel the commitment to fasting and leave it to the Mubaahaat. The Hadeeth in 8 clearly supports this as it says: ‘It is not from Al-Birr to fast whilst in travel; you should take the Rukhsah of Allah Azza wa Jalla and accept it’. The meaning is that fasting in travel is not obligatory or recommended, and it wasn’t like that because of a Rukhsah from Allah Azza wa Jalla. It is therefore obligatory to take this understanding and act according to it and leave the understanding of obligation or recommendation which was present before the Rukhsah. The Hadeeth in 10 indicates the same meaning; it is a severe warning to whoever insists on remaining on the opinion of the obligation of fasting or its preference (nadb) whilst travelling and therefore has not accepted the Rukhsah of Allah which has abrogated (nasakha) the obligation and recommendation. So these two hadeeth (8 and 10) are consistent with and reinforce the other evidences that we have gone through (in this issue) which all indicate the choice between fasting and breaking fast whilst in travel. This is how the Sahaabah (rah) understood it like the hadeeth in 5 indicated, ‘The fasting person did not lay fault on the breaker of fast, and the breaker of fast did not find fault in the one fasting’. The Ahaadeeth 6, 9 and 11 mention the same meaning. As for Hadeeth 14; ‘Verily Allah (swt) loves to give his Rukhas (permission of leniency) like he loves to give his (azeeemah) resolutions" it indicates the same as the preceding Ahaadeeth in the sense of equating, between the fast and its breaking. You love the Rukhsah like you love the ‘Azeemah with equal love, one does not possess a quality over the other. This supports and reinforces the meanings of the previous Ahaadeeth which make the sawm and Iftaar of equal standing whilst in Safar.
There is another point that can be gained from this hadeeth which is hard to see and hidden from many. This is that Allah (swt) has given the choice between the two actions and made it fall in the category of the Mubaahaat. This does not mean however that someone chooses one of these choices on a permanent basis and leaves the other choice likewise on a permanent basis even if this is permitted for him to do. Rather Allah (swt) loves that the man alternates between the two, doing one at one time and doing another at a different time. The Hadeeth mentions ‘he loves’ however this does not reach to the level of obligation and commitment. This means that although the fasting has been waived from the traveller in the obligatory and nafl (recommended) fasts, this does not mean that he leaves it (fasting) completely and sticks to not eating in travel. It rather means that he has the choosing which Allah loves. This is to perform one of these two actions once or a number of times and also do the other once or a number of times, all of this without commitment or compulsion. The Amr (order) remains one of choice in hukm and action and this explains what came in hadeeth 7, ‘There was not amongst any who were fasting except for the Prophet (saw) and Ibn Rawaahah’ and what came in hadeeth 9, ‘The Messenger of Allah (saw) use to fast in travel and break his fast’. So he (saw) who brought to us the information of Allah’s Azza wa Jalla love for this form of choosing use to act in accordance with this where he use to fast sometimes and break his fast sometimes, alternating without sticking or committing to one or the other.
Here we will stop to examine the hadeeths in 12 and 13. We say:
In relation to Hadeeth 12:
The Messenger of Allah (saw) was fasting whilst travelling from Al-Madeenah to Makkah and his companions were also fasting. When they got closer to the enemy the Messenger of Allah (saw) reminded them of the Rukhsah of Allah Azza wa Jalla which makes equal (the reward) between breaking the fast and keeping it so he reminded them of the Fitr (breaking of fast) as an alternative to fasting. He also explained that al-Fitr was better (in terms of strength and power) for them and that they were in a state of preparation for battle. The fighting would require the preparation of strength which includes the physical body strength. He did this without ordering them to break their fast but sufficed with a reminder. This represents the hukm Shar’i in these types of situations and circumstances which is that the Saa’im would make Iftaar if he found himself in weakness and if he found strength he would continue his fast. If he did not have it (the strength) then he could take the Rukhsah which carries the same weight (in reward). However before the battle due to the physical strength that was required in the battle he (saw) ordered them to prepare this power by breaking their fasts. All of them therefore broke their fasts in accordance to the hukm shar’i in this situation and this situation does not affect the equality between fasting and breaking fast whilst in travel. It is rather a different situation which is related to fighting and what is required of a Mujaahid to do at that time. There is therefore nothing in this Hadeeth that indicated the preference of making Iftaar over the keeping of the fast whilst in travel.
In relation to Hadeeth 13:
The Messenger of Allah (saw) was travelling with the companions and some were fasting and others were not. This is a natural situation and reflects the equality between the Saum and Fitr. The heat then became severe and the Saa’im would fall from his weakness which made it necessary for them to break their fasting. Had they continued fasting in these circumstances then this would not have meant the equality between fasting and breaking fast but rather the preference of fasting which is not correct. The Noble Prophet (saw) therefore intervened and reminded them of the hukm of equality and choice. This means that the one who continues his fast despite the level of hardship and weakness that he has reached has not taken the Rukhsah which Allah Azza wa Jalla loves. He (saw) said with clarity; ‘Those who were not fasting have taken the reward today’ meaning that at this time the fitr was better and that whoever had made Iftaar had gained reward for taking the Rukhsah of Allah Azza wa Jalla – ‘When we saw those who were not fasting making the shelters and feeding the horses/camels’ – all of this was acts of obedience and closeness to Allah (swt). We can understand that those who broke their fast had a greater reward, the reward of Iftaar by taking the Rukhsah in the time of severity and the reward of pitching the tents (shelter) and feeding the horses.
In conclusion it can therefore be clearly seen that all of the evidences support and reinforce one another in the opinion that fasting and breaking fast carry the same value (reward) whilst travelling and that neither is preferential over the other.
The evidences of those that say it is obligatory to make Iftaar whilst in Safar:
Now we will take a look at the opinion of those who make Al-Fitr obligatory and do not permit fasting whilst travelling from their evidences and semblance of evidences:
1) Allah (swt) said:
فمنْ كان منكم مريضاً أو على سَفَرٍ فعِدَّةٌ من أيامٍ أُخَر ......
“”...So whoever from amongst you is sick or travelling then (he should make them up on a) number of other days...”” (Al-Baqarah 184)
2) Ibn Abbaas (ra) said:
" The Messenger of Allah (saw) went out during the month of Ramadan in the year of Victory (when Mecca was conquered) and was fasting till he reached Al-Kadeed (a canal/spring situated at a distance of forty-two miles from Mecca) and he then broke the fast. And it was the habit of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (saw) to follow him in every new thing (or act). So they followed him also (in this matter)".
Ad-Daarami (1709), Muslim, Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Abi Shaybah.
3) Jaabir bin Abdullah (ra) said:
"The Messenger of Allah (saw) went out in the year of the Fath (opening of Makkah) in Ramadhaan towards Makkah. He fasted until he reached Kraa’ Al-Ghameem and the people were also fasting. He called for a drinking vessel containing water and raised it so that the people could see and then drank. It was said to him after that: Verily dome of the people were fasting so he (saw) said: They are the disobedient, they are the disobedient".
Muslim (2610), At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibbaan. An-Nasaa’i (2263), Ahmad and Al-Bazzaar narrated the flowing version:
"...So the people fasted. It reached him (saw) that the people were facing hardship in their fasting so he called for a vessel of water and after the time of Asr he drank and the people were watching". In another narration collected by Muslim (2611) it was said:
"...It was said to him (saw): The fasting is causing hardship for the people and they are looking to what you have done so he (saw) called for a vessel containing water after Asr".
4) Jaabir Ibn Abdullah (ra) said:
"Allah's Messenger (saw) was on a journey and saw a crowd of people, and a man was being shaded (by them). He (saw) asked, "What is the matter?" They said, "He (the man) is fasting." The Prophet (saw) said, "It is not righteousness that you fast on a journey”".
Al-Bukhaari (1946), Muslim, Abu Daawud, An-Nasaa’i, Ad-Daarami and Ahmad.
5) Abd-ur-Rahman ibn ‘Auf (ra) said that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
"The one who fasts whilst travelling in Ramadhaan is like the one who makes Iftaar when not travelling".
Ibn Maajah (1666), An-Nasaa’i (2284 – Mauqoofan).
6) Anas bin Maalik (Al-Ka’bi) said:
"I came to the Messenger of Allah (saw) ....and he was eating, he (saw) called me to join him and I said that I was fasting. He said: Come closer and I will inform you about that, verily Allah (swt) has lifted (the obligation of) fasting from the traveller and half of the Salaah".
An-Nasaa’i (2276), Abu Daawud, Ibn Maajah, Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi who verified it as Hasan. A similar hadeeth was mentioned under 15 in the last section.
As for the noble Ayah they say that its meanings are numerous and the obligation(s) upon it are many. The Ayah indicates that the traveller breaks his fast and makes up from other days and there was no mention in it of fasting. So I say: The focus is on breaking fast a number of days and the ayaah has come mostly in a general manner. It did not come to deny the fast or confine itself to Iftaar (breaking the fast) so there is no indication or understand that supports their opinion (regarding the obligation to break fast whilst travelling).
As for the second evidence, it has two parts to it. The first is the statement of Ibn Abbaas (ra) that "The Messenger of Allah (saw) went out in the year of Al-Fath (opening of Makkah), he fasted and the people fasted until they reached Al-Kadeed where he broke his fast and the people also broke their fast". This evidence does not support their opinion and agrees with the meaning of the many Ahaadeeth that we mentioned previously and in particular what was mentioned in 9.
As for the second part, "They (ra) would follow him (saw) in every new thing that he did" This statement was added by Shihaab Az-Zuhri like Al-Bukhaari affirmed in the book/section Al-Jihaad (It was his statement and it was the end of two matters). This addition is also found in the narration collected by Muslim. Then the Prophet (saw) after this narration of events as reported in 12 in the previous section ‘Then we saw ourselves fasting with the Messenger of Allah (saw) after that whilst we were in travel". Firstly the previously mentioned addition is the statement of Az-Zuhri and is therefore not a legitimate daleel. Ibn Khuzaimah (2035) commented on this hadeeth: ‘Sufyaan said: I do not know if this is from the statement of Ibn Abbaas, Ubaidullah or Az-Zuhri). This shows that there is doubt in this statement. The addition is also in opposition to the hadeeth of Sa’eed Al-Khudri in 12 and others evidence and so in conclusion no regard should be given to it.
As for the third hadeeth (They are the disobedient ones, they are the disobedient ones’ then this is in relation to the situation where fasting has become a hardship upon them and at the time of hardship the Rukhsah is taken. So they refused to take the Rukhsah and they refrained from emulating the Messenger of Allah (saw) when he called for and drank from the vessel containing water in front of them. In this situation they were disobedient by keeping to their fast and hadeeth in 10 of the previous section refers to this: (Whoever does not take the Rukhsah of Allah Azza wa Jalla then he has the sin like the mountain of ‘Arafah on him).
As for the fourth Hadeeth (It is not from Al-Birr to fast whilst travelling) then we have explained its indications and meanings (in detail) in the previous section.
In regards to the fifth hadeeth (The one who fasts whilst travelling is like the one who breaks his fast whilst resident (not travelling)). Whether part of it is marfou’an or mawqoofan (hadeeth terminology regarding the chain of transmitters) it does not matter because the hadeeth is munqti’an (cut off). Al-Bukhaari and Yahya bin Mu’een said that Abu Salamah Abd-ur-Rahman did not hear anything from his father. The chain of Ibn Maaajah in addition to be Munqati’ contains a Raawi (narrator called Usaamah bin Zaid and his weakness has been agreed upon. Abu Ishaq said that this hadeeth does not hold value. The hadeeth is therefore very weak and must be abandoned.
As for hadeeth 6 (Verily Allah has lifted (the obligation) of the fast from the traveller and half of the Salaah) we have explained its meaning and indications previously so there is no need to repeat that. In conclusion it can be said that although these have been presented as Adillah (evidences) to support their opinion, in reality they are no more than semblances of doubtful evidences which do not support their opinion (regarding the obligation of breaking fast whilst in travel).
As for the opinion of many who have said that fasting is better than breaking fast and others who have preferred the breaking of fast over its continuance, then (I say) that each group has taken from the evidences that which supports their view. They have not made the effort to look at all the evidences together. For example, some have said that the Fitr is better because of the Rukhsah found in the Ahaadeeth and with the statement; ‘It is not from Al-Birr to fast whilst travelling’. Others have said that fasting is better using evidence 7 from the previous section ‘There was not amongst us any one who was fasting except the Prophet (saw) and Ibn Rawaahah, also the hadeeth 12 ‘Then after that we found ourselves fasting with the Messenger of Allah (saw) whilst in travel’ and the hadeeth we only recently mentioned ‘They (ra) would follow him (saw) in every new thing that he did’. Ijtihaad is not correct and not allowed to be undertaken unless the Mujtahid looks at all of the texts related to the issue and includes them in his study. It is not allowed to take the collection of Hadeeth that he views to indicate his opinion and leave the other evidence that don’t.
The distance required for making Iftaar in travel:
The people of opinion (Ashaab Ar-Ra’i), Maalik, Ash-Shaafi’, Al-’Awzaa’i, Yahyah Al-Ansaari, Ibraheem An-Nakhi’i, Az-Zuhri and Makhool held the opinion that when a resident makes the intention to fast and then travels then it is not allowed for him to break his fast and must therefore continue with it. As for the Musaafir (traveller) then if he made the intention to fast at night and then wished to break his fast, then he is allowed to do that. Ahmad, Ishaq ibn Raahuwiyah, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Al-Muzni, Daawud bin ‘Ali, ‘Aamir Ash-Sha’bi, Ibn ul-Mundhir, Ash-Shawkaani and ‘Ataa also permitted that.
Ahmad, Ishaaq, ‘Ataa and Al-Hasan said: It is allowed for him to break his fast whilst he is in his house in his land before he leaves and that has been taken from Anas (ra). Ibn Hazm and Azh-Zhahaariyah that it is allowed for somebody to break their fast after travelling one mile only. It was narrated from Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (rah) and Abdullah Ibn Abbaas (rah) that it is allowed to break fast in what is more than four Burud, i.e. more than forty-eight miles.
We will now look at the evidences that solve this Mas’ala:
1) Kulaib bin Dhuhlin Al-Hadrami said that ‘Ubaid bin Jubair said:
"I travelled with Abu Basrah Al-Ghifaari by boat from Fustaat in Ramadhaan. He brought food and invited me to join him. I asked: Do you not see the houses? Abu Basrah replied: Do you like to distance yourself from the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saw)? ".
Ad-Daarami (1714), Abu Daawud, Ahmad and Al-Bayhaqi. Ibn Khuzaimah narrated it (2040) and said: ‘I do not know of either Kulaib bin Dhuhlin or ‘Ubaid bin Jubair and the deen does not accept from those whose trustworthiness cannot be known or ascertained’.
2) Muhammad bin ka’b said:
"I came to Anas bin Maalik (ra) in Ramadhaan and he wanted top travel. He had prepared his provisions and was wearing his travel clothes. He then called for food and ate. I asked him: Is this the Sunnah? He replied: Yes, it’s the Sunnah and then rode off’.
At-Tirmidhi (796) and said that the Hadeeth is hasan. In the Isnaad (chain of narrators) is Abdullah ibn Ja’far and Mo’een classified him as weak and Abu Haatim said: The Hadeeth is greatly rejected. His son ‘Ali ibn Al-Madeeni classified the hadeeth weak as did Al-Jawzjaani who said it is weak. An-Nasaa’i also said that it is rejected therefore the Hadeeth is very weak despite At-Tirmidhi saying that it is Hasan.
3) Mansoor Al-Kalbi said:
"Dihyah bin Khaleefah went out from his village in Damascus in Ramadhaan to the distance of ‘Uqbah village of Fustaat which was three miles. He then broke fast with the people and the others disliked that he was breaking his fast with them. When he returned to his village he said: By Allah today I saw something that I never thought that I would see; a people who disliked following the guidance of the Messenger (saw) and his companions. He said that to those who were fasting and then said: O Allah take me to you".
Abu Daawud (2413), Ahmad, Ibn Khuzaimah, Al-Bayhaqi and At-Tahaawi. Mansoor Al-Kalbi is unknown. This was said by Al-Madani, Al-Khattaabi and Ibn Khuzaimah so this narration is da’eef.
4) Al-Lajlaaj said:
"We were travelling with ‘Umar (ra) a distance of three mile and he allowed the prayer and broke his fast".
Ibn Abi Shaibah (436/2). In the chain of narrators is Al-Jareeri whose name is Sa’eed ibn Iyaas and three years before his death he suffered confusion (loss of mind) and the Muhaddithoon rejected him at that point.
5) Naafi’ said:
"Ibn Umar used to go out to the Al-Ghaabah and he would neither shorten his prayer nor break his fast".
Abu Daawud (2414), Al-Bayhaqi. Al-Mundhiri was silent over this. Al-Ghaabah is a place one Bareed (four faraasikh or approximately twelve miles) away from Al-Madinah.
The first four Aathaar (reports) are all weak so they are rejected and left. Some have tried to give strength to these evidences claiming that they give strength to another when viewed collectively. This is not the correct as the Da’eef cannot give strength to another Da’eef but rather would only make it weaker, so no regard can be given to this principle. Only the report linked to Ibn Umar is left which states that he went out of Al-Madeenah twelve miles to Al-Ghaabah and he did not break his fast or shorten his prayer. In regards to this I say:
Firstly: This action of Ibn Umar (rah) is not a daleel Shar’i (legitimate Islamic evidence) but rather it is a Hukm Shar’i (Islamic ruling) which can be followed by someone who wishes to make taqleed to the opinion of Ibn Umar in this issue. Our concern here however is not related the issue of making taqleed.
Secondly: The fact that Ibn Umar did not make Iftaar does not mean (in any way) that he forbade it or otherwise and this is because the Musaafir has the permission (Rukhsah) to break the fast. He has also the right and choice to fast as we discussed earlier so if a person breaks his fast or continues with it then both are permitted and the presence of one of them does not indicate the prohibition or prevention of the other.
In conclusion, it appears that there is not a Saheeh or Hasan text which specifies the distance that allows the making of Iftaar from the fast. All that we have on this issue is the statement of Allah (swt), “...and (for) him who is sick among you, or on a journey, (the same) number of other days...” This is an unrestricted travel which did not specify a short or long distance so whatever is described with the name of travel then it is allowed for the Saa’im to make Iftaar and not fast.
As for the Ahaadeeth that were mentioned in 2 and 3 that the Messenger of Allah (saw) broke his fast in the year of the opening of Makkah (al-Fath) when he travelled towards Makkah from Al-Madeenah and reached the well Al-Kadeed which was forty-eight miles away from Makkah or when he reached Kuraa’ Al-Ghameem (a valley in front of ‘Usfaan, eight miles away from it and more than fifty miles from Makkah). These were evidences used by those who have said that breaking fast is obligatory in travel but there is no indication in them at all which relate to this present issue because:
Firstly: These distances are ‘Waqaa’i Aa’yaan’ (realities of perception) and Waqaa’i Aa’yaan are not used as an evidence for generality as has been established by the rules of Usool.
Secondly: These evidences have provided the distance of the making of Iftaar from Makkah and not from Al-Madeenah which was where they were travelling from. This shows that these evidences did not come to explain the distance the Messenger of Allah (saw) travelled in order to make Iftaar so that it can be (somehow) linked to this issue.
And with that it has become evident that those who have a stipulated a specified distance for making Iftaar in travel are mistaken in their view because it is not supported by the Shar’i, the Noble Quran or Prophetic Sunnah.
We will some up the preceding discussion with the following words: It is the right of the Musaafir to break his fast if he is travelling on a day without any impediment to that. The Shar’a did not specify a specific distance as a reason allowing the Musaafir to make Iftaar from fasting. The fact that he is travelling is the reason for his being able to make Iftaar from fasting. The Mutlaq (unrestricted) remains as such and it is not allowed to restrict it not even by the reported act or statement of a Sahaabi or Taab’i or Faqeeh. Anything which carries the description of Safar therefore permits the breaking of fast and if the term travel is not a suitable description then Iftaar is not permissible. Also those who have allowed the making of Iftaar before the leaving of the house have also made an error because the Niyah of Safar is not the act of Safar itself. The travel (Safar) itself is the ‘Udhr (reason/excuse) for breaking fast and not the intention. Also those who have specified a specific distance before Iftaar can be made whether one mile of four Burud have also erred in their specification. This is because there is no strong or sound evidence for their view so it only remains for us to say that travel is the reason and therefore whoever is actually in the state of travel can break his fast.
We still need to know when the leaving from our house is travelling and when it is not considered to be. So I say the following: For the going out to be considered travelling which permits the making of Iftaar, then the person should leave his land (town) which he is attached to (citizenship) and enter the land of another country (town) without regard for the distance between them. Therefore the person who is in his own land is not Musaafir. The farmer who is a number of miles away from the town his land is attached to is not a Musaafir (traveller). He will not be considered a Musaafir unless he leaves his country (town?) and the lands of his country (town?) and then he will be allowed to make Iftaar whether it is with food, drink or sexual intercourse.
As for Ashaab Ar-Rai (the people of opinion – Iraqi/Koofi scholars), Imaams Maalik, Ash-Shaafi’ and other than them who viewed that the resident once he has made his intention cannot not then make Iftaar in his travels and must remain fasting arguing that As-Sawm is Ibaadah which differs in respect to the resident and traveller. If they come together (the states of residency and travel) then the state of residency takes precedence like in the Salaah. Ash-Shaafi’ said: Whoever becomes a traveller from his state of residency (in a town) then he does not make Iftaar except if the Hadeeth of the Prophet (saw) making Iftaar on the day of Al-Kadeed is affirmed. I will respond to this view with the following words:
Firstly: The Hadeeth about the Messenger of Allah (saw) breaking his fast at Al-Kadeed had been affirmed and has been reported by Ad-Daaram, Muslim and other than them as mentioned in the section entitled ‘The evidences of those that say making Iftaar is obligatory in travel’ under number 2. This is in addition to what Muslim and others collected concerning the breaking of his (saw) fast in Kuraa’ Al-Ghameem mentioned in number 2. Muslim narrated (2608) from Ibn Abbaas (ra) who said: "The Messenger of Allah (saw) travelled in Ramadhaan, he fasted until he reached ‘Usfaan and then called for a container of something to drink. He then drank openly so that the people would see (take notice) and he continued in his breaking of fast until he reached Makkah...". These three Ahaadeeth are all verified and not just one so it is necessary for the followers of Ash-Shaafi’ to give up their opinion on this issue.
Secondly: As for as-Sawm being Ibaadah which differs in respect to the resident and traveller and if they come together then the resident dominates as it does in the Salaah. I find this view to be very strange and it does not require a response except to say that the rule of any command is that it remains and continues unless there is found an excuse/reason which allows its leaving at which time the Hukm ceases to apply. This is without any regard for whether the excuse is brought forward or delayed or if there is a clash with the original rule and one prevails in this clash!! The origin according to this principle is of the obvious matters.
So I say that if the resident has made the intention to fast then he must do so and if (later) he enters upon the excuse of travelling then the obligation of fasting is stopped and he can act upon the ‘Udhr (excuse). If this was not the case then there would be no value in the existence of the ‘Udhr (excuse) or any other excuses in any other issue!! And may Allah (swt) forgive us all.