If I am travelling such that the time zone is changing, how can i fast
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
I wanted to know that if I am travelling such that the time zone is changing, how can i fast..i.e. which time zone should I follow?
Or is it that I cannot fast at all and have to cover up for the days after Ramadan!
Please reply soon if possible as my journey is imminent in few days.
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Fasting traveling through time zones
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 185:
185 Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an as a guide to mankind also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So everyone of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if anyone is ill or on a journey the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.
If one happens to travel to a distant land during Ramadan, Allah Subhnah, in His Sublime Grace and Mercy, has permitted and given the option to the believer to miss his fasts, and make up the missed fasts of Ramadan at any other time of the year. Thus, if one happens to travel in the month of Ramadan, he has the option to keep his fasts, or miss his fasts and make them up later; whichever is easier for him.
Question: I wanted to know that if I am travelling such that the time zone is
changing, how can i fast..i.e. which time zone should I follow?
The believer who happens to travel through time zones has basically three legal options:
- If the flight is during his fasting hours, he may very well opt to not keep his fast, and make up for the fast later.
- Or, if he wishes, he can keep the fast according to the time zone he departs from, and if the sun-sets while he is still in his flight journey, he may very well break his fast in the flight it-self, regardless of what place or time zone he is in.
- Or, he can keep the fast according to the time zone he departs from, and if its a day flight and he reaches before the sun has set at his destination, break the fast at the time the sun sets at his place of destination.
But if one is flying a long-haul flight west-wards, and one fears that because of crossing many time zones in the westward direction, his fast would become unbearably long, the scholars are of the opinion that the person in this particular case can break his fast according to the sunset time of where he originated his fast.
Your Question: Or is it that I cannot fast at all and have to cover up for the days after Ramadan!
Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported: "We traveled with the Messenger of Allah (saws) to Makkah while we were fasting. We stopped at a place and the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: 'You are coming close to your enemies. You will be stronger if you break the fast.' That was a concession and some of us fasted and some of us broke our fasts. Then we came to another place and the Prophet (saws) said: 'In the morning you will face your enemy. Breaking the fast will give you more strength.' So we broke our fast, taking that as the best course of action. After that, you could see some of us fasting with the Prophet (saws) while traveling."
Related by Ahmad, Muslim, and Abu Dawud.
In another report, Abu Sa'id al-Khudri said: "We fought under the leadership of the Messenger of Allah (saws) during Ramadan. Some of us fasted and some of us did not. The ones who fasted did not find any fault with those who did not fast, and those who did not fast found no fault with those who fasted. They knew that if one had the strength to fast he could do so and it was good, and that if one was weak, he was allowed to break his fast, and that was good."
Related by Ahmad and Muslim.
The jurists differ over what is preferred (that is, to fast or not to fast while traveling). Abu Hanifah, ash-Shaf'i, and Malik are of the opinion that if one has the ability to fast, it is better for him to do so, and if one does not have the ability to fast, it is better for him to break the fast. Ahmad said that it is best to break the fast. Umar ibn 'Abdulaziz says: "The best of the two acts is the easier of the two. If it is easier for one to fast than to make up the day later on, then, in his case, to fast is better."
Ash-Shaukani has concluded that if it is difficult for an individual to fast or to reject the concession, then it is best for him not to fast (while traveling). Similarly, if one fears that one's fasting during travel will look like showing off, then in this case, breaking the fast would be preferred. If one is not faced with such conditions, then fasting would be preferred.
Dear and Beloved Brother, Allah has given the believers a concession while traveling in Ramadan, and one may do whatever is easy for him. If one thinks that it would be easier to keep the fast than to make it up later, then he may fast and it would be acceptable and good; and if one thinks that the hardships of the journey would make it difficult for him to fast, he may miss his fast and make it up later. Basically, one who is traveling in Ramadan has been given a merciful concession and permission by The One Who is Most Merciful to choose whatever is easier for him, and choosing the easier option would be following the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws).
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.760 Narrated by Aisha
Whenever Allah's Messenger (saws) was given the choice of one of two (permissible) matters, he would choose the easier of the two.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,