Can a traveler who is on a sinful journey break his fast?

In the name of Allah,


A traveler can break his fast provided :


  1. The journey is a legitimate Purpose.


Most jurists think that a traveler who goes to sin cannot benefit from travel allowances like shortening and combining prayers and breaking the Ramadhan fast.


Maalikis, Shaafa’is, and Hanbalis agree that a person traveling for unlawful reasons may not break his fast or use other traveler benefits like shortening prayers. [See al-Mughni, 2/52 ]


The Hanafis believe that someone who travels for evil reasons can break their fast, shorten prayers, etc. Ibn Taymiyah also believes this. (may Allah have mercy on him).


The Hanafis claim that no Text of revelation (Quranic verse or hadith statement of or report about the Prophet, on him be peace) limits fast-breaking to lawful travel. The act of traveling itself is not illegal, they add. So, according to the Hanafis, the fasting break is related to travel itself, not to what happens after or because of it.


Imam al-Kasani (d. 582 AH, in Halab) wrote in his Bada’i` al-Sana’i`:


‘The amount of rakats that the traveler must pray is the same for a journey of righteousness, like hajj, war, and seeking knowledge, or a journey of sin, like highway robbery and rebellion.


Shafi’i stated that there are no exemptions for sinful travels. The traveler’s convenience and best interests are the goals of the shortening rule, and the sinner is unworthy of either. This is his evidence.


Our proof is that the evidence doesn’t distinguish between different kinds of travelers. As a result, it is essential to act based on its general indication and condition lessness’. [Bada’i` al-Sana’i`, 1: 93][paraphrased]


Imam al-Zayla`i added:


…and because traveling itself isn’t a sin. Instead, the sin is what happens after or with it, and an exemption is for that journey, not the sin.


He further said,

This is due to the established concept that sin connected with an action does not invalidate the rulings associated with the action. For example, all deals after the Friday noon adhan are prohibited, even if the sale is legal if its conditions and integrals are met. [Tabyin al-Haqa’iq Sharh Kanz al-Daqa’iq, 1: 215-216][i]


2-  – The travel is long, given the rulings on shortening salah.


A traveler can break his fast under specific situations. While experts disagree, his journey should be long and extend beyond the city and its suburbs. Most scholars say he shouldn’t break his fast before he leaves the city limits. Yet, there are other scholars who say that travelers can break their fast before starting their journey.


The majority say that a journey does not truly begin until one leaves the city borders and that a person who remains within the city is “present” and “settled.” Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadaan, i.e., is present at his home), he must observe sawm (fasts) that month…” [al-Baqarah 2:185.


He is not considered a traveler until he has left the city. If he is still in the city, he is considered to be settled, so he cannot shorten his prayers. The opinion of the majority is safe and closer to the truth. Allah Knows Best.



What if a traveler begins fasting after dawn and then chooses to break his fast?


There are two kinds of travelers with respect to time: The Pre- and Post-Dawn Traveler


If one travels before dawn and plans to break the fast, this is allowed by consensus. According to the three, one cannot break the fast if he travels after dawn. Ahmed Ibn Hanbal permits it[ii].


Ibn Taymiyah ( may Allah have mercy on him) said,


The scholars of Fiqh have two notable sayings, both of which are narrated by Ahmed. The most obvious is that it’s legal. The Sunan affirms that certain companions would break their fast if they started their trip during the day, citing the Prophet’s Sunnah. In the Sahih, the Prophet asked for some water and broke his fast in front of the people[iii].


The Kuwaiti Fiqh Encyclopedia said, “If a person was traveling and decided to fast at night, woke up fasting in the morning, and didn’t change his mind before Fajr, he is not allowed to break his fast on this day, according to the Hanafi and Maliki Schools, and it’s likely that the Shaafi’i School would say the same thing. However, if he breaks his fast, he doesn’t have to pay kaffarah.


According to Al-Muhalla, the Shaafi’i and Hanbali schools permit a traveler to break their fast in the morning without reason.


Jabir b. ‘Abdullah (Allah be pleased with both of them) reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) went out to Mecca in Ramadan in the year of Victory, and he and the people fasted till he came to Kura’ al-Ghamim and the people also fasted. He then called for a cup of water which he raised till the people saw it, and then he drank. He was told afterward that some people had continued to fast, and he said:

‘These people are the disobedient ones; these are the disobedient ones’[iv].


An-Nawawi said: Our Mathhab (the Shaafi’i School) has two viewpoints on the aversion of breaking the fast: the most appropriate stance is that he is not compelled to fast; the proof is that the Prophet broke the fast when traveling.


The Hanbali School claimed that a traveling person may break the fast by having sexual intercourse with his wife, eating, and drinking, as the one who is permitted to eat is also allowed to have sexual relations, and there is no kaffarah if he breaks the fast and has sexual relations[v].’


A person who started fasting in one country and then moved to another:



If a Muslim starts fasting in one country and travels to another, he must observe the fasting and breaking of the country he visited. Thus, he should break fast with them.

However, if he breaks the fast after less than twenty-nine days, he shall fast another day following Eid, Since a hijri month can’t be shorter than 29 days. If he fasts for more than thirty days, he should break his fast with them or return to his nation to break it with his people[vi].


Sheikh al Munajjid said,


He should end Ramadaan when they do, even if it means fasting for longer because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:


“Fast when everyone is fasting, and break your fast when everyone is breaking their fast.”[vii]


Click here to know about Semen Emission and its Impact on Fasting

Click here to know about As-Suhoor: Its Rules, Timings, and Virtues


May Allah’s peace and blessings be on the last and final prophet




[ii] Al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyyah: The Judgments of Fiqh, Abu’l-Qasim Ibn Juzayy Al-Kalbi (Author), Asadullah Yate (Translator), Vol 1, page 222

[iii] The Nature Of Fasting By: Shaykh Al-Islam Taqiuddin Ahmad `Abdul-Halim Ibn Taymiyyah Darussalam Publishers and Distributers, page 40

[iv] Sahih Muslim 1114a

[v] Fatwa No: 331849

[vi] Summarized Islamic Fiqh In Light of the Qur’an and Sunnah, Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin Abdullah al-Tuwayjiri 1st Edition, page 855

[vii] See Rulings pertaining to Ramadan, A Collection of Works by Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid, Islamfuture, page 34

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