Fasting on the Day of Doubt doesn’t count if it turns out to be Ramadan

In the Name of Allah,


Fasting during Ramadan is one of Islam’s pillars. The Qur’an and Sunnah mandate it. Scholars disagree on whether someone who abandons it out of laziness has committed disbelief. The correct judgment is that he has not disbelieved.


Ramadan begins with:


First: An upright Muslim (male or female) with good eyesight sees the Ramadan crescent.

Second: The end of the 30 days of Sha’ban if the crescent for Ramadan was not seen.

On the thirtieth night of Sha’ban, if the new moon is unseen, this method should be used. In this regard, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “The (lunar) month (can be) twenty-nine nights (i.e. days), so do not fast until you see the new moon and do not break fasting until you see it. And if the sky is overcast, then you have to estimate the period (i.e. to complete Sha ‘ban as thirty days).



Fasting on “the day of uncertainty”


Scholars differ about whether to make up that day. Most scholars believe it’s obligatory to make up this day and abstain from food and drink. The other academic view is to stop eating and drinking for the rest of the day, but not to make it up. Ibn Taymiyyah favors this[i] (may Allah have mercy on him)


The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever did not intend to fast before dawn, his fast is not valid.”[ii]


The fast was invalid because there was no intention to fast the night before. Honoring that time requires not eating or drinking for the rest of the day.

Ammaar ibn Yaasir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Whoever fasts on the day concerning which there is doubt has disobeyed Abu’l-Qaasim (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).”[iii]


At-Tirmizhi says “Hasan sahih. Most scholars follow it. Sufyan ath-Thauri, Malik ibn Anas, ‘Abdullah ibn al Mubarak, ash-Shaf’i, Ahmad, and Ishaq agree. They all dislike the person who fasts on a “day of doubt.” Most of them think that if one fasts on such a day and it happens to be Ramadan, that day must still be made up later. People can fast on such a day if it falls within their usual fasting time.”


Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Don’t fast the day or two before Ramadan unless it’s a day you usually fast.”[iv]

They detest pre-Ramadan fasting. If ‘the day of doubt’ falls on a day a person usually fasts, they say it’s fine.”[v]


Al Risala, a Maliki text, states:


If you wake up and learn Ramadan has started before eating or drinking, you must fast the remainder of the day but cannot consider it as a day of Ramadan. For the rest of the day, you must refrain from eating and drinking. He makes it up, but there is no kaffarah.[vi]


Salamah ibn al-Akwa‘ (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) instructed a man of Aslam to call out to the people: “Whoever has eaten, let him fast for the rest of the day, and whoever has not eaten, let him fast, for today is the day of ‘Ashoora’.”[vii]


Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said,

If someone didn’t realize Ramadhan began until after Fajr, they must fast for the rest of the day. During Ramadan, a healthy local resident is not allowed to eat or drink anything that would break their fast. Since he didn’t make the intention to fast before Fajr, he must make up the day.[viii]




[i] al-Fataawa al-Kubra (5/376)

[ii] saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan at-Tirmidhi.

[iii] Al-Tirmidhi (686) and al-Nasaa’i (2188

[iv] At-Tirmizhi states about this hadith: “The hadith is Hassan sahih.

[v] Fiqh us sunnah, Sayed Sabiq, Chapter Fasting

[vi] The Risala Ibn Abi Zayd Al Qaywarani’s Manual of Islamic Law, Translated by Aisha Bewley page 361

[vii] Al-Bukhaari (2007)

[viii] Fatwa Islamiyah (Islamic Verdicts) Vol 3 From the noble scholars Abdullah bib Baaz, Shaikh Uthaymeen, Ibn Jibreen ( May Allah have mercy on them) along with the permanent committee. Darussalam Publications Page 240

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