If a person is suffering from a sickness, they are exempt from having to observe the fast.

In the name of Allah,


The conditions of who must fast during Ramadan are four. That they are:


  1. Muslim
  2. Reached puberty
  3. Sane
  4. Resident[not traveling] Muslims who can fast without restrictions like hayd (menstruation) or nifaas (post-natal bleeding)


A wet dream or ejaculation marks pubescence in boys. Wet dreams or menstruation mark pubescence in girls. Pubic hair growth around the privates. If they haven’t had these experiences by 15 lunar years, both sexes are legally pubescent and must fast. The child will be rewarded for fasting, and the parents will be rewarded for raising him well and teaching him to do good. Maturity in the Maliki school is determined by ejaculation or age, which is 18 in the well-known stance.  Click here for more on this. 


If a person is suffering from a sickness, they are exempt from having to observe the fast.

Allah said:

(interpretation of the meaning): “…and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allāh intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship.; [al-Baqarah 2:185].


Imam Ibn Katheer explains this:


(…and whoever is ill or traveling, the same number of days one did not follow Sawm (fasting) must be made up from other days.)


This Ayah suggests that sick people who are unable to fast or fear damage from fasting, as well as travelers, are permitted to break the fast. In this case, one must fast on other days. Allah stated:


(Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you.)


This Ayah implies that Allah allowed ill or traveling people to break the fast out of mercy and to make things easier for them, while healthy individuals who are not traveling must fast[i].


As Shaykh Uthaymeen ( May Allah have mercy on him) divided illnesses into three categories[ii]:


Type 1: Incurable chronic disease.No fasting but feeding the poor daily. He resembles an elderly man who is too old to fast.


Type 2: A sick person who fears that fasting will kill him. Diabetes patients require water. Allah, the Most High, prohibits them from fasting:


“And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you” [An-Nisa’: 29]


Type 3: A disease that makes it hard to fast and poses a risk. It is best to avoid fasting in this case and make up for it afterward.


Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah loves for you to take his concessions, just as he dislikes for you to be disobedient.[iii]


But if the illness is small, like a cough or headache, it is not a reason to stop fasting. In al-Mughni, says, “Some of the early scholars say that any kind of sickness, even a finger injury or a toothache, is a reason to break the fast. They put their view on:

The verse refers to all kinds of diseases, and a traveler is allowed to break his fast even if he doesn’t need to, so the same must be true for a sick person. Al-Bukhari, ‘Ata, and the Zhahiri school believed this[iv]. However, this is a minority opinion.


What if someone is starving and afraid of dying?


If a person feels extremely hungry or thirsty and fears that he may die or lose some of his abilities, he can break his fast and make up for it later. Saving one’s life is necessary.


In al-Majmoo‘ (6/258) An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Our companions and others said:

Whoever is overcome by hunger and thirst and fears he may die must break the fast, even if he is healthy and not traveling, because Allah, said (interpretation of the meaning):


“And do not kill (or destroy) from yourselves: Surely, to you, Allah has been Most Merciful (Raheem)” [an-Nisa’ 4:29]


“and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction” [al-Baqarah 2:195].


He must make up that day, as ill people must[v]. Allah knows best. Quote ends.


In his al-Kaafi exegesis, Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen wrote:


“If he fears thirst” refers to the sort of thirst that causes fear of death or hurt.


Workers with physically demanding jobs must fast the next day and not break their fast. If they cannot stop working and fear harm or severe hardship that causes them to break their fast, they should eat only what they need until sunset and make up the fast later.


Exams don’t justify breaking Ramadan fasts.


Exams are not an excuse to break one’s fast during Ramadaan, and obeying one’s parents is disobeying the Creator.


The sick person who hopes to get better should wait until he is better and then make up for the fasts he missed; he is not allowed to just feed the poor. People with long-term illnesses that can’t be cured and older people who can’t fast should feed a poor person half a saa’ of the main food of their country for each day of fasting they missed. (Half a saa’ equals 1.5 kg of rice). He can do this all at once on the last day of the month or feed one poor person every day. The aayah states that he must feed the poor, not give them money (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/198). However, he can give money to a reliable person or charity to buy and deliver food to the poor[vi].



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







[i] Tafseer Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol- 1 Darussalam, Chapter Sorrah Al Baqarah, Page 500-501

[ii] An Explanation of Riyadh al-Saliheen. from the words of the Master of the Messengers, Explanation, and Completion of His Eminence Shaykh Muhammad bn Salih Uthaymeen. Vol -5, page 288

[iii] Source: Musnad Aḥmad 5866, Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Arna’ut

[iv] Fiqh us sunnah, Sayed Sabiq, Chapter Fasting, Page 250

[v] 274712

[vi] Rulings pertaining to Ramadan, A Collection of Works by Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid, Islamfuture, page 37


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