If A Person Still Has Food Or Drink In His Mouth At Dawn and Eating Or Drinking Unintentionally while Fasting

In the name of Allah,


The Time Of Fasting


According to the agreement, it starts at real white dawn and finishes at sunset[i]. According to the ayat and what the Prophet stated in the Sahih, 

“When night advances from there and the day retreats from here and the sun sets, the faster breaks the fast.”[ii] 

The Prophet explains when a fasting person breaks his fast. Three signs are connected. These are: (a) The beginning of darkness as seen from the east, (b) the end of the day as seen from the west, and (c) the sun going down. Since darkness marks the end of the fast, these signs are based on the sun setting[iii].


If A Person Still Has Food Or Drink In His Mouth At Dawn


When a person eats, drinks, or has sexual relations thinking it’s still night and then realizes it’s morning. A group of Salaf and Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn `Uthaymin say his fast is legitimate and does not need to be made up. The four schools of law agree he must make it up.

As for whoever broke his fast thinking the sun had set but then realizing that it hasn’t, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, and Ibn ‘Uthaymin, as well as a group of Salaf including Mujaahid, al-Hasan among the Taabi’een, al-Muzani among the Shaafa’is (may Allah have mercy on them), say that his fast is valid and doesn’t have to make it up.




If a person has food or drinks in his mouth at dawn, the scholars agree that he should spit it out and his fast is still valid. This is similar to the restriction on eating or drinking accidentally while fasting. If he spits it out immediately, his fast is valid[iv].


If a person is having intercourse and dawn approaches, he must withdraw and his fast will be valid even if he ejaculates, but if he remains to have intercourse until after dawn, he must repent, make up the fast, and offer kaffarah.[v] 


Malik, al-Layth, and al-Awzai’ say that he needs to make up days, but he does not owe kaffrah. It is also said that he pays kaffrah if he has sex by accident or not.

Imam al-Qurtubi’s[vi] tafsir states that accidentally eating while fasting does not break the fast.  He used the same reasoning as Imam Shafi’i and others, but his stance is not Imam Malik’s madhab. According to Imam Qurtubi:


‘According to Abu Hurayrah’s hadith, if someone accidentally eats or drinks, his fast is complete. This is also supported by Ibn al-Mundhir[vii].’


Eating Or Drinking Unintentionally


The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,


“Whoever forgets that he is fasting and eats or drinks, then he still completes his fast. It is only Allah who fed him and gave him drink.[viii]


Al-Shaafa’i said in al-Umm (2/284) that a fasting person doesn’t have to make up his fast if he eats or drinks during Ramadan, a fast to fulfill a vow or expiation, a fast that is mandatory for any cause, or a voluntary fast out of forgetfulness[ix].


Al-Nawawi said, “This supports the majority’s view: if a fasting person eats, drinks, or has intercourse due to forgetfulness, he does not break his fast.”  Abu Haneefah, Dawood, al-Shaafa’i, and others held it.


If someone sees someone else eating because he forgot he was fasting, he should remind him that he is supposed to be fasting. This is because the general meaning of the aayah is: “…Help one another in righteousness and piety…” [al-Maa’idah 5:2], and the hadeeth, “if I forget, remind me,” and because this is ill conduct (munkar) that must be corrected.[x] 


Peace and blessings be upon the last and final prophet.




[i]The Risala Ibn Abi Zayd Al Qaywarani’s Manual of Islamic Law, Translated by Aisha Bewley page 359

[ii] Grade: Sahih (Darussalam) Reference: Jami` at-Tirmidhi 698

[iii] Arousing the intellects with an explanation of

Umdatul-ahkaam ‘the book of zakah and fasting” imaam taqiyy-ud-deen ‘abdul ghani bin ‘abdul waahid bin a u al-maqdisee, Explanation of umdatul-ahkaam By: shaykh muhammad bin Saleh al-‘uthaymeen, Maktabatulirshad Publications, USA, page 167

[iv] Rulings pertaining to Ramadan, A Collection of Works by Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid, Islamfuture, page 57

[v] Rulings pertaining to Ramadan, A Collection of Works by Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid, Islamfuture, page 51

[vi] Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abu Bakr al-Ansari al-Qurtubi, born in Cordoba, Spain, at the height of Islamic civilization. He was a distinguished Maliki fiqh and Hadith expert. His works demonstrate his vast knowledge. The most famous was his tasfir al Jami’ li-ahkam al-Qar’an.

[vii] Tafsīr al-Qurṭubī, translated by Aisha Bewley, Diwan Press, Tafseer 2:187

[viii] Sahih al-Bukhari 6669

[ix] 50041

[x] Rulings pertaining to Ramadan, A Collection of Works by Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid, Islamfuture, page 49


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