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.
Islamically, the fast of Ramadan is an act of worship to Allah, the Most High, which consists of refraining from eating, drinking, and sexual relations from dawn to sunset. Fasting is worshipping Allah through abstaining. He leaves them to worship Allah, not as a habit.
A traveler can break his fast provided :
- The journey is for 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.
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). Click here for more information on this.
But if he wants to perform both a permitted and illegal activity while traveling, we must check if they’re the same. If his main goal is to do something that isn’t allowed, he can’t use the benefits of traveling.
But if most of what he wants to do are legal, he can take advantage of the right to travel.
Ibn Al-Muflih, from the Hanbali School of jurisprudence, said in Al-Insaaf:
“If his intention by travel is most for a permissible matter, then it is permissible for him to shorten the prayer according to the correct view of the School [..] Another view is that it is not permissible. Nonetheless, if his intentions for what is permissible and what is forbidden are equal, or that he predominantly intends to do what is forbidden, then he is not permitted to shorten the prayer. This is the view of all the Hanbali scholars.” [i][End of quote]
It’s illegal to travel to avoid fasting.
Sharee’ah forbids avoiding religious duties. Al-Uthaymeen ( May Allah have mercy on him) declared,
“It’s obligatory to fast. Tricks to drop it are forbidden. It is an Islamic pillar. He must fast and repent. If he doesn’t cancel the trip, he must fast while traveling. Dropping the Shari’ah requirement doesn’t work. Likewise, Schemes to legalize the illicit do not make it legal.[ii]” [End quote paraphrased]
2. The travel is long, given the rulings on shortening salah.
While scholars 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. Click here for more information on this.
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[iii].
If the airport is outside of his city, he can break his fast there, but if it’s in or connected to his city, he shouldn’t. The opinion of the majority is safe and closer to the truth. Allah Knows Best.
What happens if someone traveling breaks their fast on the ground, but then sees the sun while in the air?
If the sun goes down and he breaks his fast on the ground, then the plane takes off and he sees the sun, he doesn’t have to stop eating because he’s already fasted for the day and can’t repeat it.
But, If the plane leaves before sundown and he wishes to conclude fasting that day throughout the flight, he must wait until the sun sets from wherever he is in the air[iv].
Click here to know What are the things that break fasting?
May Allah’s peace and blessings be on the last and final prophet
[iii] See Rulings pertaining to Ramadan, A Collection of Works by Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid, Islamfuture, page 32
[iv] See Rulings pertaining to Ramadan, A Collection of Works by Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid, Islamfuture, page 32