It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “If somebody eats or drinks forgetfully then he should complete his fast, for what he has eaten or drunk, has been given to him by Allaah.” (1).

It was also narrated that Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “While we were sitting with the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, a man came and said, “O Messenger of Allaah! I have been ruined.” The Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, asked what was the matter with him. He replied “I had sexual intercourse with my wife while I was fasting.” The Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, asked him, “Can you afford to manumit a slave?” He replied in the negative. The Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, asked him, “Can you fast for two successive months?” He replied in the negative. The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, asked him, “Can you afford to feed sixty poor persons?” He replied in the negative. The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, kept silent and while we were in that state, a big basket full of dates was brought to the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him. He, peace and blessing be upon him, asked, “Where is the questioner?” He replied, “I (am here).” The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said (to him), “Take this (basket of dates) and give it in charity.” The man said, “Should I give it to a person poorer than I? By Allaah; there is no family between its (i.e. Medina's) two mountains who are poorer than I.” The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, smiled till his pre-molar teeth became visible and then said, “Feed your family with it.” (2).

Such two great Hadeeths are related to some things that break one’s fasting. We will touch upon the benefits and rulings of them in the following points:

Firstly, the first Hadeeth indicates that eating and drinking are from the matters that break one’s fasting. They refer to making food and water reach one’s inside via mouth or nose, regardless of the form of food and water from the dawn to the sunset. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night].} [Quran 2: 187] (3).

The ruling of eating and drinking applies to all things that are like them.

Secondly, this Hadeeth also indicates that whoever eats or drinks forgetfully his fasting will still valid and is not broken. That is because the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “If somebody eats or drinks forgetfully then he should complete his fast, for what he has eaten or drunk, has been given to him by Allaah The Almighty.”

This is supported by the saying of Allaah The Almighty: {…"Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred…} [Quran 2: 286] (4).

And His Exalted saying: {And there is no blame upon you for that in which you have erred but [only for] what your hearts intended. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.} [Quran 33: 5] (5).

Moreover, this Hadeeth has an important note that the one who drinks or eats forgetfully must stop drinking or eating whenever he remembers that he is fasting. One also has to throw out whatever in his mouth. It is also obligatory upon the one who sees a fasting person eats or drinks to remind him that he is fasting. That is because this is a form of cooperation in piety, goodness and righteousness.

Thirdly, some Muslim scholars deemed the ignorant like the one who eats and drinks forgetfully. So, whoever gets something that breaks the fasting while he is ignorant, then his fasting is still valid, Allaah Willing, whether he is ignorant of the legal ruling such as believing that such thing does not break the fasting and thus he did it, or ignorant of the time such as believing that the dawn does not become due yet and thus he ate. As for the proof that support this opinion, the one who forgets and does something by mistake are combined together in the saying of Allaah The Almighty: {…"Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred…} [Quran 2: 286].

Fourthly, the Hadeeth of Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, indicates that having intercourse during the day in Ramadhaan is something prohibited. It is also one of the most serious of the things that break one’s fasting because the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, made Kafaarah (i.e. expiation) for it. When this man whose name is Salamah ibn Sakhar Al-Bayaadhi and descried his action with ruin and destruction, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, asked him what made him ruined? Then the man said, “I had sexual intercourse with my wife while I was fasting.” The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, did not disapprove of the word “ruined” which the man used. If this act had not resulted in ruin, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, would have calmed him down. He, peace and blessing be upon him, even explained for him how to get out of this matter i.e. to pay expiation. This actually refers to the seriousness and abhorrence of this act and that it is prohibited matter that one has to give it up and keep away from it and not taking it lightly, otherwise, one will expose himself to danger and great sin. 

Fifthly, the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, pointed out in this Hadeeth the type of expiation of having sexual intercourse during the daytime of Ramadhaan. It is to free a believing slave. If one is not able to do that, then he should fast two consecutive months. If one is unable to do that, then he has to feed sixty poor persons by giving each poor person one Mudd of wheat or any other kind of food - which equals one fourth of a Saa‘, and this serves as a single meal.

Muslim scholars held different opinion regarding expiation, whether it is to paid in this order or by choice?

Majority of Muslim scholars are of the opinion that the expiation is to be paid in this order i.e. one cannot move from one degree of it to the next unless one is unable to do the first option. That is because the Messenger of Allaah, said them in this order in this Hadeeth.

Sixthly, some Muslim scholars deduced from this Hadeeth that expiation can be waived if one is very poor and unable to fulfill it. That is because the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, gave permission to the man to give dates to his family. However, the majority of Muslim scholars are of the opinion that it cannot be waived if one is very poor because when the man said to the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, I do not find (i.e. I cannot afford what can expiate my sin), he, peace and blessing be upon him, kept silent and did not waive obligation from him. As for giving concession of feeding his family, some scholars that if someone pays expiation for the one who has to pay expiation, then he is allowed to eat and feed his family from it.

Seventhly, scholars had different opinions regarding the one who forgetfully had sexual intercourse with his wife during the daytime of Ramadhaan, whether he is to pay expiation or he has to do nothing as the one who eats and drinks forgetfully? Imam Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy upon him, and those who followed him said that this sexual intercourse breaks the fasting, even one is ignorant or did it forgetfully, substantiating their opinion with the idea that the Hadeeth is stated regarding eating and drinking forgetfully and this indicates that it does not include sexual intercourse. Majority of Muslim scholars are of the view that the fasting of the one who had sexual intercourse forgetfully is not broken, supporting their opinion with the general evidences reported regarding forgetfulness such as the saying of Allaah The Almighty: {…"Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred…} [Quran 2: 286], and the statement of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him: “My Ummah is forgiven for what they do by mistake or out of forgetfulness, and what they are forced to do.”

This opinion was also adopted by Sheykh Al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him.

 

____________________________

 

1) Reported by Imam Al-Bukhaari 4/155, no. 1933, in the Book of Sawm (fasting), the chapter: If a person observing Saum ate or drank forgetfully and Imam Muslim 2/809, no. 1155, in the Book of Sawm (fasting), the chapter of the one who eats, drinks, or has intercourse by mistake does not break his fast.

2) Reported by Imam Al-Bukhaari 4/136, no. 1936, in the Book of Sawm (fasting), the chapter of sexual intercourse with wife in Ramadhaan and the expiation of that, and Imam Muslim 2/781, no. 1111, in the Book of Sawm (fasting), the chapter of the strict prohibition of intercourse during the day in Ramadhaan for one who is fasting; And the obligation of offering major expiation and the definition thereof.

3) Soorat Al-Baqarah, ayah (verse) no. 187.

4) Soorat Al-Baqarah, ayah (verse) no. 286.

5) Soorat Al-Ahzaab, ayah (verse) no. 5.

 

Comments  

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