He Masturbated Not Knowing That It Invalidates The Fast
The Awqaf -
Allaah enabled me to repent a year ago. Today I
heard that masturbation is one of the things that
invalidate the fast, which I did not know before. I
have committed this sin in Ramadaan in the past. I do
not know what to do. I don't know how many times I
committed this sin. Please advise me what I should do.
Praise be to Allaah.
Praise be to Allaah Who has guided you to repent. We
ask Him to accept your repentance and forgive your
sins and guide you.
The scholars differed concerning one who does an
action that invalidates the fast not knowing that it
does so – is his fast invalidated by that or not?
There are two opinions.
The first is that it does invalidate the fast. This is
the view of al-Shaafa'i and Ahmad, but al-Shaafa'i
made an exception in the case of one who is new in
Islam or who grew up in a remote area far from
knowledgeable people – in such cases it does not
invalidate the fast.
Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo' (6/356):
If a fasting person eats, drinks or has intercourse
not knowing that it is haraam – if he is new in Islam
or grew up in a remote area and was unaware that this
is something that breaks the fast – then it does not
invalidate his fast, because it is not a sin. He is
like one who forgets, as described in the texts. But
if he used to mix with the Muslims in such a way that
had no excuse for not knowing that this breaks the
fast, then his fast is invalidated, because of his
negligence (and failure to seek knowledge).
See al-Mughni, 4/368; al-Kaafi, 2/244
This view was favoured by the scholars of the Standing
Committee, who were asked about someone who
masturbated during the day in Ramadaan and did not
know that this is haraam, and he did not know how many
days he committed this forbidden action. They replied:
He has to make up the days when he broke his fast
because of the "secret habit", because it invalidates
the fast. He should try to work out the number of days
when he broke the fast.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah, 10/258.
The second opinion is that it does not invalidate his
fast, just as the fast of one who forgets is not
This view was favoured by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah
and Ibn al-Qayyim.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Fataawa
If the fasting person does something that breaks the
fast because he does not know that it is haraam, does
he have to repeat the fast? According to two opinions
in the madhhab of Ahmad, it seems that he does not
have to make up any of those fasts, because
accountability only comes until after the message
reaches a person, because Allaah says (interpretation
of the meaning):
"this Qur'aan has been revealed to me that I may
therewith warn you and whomsoever it may reach"
"And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger
(to give warning)"
"…in order that mankind should have no plea against
Allaah after the (coming of) Messengers"
There are several such verses in the Qur'aan, in which
Allaah states that He does not punish anyone until the
message that was brought by the Messenger (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) reaches him. Whoever
knows that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah and
believes in that, but does not know much of the
message that he brought, will not be punished by
Allaah for that of which he did not hear, for He only
punishes people for not believing after the message
reaches them. This is the Sunnah of the Messenger of
Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
which narrated in many reports. It is proven in the
books of saheeh that a number of the Sahaabah thought
that the words of Allaah "until the white thread
appears to you distinct from the black thread"
[al-Baqarah 2:187 – interpretation of the meaning]
referred to a white string and a black string, so one
of them would tie strings to his leg and eat until he
could distinguish the one from the other. The Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained
that what was meant by the white thread was the day,
and by the black the night, but he did not command
them to repeat their fasts.
Ibn al-Qayyim said in I'laam al-Muwaqqi'een (4/66):
He (meaning the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him)) excused those who ate or drank
deliberately during the day in Ramadaan, not by
mistake, because they thought that the black and white
threads referred to strings, so they would eat and
drink until they could tell the one from the other
when the day had begun. He excused them for that and
did not tell them to make up the fasts, because of
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked about a young man who
masturbated in Ramadaan, not knowing that it breaks
the fast, when he was overcome by desire – what is the
ruling in this case?
The ruling is that he does not have to do anything,
because we have stated above that the fasting person
does not break his fast unless three conditions are
met: knowledge, remembering and wanting to do that
thing. See question no. 28023.
But I say that people should be patient in refraining
from masturbation because it is haraam. Allaah says
(interpretation of the meaning):
"And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private
parts, from illegal sexual acts)
6. Except from their wives or (the slaves) that their
right hands possess, for then, they are free from
7. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) said: "O young men, whoever among you can afford
to get married, let him do so, and whoever cannot then
let him fast, for it will be a shield for him."
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5065; Muslim, 1400.
If masturbation were permissible the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would suggested
it to people, because it is easier and because people
find pleasure in it, unlike fasting which is
difficult. But because the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) suggested fasting,
this indicates that masturbation is not permissible.
Majmoo' Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 19/981.
In order to be on the safe side, you should make up
these days, and try to work out how many they are
likely to be.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz said in Majmoo' al-Fataawa (15/304):
If a person has intercourse during the day in Ramadaan
and he is someone who is required to fast, because he
is an adult of sound mind who is not traveling, out of
ignorance (that it is haraam), the scholars differed
concerning his case. Some of them said that he has to
offer expiation, because he failed to ask and try to
understand his religion. Other scholars said that he
does not have to offer expiation because he was
ignorant. Hence we know that in order to on the safe
side you should offer expiation, because you failed to
ask what is forbidden to you before you did what you
So he (Shaykh Ibn Baaz) told him to offer expiation so
as to be on the safe side, and the reason why
expiation in this case was obligatory is because he
broke the fast by having intercourse. Expiation is not
required for any of the things that break the fast
except intercourse during the day in Ramadaan, as
previously stated in the answer to question no. 28023.