Nature of Things That Break The Fast (1/2)
Imam Ibn Taymiyyah
Praise be to Allah. We praise Him, seek His Help, and ask His Forgiveness. We
seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our souls and the evil of our deeds.
Whomever Allah guides, there is no one to mislead him. And whomever He
misleads, there will be no guide for him.
We testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, ascribing no
partners to Him. And we testify that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger
(salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
What breaks one's fast is of two kinds: One type will break the fast according
to the texts and consensus of the scholars. This includes: Eating, drinking,
and sexual intercourse. Allah, the Almighty, said:
''So now have sexual relations with them and seek that which Allah has
ordained for you (offspring), and eat and drink until the white thread (light)
of the dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night),
then complete your fast till the nightfall.''
Thus, Allah permitted sexual relations (during the night of the fast), so, it
is inferred from that fasting it to abstain from: Sexual intercourse, eating
and drinking. Since Allah the Almighty, said before this: ''Fasting is
prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you.''
Then it is understood that fasting was known to them as abstaining from
eating, drinking and sexual intercourse, and that the word (fast) was known to
them before Islam and they acted according to it with this meaning, as
recorded in the Two Sahihs from ‘A'ishah (radyAllahu'anha): ''The Quraysh used
to fast the day of ‘Ashura' in the pre-Islamic era.'' (Reported by Al-Bukhari
It has been narrated through many routes [of narration] that before
prescribing the fast in the month of Ramadan, the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu
‘alayhi wa sallam) ordered fasting on the day of ‘Ashura' and he sent a herald
to proclaim that. Thus, it is inferred that the word (Fasting) was known to
It is also established by the texts and the consensus of the Muslims that the
menstruation blood invalidates the fast, hence, the menstruating woman does
not fast, but she makes it up.
It is textually established from the narration of Luqayt bin Saburah that the
Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to him: ''Exaggerate in inhaling
and exhaling of water (in your nose) unless you are fasting.'' (Reported by
Abu Dawud And At-Tirmidhi)
It is inferred from this, that water reaching the stomach through the nose
breaks one's fast. And this is the opinion of the majority of the scholars.
There are two Hadiths in the Sunan, one of them is narrated by Hisham bin
Hasan, from Muhammad bin Sirin, from Abu Hurayrah (radyAllahu'anhu) who said:
''The Messenger of Allah (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
''Whoever is overpowered by vomit while fasting, he does not have to make it
up. But if he vomits (intentionally), then he makes it up.'' (Reported by Abu
Dawud And At-Tirmidhi)
This Hadith is not confirmed according to a group of the scholars. They say:
''It is the words of Abu Hurayrah.'' Abu Dawud said: ''I heard Ahmad bin
Hanbal saying: ‘It is not of any worth.''
Al-Khattabi said, ''Meaning it is not preserved. At Tirmidhi said: ‘I asked
Muhammad bin Isma'il [Al Bukhari] about this Hadith and he said that he did
know it except through ‘Isa bin Yunus, and he [Muhammad] added: ''I do not
think it is preserved.'' He also narrated that Yahya bin Kathir narrated on
the authority of 'Umar bin Al-Hakam that Abu Hurayrah's opinion was that vomit
does not break fast.''
Al-Khattabi said: ''Abu Dawud mentioned that Hafs bin Ghiyath narrated it from
Hisham just as it was narrated by ‘Isa bin Yunus.'' He [Al-Khattabi] said, ''I
do not know that there is any difference between the scholars over the
question that whoever was overpowered by vomit does not have to make it up,
nor that who intentionally vomits, then he has to make it up. They only
differed over the atonement. The majority of them said: ‘He has only to make
it up.' But ‘Ata' said: ‘He has to make it up and to do the atonement.' This
was quoted from Al-Awza'i, and it is the saying of Abu Thawr.''
I (Ibn Taymiyyah) say: This is implied also by one of the two narrations form
Ahmad answering about the atonement for cupping. Since if it was necessary for
the cupped, then even more so for intentional vomiting. But what is apparent
from his school is that atonement is not obligatory except in the case of
sexual intercourse as stated by Ash Shafi'i.
Those who do not affirm the Hadith in question do so because it has not
reached them through a dependable route. They indicate that it has a
deficiency, in that it was narrated exclusively by ‘Isa bin Yunus. But as is
clear, he is not alone with it, rather it was also narrated by Hafs bin
Ghiyath, and the other Hadith supports it.
That is the Hadith recorded by Ahmad and the Sunan compilers, like At-Tirmidhi,
on the authority of Abu Ad-Darda' that the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam) vomited and broke his fast (Ahmad and Abu Dawud) That was mentioned to
Thawban who said: ''He (Abu Ad-Darda') has told the truth. I, myself, poured
the water for his ablution.'' But the wording of Ahmad is: ''The Messenger of
Allah (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) vomited and performed ablution.'' Recorded
by Ahmad on the authority of Husayn Al-Mu'alim. (Reported by Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi).
Al-Athram said: ''I said to Ahmad, ''They have contradicted each other with
this Hadith.'' Ahmad said: ''But Husayn Al-Mu'alim's narration is good.'' At
Tirmidhi said: ''This Hadith of Husayn is the most correct thing on this
Accordingly, the obligation of ablution for vomiting was inferred from it. Yet
it does not support this. For he may have intended that ablution is legislated
for that, since it says nothing but that he performed ablution, and merely
performing it does not prove that it is obligatory. Instead, it only proves
that ablution in such case is legitimate. If it is said: ''It is desirable,''
then such would be applicable from the Hadith.
Similarly, in the case of what was narrated from some companions about
ablution in the case of bleeding, there is nothing in such narrations to prove
doing so is obligatory. But it shows only that it is desirable. There is
nothing among the Shari'ah proofs to support requiring that.
Rather, Ad-Daraqutni and others recorded from Humayd that Anas said: ''The
Messenger of Allah (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was cupped, and did not
perform ablution. He washed only the location of the cupping.''
Ibn Al-Jawzi recorded it in his book entitled: Hujjatul-Mukhalaf, and he did
not weaken it, although his habit is to act upon the disparaging remarks
reported wherever possible.
As for the narrated Hadith which says: ''Three (things) do not break the fast:
Vomiting, cupping, and wet dreams.'' (Reported by At-Tirmidhi)
In another wording:''They have not broken [their fast]: Not the one who
vomits, nor the one who has a wet dream, nor the one cupped.'' (Reported by
Its chain is confirmed. What is narrated by Ath-Thawri and others, from Zayd
bin Aslam, from a man among his companions, from a man among the companions of
the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying: ''The Messenger of Allah (salAllahu
‘alayhi wa sallam)...'' this was recorded by Abu Dawud, and this man is not
known. ‘Abdur Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam reported it from his father from ‘Ata'
from Abu Sa'id from the Prophet; but ‘Abdur-Rahman is weak according to the
scholars of ‘Ilm Ar-Rijal. (Knowledge of the men of Hadith)
I say: His two Marfu' narrations from Zayd do not contradict his Mursal
narration, rather it supports them. So the Hadith is confirmed from Zayd bin
Aslam, but contains the wording: ''When one is overpowered with vomiting.''
And others have reported it from Zayd bin Aslam in Mursal form.
Yahya bin Ma'in said: ''The Hadith of Zayd bin Aslam is nothing.'' And if it
were correct, it would mean: ''Whoever was overpowered by vomit.'' Because he
connected it with having a wet dream, and one does not have a wet dream by
choice, since he is asleep, so it does not break ones fast according to the
As for the Hadith about cupping, it is either abrogated or abrogating; due to
the Hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas which says that the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu
‘alayhi wa sallam) was cupped while fasting and in a state of Ihram, (Reported
by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi).
And perhaps vomiting, if it is included under the meaning of intentional
vomiting, then it may also be abrogated. This supports the view that the
prohibition of cupping came later. It is known that if there are two
contradicting texts, one changing the rule and other remaining upon it, the
one changing is given preference since it is abrogating the other, and the
earlier is more likely to be the abrogated.
As to him who masturbates then ejaculates, he breaks his fast. The wet dream
only applies to the one who ejaculates while asleep.
By analogy, a group of scholars thought that no emission breaks the fast, and
that the one who intentionally vomits only breaks his fast since it is likely
that some of the vomit will return (to the stomach). Others say that the mere
fact that menstruation breaks the fast contradicts such analogy.
As we have explained about the fundamentals, there is nothing in the Shari'ah
that contradicts sound analogy.
If it is said: ''You have said that the one who intentionally breaks his fast,
his doing so is one of the major sins, and the one who intentionally delays
the day prayer until the night without any excuse, his deed is considered one
of the major sins, and that it would not after that be acceptable from him
according to the most apparent of the two sayings of the scholars.
But the one who missed the Friday prayer or throwing the pebbles (During Hajj)
or other cases of acts of worship whose time is limited. For such things he
has been ordered to make up.
It is also narrated in the Hadith about the one who has sexual intercourse in
the day of Ramadan that the Messenger of Allah commanded him to make it up?''
Then the response to this is that he commanded him (the one overpowered by
vomit) to make it up since man only vomits uncontrollably, like the patient
who gets better by vomiting, or the one intentionally vomiting after eat some
doubtful food, as was done by Abu Bakr when he knew that the food he had eaten
was earned by a soothsayer.
So if one who vomits has an excuse for doing so, then what he has done is
permissible, and thus, he entered the category of the sick who are entitled to
making it up. He is not one of those who broke their fast without excuse.
As for his command to the one that had sexual intercourse (in the day of the
month of Ramadan) of making it up, it is a weak Hadith. More than one of the
major scholars of Hadith classify it as weak.
This Hadith is confirmed by many routes in the Two Sahihs via the narration of
Abu Hurayrah and ‘A'ishah (radyAllahu'anha), and none of them mentioned the
command to make it up. Had the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)
commanded him to make it up, they would not have neglected to mention it;
since it is a legislative ruling that must be clarified. Since the Messenger
of Allah (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not command him to make it up, it
follows that making it up would not have been acceptable from him. This is a
proof that he intentionally broke his fast, hence he was neither forgetful nor
As for the one who has sexual intercourse during the days of Ramadan out of
forgetfulness, there are three views from the Madhhab of Ahmad and others, and
there are three narrations mentioned about it.
1. Neither making it up nor atonement are required. This is the view of Ash-Shafi'i,
Abu Hanifah, and most of the others.
2. He must make it up, without atonement. This is the view of Malik.
3. He must do both. This is the popular position of Ahmad.
The first is more obvious as has been properly explained in its appropriate