Traveling in Ramadan – To Fast or Not to Fast?
Many of us tend to stay in our resident country during Ramadan since traveling while fasting can be a challenge, especially if it requires a long journey. But if you choose to travel or have to travel due to work or other obligations during Ramadan, should you fast or not?
It was narrated by Aishah that: Hamzah bin Amr Al-Aslami asked the Messenger of Allah about fasting while traveling, and he fasted regularly. So the Messenger of Allah said: “If you wish then fast, and if you wish then break (the fast).”
An excerpt of Sheikh Muhammad bin Salih al Uthaymeen’s book on Lessons on Fasting, Tarawih and Zakat delivered by Sheikh Dr. Tahir Wyatt on YouTube explained: “If it doesn’t make a difference to him if he fast or he breaks his fast and makes it up later then it is best for him to fast while traveling.
“It is quicker in removing liability. If you do not fast in Ramadan, then you have to make it up later, that is a debt you owe to Allah SWT. If you fast in Ramadan then you don’t owe anything. After all, it’s a blessed month you won’t find better to fast than in it,” he said in the video.
Meanwhile, Shaykh Yusuf Badat, the main Imam and Director of Religious Affairs at the Islamic Foundation of Toronto, also went through the fiqh (teachings of Quran and the traditions of the Prophet) of fasting in a video posted on YouTube, and said that: “When it comes to travel, the option is yours.”
He said that if a person is traveling short distance and have the energy to sustain until iftar, then they don’t need to break their fast.
“If its more than 70km and I want to break my fast then it’s no problem. You must make it up later anyways.
“Prophet SAW said the distance that you can travel in three days and the minimum that a person can go on in those 3 days is 70km.
“If there is no difficulty in your travel then in that case there is no need to break your fast. But if someone says they would like to do it, they have the permission.”
When it comes to fasting and entering different time zones, Shaykh Yusuf Badat explained that one should follow the iftar time of the current location they are in.
For example, let’s say a person is traveling from Toronto to Vancouver which is 3-4 hours behind in time difference, he would still have to adhere to Vancouver’s time of iftar.
“You should break fast according to the time where you are at,” he said.
Even if you travel to a country where the journey reduces time instead of stretching it, one should still adhere to the iftar time of the destination country.
For example, if you are traveling to London and it happens to be maghrib there upon landing, you should break your fast, even if you have only fasted fewer hours than usual.
TIPS WHEN TRAVELING WHILE FASTING
DON’T SKIP SUHOOR
Suhoor is a vital meal of the day, so it is best to not skip it even if you’re tired from your journey.
Always be prepared and pack snacks as you’ll never know if you are bound to get stuck in traffic jams or flight delays. Bring a bottle of water and a bag of nuts or biscuits and some dates.
DOWNLOAD MUSLIM-FRIENDLY APPS
Muslim apps, like SalamWeb, will help to ensure you can fulfil religious obligations with ease. It can keep track of mosques, and are equipped with a Quran function and even tell the direction of the qibla.
TRAVELING PRAYER OUTFIT
Pack along your travel prayer outfit or robe in your carry on bag so that you can pray whenever you need to.
- Sources: Sheikh Tahir Wyatt via Youtube
- Shaykh Yusuf Badat via YouTube
Photo credit: Erik Odiin / Unsplash