Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi | Translated by Jamaal Diwan
What is the ruling for someone who eats suhur after fajir time or has iftar before maghrib time then later on his mistake becomes evident?
All praise is due to Allah and may peace and blessings be upon His Messenger, his family, companions, and whoever follows him until the Day of Judgment.
The well-known opinion of the recorded mathabs [particularly the four mathabs] regarding the one who eats suhur thinking that it is still night time then realizes that his suhur or part of it was after fajr, or the one who makes iftar thinking the sun has set then realizes that it has not, is that his fast becomes invalid. He is required to finish fasting the rest of the day, he is not sinful as long as it was a mistake and not on purpose, and he must make up a day in replacement. However, Abu Muhammad ibn Hazm is of the opinion that his fast is valid in both situations because he did not break his fast on purpose but rather believed that he is not fasting, so he is the same as the forgetful person who eats during the day while fasting. There is no difference between them.
Allah says, “And there is no sin upon you for that in which you are mistaken, but rather in that which you intend.” The Messenger of Allah said, “Allah has overlooked for my nation mistakes, forgetfulness, and that which they were forced to do.”
Ibn Hazm said, “And this is the opinion of the majority of the salaf (the early generations).” Then he narrated by his sanad: The people made iftar in the time of Umar ibn al-Khattab and the water container was taken from the house of Hafsa and they drank from it, then the sun showed itself from behind some clouds. The people were worried about it so they said, “We will make up this day.” Umar said, “Why? By Allah we did not intend sin!” It is also narrated from Mujahid that he said, “Whoever eats after fajr and he thought that it was not yet fajr time then he does not have to make up that day because Allah says, “until the white line of fajr becomes apparent from the black line.” This opinion is also ascribed to al-Hakam ibn ‘Utaibah, al-Hasan al-Basri, Jabir ibn Zayd, ‘Ataa ibn Rabah, ‘Urwah ibn Zubayr, and Dawud ath-Thahiri.
Ibn Hazm’s evidence is strong, especially for the one who eats suhur thinking that the time of fajr has not yet started. This is because the Quran has made marital relations, food, and drink all permissible until the entering of fajr time becomes evident; and the one who eats suhur thinking that fajr has not yet started does so because the entering of fajr has undoubtedly not become evident to him.
Therefore, our opinion is that the fasting person should put forth his full effort, especially in knowing whether or not the sun has set. Thereafter if he thinks that it has set, breaks his fast, and then finds out that it did not set, then I believe that in this case the difficulty will be removed. Allah says, “So have God-consciousness as much as you can.” Umar said, “By Allah, we did not intend sin.” This case is similar to the person who does not know the direction of the qiblah, tries his best to find it, then finds out that he prayed in the wrong direction. His prayer is valid and accepted. Allah says, “So wherever you turn your face, there is Allah.”
And Allah, Exalted and Glorified is He, knows best.
Originally published at Qaradawi.net