Breaking Sawm before sunset

Q: A person traveled in Ramadan from Al-Zhahran to Britain where he settled in Bournemouth, a town located 200 kms away from London. The city had no Muslim inhabitants. He kept on his Sawm (Fast) till his arrival in that city. Asking about the time difference, he was told that it was two hours. He added a half-hour to be on the safe side. Since he arrived in the days where there were heavy fogs, he was unable to know the time of sunset because of the heavy clouds in the sky. Asking some residents of the area wherein he will live about the time of sunset, he was given an answer that, later on, turned out to be false. Five days after his arrival, the sky became clear of clouds and he became sure that he was breaking his fast an hour and a half before sunset. Please advise us, may Allah reward you with the best. Should this man make up for these days or not? It is worth mentioning that he tried hard to know the time of breaking his fast through using a clock, asking about the time difference, and asking some people who gave him a false answer. His excuse was that the sky has been covered with clouds since his arrival until five days thereafter when it became clear. Should he make up for these days or not?

A: Once a fasting person finds out that he broke his Sawm before sunset (even by mistake), he should make up for the missed days because he broke his Sawm before the appointed time and because the basic principle is that it was still daytime, and this principle cannot be altered except in accordance with Shari`ah (Islamic law), which in this case (Part No. 10; Page No. 289) means when sunset happens. There is Ijma' (consensus) among Muslim Scholars that the time of Sawm begins from dawn until sunset because Allah (Exalted be He) says: ...and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your Saum (fast) till the nightfall. It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: When night falls from this side and the day vanishes from this side and the sun sets, then the fasting person should break his Sawm. This person should make up for the five days during which he found out that he broke his Sawm before sunset. There is no sin on him because he did not break his Sawm during Ramadan deliberately but this was out of ignorance and it was a mistake.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.