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Having to observe Sawm (Fast) for

Q: A person ran over someone inadvertently on 29/12/1398 A.H. He was accused of being responsible for the accident by 90% and was, thus, sentenced to remain in prison until 6/4/1399 A.H. After being released, he observed Sawm (Fast) for a month but was then forced - because of some familial affairs - to travel to Riyadh with one of his relatives for treatment. Due to whether changes and having felt tired and stressed during his stay in Riyadh, he broke his Sawm for a week after which he returned to his workplace in Khamis Mushayt and fasted the second month. (Part No. 21; Page No. 320) As the mentioned person wants to be sure about the validity of his Sawm, we hope Your Eminence will give him a Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified Muslim scholar) in this regard.

A: The basic rule in offering Kaffarah (expiation) for involuntary manslaughter states that Sawm should be consecutive. Factors that do not break off consecutiveness are either essential or optional. Essential refers to an illness that renders Sawm impossible or menstruation with regard to women. These two matters do not break off consecutiveness. Rather one should count the previous days one fasted and complete the sixty days. Traveling for a necessary cause constitutes an optional factor that does not break off consecutiveness, such as the question posed by the inquirer. Traveling, in this case, is considered a Shar`y (Islamically lawful) excuse, provided that it is not intended to be taken as a pretext for breaking Sawm.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.