Q: All praise be to Allah (Exalted be He) and peace and blessings be upon His Honorable Prophet. We supplicate to Him (Glorified and Exalted be He) to make Islam and the Muslims strong and to guard them against the Enemies of Allah. It is the Islamic centers, as you know, that are the front for Islam and Muslims in these countries. We have received a message from one of the scientific departments (Part No. 10; Page No. 234) of the University of Tübingen in
the Department of Occupational and Social Medicine. This letter contains some questions asking for Fatwas pertaining to Ramadan and observing the Sawm (fast) in this month. Realizing the importance and the sensitivity of the subject, we decided to ask for your advice, hoping that you will guide us to the truth with Allah's support.The questions that were sent to us in that letter are:What is the Islamic ruling on observing Sawm
for workers who do physically hard work,
especially during summer months, such as those who work with blast furnaces?What is the Islamic ruling on observing Sawm in the northern parts of the earth where the sun only sets for a very short time, maybe only a few minutes, or in places such as Scandinavia where the sun never sets? We would like to inform you that your Fatwa may be misused by the authorities in order to issue laws and apply them to the foreign workers here in
There are more than one and half million Muslim workers in this state. We are worried that if these questions are answered without taking these matters into consideration, it may cause great problems for the Muslims living in these states, as most of them do not know the legal rulings of their religion.
It is well-known in the religion of Islam that fasting in Ramadan is an obligation upon every Mukallaf (person meeting the conditions to be held legally accountable for their actions) and that it is one of the pillars of Islam. (Part No. 10; Page No. 235) Therefore, every Mukallaf should observe the Sawm in order to fulfill what Allah has obligated them to do, hoping to get Allah's Reward and fearing His Punishment. They should do so not forgetting their share of this world, but without letting it affect their Hereafter. If the acts of worship made obligatory by Allah clash with someone's work in this world, they should organize themselves to fulfill both obligations. In the example above, the person could try to work at night, and if that is not possible, they could request leave for the month of Ramadan, even if it is without pay. If that is not possible, then they could look for other work so they could meet the two obligations, and where their worldly obligations do not affect their Hereafter. There are many different types of work and ways of earning a living that are not as difficult as these types of hard work. There are many lawful ways that a Muslim can find to earn their living, and do the worship that Allah obligated them to do, if Allah so wills. Allah says:
And whosoever fears Allâh and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).
And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allâh, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allâh will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allâh has set a measure for all things.
If the person is unable to find other work without these hardships and they fear that they may suffer due to unfair laws that do not permit them to practice their religion, it becomes obligatory on them to migrate from these countries to (Part No. 10; Page No. 236) somewhere else where they can practice the obligations of their religion and their daily life, and interact with Muslims in righteousness and piety. Allah's Earth is spacious, as He says:
He who emigrates (from his home) in the Cause of Allâh, will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by.
He (Exalted be He) also says:
Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): "O My slaves who believe (in the Oneness of Allâh - Islâmic Monotheism), be afraid of your Lord (Allâh) and keep your duty to Him. Good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world, and Allâh’s earth is spacious (so if you cannot worship Allâh at a place, then go to another)! Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning."
If it is not possible for them to do any of this and they are obliged to do the difficult work mentioned in the question, then they should observe the Sawm until they start to face difficulties. They can then break their Sawm, by eating and drinking only enough to remove the hardship, and then they should complete the Sawm. These missed days of Sawm have to be made up for when it becomes easy to do so.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.