The conditions of the concession to break Sawm in travel
Does the exemption that allows a traveler not to fast during Ramadan while they are traveling stipulate that one must be traveling on foot or riding a pack animal?
Is there any difference between traveling on foot or riding a pack animal, and traveling by car or plane? Is there a condition that states that the difficulty of the travel must be more than the fasting person can endure? Is it better to fast while traveling if one is able to do so?
If one is traveling a distance whereby they are allowed to shorten the prayer, then they are also allowed to break their fast - whether they are traveling on foot, or by any other means such as by car, plane, etc. A traveler is also allowed to break their fast regardless of whether they face hardship, hunger or thirst. This is because Shari`ah (Islamic law) has made allowances for anyone who is on a journey equal in distance to that whereby a person may shorten their prayers. These allowances include not being obliged to fast during Ramadan, and being allowed to shorten prayers. There are no conditions that restrict these allowances to a particular means of transportation or state that they are only valid if one is afraid that they will be overcome by (Part No. 10; Page No. 208) fatigue, hunger, or thirst. During the month of Ramadan, some of the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) were traveling with him to go to battle. Some of them fasted as they traveled, while others did not. Neither group blamed the other for fasting or for not fasting. However, it is emphasized that anyone who is traveling during the month of Ramadan should break their fast if they find difficulty fasting due to heat, the roughness of the path, or the length or the continuity of the journey. It is related on the authority of
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) who narrated:
We were with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) on a journey. Some of the Sahabah were fasting whereas others were not. Those who did not fast were able to put much effort into their work, whereas those who were fasting were too weak to do so. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Today those who broke their fast have taken all of the reward."
In some cases it may be obligatory to break one's fast while traveling due to some necessity, such as in the case that was mentioned by
Abu Sa`id Al-Khudry (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: "We were traveling with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) towards Makkah and we were fasting. We stopped along the way and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
You are nearing your enemy and if you break your fast you will have greater strength.
In this case his words were just an indication that it was permissible to break our fast, so some of us continued to fast, while others did not. When we stopped at another place, however, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
You are going to encounter the enemy in the morning and you will have more strength if you break your fast, so you should do so.
Because he had resolved that we should do so, at that point we all broke our fast. Later however, in subsequent journeys with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) we would fast."
(Related by Muslim).
It was reported by
Jabir ibn `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: (Part No. 10; Page No. 209)
During the course of a journey, Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) saw many people crowding around a man and they were shading him from the sun. Upon seeing this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked: "What is the matter with him?" The people answered: "He is fasting." The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "It is not an act of righteousness that you should fast while you are traveling."
(Related by Muslim)
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.