Praise be to Allaah.
Fasting is one of the pillars of Islam which is established
by the Qur’aan and Sunnah and by the consensus of the ummah. It is not
permissible for the Muslim to break the fast without a legitimate shar’i
excuse such as sickness or travel. A person may experience great hardship
during the fast but he has to be patient and seek the help of Allaah. If a
person becomes thirsty during the day in Ramadaan, there is nothing wrong
with him pouring water over his head to cool himself down, or rinsing his
mouth out with water. If his thirst will cause him a great deal of harm or
there is the fear that he may die of thirst, then it is permissible for him
to break the fast, but he has to make it up later on.
But if his work is the cause of the difficulty that he is
experiencing, this is not an acceptable reason for breaking the fast, if he
can take a leave of absence during Ramadaan, or he can reduce his workload
during this month, or he can change his work to something that is easier.
The scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas
It is well known in Islam, and no Muslim has any excuse for
not knowing, that fasting the month of Ramadaan is obligatory for every
adult Muslim, and it is one of the pillars of Islam. Every adult Muslim must
strive to fast this month, in obedience to the command of Allaah, in the
hope of His reward and for fear of His punishment, without neglecting his
worldly affairs and without letting his worldly interests affect his
interests in the Hereafter. If there is a conflict between the acts of
worship that have been enjoined by Allaah and his work to earn a living in
this world, then he must work it out so that he will be able to take care of
both. In the example mentioned in the question, he can make the night his
time for doing his work to earn his living, and if that is not possible then
he should take a leave of absence from his work during the month of
Ramadaan, even if that is without pay. If that is not possible, then he
should look for another job where he can combine the two duties and his
worldly duties will not affect his duties towards the Hereafter. There are
many kinds of work and the ways of earning money are not limited to this
kind of difficult work. The Muslim will never be without permissible ways of
earning a living which will also allow him to fulfil the duties and acts of
worship that Allaah has enjoined upon him, in sha Allaah.
“And whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He
will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).
3. And He will provide
him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in
Allaah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allaah will accomplish his
purpose. Indeed Allaah has set a measure for all things”
If we assume that he cannot find any work other than that
which has been mentioned, which is causing such hardship and the fear that
the work regulations may be so strict that he cannot practise his religion
fully or perform some of its duties, then he should flee for the sake of his
religion from that land to a land where he will be able to fulfil his
religious and worldly duties, and co-operate with other Muslims in
righteousness and piety. The earth of Allaah is spacious. Allaah says
(interpretation of the meaning):
“He who emigrates (from his home) in the Cause of Allaah,
will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by”
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘O My
slaves who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah
Islamic Monotheism), be afraid of your Lord (Allaah) and keep your duty to
Him. Good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world, and Allaah’s
earth is spacious (so if you cannot worship Allaah at a place, then go to
another)! Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full,
If none of these options
are possible and he is forced to do the kind of hard work that is mentioned
in the question, then he should fast until he starts feeling that he is no
longer coping, then he should take just enough food and drink to keep him
going , then he should refrain from eating and drinking, and he has to make
it up during the days when it is easy for him to fast. End quote.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah
They were also asked about a man who works in a bakery and he
gets very thirsty and sweats at work. Is it permissible for him to break the
It is not permissible
for him to break the fast; rather he must fast. The fact that he is baking
during the day in Ramadaan is not an excuse for him to break the fast. He
has to work according to what he is able to do. End quote.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah
li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta, 10/238.
And Allaah knows best.