Fiqh Ahmadiyya: There can be 4 conditions of fasting while on a journey:
- If the journey is in progress, whether it be on foot or otherwise, then you should not fast because in this condition leaving the fast is mandatory.
- If during a journey one needs to stay somewhere overnight and there is everything available and there is ease, then you are allowed to fast. It is upon you to fast or not. Even if you are staying there the entire day.
- If the journey begins after eating Sehri and finishes before the time for Iftaari, or believes that it will end before Iftaari time, then he can fast.
- If one is going to stay somewhere for 15 days or more, he should make preparations for Sehri and should fast. (pp. 289-290)
From the writings of Promised Messiah (as)
Promised Messiah (as): “Whoever fasts while he is sick or is on a journey is disobedient to Allah because He has made it clear that such a person should not fast. When the person becomes healthy and completes the journey, he should fast. Salvation is only from blessings and cannot be achieved from pushing your own actions. The rule is general, there is no exact amount of travel or sickness. If a sick person or a person travelling fasts, it is necessary that a judgement of disobedience be put upon them.” (Badr, 17th October 1907)
The prohibition of fasting on a journey is not optional; it is a commandment
The Promised Messiahas was enquired regarding the injunction about keeping a fast while traveling. Huzooras said, “The Holy Quran tells us:
فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ مَّرِيْضًا اَوْ عَليٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ اَيَّامٍ اُخَرَ
[‘… but whoso among you is sick or is on a journey shall fast the same number of other days.’ (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.185)]
“This means that the one who is sick or on a journey should not keep a fast. This verse possesses an injunction. Allah the Almighty has not said that whosoever has the strength may observe the fast and the one who lacks that strength should refrain from it. In my view, a traveler should not fast, but it is the practice of some people that they do observe fasts on journeys. Considering this routine of observing fasts while traveling, there is no wrongdoing in that, but still one should act upon the injunction ‘Iddatun Min Ayamin Ukhar’ [the same number of other days].”
Upon this, Maulvi Nuruddin Sahibra expressed that one should observe a few fasts on days of the other months as well.
The Promised Messiahas said on one occasion:
“The one who observes a fast while on a journey, experiencing great difficulties, instead of winning His delight through submission to His commandments, attempts to please Allah the Almighty arbitrarily. This is an erroneous act. True obedience lies in submission to Allah the Almighty’s commandments and prohibitions. (Al Hakam, 31 January 1899, p. 7)
A traveler or an ill person should not fast
Upon learning that Sheikh Muhammad Chatu Sahib and friends had arrived from Lahore, the Promised Messiahas, according to his excellent morals, stepped outside his residence. The purpose behind it was for a leisurely walk, but in doing so, the crowd of people would also be afforded the opportunity to meet the Promised Messiahas. Many people were already aware that the Promised Messiahas would come out, therefore, many people had gathered in the small mosque [Masjid Mubarak, Qadian]. When the Promised Messiahas exited his residence, companions thronged and rushed towards him. After greeting Sheikh Sahib, the following conversation ensued:
Huzooras: How are you? You are an old friend of ours.
Baba Chatu: I am well, thank you.
Huzooras: (Addressing Hakim Muhammad Hussein Qureshi Sahib) Please see to it that our guest is made comfortable and arrangements for his food and sleeping area are made. If you require anything, do inform me and make it clear to Miyan Najmuddin to prepare meals according to his liking.
Hakim Muhammad Hussein: Very good Huzoor. Insha-Allah there will be no problem.
Huzooras: (Addressing Baba Chatu) As you are on a journey, I assume you are not fasting?
Baba Chatu: No. I am, in fact, fasting.
Huzooras: The fact of the matter is that taqwa [fear of God] is in acting upon the conveniences provided by the Quran. God has granted permission to the traveller and the sick to observe their fasts at other times. Therefore, this permission should be acted upon as well. I have read that some people of influence have the view that if a traveller or a sick person fasts, it is a sin. After all, the objective is to attain God’s pleasure, and not one’s own pleasure. God’s pleasure is in His obedience; whatever command He gives should be followed, and self-made interpretations should not be made. He has given this exact order:
مَنْ کَانَ مِنْکُمْ مَّرِیْضًا اَوْ عَلیٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ اَیَّامٍ اُخَر
[Whoso among you is sick or is on a journey shall fast the same number of other days. (Ch.2: V.185)]
There is no further condition about what sort of journey it should be or how ill one should be. Neither do I fast while I am travelling, nor do I fast when I am sick. I am not feeling well today, therefore I am not fasting. Walking makes me feel better, that is why I am about to set out. Will you join me?
Baba Chatu: No, unfortunately I cannot go. But you should proceed. Although [not fasting while travelling] is a command, if there is no discomfort in travel then why should the fast not be observed?
Huzooras: That is your opinion. The Holy Quran does not allude to the subject of discomfort or lack thereof. You are now advancing in age and cannot trust life. Thus, man should adopt the path that pleases God Almighty and attain the right path.
Baba Chatu: This is why I have come, to benefit from your wisdom. If this is the true path, then I would not desire to die an ignorant death.
Huzooras: Yes, this is a very good thing. I shall set off now. You should get some rest. (Having said this, Huzooras left for a walk.)
(Al Hakam [Urdu] 31 January 1907 p. 14)
There was once a discussion on the subject of fasting whilst sick or on a journey. Hazrat Maulvi Nuruddin Sahibra said, “Ibn-e-Arabi has stated that even if a sick or travelling person fasts during Ramadan, it still is mandatory for them to keep the remaining fasts, after their health restores in the days that follow Ramadan. This is because God Almighty has stated in the Holy Quran:
فَمَنْ کَانَ مِنْکُمْ مَّرِیْضًا اَوْ عَلیٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ اَیَّامٍ اُخَر
[So whoso among you is sick or is on a journey shall fast the same number of other days. (Ch.2: V.185)]
Huzoorra said, “Whosoever is sick or travelling during Ramadan, it is mandatory for such a person to keep fasts in the days after Ramadan. God did not state that those people [on a journey or those who are sick] who fast during Ramadan out of stubbornness or personal choice, should not make up for the affected days after Ramadan. It is a clear command of Allah the Almighty that the fasts should be made up in the days after Ramadan, and making up of fasts in the other days becomes mandatory.
“If a person keeps fasts during Ramadan in these two states, then that is at the discretion of that person. They will still have to make up for them later, when they attain health. Simply by keeping fasts in Ramadan while sick or on a journey would not invalidate God’s injunction of making up for them later.”
The Promised Messiahas states, “Whosoever fasts in Ramadan during sickness or journey clearly disobeys the command of God. God has clearly said that the sick and travellers should not fast. A sick person should fast after recovering from sickness and the traveller should fast after completing the journey. This injunction should be heeded, for repentance is through the grace of Allah and not by a forceful exhibition of one’s physical strength. God has not specified what the length of the journey should be, nor has he set a criterion for the degree of sickness. The injunction is general and thus, if a person keeps a fast, they are succumbing to transgression against the command of God.” (Badr, 17 October 1907, p.7)