Is it permissible for a person who starts a journey to break his fast?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is permissible for a person who is travelling not to perform fasting. However, if he intends to fast before the morning and starts a journey after that, he has to perform fasting that day. This is not something that makes it permissible for him to break his fast. However, if his journey continues, he does not have to fast on the second day and the following days.

Fiqh scholars state the following regarding the issue: If a person who wakes up in the morning fasting starts a journey that day, this is not an excuse that makes it permissible for him to break his fast. If he breaks his fast, he needs to perform fasting for it only one day. [(al-Muhit, Sarakhsi, Fatawa al-Hindiyya) see Celal Yıldırım, Kaynaklarıyla İslam Fıkhı, II/233-234]

A person who wants to start a journey of at least three days (eighteen hours) in Ramadan does not have to intend for fasting at night. Thus, he will not be fasting that day when he starts his journey. However, if a person starts a journey during the day after starting fasting, this journey is not regarded as an excuse for the first day. He needs to continue fasting. However, if he starts his journey and breaks his fast after that, kaffarah is not necessary; he has to perform fasting for only one day. (see Ömer Nasuhi Bilmen, Büyük İslam İlmihali)

According to Shafiis and Hanbalis, a traveler can break his fast that he intended at night. Their evidence is the following hadith reported from Ibn Abbas:  

“The Prophet set off for the conquest of Makkah in Ramadan. He fasted until he arrived at Kadid. He broke his fast there; and his Companions also broke fasting.” (Hamdi Döndüren, Delilleriyle İslam İlmihali)

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