Is Your Ramadan Fast Still Valid If You Stop Eating and Make Your Intention to Fast Between Fajr and Islamic Midday?

Answered by Sidi Wasim Shiliwala

Question: I was told that in Ramadan it is permissible to keep your fast before midday, providing you do not eat or drink. However if you eat, close your fast, then ejaculate and have a ghusl before midday and renew your intention to fast, would your fast be valid?

Answer: Walaikum As-salam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

The scenario you mention above is not permissible.  In order to understand why it is impermissible, we need to first understand some rulings related to fasting:

The Obligation to Fast in Ramadan

Firstly, it is important to know that all legally responsible Muslims must fast the month of Ramadan, with the exception of those who are sick, travelling, or in their menstrual period.  This obligation extends throughout the day, meaning that one must maintain the fast from the entrance of Fajr until the entrance of Maghrib.

Therefore, if one were to eat, drink, or engage in intercourse at any point during the fasting period, the fast would be invalidated and would have to be made up.  Furthermore, if one broke their fast intentionally, then in addition to the make-up fast, an expiation of 60 days of consecutive fasting is due.

Rulings Related to Intention

Secondly, it is true that one can make the intention to fast up until midday.  This means that if someone wasn’t sure if they wanted to fast on a particular day or not, then they have until midday (half-way between Fajr and Maghrib) to decide to fast.  If they haven’t decided by this point, they are not fasting.

However, the above applies only on the condition that one has abstained from food, drink, and intercourse before the midday point.  Therefore, if one eats, drinks, or has intercourse before this point, they are not allowed to fast.  In Ramadan, it means that he/she is intentionally not fasting an obligatory fast, so both a make-up and expiation are owed.  Outside of Ramadan, it simply means that one cannot fast on the day, and must leave the fast to another day.

Reevaluating The Scenario in Question

Keeping these rulings in mind, we can now look at the scenario in question and understand where problems come in:

1. In Ramadan, it is obligatory to keep one’s fast throughout the day.
2. Eating before midday would invalidate your fast, so a make-up fast is owed.  If done intentionally, an expiation is owed.
3. Ejaculation invalidates the fast as well, except if done involuntarily, such as in a wet dream.  Intercourse requires an expiation; masturbation, though sinful, only requires a make-up.
4. One can intend to fast before midday, but only on the condition that they didn’t do anything that would invalidate the fast before that point.  So if, as in your question, the person ate before midday, they cannot “renew” their intention and cannot fast.
5. Therefore, the process detailed in your question would not only invalidate the fast for that day in Ramadan, but would require a makeup as well as an expiation.
6. For further details on fasting, you can see this reader compiled by the SeekersGuidance team: The Ramadan Reader: A Guide to Fasting, Prayer, Qur’an, and Spirituality in the Month of Ramadan

Final Point of Advice: Learn from Reliable Sources

Finally, I would encourage you to study the fiqh of worship from a reliable source.  Many times, we hear rulings based on hearsay and faulty memory, and sometimes we forget the details of rulings ourselves.  These sorts of inaccurate information can lead us astray in our practice.

To avoid such problems, we must build a solid base of knowledge.  To accomplish this, you can take classes with local scholars or online with SeekersGuidance.  This education will give you a clear understanding of how to properly worship Allah, and will protect you from major mistakes.  And Allah knows best.

Barak Allahu Fikum,
-Wasim Shiliwala

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani