Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan
Question: I was wondering if you could help me figure out how I should have prayed and fasted during each of the periods given below.
On June 19th, I left my home city of New York to fly to Atlanta, GA. I then made my way by shuttle to Peachtree City, some 24km away, where I commenced a 12-day stay for a job orientation.
I departed Atlanta on July 1st with a group of my colleagues. We traveled to Mumbai, India, to stay for 5 weeks to get work training. We arrived in Mumbai shortly after midnight on July 2nd. We were to stay until August 6th.
Shortly after midnight on July 16th, we confirmed that we would be taking a one-day trip by bus to do some sightseeing. We had a couple destinations on the itinerary that day, the further being about 77km* from our hotel.
Similarly, the following week, on July 21st, we confirmed we would be taking a trip to Delhi and Agra. We left our hotel in Mahape, Navi Mumbai, and journeyed some 28km* to get to Mumbai’s international airport. From there, we took a 2hr flight to Delhi on the evening of July 22nd and continued by bus for 4hrs to Agra, where we arrived around 2am on the morning of the 23rd. We spent that day and that night in Agra and then returned to Delhi by bus on the evening of July 24th. We took a flight back to Mumbai from Delhi that night and then made our way back to our hotel in Mahape after landing.
On the 29th, I confirmed another one-day bus trip for the following day, July 30th. Getting to this location was a distance of some 60km* from my hotel but in returning, we took a faster but longer route that was about 80km* in distance back to the hotel.
Ramadan started on August 2nd in India.
On the evening of August 5th, we departed our hotel and once again journeyed to the same airport in Mumbai. The plane left the gate around 1:40am and proceeded to the runway. It accelerated to take-off but then suddenly slowed to a stop. We remained for 3hrs in that state before maintenance men came aboard and announced the cancellation/postponement of the flight until the following day at the same time. We were transported from the tarmac to the airport building by bus within 40mins of this announcement, collected our bags from baggage claim by 5:45am and reached the hotel the airline had arranged for us to stay in around 6:30am that same morning. Fajr came in around 4:48am.
We departed from the hotel around 8pm that night and returned to the airport where I caught a different flight at 1:30am on the morning of the 7th.
Back in NY, I found that everyone started fasting on the 1st of August. If Eid falls on August 29th, 29 days of fasting would have elapsed. For me though, I would have only seen 28 days of Ramadan. Is there a problem with that such that I would need to fast an extra day to make it at least 29 days?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.
The Legal Criteria
The basic rule to keep in mind is that any trip to a place 77km away from your place of residence, for a duration of less than 15 days, renders you a legal ‘traveler’ whereby (a) you must shorten the fard prayers of zuhr, asr and isha to 2 rakats; and (b) you have the option to not fast in Ramadan.
If your trip is to a place less than 77km away, or for a duration of 15 days or longer, then legally you are not a ‘traveler’ and hence the above rulings do not apply.
Based on these criteria, the following depicts your status for each of your trips:
(1) Peachtree City (12 days): Traveler
(2) Mumbai (7/2 – 8/6): Resident
(3) One-day trip (7/16): You mention that the furthest place was about 77km away from your hotel. However, that means that it was probably less than 77km away from Mumbai city limits, so hence you remained a resident for that day.
(4) On 7/21, you confirmed a trip to Delhi and Agra. You still had more than 15 days until your departure from Mumbai, so you remained a resident while in Mumbai.
(5) Trip to Delhi and Agra (7/22 – 7/24): Traveler
(6) Upon returning on (7/24) from Delhi/Agra, you had only 13 days left in Mumbai until departure, and hence at that point you were a traveler for the remainder of your stay in Mumbai, as well as on the one-day trip on (7/30).
(7) Hence, when Ramadan started on (8/2), you had the option to fast while in Mumbai.
(8) Regarding the night of (8/5) when your flight was cancelled, you were already a traveler in any case, so you remained a traveler that next day as well. Hence, you had the option to not fast.
(9) You remained a traveler until arriving within NY city limits (your home city).
(10) Regarding your last question, yes in that case you would fast an extra day after Eid to make the total 29 days. But you should celebrate Eid with your local community.
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani