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What to Do When Forced Not to Fast in Ramadan?

Forcing Muslims not to fast in Ramadan is against all divine and man-made laws that dictate freedom of belief for all people. It also goes against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international law that guarantee minorities the right to freely observe their religious rituals and to be protected while doing so.

Islamic jurists have dealt with the issue of doing something under coercion on the basis that one is to comply with the orders of the coercive authority in order to protect one's life. Based on this, jurists differed as to whether or not the coerced person is to make up for the fasts missed under coercion.

The Maliki and Hanafi scholars agree that the person forced to break his or her fast must make up for the fast days missed under coercion.

The Hanafi scholars have tackled this point in detail by saying that the priority for the healthy person in this case is to continue observing fast in spite of coercion even though this would lead to his or her death, while for the sick and traveling person it is to breakfast under coercion.

According to the Shafi`i scholars, if someone was forced to break fast by being made to eat or drink something, their fasting in this case would still be valid; while if they were coerced to break their fast by making love, their fast becomes invalid and they must make up for the fast days missed in this way.

But Al-`Azizi (a Shafi`i scholar) differed with other Shafi`i scholars regarding this last point, and so also did the Hanbali scholars. According to them, the fasting of someone in this case would still be valid because of the Prophet's hadith, "Almighty Allah has forgiven my nation what (offenses) they commit by mistake, forgetfulness, and under coercion." (Ibn Majah and Al-Bayhaqi)

However, the preferable opinion here is to make up for the missed fast days in general. Anyway, the issue should be referred to the concerned judiciary bodies so that the rights of Muslims who are faced with such aggressive procedures are not violated.

Moreover, this issue has been tackled by The Kuwaiti Encyclopedia of Jurisprudence, in which the following is stated,

Coercion is to forcefully make someone do or give up doing something against his or her will by means of using threats. The Hanafi and Maliki scholars see that when a Muslim is forced to break the fast and he or she did so, he or she will be required to make up for the fast days missed in this way. According to them, if a healthy resident person is threatened to be killed unless he or she breaks the fast in Ramadan by eating something (before sunset), the person has a dispensation to break the fast, though going on in fasting is preferable in this case.

If the person refused to break the fast until he or she got killed, he or she would be rewarded for this, as the obligation of fasting was still in effect in this case in spite of the coercion; and the dispensation given to the person to yield to the coercion has exempted him or her only from the sin involved in breaking obligatory fast, not from the obligation of fast in principle.

A healthy resident person is, principally, obliged to fast in Ramadan and forbidden to give up fast in that month; if so is the case, it remains a duty upon him or her toward Almighty Allah to fast in Ramadan. Hence, by refusing to submit to the coercion even though he or she would be killed, the person would be sacrificing him- or herself for establishing Allah's teachings and seeking His pleasure. This renders him or her struggling in the cause of the religion and thus is worthy of reward from Allah.

On the other hand, if the person coerced into breaking fast is ill or traveling, coercion here, as Al-Kasani says, permits him or her generally to break the fast, or rather, makes it obligatory for him or her to break the fast. Accordingly, if a person under these circumstances was threatened by death to break the fast, he or she would not be required not to break it. On the contrary, if the person refused in this case to break the fast until he or she was killed, he or she would then be sinful.

The difference between this case and the one of the healthy resident person is that the latter was principally obliged to fast before he or she was put under coercion without any dispensation to give up fast anyway. When the person was forced to breakfast, coercion here became a means of dispensation to break the fast in that special circumstance, not to give up the obligation of fasting in principle.

As for the ill and traveling persons, they principally — before being coerced — had the dispensation not to fast in Ramadan during their illnesses and traveling. Therefore [if they intended to fast but somebody or some authority forced them not to], coercion here still also has the effect of exempting them from the obligation to fast in principle and permits them not to fast in general. It is like being forced to eat the meat of a dead animal, in which case, it is permissible, or, rather, obligatory for one to eat in certain exceptional circumstances.

The Shafi`i scholars differentiated between the case when somebody is forced to break the fast by being made to eat or drink something, or by being made to make love. In the first case, they say, if a person is made to eat or drink something against his or her will, such as by inserting food or drink in the throat forcefully, the fast is not invalidated, as the ruling (of making up for a missed fast day) does not apply here, for the person had no choice.

As for being forced to breakfast by being made to have sex with a person other than one's spouse, the Shafi`is say that one's fasting here becomes invalid, as adultery is not permissible even under coercion. But such is not the case with being made to have sex with one's spouse during fasting.

However, Al-`Azizi held the opinion that the fasting of the person coerced into breaking fast in general (whether by being made to eat or to make love) is not invalidated. According to him, fasting is not invalidated also in the case of being forced to make love because of the probability of being unwilling to have sex in that case, whereas having sex is forbidden in principle.

Accordingly, being forced to break the fast in general, whether by being made to eat or to have sex, does not invalidate a person's fast; hence, it does not follow that he or she makes up for the fast days that he or she was forced to break. He or she is only required to make up for the fast day missed by being forced to have sex with a person other than his or her spouse.

The generality that the fast is not invalidated by being forced to eat or to make love is also the viewpoint of the Hanbali scholars. According to them, if someone is forced to do something (by means of which the fast will be broken) by him- or herself, or is made to do it by some other person — as when someone pours a drink or the like in his or her throat forcefully, or while he or she is sleeping or unconscious as a means of treatment —, his or her fasting is not invalidated.

Thus he or she will not be required to make up for the fast day when he or she did so or was made to do so because of the hadith referred to above to the effect that what one does under coercion is forgiven by Almighty Allah.

http://www.onislam.net/english/ask-the-scholar/acts-of-worship/fasting/173264-what-to-do-when-forced-not-to-fast-in-ramadan.html

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