The Traveler


The Traveler

The traveler has a choice between fasting and breaking the fast,
regardless of the length of the journey: whether the journey is
an emergency, for Hajj, to visit relatives, for business, or if he,
the believer, is a frequent traveler like airplane pilots, bus and
truck drivers, train engineers, or ship captains. As for cab driv-
ers, if the weather is hot, they may change their working hours
to nighttime until the weather is cooler. There is one condition:
that they are not intending their journey as a masquerade and
trick to avoid fasting. If that is the intent, breaking the fast is
prohibited and fasting becomes mandatory upon him during the
course of the journey.

Allah (SWT) states:

“But if any one is ill or on a journey (the pre-
scribed period should be made up) by days later.
Allah intends every facility for you; He does not
want to put you in difficulties…”

(Al-Qur’an, 2:185)

Allah repeated this verse twice to underscore the fact that it is
not abrogated with the general command to fast.

The above verse has considered the hardship encountered on a
journey as equal to hardship in sickness, and thus allows those
faced with either condition not to fast. Perhaps the reason can
be found in the very meaning of the Arabic word safar, which
implies exposing oneself during the course of a journey to ele-
ments of hardship in transportation, food, time and climate
changes, and of cultural shocks of all sorts, or just general wear
and tear.

Even in this age of jets and supersonic air travel, traveling
poses a danger to the sojourner. Because of this possibility, the

Lawgiver has permitted the traveler to eat, so fasting does not
add to his already difficult situation. This is why the Messenger
of Allah (saas) has been reported as saying,

“The jurney is a type of punishment.”

He or she, however, would have to make up the day. The per-
mission to not fast during a journey is the same as if a person
decides to fast while on a journey, he can do so and the fast is

Essentials of Ramadan The Month of Fasting