They Fasted Then They Went Back To Their Homeland Where Ramadaan Had Not Yet Begun
The Awqaf - Living Shariah
My question has to do with whether it is
obligatory to fast when there is a difference in
moonsighting between two countries. We left Saudi
territory after it was proven that the month of
Ramadaan had begun, and entered Jordanian territory –
where we live – after Zuhr on that day, and it had not
been proven that Ramadaan had begun in Jordan. Many
travellers did not fast on that day, because they did
not know of the shar'i ruling concerning that. What is
the ruling? Should they make up the fast for that day?
With regard to the travellers who did fast on that
day, is their fast valid, and should they complete the
fast in Jordan even if the number of days that they
fasted turns out to be 31 days?.
Praise be to Allaah.
In the answer to question no. 50487 we stated that the
sighting of the moon may differ, so each country
should fast according to its own sighting and they do
not have to start fasting when the moon is sighted in
It seems – and Allaah knows best – that if Ramadaan
begins when a person is in one country then he should
fast with the people of that country, even if he is
travelling on that day to another country where the
beginning of the month has not yet been announced.
That is because fasting that day became obligatory for
him when the month of Ramadaan began when he was in
the first country, because Allaah says (interpretation
of the meaning):
"So everyone of you who is present during that month
should spend it in fasting"
This person was present during the month so he has to
With regard to the command to count the number of days
of the month, and the difference of opinion as to
whether Ramadaan should be completed according to the
reckoning of the first country, or according to the
reckoning of the country to which he travelled, the
basic principle that is mentioned by many of the
scholars concerning this matter is that the one who
travels to another country should follow the ruling of
the country to which he has come, as it says in al-Majmoo'
by al-Nawawi (6/274). If the people in the second
country complete the fasting as thirty days, he should
fast with them, even if that means that he will have
fasted thirty-one days. But if they fast for
twenty-nine days, there is no problem in that case,
because then he will have completed thirty days, and
the month may be twenty-nine days or thirty days.
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Majmoo'
If he started to fast in one country then he travels
to a distant country where they did not see the new
moon when the people of the first country saw it, and
he completes thirty days from the time when he fasted,
if we assume that each country has its own ruling,
then there are two points of view, the more sound of
which is that he has to fast with them because he has
now become one of them.
What if he saw the new moon in one country, and
celebrated Eid with them, then he travelled by ship to
another country and finds the people there fasting?
Shaykh Abu Muhammad said: He has to refrain from
eating and drinking for the rest of that day, if we
say that each country has its own ruling. End quote.
It says in Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj (3/383) that Ibn Hajar
al-Haytami (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
If we do not say that the people of the other country
have to fast because of the differences in
moonsighting, when a person travels there from a land
where the moon was sighted, the more correct view is
that he should join them in fasting until the end of
their month, even if he has already completed thirty
days, because by moving to where they are he has
become like them. End quote.
It says in al-Insaaf, which is a Hanbali book (3/273):
It says in al-Ri'aayat al-Kubra: If he travels from a
land where the moon was sighted on the night before
Friday to a land where it was sighted the night before
Saturday, and he has completed a month of fasting but
they have not sighted the new moon, he should fast
with them. End quote.
We have previously quoted on this site many fatwas
from contemporary scholars which affirm this ruling.
See the answers to questions no. 38101, 45545 and
From the above it may be understood that the one who
fasted and completed the fast on the first day of
Ramadaan did the right thing, because you were in a
country where the sighting of the moon had been
confirmed for that day, so you were obliged to fast
then, even if you entered your own country – where no
announcement of Ramadaan had been made – during that
Then when you travelled to your country in which the
fasting began a day later than in the first country,
you should continue fasting with the people there,
even if that means that the number of days you fast is
And Allaah knows best.