Prayer And Fasting Of A Prisoner Who Does Not Know Anything About Time
The Awqaf -
can a person who is jailed in an underground room
pray, while he is chained, heedless about prayer
times, and does not know that Ramadan started?.
Praise be to Allaah.
We ask Allaah to grant all Muslim prisoners a rapid
release, and to grant them patience and consolation by
His bounty, and to fill their hearts with peace and
certainty of faith, and to make easy for the Muslims a
way of guidance whereby His close friends will be
honoured and His enemies will be humiliated.
The scholars have determined that prayer and fasting
are not waived for prisoners and detainees, and that
what they must do is to try their best to work out the
right times. If the prisoner thinks it most likely
that the time for prayer has come, then he should
pray, and if he thinks it most likely that Ramadaan
has come, then he should fast. He can work out the
times by noting the times when he is fed, or by asking
the guards and so on.
If he tries to work out the right time for praying and
fasting, then his worship will be valid and
acceptable, whether he finds out later on that he did
it at the right time, or after it, or he does not find
out anything, because Allaah says (interpretation of
"Allaah burdens not a person beyond his scope"
"Allaah puts no burden on any person beyond what He
has given him"
But if he finds out that he fasted on the days of Eid,
he should make them up, because fasting on the days of
Eid is not valid.
But if he finds out later on that that he prayed or
fasted before the proper time, then he has to repeat
the fast or prayer.
It says in al-Mawsoo'ah al-Fiqhiyyah (28/84-85):
The majority of fuqaha' are of the view that if the
months all seem to be the same to a person, the fast
of Ramadaan is not waived in his case, rather it is
still obligatory because he remains accountable and
the ruling still applies to him.
If he tries to work it out and he fasts, then one of
the following five scenarios must apply to him:
1 – The problem continues and he cannot find out, so
he does not know whether he managed to fast at the
time of Ramadaan or before it or after it. In this
case his fast is valid and he does not have to repeat
it, because he did his best, and he is not required to
do any more than that.
2 – The fast of the prisoner coincided with Ramadaan,
so that is acceptable.
3 – If his fast happened to be after Ramadaan, that is
also acceptable according to the majority of fuqaha'.
4 – There are two possibilities with the fourth
(i) If he started fasting before Ramadaan, and he
finds out about that before Ramadaan comes, then he
must fast when Ramadaan comes, and there is no
difference of opinion among the scholars concerning
(ii) If he started fasting before Ramadaan and he did
not find out about that until after it had finished.
There are two opinions as to whether this is
(a) It is not acceptable for Ramadaan, rather he has
to make it up. This is the view of the Maalikis and
(b) It is acceptable as Ramadaan, just as if the
pilgrims are uncertain of the day of ‘Arafah and they
observe the standing before the day. This is the view
of some of the Shaafa'is.
5 – If the fast of the prisoner coincides with one
part of Ramadaan and not the other; that which
coincides with Ramadaan or comes after it is
acceptable, and that which comes before it is not
acceptable. End quote.
See: al-Majmoo' (3/72-73) and al-Mughni (3/96)
And Allaah knows best.