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What is the ruling on breaking the fast because of hunger or thirst?

 

Praise
be to Allah

Fasting is one
of the pillars of Islam, as is well known.

Therefore it is
not permissible for the Muslim to be heedless about it just because he feels
thirsty or hungry, or just because he is afraid that he cannot fast. Rather
he must be patient and seek the help of Allah, may He be glorified and
exalted. There is nothing wrong with him pouring water on his head to cool
down, or rinsing out his mouth.

He must begin
his day fasting, and if it so happens that he is not able to complete it,
and he fears that he may die or become sick, it is permissible for him to
break the fast in that case. But he should not break the fast on the basis
of a mere assumption; rather he should not break the fast unless he
experiences hardship.

Ibn Qudaamah
said:

The correct view
is that if he fears for himself due to extreme thirst or hunger and the
like, then he may break the fast.

Shaykh Ibn
‘Uthaymeen said in his commentary on al-Kaafi:

“If he fears
thirst” does not refer to mere ordinary thirst; rather it refers to the kind
of thirst in which there is the fear of dying, or there is the fear of
suffering harm.

End quote from
Ta‘leeqaat Ibn ‘Uthaymeen ‘ala al-Kaafi (3/124).

An-Nawawi (may
Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Majmoo‘ (6/258): Our companions
and others said: Whoever is overcome by hunger and thirst, and fears that he
may die, must break the fast, even if he is in good health and is not
travelling, because Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the
meaning):


“And
do not kill (or destroy) from yourselves: Surely, to you Allah has been Most
Merciful (Raheem)”


[an-Nisa’ 4:29]


“and
do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction”


[al-Baqarah
2:195]
.

And he must make
up that day, as is required of one who is sick. And Allah knows best. End
quote.

So you must make
up that day, and if you were too hasty and broke the fast before
experiencing the level of hardship that makes it permissible to break the
fast, then you must also repent from what you did, and not do that again.

See the answers
to questions no. 65803 and 37943.

And Allah knows
best.