The statement of the Prophet ﷺ when he wanted food and didn’t find food so he said I am fasting is this considered as nullifying the intention or is it beginning fasting at that time?
This is from what they disagreed concerning and from them are those who used this as evidence that he begun fasting at that time i.e I have intended to fast from now and from them are those use this as evidence that he awoke fasting and that he remembered the condition he was in when he didn’t find food to eat for verily the one doing voluntary fast, if he is in need to break his fast, he breaks, the one doing voluntary is his own amīr, so the Prophet ﷺ returned from wanting to eat and not finding anything in his house so he informed of the condition he awoke upon that he was fasting and continued upon that condition and it wasn’t a nullification of his intention baring in mind if he found (food) he would of ate and if he didn’t find he remains on his fasting which he awoke upon and this is the correct opinion because he used to remember Allāh until the sun rose as comes (in the hadith);
لأن اقعد أذكرالله تعالى وأكبره وأحده و أسبحه وأهلله حتى تطلع الشمس أحب الي من أن أعتق رقبتين من ولد إسماعيل، ومن بعد العصر حتى تغرب الشمس أحب الي من أن اعتق أربع من ولد إسماعيل
The Prophet ﷺ said: “That I sit in the company of a people who remember Allāh the Exalted from the Fajr prayer till the sun rises is more beloved to me than that I free two slaves from the children of Ismā’ēl, and that I sit with a people who remember Allāh from the Asr prayer till the sun sets is more beloved to me than that I free four slaves.”
this is evidence that he used to sit after he prayed Fajr and, he never used to disperse (straight away), and that this was in the morning, so if he begun fasting that time it wouldn’t have been a complete day of fasting because Allāh said:
ْ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الْأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ
“And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct from the black thread of the night then finish the fasting until the nightfall.” [Al-Baqarah, 187]
This is from the proofs that the correctness of a fasting persons fast is to fast a complete day from the appearance of the true Fajr until the sun sets and that it is not correct to fast three quarters of a day,
من صام يوما في سبيل الله باعد الله وجهه عن النار سبعين خريفا
“Whoever fasts a day for the sake of Allāh, Allāh will distance his face from the fire by 70 kharīfs.” [Muslim]
And that those who break the fast before the time will be punished as comes in the hadith of Abī Umāmah
فإذا أنا بقومٍ مُعلَّقينَ بعراقيبِهم مُشقَّقةٍ أشداقُهم تسيلُ أشداقُهم دَمًا فقلْتُ : مَن هؤلاءِ ؟ فقيل : هؤلاءِ الَّذينَ يُفطِرونَ قبْلَ تحِلَّة صومهم
“Suddenly i came across a people hanging by their Achilles tendon with their jaws flowing with blood so I said who are these? So it was said these are the ones from your ummah who broke their fast before the prescribed time.” [Sahīh Al-Musnad by Imam Al-Wādi’ē]
i.e they didn’t complete the day.
And the Prophet ﷺ said:
إنَّ بِلَالًا يُؤَذِّنُ بِلَيْلٍ، فَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا حتَّى يُؤَذِّنَ – أَوْ قالَ حتَّى تَسْمَعُوا أَذَانَ – ابْنِ أُمِّ مَكْتُومٍ وَكانَ ابنُ أُمِّ مَكْتُومٍ رَجُلًا أَعْمَى، لا يُؤَذِّنُ حتَّى يَقُولَ له النَّاسُ: أَصْبَحْتَ.
“Verily Bilāl calls the Adhān in the night so eat and drink until the call or he said until you hear the Athān of Ibn Umm Maktūm for verily he does not call the Athān until the people say to him the dawn has appeared.” [Bukhāri]
And the meaning is that when Ibn Umm Maktūm makes the call to Athān at the true Fajr withholding from eating an drinking becomes incumbent and the Prophet ﷺ informed that what necessitates withholding is the true Fajr as has come in numerous hadiths, and it is not known that the Prophet ﷺ permitted or clarified that fasting is the day except a part of it or half of the day is considered fasting, verily he clarified this concerning the affair of the children getting them accustomed to the good and giving them a toy so that they can get accustomed to good and in the story of Āshūrā that whoever arose fasting then let him continue and whoever ate then let him withhold, the people of knowledge said in exaltation of that day and the scholars agreed that whoever there remains part of the day and he broke his fast whether from the beginning or the end not forgetfully rather intentionally that his fast is not correct and it is not counted as a fast the one who fast a day except a little or three quarters is not considered to have fasted as is the case with the one fasting from Dhuhā, and a hadith has come with some weakness in it except that the action is upon what it contains;
لا صيام لمن لم يبيت الصيام من الليل
“There is no fasting for the one who doesn’t make his intention in the night (before dawn).”
All these proofs point towards that what the hadith contains upon the correct meaning that preceded that the Prophet ﷺ awoke fasting then he was in need of food so he searched for it and didn’t find it and so continued his fasting and there is nothing that points to that he begun his intention to fast at that moment but verily he asked and if it was found he would of broke his fast and if it was not found he continues and the matter is flexible in this, this is the correct opinion.
Answered by: Shaykh, the Allamah, the Trustworthy Advisor, Abu Abdirrahman Yahya bin Ali Al-Hajuri – may Allah preserve him
Answered on: 13th, Muharram, 1442H
Translated by: Abū ‘Abdillāh ‘Omar bin Yahya Al-‘Akawi