Muezzin pronounced Azan before sunset so some people broke their fast
Fatwa No: 114527

Question

The muezzin of the area in which I live pronounced the azan six minutes before sunset by mistake. A number of Muslims who were in their houses and did not see that the sun had not yet set broke their fast. One of the fasting persons hastened and informed the muezzin, so he interrupted the azan. However, those who had broken their fast continued eating thinking that the electricity was cut and that this had led to the interruption of the azan. Six minutes later, the muezzin pronounced the azan once more. What is the ruling on those who broke their fast and continued to eat? What is the ruling on those who broke their fast and stopped eating when they were alerted? And what is the ruling on the muezzin?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that none is worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and messenger.

If this muezzin was neglectful in verifying the sunset and did not utilize the means that lead to adjusting the time accurately, he is sinful for that. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “The muezzin is entrusted.” [Abu Dawood, At-Tirmithi and Ibn Majah; Al-Hakim: Saheeh (authentic) meeting the conditions of Muslim] If he neglected in preserving the trust, he has not fulfilled what Allah imposed on him.

However, if this muezzin has erred in adjusting the time in spite of utilizing the means for adjusting it, he is not sinful and his mistake is pardoned, Allah Almighty willing.

Concerning those who broke their fast with his first azan whether they ate little food and then stopped or continued eating thinking that the electricity had been cut, their ruling is the same as that of those who broke their fast thinking that the sun has set and then came to know that it had not yet set. The opinion of the majority of the scholars, which is the opinion of the four Imams, is that it is obligatory to make up for that day. This is one of the two opinions narrated from the Commander of the Believers, ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him. Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah chose the non-obligatoriness of making up. This is the opinion of the Thahiriyah School and a group of the predecessors, and it is also the other narration from ‘Umar. ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said, “We broke our fast on a cloudy day and then the sun appeared. Why would we make up for that if we did not intend to commit a sin?

Ibn Taymiyyah sought as evidence the Hadeeth reported by Al-Bukhari on the authority of Asma’, “We broke our fast on a cloudy day during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and then the sun appeared.” ‘Urwah was asked, “Did they make up for that day?” He said, “Making up for it is inevitable.” ‘Urwah did not ask the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; rather, his answer was the result of his own ijtihad (personal reasoning). Had it been quoted (from the Prophet), it would have been transmitted just as the story was transmitted. Moreover, they broke their fast by mistake. The mistaken person is like the forgetful person in the elimination of sin. Allah Almighty says (what means): {Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred.} [Quran 2: 286] He said in its answer, “I already did.” [Muslim]

This opinion is very reasonable. Nevertheless, we say as ‘Umar said in the other narration that indicates making up: “The matter is easy,” meaning that the matter of making up is easy and involves no great hardship. Therefore, our advice to you is that everyone who broke his fast before the sunset on that day makes up for that day as the matter is easy, as ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said. Furthermore, the opinion of the majority of the scholars including the four Imams is that it is obligatory to make up for it.

Allah knows best.

Related Fatwa