Took contraceptive pill thinking it would not break her fast
Fatwa No: 132611

Question

In the morning of the first day of Ramadan, a woman took a contraceptive pill without water thinking it would not break her fast. What is the opinion of the Sharee’ah on this?

Answer

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

The scholars hold two different opinions on whether or not a compensatory fast is due on one competent for religious assignment who consumes something which breaks the fast while he is unaware of that. However, the opinion that no compensatory fast is due is so strong and good in terms of evidence that we incline to opt for it. Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him says in this respect:

If a fasting person does something by which his fast is broken and he is ignorant that it is forbidden during fasting, will a compensatory fast be due on him or not? There are two different opinions in the juristic school of Ahmad; the same as if one does something forbidden during Hajj and he is ignorant that it is forbidden. The reason goes back to the question whether the person competent for religious assignment is addressed by the ruling before it reaches him. There are three different opinions concerning that in the juristic school of Ahmad and others: some say that he is addressed. Others say that he is not addressed. Many stand in the middle between those extremes by arguing that he is addressed by the initial ruling and not by its abrogation (in case it was abrogated).

What seems more apparent is that no compensation is due, and the ruling addresses the person competent for religious assignment only after it reaches him because Allah, the Almighty, says (what means):

•        {That I may warn you thereby and whomever it reaches.} [Quran 6:19]

•        {And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.} [Quran 17:15]

•        {so that mankind will have no argument against Allah after the messengers.} [Quran 4:165]

There are many Quranic statements like this in which Allah, the Almighty, clarified that none will be punished till he is informed of what was brought by the Messenger.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in the same topic:

If one eats something ignorantly, no compensatory fast will be due on him. Ignorance is of two kinds:

Ignorance of ruling, e.g. one vomits intentionally without knowing that vomiting (intentionally) nullifies fasting: no compensation is due on him because he is ignorant. The evidence that the fasting of the person who is ignorant of the ruling is not broken is taken from the hadith which was reported on the authority of ‘Adiyy ibn Haatim, may Allah be pleased with him, and in which he placed two camel ropes underneath his pillow, one black and the other white, and kept looking at them; and when the white of them seemed to him distinct from the black, he abstained from food and drink. In the morning, he went to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and told him about that. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said to him, “No doubt, your pillow is wide that it had room for the white thread (of dawn) and the black thread (of the night). What is intended (in the relevant verse) is the whiteness of the day and the blackness/darkness of the night.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Yet, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did not command him to make up for the fast because he was ignorant of the meaning of the noble verse.

However, as predominant and strong in terms of evidence this opinion might be, the opinion that a compensatory fast is due is more prudent and more freeing from liability, especially since it is adopted by many scholars. It is preferable to avoid their difference in opinion, and the matter is easy.

Hence, it is more prudent for this woman to make up for that day in order to be free from liability. Furthermore, she is considered negligent in asking and seeking to know what is due on her to know of the Sharee'ah rulings.

Allah knows best.

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