Advising the one who publicly breaks his fast in Ramadan even for a valid excuse
Fatwa No: 55391

Question

My boss at work is a Muslim but he does not fast in Ramadan. He is not sick either. He breaks his fast for no valid excuse. Once, he asked me if I was annoyed at his fast-breaking. I told him that I did not care insofar as fasting is a private matter between the servant and his Lord. Was what I said a kind of lying? Was it a kind of implicitly encouraging him to keep up with his sin? Should I have advised him?

Answer

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

There is no doubt that breaking the fast in Ramadan without a valid excuse is one of the grave major sins and is a tremendous misdeed. Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Whoever breaks his fast for one day in Ramadan without a valid excuse shall never be able to make up for that day, even if he fasts for the rest of his life.” [Abu Daawood, At-Tirmithi, An-Nasaa’i, and Ibn Maajah]

The sin becomes much greater if the person breaks his fast in public and in front of others. Such a practice is a form of defiance to Allaah’s commands and it hurts the feelings of the fasting people. Also, when a person breaks his fast in front of others, he implicitly encourages those of weak faith to behave in the same manner, in which case the person shall bear the sins of those who copy his attitude, without diminishing (anything from) their sins in the least.

If a Muslim sees someone who publicly manifests his non-observance of the fast in Ramadan, then he is required to advise such a person in a gentle manner. A person is prohibited to make his non-observance of the fast publicly known to others, even if he has a valid excuse for it. This is because his action may encourage others to do the same, not to mention that it might under me the status of fasting in their sight.

In your case, when your boss asked you about his non-observance of fasting, you should have taken advantage of the situation and advised him in a kind manner. You should have explained the ruling on his action and the evil consequences that it could bring about to him. Perhaps Allaah Almighty would amend his affairs and guide him to repent at your hands, in which case you would have attained a great reward from Allaah. In addition, by advising your boss you would have observed the obligation of forbidding evil.   

Allaah Knows best.

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