There is a person whom Allah has guided to revert to Islam on the 26th of Ramadan. Is he required to fast? How should I explain this matter to him? Please advise!
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.
When a disbeliever reverts to Islam in Ramadan, it becomes obligatory for him to fast the rest of the month. He does not have to make up for the days that he missed before embracing Islam. In Al-Muwatta’, the following is stated:
Malik was asked about the one who embraces Islam the last day of Ramadan, is he required to make up for the entire month? Is he also required to make up for the day on which he accepted Islam. Malik replied, "He does not have to make up for the days that he missed before embracing Islam. Rather, he should start fasting Ramadan. Yet, I see that it is recommended for him to make up for the day on which he embraced Islam."
In Al-Mughni, Ibn Qudaamah states:
If a disbeliever accepts Islam in Ramadan, then he has to fast the rest of the month. There is no disagreement on this. However, he does not have to fast the days of the month that preceded his Islam. This opinion is adopted by Ash-Sha‘bi, Qataadah, Malik, Al-Awzaa‘i, Ash-Shaafi‘i, Abu Thawr, and the Hanafi scholars. In contrast, ‘Ataa’ said, "He has to make up for the days of the month that he missed before embracing Islam." These two views were reported from Al-Hasan. According to the view that we adopt, the person in such a case missed whatever he had missed of the month in which he accepted Islam because he was not a Muslim and, therefore, he is not required to make up for such missed days, just as he is not required to make up for the previous fasts of Ramadan. However, he has to fast the rest of the day on which he accepted Islam and make up for that day later on. This view is stated by Ahmad, Al-Maajishoon, and Is-haaq.
With this in mind, the person in question has to fast the days of fasting that occur after he embraced Islam. If he did not fast these days, then he shall make them up. As for making up the day on which he embraced Islam, doing this is more prudent in fact.
As far as you are concerned, you must enlighten this person about the matters of the religion, including the five pillars of Islam, if you are qualified to do this. The more you invest your time in teaching him about the religion, the greater your reward will be with Allaah Almighty.
Allaah Knows best.
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