Firefighting and fasting Ramadan
Fatwa No: 60773


In Britain, fire fighters need to drink huge amounts of water whenever they are put on alert for possible fire accidents. This is because while they are in places where there is a fire they may lose consciousness if they did not drink huge amounts of liquids beforehand. The authorities here are asking about the ruling of fasting in Ramadan for fire fighters.


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.

It all depends on how much such people need to be involved in that kind of work during the daytime in Ramadan. If these people cannot be replaced by their non-Muslim colleagues, or if they need such work so badly that their condition will be affected if they quit, then they may break their fast, provided that they are certain that they most likely will incur harm if they fast while performing their work. This is substantiated by a few scholarly statements.   

In Mughni Al-Muhtaaj, it reads:

The sound view is that the ruling pertaining to the condition of breastfeeding mothers in Ramadan shall apply to those who may have to break their fast in order to rescue people in deadly accidents like drowning and the like. Rather, such rescuers have to break their fast if they will not be able to do their job while fasting.

In Kashshaaf Al-Qinaa’, it states:

If a person sees another person drowning or so, then the former must rescue the latter if he is able to do so. If the former needs to break his fast in order to rescue the latter, then he must do. This is because that which is required for the fulfillment of an obligation is an obligation in itself.

It should be noted that these statements that permit fast-breaking in Ramadan pertain to rescuers who are entitled to rescue the beings protected by the Shareea'h.

In the Encyclopedia of Fiqh, the Hanafi scholars have commented on the condition of craftsmen, such as bakers and harvesters, who badly need their crafts to earn their living. They maintain, “If a craftsman knows that his job involves hardships with which he may have to break his fast in Ramadan, then he is not allowed to break his fast unless he comes to actually experience such hardships.Abu Bakr Al-Aajuri, a Hanbali scholar, says, “For those of hard labor; if they fear that they may be harmed by fasting, then they may break their fast and make up for the days that they miss later, particularly if quitting their jobs may negatively affect their conditions.” 

Al-Buhooti says, “If a person engages in fighting against the enemy or if the enemy surrounds his town and fasting may weaken his body, then he may break his fast. Even if the person is not travelling, his condition still constitutes a necessity.

Allaah Knows best.

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