Should a traveller fast on 31st fast?
Bismihi Ta`ala

Question: I am a Mauritian and I am leaving UK this morning at 5am and it is our 30th fast  here. Sehri is 2am. I am heading for Mauritius whereby they sighted the moon one day after us and hence they would be probably fasting tomorrow also. Should I fast today? And if they fast tomorrow, should I fast tomorrow as it will be my 31th fast?  
 
Answer:

Hamidan wa musaliyan

First of all, it is compulsory and farz for you to start your fast today. Because at the time of sehri, you were not a traveller yet and hence it is incumbent for you to fast today.

It is not permissible to break a fast that you started even as a traveller.(Shami)

فَلَوْ سَافَرَ بَعْدَ الْفَجْرِ لَا يَحِلُّ الْفِطْرُ
شامي

If broken during travelling, then only one qaza needed. We find that the importance of completing a fast from the Qur-aan:

ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا الصِّيَامَ إِلَى اللَّيْلِ
‘’Then complete the fast until night time.’’(2:187)

But know also that even if someone is during his journey during Ramadhaan at night(that is sehri time he is a traveller), then he has the option not start the fast, but still the Qur-aan encourage that traveller to still fast:

وَأَنْ تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
‘’However that you fast(during travelling) is better for you, if you only knew.’’(2:184)

Furthermore, let`s elaborate on your issue of fasting a 31th fast. We find that the Qur-aan exhorts that person to fast:

فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ
‘’One of you who finds this month(of Ramadhaan), then he should absolutely fast.’’(2:185)

So this implies that if you are non traveller and you witness Ramadhaan, then you should fast even if it is even your 31st fast.
And also that the sunnah shows us a month is either 29 or 30, but the ayah impose on a non traveller that wherever he finds the month of Ramadhaan, then he should fast.

Furthermore the hadith of Muslim Shareef whereby Kureib went to Syria and started his fast on Friday while the people of Madinah started on Saturday, still hazrat Ibn Abaas r.a. stated that he was prescribed to fast with the people of Madinah until Eid, even if it was 31st Fast for him:

فَقُلْتُ نَعَمْ وَرَآهُ النَّاسُ وَصَامُوا وَصَامَ مُعَاوِيَةُ فَقَالَ لَكِنَّا رَأَيْنَاهُ لَيْلَةَ السَّبْتِ فَلَا نَزَالُ نَصُومُ حَتَّى نُكْمِلَ ثَلَاثِينَ أَوْ نَرَاهُ فَقُلْتُ أَوَ لَا تَكْتَفِي بِرُؤْيَةِ مُعَاوِيَةَ وَصِيَامِهِ فَقَالَ
لَا هَكَذَا أَمَرَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ
مُسلم

Hazrat Ibn Abaas r.a. confirmed the fact that wherever there is Ramadhaan prevailing, then they won`t stop fast until they will find the moon at that particular country. He said: ‘’It is on this prescription that the beloved prophet SAW left us.’’(Muslim Shareef)

This clearly states that every area should follow his own moon. He states that definitely that our Ramadhaan and Eid depends on our own and personnal moon sighting:

لكنا رأيناه ليلة السبت فلا نزال نصوم حتى نكمل ثلاثين أو نراه

He argues that the people of Madinah will not follow any other moon in any circumstances and will continue follow the moon sighting or will complete 30 days. If they complete 30 days, then it will be 31st fast for Kureib.

The sunnah teaches us that there can be either 29 or 30 days in a month. But know that it is applicable for a given area and not on a personal basis. For a personal basis, the beloved prophet SAW said:

صَوْمُكُمْ يَوْمَ تَصُومُونَ وَفِطْرُكُمْ يَوْمَ تُفْطِرُونَ
سنن الدار القطني
‘’Your fast is when people fast(the area where you are situated are fasting)  and your `Eid is when people do `Eid(the area where you are situated is celebrating `Eid).(Darul Qutni)

That is why you should not follow another country`s sighting, but rather follow your own country`s sighting. Furthermore, you will not celebrate `Eid until people around you celebrate `Eid. This implies that one has to fast even the 31st or 32th fast in a given area where Ramadhaan is still prevailing. AND NOTE THAT THIS IS WAJIB AND NOT OPTIONAL.

We have derived this masla on the one who saw the moon of Ramadhaan alone. If one sees the moon alone and his testimony got rejected, then he has no option but to fast the 30th Sha`baan(eve of Ramadhaan). And furthermore if people of that area completes 30 fasts, so that this will be 31st fast for that person, then fuqaha has obliged this fast on him because of the above hadith.(Shami, Inayah, Fathul Qadeer)  

لَوْ صَامَ رَائِي هِلَالِ رَمَضَانَ وَأَكْمَلَ الْعِدَّةَ لَمْ يُفْطِرْ إلَّا مَعَ الْإِمَامِ لِقَوْلِهِ عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ { صَوْمُكُمْ يَوْمَ تَصُومُونَ وَفِطْرُكُمْ يَوْمَ تُفْطِرُونَ } رَوَاهُ التِّرْمِذِيُّ
شامي 

The Qur-aan also applies on you to fast. ‘One who witness the month, then he should fast’ That is why it is wajib for you to fast that 31st fast when you will be in your resident place and witnessing Ramadhaan.

Your Eid will be only when the people of your country sight the moon for 'Eid.

 Note: If did not fast, then no kaffarah apllied. Should replace though.

Wallahu `Alam

Mufti Mackoojee
Islam-qna.org
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
 
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