Can a Nursing Mother Break Her Ramadan Fasts?

Answered by Shaykh Bassem Itani


Is it permissible for a nursing mother to break her fast during Ramadan? And what is required of her if she does?


All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and blessings and peace be upon our master Muhammad, his Family, and all his Companions.

It is permissible for a nursing woman to break her fast in Ramadan if she fears, with overwhelming assumption, for herself or for her nursing child. If she breaks her fast during Ramadan, she is only required to make up for the days she missed fasting without any expiation (kaffara) or expiratory charity (fidya). If another Ramadan arrives and she has not yet made up her missed days, she should fast the current Ramadan and make up for her missed days afterward, and there is nothing else required of her.

Three Conditions

How does a nursing woman reach an overwhelming assumption that justifies her breaking the fast in Ramadan?

An overwhelming assumption can be established by one of these three conditions:

  1. Signs: If there are signs that appear on the nursing woman during breastfeeding, such as extreme exhausting fatigue, pallor, severe weakness, or dizziness that necessitates breaking the fast, then she is allowed to do so.
  2. Experience: The experience comes to the nursing woman due to her previous breastfeeding experiences. She might encounter a condition in her current breastfeeding that she has experienced before, and this condition worsens and negatively affects her health if she does not break her fast. Out of fear of its worsening, she is allowed to break her fast.
  3. Consulting a physician: If a trustworthy Muslim female physician, trusted in her religion (because this matter pertains to an act of worship—fasting), examines the nursing woman and, after medical analyses, informs her that she must not fast due to harm it may cause either to her or to her nursing child or to both, then in this case, she should break her fast. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]


Islamic legislation has looked mercifully at the situation of a woman in her nursing period from the complications that may arise, granting her a concession to not fast during Ramadan to remove hardship upon her. Allah (Most High) says:

“Allah intends ease for you, not hardship.” [Quran, 2:185]

She is obligated only to make up the missed fasts without any expiation or ransom. The Messenger of Mercy to the worlds (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

“Verily Allah, the Exalted, has removed half of the prayer, or the prayer and fasting from the traveler, and from the nursing woman, or the pregnant woman.” [Abu Dawud]

Thus, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) equated the ruling of the pregnant and nursing woman to that of the traveler. The traveler may break the fast and make up for it later without any expiation or charity, and so does the pregnant and nursing woman.

Important Note

Some people might mistakenly think that just by nursing, a woman is allowed to break her fast; this is incorrect. A nursing woman who does not suffer from medical complications and is able to consume adequate amounts of healthy food and fluids during the pre-dawn meal (Suhur) and after sunset (Iftar) to meet all her and her nursing child’s nutritional needs must fast during Ramadan, as the harm is not realized upon her or her nursing child.

And Allah grants success to what is correct.

[Shaykh] Bassem Itani.

Shaykh Dr. Bassem Hussayn Itani was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1965. He earned his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies in 2005. Among his mentors were Shaykh Muhammad Taha Sukkar, Shaykh Adib al-Kallas, Shaykh Mulla Abdul ‘Alim al-Zinki, Shaykh Abdul Rahman al-Shaghouri, Shaykh Abdul Razzaq al-Halabi, Shaykh Dr. Mustafa Dib al-Bugha, Shaykh Dr. Wahba al-Zuhayli, Dr. Muhammad al-Zuhayli, and others, may Allah have mercy on them all. 

Shaykh Itani has a rich background in both academic and administrative fields. He has held significant positions in many governmental and non-governmental institutions in Lebanon and abroad. This includes his role as a member of the Academic Committee at SeekersGuidance and a senior teacher with the free online global seminary.

From 2020 to 2021, he served as the Dean of the College of Da‘wa – University for Islamic Studies (Lebanon) – Postgraduate Studies. He was the Director of Dar Iqra for Islamic Sciences from 1998 to 2018. Shaykh Itani is a well-versed teacher in several academic subjects, including Fiqh, Usul, Aqida, and Tafsir. He has supervised and examined numerous Master’s and Doctoral theses at various universities and colleges in Lebanon.

His contributions to Islamic sciences are also evident in his writings and research. His notable works include “The Relied-upon Statements of Imam Zufar in the Hanafi School,” “Collective Ijtihad: The Sublimity of Thought in the 21st Century,” and “Custom and its Impact in Islamic Jurisprudence.” Shaykh Itani has actively participated in numerous scientific conferences and seminars, both in Lebanon and internationally. He is linguistically adept, excelling in Arabic, proficient in French, and comfortably conversant in English.