What’s the Ruling on Daytime Sexual Relations during Ramadan?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Bassem Itani


What is the ruling on someone who deliberately has sexual relations with his wife during the day of Ramadan?


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.

Whoever has sexual relations with his wife intentionally during the day of Ramadan has indeed broken his fast, and according to Islamic law, he is considered sinful and must repent. It is obligatory for him to abstain from eating and drinking for the rest of the day, and he must make up for this day. Additionally, he is required to offer expiation, which in our times means fasting for two consecutive months. If he is unable to do so, then he must feed sixty needy people.

Ramadan holds immense sanctity and is a global symbol for Muslims. Violating its sanctity through deliberate actions such as sexual relations is a grave sin, agreed upon by scholars.

This entails:

  1. Repentance: The perpetrator must sincerely repent by regretting his action and intending not to return to it. Allah accepts the repentance of those who repent. It is narrated in the hadith: “The one who repents from sin is like one who did not sin.” [Ibn Maja]
  2. Abstaining for the day: He must abstain from all things that break the fast for the remainder of his day, considering himself among the fasting, as he might think it permissible for him to eat and drink since his fast is invalidated. However, this is not the case, because abstaining is a form of revering the fasting ritual, making him resemble those who fast in appearance, though in reality, his fast is not valid. Abstaining protects the sanctity of this great month.
  3. Making up for the day: He must make up for the day he invalidated, just like other physical acts of worship such as prayer and Hajj. Whoever invalidates a required prayer must perform it, and whoever invalidates his Hajj must make it up. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to the one who had sexual relations with his wife: “And fast a day in its place” [Ibn Maja]
  4. Expiation: The individual must atone for this violation of the sanctity of this month. Expiation serves as a deterrent, preventing a repeat of such actions. It carries the meaning of worship, as it involves fasting and feeding, and it trains the person to be patient in worship. In other words, since his desire overcame him and he engaged in sexual relations with his wife during Ramadan, thus violating its sanctity, the legislation prescribes a significant dose of worship, which is fasting for sixty days, to help him overcome his desires and accustom him to patience in worship.


Expiation must be carried out in the following order: freeing a slave is required; if that is not possible, then fasting for two consecutive months; if that is not possible, then feeding sixty needy people. In our times, the option of freeing a slave is not applicable because the system of slavery does not exist anymore.

The basis for expiation is established in the Prophetic Sunna. Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reported that a man had sexual relations with his wife during Ramadan and sought the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and give him peace) verdict. The Prophet asked,

“Can you find a slave to free?” He said no. The Prophet asked, “Can you fast for two months?” He said no. The Prophet then said, “Then feed sixty needy people.” [Bukhari]

Both the man and the woman are equal in this ruling unless the woman was coerced, in which case her fast is invalidated, and she only has to make up the fast without the expiation. This is based on the hadith:

“Women are counterparts of men.” [Abu Dawud], meaning women are equal to men in legal rulings except in matters specifically addressed by Islamic law to women or to men. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Islamic legislation has allowed spouses to have intimate relations during the night of Ramadan so as not to impose hardship or discomfort on them. It is obligatory for each of them to avoid what invalidates the fast during the day. Allah (Most High) says:

“It has been made permissible for you to be intimate () with your wives during the nights preceding the fast. Your spouses are a garment for you as you are for them…” [Quran, 2:187]

And Allah is the Guardian of success and the Helper in performing acts of obedience.

[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.