How Should I Deal with Doubt about Fajr Time during Ramadan?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Sufyan Qufi

Question

I’d just finished eating and had some water next to me that I decided to drink from and I could hear an adhan being called in the background. I wasn’t sure if it was the main call to prayer and decided to drink my water. This was at 4:14 am. At just a few seconds past 4:15 am, there was a collective call to the prayer by several of the mosques.

Is my fast valid?

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

I pray this finds you in the best of states.

You can assume the validity of your fast because you were sure that the night was there and had mere doubts about the entering of daytime.

In this situation, we return to the important fiqh principle:

“Certainty is not lifted by a doubt.” [Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah wa’l Nadha’ir; Majallat al-Ahkam al-‘Adiliyya]

This means that if one is certain about something, such as the validity of our worship, with this being the basic assumption for all human actions, then we will keep assuming it valid until certain that it was not. Mere possibilities and even likelihoods do not change this.

Drinking or eating after that time while thinking that the true dawn time (fajr time) was not yet there will entail for you to repeat the fast of that day. No expiation (kafara) is due in that case. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah]

Allah, Most High, says: “You may eat and drink until you see the light of dawn breaking the darkness of night, then complete the fast until nightfall.” [Quran, 2:187]

And Allah knows best.
Wassalam
[Ustadh] Sufyan Qufi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Sufyan Qufi is an advanced seeker of knowledge, originally from Algeria, who grew up in France. He began searching far and wide for answers to the fundamental questions of life and was disappointed at the answers he found.

Then he connected with various traditional teachers and gradually connected with SeekersGuidance. He embarked on his journey of learning through the various teachers at SeekersGuidance, including his mentor Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

He studied numerous texts in Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith, and other areas with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and other teachers, including Shaykh Abdurrahman al-Sha‘ar, Shaykh Ali Hani, and others.

He is an active instructor at SeekersGuidance and answers questions through the SeekersGuidance Answers Service.