Can I Follow Another School to Avoid 60 Days of Expiation Fasting?

Shafi'i Fiqh
Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question

If someone were to intentionally eat in Ramadan, in the Hanafi madhhab they would have to fast for 60 days. However, if they chose to follow a different madhhab in order to find ease and only make up the fast, could they follow the Hanafi rules while making up the fast? For example, if they swallowed mucus that came into the mouth, this would still be a valid vast in the Hanafi madhhab. But would that fast be sufficient to expiate for their original broken fast in, for example, the Shafi’i madhhab?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

While it is permissible to follow another recognized school, it is impermissible to do so merely out of desire (Shahwa)-or avoiding legal responsibility-or in a manner that would lead to contradictory actions (talfiq).

In the Hanafi Madhhab:

Expiation, on top of making up the fast, is due when a fast is deliberately broken by intentionally eating, drinking, or having intercourse during the day of a fast that one intended to perform from the previous night. [Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]

The expiatory fast, referred to above, is a 60-day consecutive fast that occurs at a time in which there are none of the five disliked days.

In the Shafi’i Madhhab:

Even though the fast is broken by the swallowing of phlegm that one had the ability to expel (with the exception of a person who is sick or constantly dealing with phlegm), the grand expiatory (al-Kaffara al-‘Uzma) fast of 60 consecutive days is only due because of (intentional, voluntary) sexual intercourse during the day of Ramadan. Furthermore, this ruling only applies to the male, not the female. [Abu Shuja‘, Matn al-Ghaya wa al-Taqrib]

Where Do We Go From Here?

If someone eats intentionally during the day of Ramadan, the expiatory fast of 60 consecutive days is obligatory upon them. For them to take from another school as a means of avoiding the responsibility (and there is no Islamically recognized reason allowing them to do so) is impermissible.

If this is done due to an Islamically recognized reason, such as health conditions, elder age, etc…, taking the dispensation of another school is then valid.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.