Is It Allowed to Feed Non-Muslims during Daylight Hours in Ramadan?(Shafi’i)

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah


Some scholars say that it is haram to give food to a non-Muslim who is morally responsible during the day of Ramadan. Others say that it is permissible to feed them during the day of Ramadan.

What is the position of the Shafi’i school on the issue?


Both answers are correct, one being more general than the other.

The Shafi’i Opinion

The opinion of the Shafi’i school is that it is impermissible to give food or sell food to a non-Muslim during the fasting day, as quoted in Ibn Hajr’s Tuhfa, Imam al Sharqawi’s Hashiyat al Tahrir, and Ba Fadl’s Bushra al Karim.

This ruling is based on the Shafi’i position that non-Muslims are legally responsible for both the obligation of accepting Islam and the agreed-upon details of the shariah (furu’), as mentioned by Imam Nawawi in his Sharh Sahih Muslim.

Therefore, in the Shafi’i school, if a Muslim feeds a non-Muslim during the day, it is as if he is assisting the non-Muslim in sin.

Other Opinions

Other madhabs, such as the Hanafi school, hold that non-Muslims are not held accountable for the details of the Shariah. Therefore, a Muslim feeding a non-Muslim during the fasting day of Ramadan does not amount to assisting them in sin, as they won’t be asked about it on the Day of Judgement.

Though I cannot be sure in what exact context Sayyid Habib ‘Umar intended his words, it appears that he was adopting a broader approach to the answer, not a madhab-specific-answer, but rather a da’wah based approach grounded in using wisdom in a situation with a greater purpose in view, namely, guiding others to Islam. Habib did not mention ‘the Shafi’i opinion’ in his answer.

Utilizing a broader opinion from another school is a valid and sometimes necessary approach in some circumstances. Adopting the strict position of one’s school may not always be in the greater interest and benefit of the given situation.

This is fiqh in practice (tatbiq): sound knowledge translated into action with wisdom and contemplation. The application of this depends on time, place, and people.

Both answers are correct; the first is more madhab-specific and text-based, while the second seems more general, da’wah-focused, with practicality and wisdom as the guiding principles.

And Allah knows best.

I hope this clarifies things for you insha’Allah.

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences and teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.