Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
I am newly married and don’t currently live with my husband. Because we don’t live together, time with intimacy has been limited. During this Ramadan, one night, my husband and I were having marital relations and didn’t realize the time for Fajr had begun. When we checked the time and realized Fajr and, therefore, the fast had started, we did ghusl and prayed Fajr quickly.
Are we sinful because we lost track of time? Do we need to pay the expiation (kaffara) and make up the fast? I immediately sought forgiveness but felt guilty and committed a big sin, as marital relations are forbidden during fasting. What is allowed in the Shafi‘i school between spouses while fasting? Is kissing allowed?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.
Engaging in lawful intercourse is permissible on the nights of Ramadan till Fajr. If one disengages from intercourse immediately at Fajr, one’s fasting day would still be valid, and no sin would be incurred. [Nawawi, al-Majmu‘]
Intentionally continuing intercourse, even for a moment after Fajr has arrived, is unlawful, breaks one’s fast, and requires expiation.
To do so unintentionally (not knowing that Fajr had entered) invalidates one’s fast on that day (though one should continue as though one is fasting) and requires a make-up fast but does not require the penalty of expiation (kaffara). [ibid.]
Intercourse on the Nights of Ramadan
Allah 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. Allah knows that you were deceiving yourselves. So He has accepted your repentance and pardoned you. So now you may be intimate with them and seek what Allah has prescribed for you.
(You may) eat and drink until you see the light of dawn breaking the darkness of night, then complete the fast until nightfall. Do not be intimate with your spouses while you are meditating in the mosques. These are the limits set by Allah, so do not exceed them. This is how Allah makes His revelations clear to people, so they may become mindful (of Him).” [Quran, 2:187]
What is Permissible Between Spouses While Fasting?
‘A‘isha (Allah be pleased with her) narrated, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to kiss and be affectionate when fasting, and he was the ablest of you to control his desire.” [Bukhari; Muslim]
Married couples may kiss and be affectionate while fasting if they do not fear being sexually aroused and tempted to engage in intercourse. Being affectionate here refers to touching, not intercourse which is strictly prohibited.
It is unlawful to kiss or physically embrace during a fasting day if one would be sexually aroused thereby. [Misri, ‘Umdat al-Salik] Married couples should refrain from anything that would likely lead to intercourse, and Allah knows best.
Reader on Polygamy in Islam
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.