I’m a warden at a school. Every morning rather than throwing the leftover food from sahoor in Ramadhan, I would bring the food to my friend’s school (non-Muslims’ school) and Muslim women who are not fasting (menstruating) so that they can eat it. However, is this considered as me acting as an accomplice towards sin because it is as though I am encouraging them to not fast?
Waalaikumussalam wrt, wbt.,
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Giving or providing food to women who are excused from fasting is permissible without khilaf (difference of opinions by scholars) during the day in Ramadhan for they are included as those who are not obligated to fast, for example, menstruating woman and pregnant woman when it is feared that her fasting would affect the health of her baby.
As for giving food to non-Muslims during the day in Ramadhan, there is a difference of opinions among scholars and it is divided into two:
The Opinion That Ruled It Prohibited
This is the opinion of Syafi’iyyah scholars which are Imam Syihabuddin al-Ramli, Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami and Syeikh Abu Bakar al-Dimyathi. (Nihayatul Muhtaj, 5/273; Tuhfatul Muhtaj, 3/427-428; I’anatu At-Thalibin, 3/30; Hasyiah al-Jamal ‘ala Syarh Manhaj at-Thullab, 10/310)
Among their arguments is that the non-Muslims are also subjected to syara’ rulings and when we give them food during the day in Ramadhan, then we are helping them in matters of sin. However, they emphasized that if there is non-Muslims eating, we are not allowed to restrict or prohibit them from doing so.
The Opinion that Ruled It Permissible
- Syeikh Sulaiman al-Majid, a qadhi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Refer his full fatwa through the link https://bit.ly/2IDGbh6). According to him, non-Muslims are subjected to syarak’s rulings in terms that they will be punished and held responsible in the hereafter. As for in the context of their worldly life, they are not asked to fulfil the syarak commandments. Furthermore, their disbelief prevents them from fulfilling the rulings of syarak.
- Dr Khalid al-Mosleh (Refer his fatwa through the following link https://bit.ly/2ki8gfb). According to him, it is permissible to give food for those who can’t or are not obligated to fast such as menstruating women, traveller, and non-Muslims.
Are Non-Muslims Commanded to Fast?
This issue can be found in numerous usul fiqh, fiqh and Kalam knowledge books, regarding the question of whether or not the non-Muslims are subjected to syarak rulings. The majority of scholars are of the opinion that the non-Muslims are subjected to syara’ rulings. (Refer Imam Az-Zarkasyi, Al-Bahru al-Muhith, 2/128)
However, according to Syeikh Zakariyya al-Ansari, the sanction means they will be held responsible in the hereafter for their refusal to embrace Islam and fulfil the commandments of syara’ because even if they did perform the worship, their worship would be invalid and unaccepted for one of the valid conditions of worship is a person must be a Muslim. (See Asna al-Mathalib fi Syarh Raudh at-Thalib, 1/121)
In this issue, it is also interesting to look at a hadith from Ibn ‘Umar R.Anhuma:
رَأَى عُمَرُ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ حُلَّةً سِيَرَاءَ عِنْدَ باب الْمَسْجِدِ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَوِ اشْتَرَيْتَهَا فَلَبِسْتَهَا يَوْمَ الْجُمُعَةِ وَلِلْوَفْدِ قَالَ " إِنَّمَا يَلْبَسُهَا مَنْ لاَ خَلاَقَ لَهُ فِي الآخِرَةِ ". ثُمَّ جَاءَتْ حُلَلٌ فَأَعْطَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عُمَرَ مِنْهَا حُلَّةً، وَقَالَ أَكَسَوْتَنِيهَا وَقُلْتَ فِي حُلَّةِ عُطَارِدٍ مَا قُلْتَ. فَقَالَ " إِنِّي لَمْ أَكْسُكَهَا لِتَلْبَسَهَا ". فَكَسَا عُمَرُ أَخًا لَهُ بِمَكَّةَ مُشْرِكًا.
`Umar bin Al-Khattab saw a silken dress (cloak) being sold at the gate of the Mosque and said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! Would that you buy it and wear it on Fridays and when the delegates come to you!" Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "This is worn by the one who will have no share in the Hereafter." Later on, some silk dresses were brought and Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) sent one of them to `Umar. `Umar said, "How do you give me this to wear while you said what you said about the dress of 'Utarid?" Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "I have not given it to you to wear." So, `Umar gave it to a pagan brother of his in Mecca.
Sahih al-Bukhari (2612)
It is known that a Muslim is prohibited from wearing silk and if the maxim ‘non-Muslims are subjected to syara’ rulings’, then a non-Muslim man (in this case a pagan) is also prohibited from wearing silk. However, the above hadith clearly shows the permissibility of a non-Muslim man to wear silk.
This became the argument that although non-Muslims are all in truth subjected (mukhatab) to syara’ rulings, however, these rulings are not applicable for them in this world and they will be held accountable in the hereafter.
Allah SWT states:
وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ
“…but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.”
Surah al-Maidah (2)
The above verse is inapplicable in this case for non-Muslims and Muslim women who has permissible excuses are not meant to be fasting. Thus, giving them food although it is during the day is not considered as helping in transgression and is even considered as a charitable deed according to the concept of ihsan, ukhuwwah and benevolence.
Islam also strictly prohibits being excessive and wasteful which is stated through the hadith of the Prophet PBUH:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَرِهَ لَكُمْ ثَلاَثًا قِيلَ وَقَالَ وَإِضَاعَةَ الْمَالِ وَكَثْرَةَ السُّؤَالِ
“Verily Allah disapproves three things for you: irrelevant talk, wasting of wealth and persistent questioning.”
Sahih Muslim (4259)
To conclude, in our opinion, giving food to the non-Muslims and menstruating women during the day in Ramadhan is PERMISSIBLE on the basis of helping each other in goodness. However, we would also set several conditions and guidelines:
- Do not eat in public places
- Prioritize those who are in need the most such as non-Muslim family members, neighbours and students who are poor
It is best if they are also invited during the time we break our fast, as we have explained on the permissibility in our article titled The Ruling of Inviting Non-Muslims to Break Fast. (Can be accessed through the link https://bit.ly/2sqE5WT)
Furthermore, this act is also a form of dakwah to our non-Muslim brothers in showcasing our love and care which is encouraged in Islam. Thus, the questioner’s initiative is commendable and should be an example to us all. This action cannot be considered as tainting the honoured month of Ramadhan for the act itself is a manifestation of the attribute of blessing and taqwa that is emphasized in Islam and an objective that should be fulfilled in the month of Ramadhan. Lastly, it is wajib to avoid any form of wastefulness.