This article is an adaptation of the original Malay article titled ADAKAH BATAL PUASA BAGI ORANG YANG GILA DALAM TEMPOH SEMENTARA? by Ibrahim Adham.
Assalamualaikum Ustaz, is it considered invalidating a fast if a person becomes insane in a short period of time? For example, he intended to fast in the morning during sahur but went insane in the afternoon until evening.
Summary of the Answer
A person's fasting status is void if he or she is insane for a short period during the day, whether during Ramadan or not. This is because the obligation to fast is lifted from that person when he goes insane as a result of mental illness.
Description of the Answer
When the month of Ramadan arrives, we as Muslims are determined to strive for fasting perfection. However, there are times when menstrual bleeding, childbirth, insanity, and other factors interfere with the fast's perfection.
Let us consider a narration narrated in Sunan Abi Daud in which Ali RA narrated that the Prophet SAW said :
رُفِعَ الْقَلَمُ عَنْ ثَلاثَةٍ: عَنِ النَّائِمِ حَتَّى يَسْتَيْقِظَ، وَعَنِ الصَّبِيِّ حَتَّى يَحْتَلِمَ، وَعَنِ الْمَجْنُونِ حَتَّى يَعْقِلَ
Meaning: Unrecorded sins and rewards fall into three categories: people who sleep until he wakes up, children until he has wet dreams (baligh), and insane people until he comes to their senses.Narrated by Abu Daud
A person who loses his mind, according to the hadith above, is exempt from the obligation of fasting. But what if the insanity is only temporary or only lasted a short time? In this regard, Imam 'Abd al-Hamid al-Syarawani stated:
فَلا يَصِحُّ صَوْمُ الْمَجْنُونِ وَالطِّفْلِ لِفِقْدَانِ النِّيَّةِ
Meaning: Fasting is therefore invalid for insane people and children because they do not intend to fast.
Sheikh Hasan bin Ahmad al-Kaf stated in al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah fi al-Masa'il al-Mufidah that among the legal conditions of fasting are;:
العَقْلُ، فَيُشْتَرَطُ أَنْ يَكُوْنَ عَاقِلا مُمَيِّزًا جَمِيْعَ النَّهَارِ، فَلَوْ جُنَّ وَلَوْ لَحْظَةً وَاحِدَةً بَطَلَ صَوْمُهُ
Meaning: Sanity, then the fasting person must be sane, tamyiz throughout the day. If he becomes insane even for a brief moment, his fast is null and void.
Based on the preceding discussion, we can conclude that the ruling of fasting for a person who is insane for a short period of time during the day, whether during Ramadan or not, is null and void. This is because the obligation to fast is lifted from him when he is insane as a result of a mental breakdown. As a result, the fast is null and void for anyone who loses his mind, even temporarily while fasting.
 Abu Daud Sulaiman bin al-Asyʻath, Sunan Abi Daud, ed. Muhammad Muhy al-Din ʻAbd al-Hamid (Beirut: al-Maktabah al-ʻAsriyyah, n.d), Hadith no. 4403, 4: 141. This Hadith was also recorded in Sunan al-Tirmizi and Sunan Ibn Majah.
 Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Ali bin Hajar al-Haitami, Tuhfah al-Muhtaj fi Syarh al-Minhaj wa Hawasyi al-Syarwani wa al-‘Ibadi (n.d: n.d, 1983), 3: 414.
 Hasan bin Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Kaf, al-Taqrirat al-Sadidah fi al-Masa’il al-Mufidah – Qism al-‘Ibadah (Hadramaut: Dar al-Mirath al-Nabawiyyah, 2003), 438.