Impermissibility of the Woman Fasting Without her Husband’s permission

Authentic Islamic Knowledge

Impermissibility of the Woman Fasting Without her Husband’s permission

3 min read

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أيضا أن رسول الله ﷺ قال: لا يحلُّ لامرأةٍ أن تصوم وزوجُها شاهدٌ إلا بإذنِه

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger ﷺ said: ‘It is not permitted for a woman to observe (voluntary) fasts without the permission of her husband while he is present.’

Sahih Al-Bukhari 5195 and Muslim 1026 on the authority of Hammam bin Munabbih

Shaykh Ibn Al-‘Uthaymīn (رحمه الله) explains the hadīth in his explanation of Riyādh As-Sālihīn:

The author (Imām An-Nawawī) mentions this narration regarding some of the rights of the husband over his wife; that, she is not allowed to fast if he is in their place of residence except with his permission, but as for if he is not present then she may fast as she pleases.

What is apparent from the Hadīth is that it is intended for both the obligatory and recommended fasts. As for the recommended fast, it is clear that it is not allowed for the wife to fast any of them except with her husband’s permission because the rights of the husband are obligatory, and the non-obligatory fast is not compulsory upon her so she is not sinful for not fasting them or leaving them, and the rights of the husband, if the wife leaves fulfilling them she is committing a sin by leaving it. So, it could be the case that the husband wants to enjoy sexual relations with her, and if she is fasting and he desires her, how will he be able to fulfill his desire? Certainly, this will be very hard and difficult for him to bear due to her fasting as he will not be able to have sexual relations with her. So if she is fasting and the husband desires her, she must accept his request for relations between them and by requesting her to break her fast, there is no sin upon him for doing that.

But as for the fast that is obligatory, it might be the case that she has to make up days due upon her, and if it is the case that there is plenty of time till the next Ramadān, in that case, she is forbidden to fast those days she has to make up except with her husband’s permission, while he is present. For example: let’s say the wife has ten days to make up from the previous Ramadān, and it is the month of Rajab, and the wife says, ‘I want to make up my missed days of Ramadān.’

We say: Do not fast those missed days except with your husband’s permission, as there is still plenty of time left for you to make up those missed days that you are obliged to make up. But on the other hand, if she is the 20th of Sha’bān and Ramadān is in ten days, then it is upon her to fast and she does not need her husband’s permission because it is not allowed for a person who has days to make up from the previous Ramadan to delay them till the next the Ramadān (starts), as you will be doing from the Wājib of the Dīn and this does not require the permission of the husband or anyone else.

[Sharh Riyādh As-Sālihīn, Chapter of the Rights of the Husband over the wife, Hadīth 282, Volume 3 Page 145]

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