Short Answer: If someone is under a real threat that if they fast they will be subjected to real physical or mental harm, they may break their fast under such circumstances. But in this case they are obliged to make up for lost days of fast when they are free from such danger.
Salam Sister Maryam,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
May Allah Almighty bless you and reward you abundantly for your acceptance of Islam!
We understand your difficulties of living in the midst of hostility as a Muslim.
We pray to the All-Merciful to give you the strength of Iman not just to be an inward Muslim, but also to practice Islam outward in its fullness.
As for fasting, you know it is one of the five pillars of Islam; and therefore for every able-bodied Muslim, it is obligatory to practice it during Ramadan.
My suggestion is to first of all pray to Allah Almighty to change the minds of your family in your favor so that they accept you as a Muslim and allow you to fast.
After that, you may openly tell your family that you are going to fast during Ramadan in solidarity with the Muslims of the world.
They may object to it at first, but hopefully they will come around to accept the fact of your Islam, especially if you convince them that being a Muslim does not mean that you are leaving the family, or forgetting all your duties to your family.
On the contrary, you need to do all your duties to your parents, brothers and sisters as a good Muslim should do.
The only exception is when you are asked to leave Islam, or forget your duties as a Muslim.
When is a Muslim Exempt from Fasting?
Your email shines forth with the light of Iman.
We believe that by the grace of the Almighty you can succeed in your efforts to convince your family how important it is for a Muslim to observe salah, sawm, zakah and hajj, leaving space for the exceptions permitted.
And this means that there are conditions where a Muslim can omit fasting, such as the following:
1. Illness: The scholars of Islam are unanimous that if a person is ill, they may leave fasting until they are healthy enough to fast. And then they have to fast for the same number of days they did not fast.
2. Travel: During travel a Muslim is allowed to leave fasting, on the condition that the journey is fairly long and tiring. The scholars have decided on the conditions for this permission.
3. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: The jurists agree that pregnant and breastfeeding women may break their fast, if they think that their children may suffer owing to their fast. But they need to make up for missed days.
4. Old Age: There is a consensus among scholars that people who are in an advanced state of disabling age are permitted not to fast.
5. Severe Thirst and Hunger: If someone really believes that fasting will cause physical harm to them owing to extreme thirst and hunger, they too are permitted to leave fasting.
6. Threat or Coercion: If someone is under a real threat that if they fast they will be killed or subjected to real physical or mental harm, they too may break their fast under such circumstances. But in this case they are obliged to make up for lost days of fast when they are free from such danger.
Threat to Your Safety
You may think of the last category as a possible permission for you to leave fasting for the present, with the determination to make up for the lost days when you are free from such danger.
And after pondering over the above points, you may take a proper decision in the matter of fasting.
But always pray to Allah Almighty to guide you along the Right Path and protect you from all kinds of outward danger as well as erring decisions from your own side.
May Allah guide you, help you, protect you and reward you with happiness here and eternal happiness hereafter!
And Allah knows best.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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